SOURCE: Black Hills Pioneer
LEAD, SOUTH DAKOTA
Story By: Wendy Pitlick, Black Hills Pioneer
A mountain bike park in South Dakota is scheduled to open in 2023 at Deer Mountain.
Gerard Keating, owner of Keating Resources, the company responsible for developing land at Deer Mountain, recently announced plans to convert the former Deer Mountain Ski Area into a mountain bike park. He has hired trail designer Pete Costain, owner of Terraflow Trail Systems, a company responsible for designing mountain bike parks at the Yellowstone Club and in various locations in Montana. Under the current timeframe, park construction is expected to begin June 1, with an opening date of July 4, 2023.
Keating said the bike park is part of what he calls a synergetic experience that he plans to bring to the community, whereby residents and visitors alike are encouraged to experience the surrounding environment on their own terms.
“We’ve been studying other ski venues across the United States, and one thing that is consistent is that many of the ski resorts have had great success building mountain bike venues within their resorts and using their ski lifts and terrain to bring in customers,” Keating said. “Although I bike, I’m not an avid mountain biker, and I was slightly shocked at how many people are involved in the sport. To a point where some ski resorts are making more money off mountain biking than snow skiing. The Hills are growing so rapidly and biking is so popular, it just makes sense. We are fortunate to be within a mile from the Mickelson Trail. So people can come right off that and go up the mountain and have some fun.”
Additionally, Keating said hikers will be welcome to ride the chair lift up to the top of the mountain and hike down.
Costain said the park will have 700 feet of vertical drop, which equates to downhill trails of about two miles. The park will utilize the former ski lift as a bike lift to transport bikers to the top of the mountain. Though official details have yet to be ironed out, Costain said there will be a fee to use the chair lifts, and a separate, lesser fee for users to ride some the trails using their own power.
“There will be trails for all abilities, with features ranging from traditional single-track trail to wide berms (banked corners), rollers, and tabletop jumps of all sizes, along with elevated wooden features,” Costain said. “The goal is for the park to accommodate all skill levels and allow riders to progress their skills with each visit.”
Costain said while the design is still in progress, the park will most definitely include free ride trails.