May 5, 2013 in Outdoors

Local Trail Angel: Peter Jantz digs for downhill mountain bikers

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Rich Landers photo

Peter Jantz, caretaker at Camp Sekani off Upriver Drive has been involved in mountain bike trail development on the Spokane city parks land for years.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

The caretaker at Camp Sekani digs his job beyond the call of duty.

Peter Jantz, 33, moved into the Spokane City Parks facility at the foot of Beacon Hill in 2008 at the peak of a push to develop a comprehensive trails plan for city and private lands on Beacon Hill.

Many helpers have come and gone in that time, but Jantz is one of the longtimers still planning and plugging away at new trails and reroutes specially designed for mountain bikers.

Jantz said he learned the basics of sustainable trail-building from the International Mountain Biking Association trail schools. “You also learn as you go and avoid making a mistake a second time” he said.

Downhill routes are among the most invasive types of trails to the landscape, requiring huge berms for humps and banked curves that handle high-speed descents.

“Being in one place here, I can see how certain techniques and features hold up better than others and how to deal with drainage.”

In many stretches, the edges of the trail tread should be lower than the middle to shed water.

Jantz built a new section of the Rabid Rabbit trail in his spare time by himself, using innovative techniques.

“It’s what I would call a new style of flow trail with a bunch of rolling terrain. It has small rollers that can be rolled or jumped as well as big berms. It’s one trail that’s pretty much for riders of all ability levels.”

Building downhill routes requires moving tons of material and tedious refining. “I put at least 200 hours into a three-quarter-mile segment,” he said, noting that he’s not finished.

“I am motivated to build trails because I love working outside and the sense of accomplishment that trail-building gives you,” he said. “It’s also great to see other people enjoy your work.”  

Rich Landers

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