The area surrounding Crested Butte is Dave Och’s office—and it’s not too shabby.
“It’s a pretty good office,” Ochs said. “I’m never complaining about the office.”
Ochs is the director of the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association, the oldest of its kind in the world. It’s been around for 33 years. Until last year, the group was entirely made up of volunteers—Ochs is its first paid employee.
“Colorado loves to ride bikes, and Crested Butte is bike culture,” Ochs said.
The area around Crested Butte is popular with mountain bikers, partially because of the trails maintained by the association. And they wanted to continue that part of recreation into the winter.
“It does not need to be a summer thing, and that was a big focus of what we’re trying to do this year was look to some of the classic and traditional mountain bike trails and be able to lay track out here, and continue to ride it into the winter,” Ochs said.
So Ochs takes a snowmobile and trail groomer out to lay and compact nearly 40 miles of track in the area. The trails are perfect for snowshoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, and especially fat biking.
“A fat bike is basically an incredibly beefed-up, modified mountain bike on steroids, with gigantic, wide tires,” Ochs said. “The bigger the tire you have, the better you can float over the surface.”
Bikers are impressed with the groomed trail system.
“This lets you bike year round,” said Jordan Williford, who rides his fat bike on the trail system almost daily. “It keeps your legs going for the summer—it’s also free—it’s a great amenity for the valley that it’s free. You don’t have to stand in line in a lift line.”
Ochs said he doesn’t get to get out to fat bike as much as he’d like—he’s busy breaking trail and running the organization. But seeing the trails put to use by visitors and residents, makes it worth it.
“Some people love making circles year round, and for those folks it’s been an amazing addition to the repertoire if you will,” Ochs said. “It’s way to get out there and do what you love to do.”
For more information on the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association, go to their website: https://crestedbuttemountainbike.com/