Colorado Freeride Festival

The Colorado Freeride Festival is the largest freeride festival in the United States and the biggest summer event hosted by Winter Park. For these reasons, we considered this a must-attend event. The festival this year was in the Trestle Bike Park for the week of July 23-28, 2019. Some of the best pro riders in the world, like Fabien Barel, were drawn here for races like the Air Downhill, Slopestyle, Enduro, Epic Singlerack XC, Pond Crossing, and of course freestyle. These events were a spectacle indeed, but the most fun was when we had the chance to hit the trails at Trestle!

Freeride festival

The Demo Bikes

The selection of bikes to choose from was tremendous. They had the Specialized Demo 8 FSR which has a monster suspension and 8 inches of travel. When I took this bike out for a spin there were several times when a couple of those inches saved me from speeding head-first into a tree! However, the trails are made well and designed for expert riders. They tend to curve and ramp in all the right spots to keep the rider plowing down the trail at ludicrously dangerous velocities!

The biggest smile on my face was given to me by the Giant Glory. The geometry of this amazing machine combined with 8 inches of travel truly made this bike live up to its name as it was nothing short of glorious! Never have I gone so fast and jumped so high with such ease. The biking experience left me in an elated state, grinning ear to ear. One essential part of the Trestle trails is that there is a chairlift. My mood would have probably been slightly hampered had I been forced to peddle up the mountain after each run with my heavy beat of a bike.

I was also welcomed pleasantly at the Sram tent. They sheltered a very friendly Ride Experience Facilitator named Andy Jones. He hooked me up with a nice bike and some useful tips and information. He made sure to emphasize it as a ‘ride experience’ rather than a demo. I had a great experience with Sram.

The Pros

Riding next to (ok, mostly behind…way behind) the professional riders was a serious treat. Fabien Barel rode in the Enduro World Cup, and he was on the same course as me! Watching Sam Pilgrim win the freeride this year made my jaw drop when he finished a run with a flawless no-handed front flip. But, my mouth being open probably looked a little better than his. I’m not sure what the deal is, but the guy seems to be proud of the fact that his front tooth is missing! I even saw Jared Graves out at the EWC finish line.

The Cons

The only real negative thing I have to say about the festival was that it made me realize I will probably never be able to bike at the insane level that the pros do…

Getting to Winter Park

From Denver, it’s easy. Just take I-70 West util you see signs for a merge onto US-40 W and Winter Park.