Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Taking flight at the bike skills park

Nancy Foote, left, and Cherie Martin walk near Auger Falls on Oct. 2, 2007, in the Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls, Idaho. In 2002, the city of Twin Falls purchased the land for $1.3 million with plans of turning the site into a park. The park was completed in December 2021 and now construction has begun on the Viki Le Fevre Mountain Bike Skills Park.  (Ashley Smith/(Twin Falls, Idaho) Times-News)
By Lorien Nettleton (Twin Falls,) Times-News

TWIN FALLS, Idaho – Things are jumping down in Auger Falls Park.

With the construction of the Viki Le Fevre Mountain Bike Skills Park, aspiring mountain bikers and seasoned dirt jumpers have a place to practice catching air next to the 680 acres of Auger Falls, which boasts more than 20 miles of trails.

The park has been completed and open to the public since December. On Wednesday, county commissioners, city councilors, and representatives from some of the many community organizations and institutions that came together to make the project possible were on hand for a ceremonial ribbon cutting to celebrate the partnerships and funding that brought the dream to life.

The skills park was proposed by Magic Valley Trail Enhancement Committee and the Dirt Trails Alliance and was approved by the city of Twin Falls. The skills park was built using money from a Community Transformation grant from the Blue Cross Foundation for Health, with matching funds from the Viki Le Fevre Memorial Fund.

The skills park has two different jump lines, one with large gap jumps, and one with medium-sized table-top jumps. The park also has a pump-track section, made up of small rollers and several turns.

Jeremy St. Claire is a member of the Dirt Trails Alliance and coaches the Magic Valley Composite Interscholastic Mountain Biking Team. The park is designed to be used to develop and practice skills that can come in handy while on the trail, St. Claire said.

“With a pump track, when you’re mountain biking, it’s like free speed, right?” he said. “If you’re coming down and there’s a little roller and you can pump into it and come out, you generate some speed that you don’t have to use your legs to do. So that allows you to go faster, not use as much energy. So in a race, it’s important to be able to pump, because that saves some energy for other times when you need it.

“Having a pump track where we can come down here and teach the kids how to pump and to roll through them without pedaling, teaches them a valuable skill for when they’re racing.”

About 60 kids are in the Magic Valley Composite Interscholastic Mountain Biking Team, and ages range from sixth grade to 12th grade. The upcoming season will begin in July.

Twin Falls was one of two Idaho communities that received a transformation grant from Blue Cross Foundation in 2019. Courtney Frost, Senior Program Officer with Blue Cross Foundation for Health, said the community really made a top-notch pitch for the grant, which is what earned them the award.

“We don’t give them a check and walk away,” Frost said. “It’s a long term partnership. They took a whole year to talk to community members about what they wanted to see … That’s what’s the coolest thing about it, seeing them take this community feedback, synthesize it, really narrow it down, and then this happens.”

Mandi Thompson, with the city of Twin Falls, gave remarks about the forces that came together to unite to build the bike park.

“The (grant application) process was very much about selling ourselves as a community,” Thompson said, “and about the strong partnerships we have that are existing that would make these funds money well spent.”