Inspired by a successful Boise event, this year the organization Jackson Hole Cycling has launched the Teton Trails Challenge, an attempt to introduce more athletes to the varied recreational opportunities on both sides of Teton Pass.
Forest Dramis, the director of JH Cycling, admitted that he and a lot of Jackson cyclists get into a rut, especially in the summer, and don’t explore new trails, lured by the convenience of Cache Creek and other close-to-town options.
“We always tend to stay with what we know and ride the same ride over and over,” Dramis said. “This is a way to break out of the daily habit.”
That’s why he and JH Cycling board member Cary Smith dreamed up the Teton Trails Challenge, based on the popular Boise Trails Challenge, which attracts a large field every year. The inaugural Teton version starts July 4 and ends Sept. 2. Registration is $30 and simply requires that participants link their Strava account (Strava is an app that records activities) to keep track of the trails they have traveled. All participants will receive a pair of socks and will be entered to win daily prizes along the way.
At tetontrailschallenge.com/dashboard there is a list of 117 segments to be ticked off through the summer. Speed has nothing to do with the challenge; it’s about experiencing new trails. The designated segments are a mix of cycling and hiking trails all around the region, including trails at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the Big Holes, Teton Pass, and Grand Teton National Park.
“We wanted to have a couple trails that you have to do on foot so we chose Static Peak and Phelps Lake because they’re mainstays of the Jackson hiking community,” Dramis said.
Dramis said his favorite on the list is the less-traveled Ditch Creek to Horsetail loop in the Gros Ventre range. He’s guessing that a few diehards will complete every segment in the time window, which adds up to around 164 miles of trail in two months, while the majority of participants will tackle most of the trails or cherry pick a few.
Of course, Teton Valley outdoor enthusiasts are welcome to try their hand at the challenge, and there are some backyard classics on the list, including Grand Targhee cross country trails, Grove Creek, and Mail Cabin.
“In the busyness of summer, [Jackson] people forget about the Idaho side as a weekend destination,” Dramis said. (Residents of this side would probably prefer it stayed that way.) “But you go ride Grand Targhee, get a burger at the Brakeman Grill as you’re heading home—that’s an awesome day, and people are psyched on it.”