kelly canyon bike trails

A few of the 19 miles of mountain bike trails are seen at Kelly Canyon Ski Resort. The bike park hopes to open on May 29.

Kelly Canyon Ski Resort has targeted opening its bike park trails on Friday (May 29) if the weather cooperates and dries things up.

The 19 miles of trails with chairlift service opened up midsummer last year as a soft opening. This year resort co-owner Dave Stoddard said the park will more aggressively promote the facility.

“We’re very excited about our first full summer season at our mountain bike park,” Stoddard said. “It’s been a bit rainy and muddy and needs to dry out a bit more. There are a couple of patches of snow still melting.”

If the weather doesn’t dry things up by Friday, Kelly Canyon officials will push the opener to June 5.

The ski resort owners brought on another partner, Mike VanSteenkiste, who has a background in real estate development and marketing. “He also has connections in the biking world,” Stoddard said. In conjunction with that partnership, the resort plans to build its first overnight lodging facilities. Stoddard said the project was still in the beginning phases, and “perhaps I can speak more about it in the coming months.”

But he did say he anticipated having the new facilities available later this summer.

“For many years now, we have worked very hard at the resort to get entitlements in place to be able to have summer operations and to be able to do more in the wintertime,” he said. “Now that those things are in place, we’re now in a position to go the direction of what many of our fellow resorts in the region have done.”

Lifts for the bike park will be running Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Other days, the trails will be open to bikers on a self-service setup without lifts. Lift service hours have changed slightly from last year.

The lift will be in operation 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, 1:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, to take rider and bike to the top of the mountain. For information on ticket prices and a trail map, go to skikelly.com.

“Our emphasis going into this season has been smoothing and finishing those same trails of 19 miles along with building some features and additional facilities, including things like more banked corners, some tabletops, berms, and fun things on the mountain to do on the bikes,” Stoddard said.

He said visitors were pleasantly surprised at the number and variety of bike trails last year.

“We were careful about not trying to draw a big crowd while we were trying to figure it out,” he said. “This year will be different. We plan on a significant marketing and social media blitz to let people know what it is that we have. We anticipate there will be a lot of people on the mountain this year.”

The Idaho Ski Association noted that Kelly Canyon plans a 4-mile loop designed especially for National Interscholastic Cycling Association teams to practice their riding skills on days the lifts are not running in the bike park.

Kelly Canyon is offering season passes for the summer this year and year-round season passes for winter skiing and summer biking. Pricing on its website.

The resort also has a new agreement with the Forest Service to fence its permit area to separate it from the grazing area on the forest to keep cows off bike trails.

"We're appreciative of the grazing permittees for their cooperation with Kelly Canyon Resort and the Forest Service to make this happen,” Stoddard said.