Whoever shows up first gets to pick the direction bikers ride the track at Jackson’s newest mountain bike skills park.
The park, located on south of Blair Drive near the Community Garden and Jackson Hole Middle School, is now open, and young bikers of all ages haven’t wasted any time taking advantage of the kid-size jumps and turns.
The Blair Drive Kids Pump Track, approved by the Town Council in April, also includes a half-mile single-track dirt trail paralleling Blair Drive.
Over the course of 20 minutes Tuesday afternoon about 10 kids came and went, taking rides around the banked turns and over the 3-foot tall rolling transitions.
Vincent Thompson, 6, was on his wheels the whole time, taking advantage of the relatively empty park before the middle school let out and the bigger kids rolled up.
For Vincent, who just learned to ride a bike this summer, the park provides a low-risk place to practice his balance and get used to bumps and turns, said his mom, Steph Thompson.
The park is a skills spot for all children, big and small, to build their comfort and confidence, said Andrea Weenig, who braked briefly at the park while on a bike ride home from school with her daughter.
Weenig’s husband, Andy, is one of the head coaches of the Jackson Hole Composite Mountain Bike Team, sits on the Friends of Pathways Task Force and has been involved in the approval and creation of the park, she said.
“It’s a very exciting place,” Weenig said.
Representatives from Friends of Pathways and Mountain Bike the Tetons spent two weeks removing sod and bringing in dirt to be sculpted into the trail and skills park seen today. Though the spot is designed for ages 3 to 12, it’s open to all riders.
Tuesday was Thomas Johnson’s second day at the park. The 8-year old headed over with his mom after school. The park, he said, was a lot of fun, especially all the jumps.
A grand opening party is slated for 3 to 6 p.m. Sept. 26. The free event, hosted by Friends of Pathways and Mountain Bike the Tetons, includes a spread of hot dogs, salads, chips and cookies donated by Smith’s Food and Drug. The Teton County School District No. 1 Recreation District, one funder of the bike park, is also sponsoring the event.
Almost two dozen private donors gave to the project, and Ridgeline Excavation donated materials and hauled the debris from the site.
From her spot on a bench in the shade next to the park, Thompson called out to Vincent, asking if he was ready to go. Adjusting his blue helmet on his head, he swung his leg back over the frame of his bike and let gravity carry him down the nearest rolling feature, purportedly oblivious to his mom’s query.
“See, this is going to be the problem,” Thompson said, laughing.
This article has been updated to clarify and recognize additional donors to the park. — Ed.