ST. GEORGE — City of St. George and Washington County officials gathered with the Southern Utah mountain biking community at the Electric Theater Friday night to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Sand Hollow Bicycle Skills Park.
A large crowd of outdoor enthusiasts and community members came to learn more about the park and other trails in the works, as well as to view a screening of the Red Bull Media House mountain biking film “North of Nightfall.”
The event was made possible by the Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association, the city of St. George and Rapid Cycling.
Because of the relationship with Red Bull the nonprofit trails association has created through the area’s connection to Red Bull Rampage – the energy drink’s freeride mountain biking competition held in Virgin – the film was made available to screen at a deeply discounted rate, Kevin Christopherson, president of the trails association, said.
Rapid Cycling stepped in and paid for the film to be screened, one of the first public screenings in the western United States that Christopherson was aware of, he said.
Guests were asked for a $5 donation to attend. Money donated will go directly toward helping the trails association in its mission to build, maintain and ride trails throughout Southern Utah.
A public reception where attendees could view renderings of the park as well as other proposed trails that could be built in the area was held shortly before the movie.
Sand Hollow Bicycle Skills Park
Construction is underway on the park in the Sand Hollow Wash area near Snow Canyon High School.
Bringing the park to fruition was a collaborative effort by the city of St. George, Washington County, the Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association and other passionate members of the mountain biking community.
Prior to the film screening, St. George Mayor Jon Pike addressed the crowd and thanked the many entities involved in the planning, designing and financing of the project, which will not only be a huge asset to the community but also a draw for tourists.
“This is something we hope will be a draw for people from all over the state and beyond,” Pike said.
Washington County Commissioner Zachary Renstrom, who also sits on the Utah Office of Tourism Board, made brief remarks at the event and echoed Pike’s sentiments about the park being a huge tourism draw.
Renstrom added that the park will only be about 1/2 mile from his home and that he and his family are very excited to have it in the community.
Phase one of the project will feature skills areas for a variety of riding levels including a beginner gravity skills area, a progressive drop zone, pump tracks, a pump and bump skills loop, a dirt jump zone and cross country trails.
The skills areas are designed to allow riders to progress in a way that optimizes safety and learning.
Pike said it is a good start to what they hope to be able to build upon in the future. Future plans include the addition of cross country trails where groups like the Utah High School Cycling League and area race organizers can hold races.
“We will probably build a few other trails in time,” Pike said, adding that it might be sooner rather than later thanks to the volunteer efforts of groups like the Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association.
An advantage of the new park is its accessibility. Rather than a remote park that requires a 4-wheel-drive vehicle or shuttle system to get to, the new park is being built right in the heart of Washington County, Pike said.
Money for the park came from the city’s recreation, arts and parks tax fund as well as a significant contribution from the Washington County Convention and Tourism Office.
The first phase of the park is expected to be completed near the end of September, Pike said, joking that instead of a ribbon cutting ceremony, they may hold a mountain bike tire tube cutting ceremony.
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