Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sun Valley to host mountain biking championships

Planners hope competitions will boost image, economy

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley will host USA Cycling’s 2011 and 2012 Mountain Biking National Championships on Dollar Mountain, pictured here in the background. From left are: Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau Marketing Director Carrie Westergard, Sun Valley Mayor Wayne Willich, Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall, Sun Valley Resort’s Director of Hotels Dick Andersen and Sun Valley Resort’s Public Relations Director Jack Sibbach. Photo by Willy Cook

USA Cycling has chosen Sun Valley to host the 2011 and 2012 Mountain Biking National Championships, an event spanning five days in late July of each year and attracting some 1,400 competitors and their families from around the country.

USA Cycling is the national governing body for competitive cycling in America and a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. It is recognized by the International Cycling Union as the sole sanctioning body in the United States.

The competition will consist of Olympic-style cross country, short track and super D, which is mostly downhill. Sun Valley Resort's Dollar Mountain will be the race grounds, meaning professional- and amateur-level courses will need to be constructed this fall before the snow falls. Breakaway Productions, a bicycle race organizer, has been hired to create the courses and oversee structuring the event.

USA Cycling and the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau, which placed the bid on July 1, announced the news Tuesday afternoon. Event and course-construction details will soon follow.

The chamber estimated that an event of this level would have an economic impact on the community of more than $1 million, but the associated operational and marketing cost of putting it on are also sizeable, at more than $100,000.

After entry fees, the chamber said, there's a projected deficit of $20,000 to $40,000. It's therefore welcoming sponsors at levels of $1,000 to $25,000. Those interested should contact chamber Marketing Director Carrie Westergard at 725-2110.

The championships were held in Granby, Colo., this summer, an event that several Sun Valley people attended to demonstrate the area's devotion. Those included Sun Valley Mayor Wayne Willich, Jennifer Biondi from the Bike Ranch at Idaho Smoky Mountain Lodge and Westergard.

"I have traveled the world for races ... and I live in the Sun Valley area because it has some of the best trails I've ever ridden," said three-time 24-hour mountain bike champion Rebecca Rusch. "I already know this place is world class, and I'm really looking forward to sharing what Idaho has to offer with the best cyclists in the U.S."

Trevon Milliard:

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