Crown Mountain Park’s new bike park grabs attention and accolades |

Crown Mountain Park’s new bike park grabs attention and accolades

Park supporter Robert Hubbell also honored with service award

Staff report
Young bikers try out the new bike park at Crown Mountain Park on Thursday, June 25, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District won a prestigious award in the recreation industry for its design of a new bike park in El Jebel.

The Colorado Parks and Recreation Association presented its Columbine Award for Design to Crown Mountain Park at a virtual ceremony Thursday. The award recognizes the most innovative park and recreation facility projects in the state.

The association also recognized Robert Hubbell of El Jebel as the 2020 Parks and Recreation Community Champion. Hubbell was a longtime member of Crown Mountain’s board of directors. The association’s awards committee said Hubbell was selected because he is a great champion for his community and for the broader field of parks and recreation.

Crown Mountain Park is located adjacent to the Eagle County government building and community center in El Jebel. The 124-acre park was preserved in a land swap between the U.S. Forest Service and Pitkin and Eagle counties. The exchange had to be approved by Congress, which occurred in 1993.

The recreation district had a vision in 2018 for a bicycle park with multiple facets. It obtained a $168,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado and started construction in 2020. The four-acre park cost $1.2 million, including in-kind services and in-house work. Most of the facilities opened in June.

“We put together a world-class bike training facility in the midvalley,” Nate Grinzinger, Crown Mountain park and recreation manager and bike park director, said in a statement. “With the riding we already have in the valley, and the addition of Crown Mountain Bike Park that serves all ages and ability, the Roaring Fork Valley just became one of the best places to ride in the world.”

Crown Mountain Park manager Nate Grinzinger sits on top of the boardwalk in the enchanted forest section of the bike park in Crown Mountain Park on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

The design uses a progression of features to guide riders of any ability to their next level. There are beginner-to-expert dirt jumps, an asphalt pump track, a singletrack trail with features, a jump with a mulch pile for landings, a BMX track and an “enchanted forest” with a variety of features. One of the unique features is a bag jump where riders can practice flips, 360-degree tricks and more with the safety of a state-of-the-art landing air bag.

Hubbell served on Crown Mountain Park’s board of directors for eight years, which encompassed a time of significant growth for the facility. He helped the district secure voter approval for a 1.95 mill levy tax increase, which raises an estimated $700,000 annually for the park’s infrastructure, operations, maintenance and reserve funds.

Hubbell served 10 years in the U.S. Marine Corps as a helicopter pilot and now serves as president of Crawford Properties LLC. He directed efforts to utilize his family’s land in El Jebel for the development of a baseball field, basketball courts, pickleball courts and an outdoor exercise area.

“I am honored to receive this award and really appreciate the recognition from CPRA,” Hubbell said in a statement. “The Roaring Fork Valley is so special to my family and me, and we are lucky to be part of such a vibrant, engaged community.”

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