Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area’s drive to increase summer recreation will get a boost from the Bogus Basin Hill Climb, which will be run Saturday.
The 44th annual cycling event has partnered with the recreation area for the first time. Event sponsor George’s Cycles will contribute $25 from each of the 275 entries to Bogus Basin to help the ski area improve its bike offerings.
The Hill Climb is a 16-mile race up twisty Bogus Basin Road — also known as the Kristin Armstrong Bikeway, named for the three-time Olympic gold medalist.
This year, the event has added a dirt version. That race will be run on Eighth Street Extension and the Ridge Road, covering 21 miles.
Sixty people have entered the dirt division, accounting for the event’s growth from last year. The road ridership dropped by two.
“That (dirt) part of it is going to grow pretty rapidly over the next few years just because it’s a very cool challenge ride,” said Mike Cooley, co-owner of George’s and the race director. “... I’ve been intrigued by the dirt for years.”
Both races culminate at Bogus Basin, which will have a Music on the Mountain festival.
The dirt race begins at 8 a.m. The road race begins at 9:15 a.m. Bogus Basin Road will have a rolling closure until about 11:30 a.m. to accommodate the race. The starting point is near the Bogus Basin offices off of Bogus Basin Road.
John Hart, the marketing director at Bogus Basin, rode the dirt course Friday morning.
“It’ll wipe you out,” he said. “... I’m sure there are guys out there that will just tear that thing up, but that dirt road, there’s just sections of it that are steep.”
George’s increased the entry fee from $25-$30 to $50-$70 this year to cover the donation to Bogus. It also added a post-race lunch for riders and partnered with Bogus on the music festival that will create more of a party atmosphere.
“We had a little bit of pushback on that,” Cooley said of the fee hike, “but once people realized we’re giving that back to Bogus we had a great reception.”
Long term, Cooley hopes to grow the event to 1,000 riders and donate $25,000 to Bogus Basin.
“A year and a half ago I looked at the Race to Robie Creek and thought, ‘Why can’t the Bogus Hill Climb be as big and fun as the Race to Robie Creek?’ ” Cooley said.
One of the additions Bogus Basin has made to the race is to add mile markers along the road that include the elevation at that point. Those markers have been up most of the summer.
Bogus Basin has seen strong participation in its summer program this year, Hart said. About 1,000 people have attended on Music on the Mountain days, he said. Lift use has expanded to include more hikers and sightseeing visitors.
The hope is that summer becomes a money-maker for the non-profit ski area to help offset bad snow years.
“Financially, it’s been a great summer for us,” Hart said. “Usually in the summer, there’s no revenue and we’re just funding the mountain operations out of the winter coffers. This year, we’re actually turning it into a money-generating part of the business. It’s been really good to see that come online.”
Bogus is building new beginner and flow trails for mountain bikers. Those aren’t expected to open until next season because they need rain/snow to pack down the surface, Hart said.