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Discussion Starter #1
Gotta wonder how the Summit will deal with this growing demand. Registration filled in 2013 over several days, in 2014 in 7 hours, and in 2015 in 37 minutes! :clap:
I'm guessing that the Forest Service is the limiting factor. While limiting each registrant to 3 trails, and moving from a 3 day event to 6 days, might this nearly double attendance while avoiding overcrowding the trails enough to satisfy the Feds? The merchants should be very happy with that plan.
 

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If the summit is stetched to 6 days and still limited to 3 trail runs per vehicle, housing would be the limiting variable. We made our room reservations last years and the selection was limited then. Perhaps an Eastern Summit would be an option.

Just my $0.02
 

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Perhaps an Eastern Summit would be an option.
Even if there were an Eastern Summit, I would personally still make the effort to come to Ouray. I love the natural beauty of the American Southwest - it's just so different from the kind of terrain that we have here. I am a schoolteacher and already have summers off, so I plan to make a 2-3 week cross-country road trip out of this year's Summit. For me at least, it's as much about the journey as it is the destination.

However, I do agree that an Eastern Summit might take the pressure off this event. I would not be surprised if the event organizers went to a lottery system next year - that would seem to be the most fair way to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If the extra days were say Monday thru Wednesday as a "first session", with Thursday thru Saturday as a "second session", and each session having 3 trail runs, then lodging capacity might not be a problem.
Guessing the first session registrants might want another dinner/auction event on Wednesday night.
Just an idea.
 

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I also wonder if there would be another nearby town that could serve as a point from which to launch runs. Ouray certainly is unique being a historic town situated in the heart of the mountains, but I would think Durango could sponsor an event as well. Adding some additional trails could reduce some of the pressure as well. Perhaps even a 2nd Ouray event would be to everyone's liking. I'm not sure when they get the first snow, but a Summit 2 in mid to late August might also be good. Hopefully the forces driving the growth of the summit don't put a strain on everything to the point that the summit gets canned altogether.
 

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Reservations are definitely a limiting factor. If you don't book well in advance of the actual registration, you could be staying in a tent or your truck. The fact that the summit is always the 3rd weekend in July makes booking easier for regulars, but it's probably brutal for newbies who wait until they have the dates before they start looking for where they plan to stay; definitely limits the choices if you wait.
 

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A couple of summers ago I stayed in Silverton with my fam it has trails and roads that basically link to Ouray since they are super close to each other... lodging is still limited there but its at least another town.
 

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What role does the Forest Service or BLM play in deciding who can go where and when? If you just show up in Ouray and want to run trails, do you need to secure any permits? Is it just the size of the event that causes problems with the FS/BLM?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
From what I've read on the Forum and heard at the Summit, the Forest Service is quite concerned that our trail run groups don't overcrowd the trails for other non-summit users. That's why my thought to add 3 non-weekend days might work.
As to other towns near the trails, Telluride offers much more lodging, although they're generally pricey.
 

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What role does the Forest Service or BLM play in deciding who can go where and when? If you just show up in Ouray and want to run trails, do you need to secure any permits? Is it just the size of the event that causes problems with the FS/BLM?
It is the size of the event that requires the permits, yes. And from FS/BLM's perspective it's essentially traffic management: group size and timing/spacing between groups.

Where things go bad is when something happens on the trail that blocks all the groups, so that size / timing has no benefit. We had a pretty bad blockage on Black Bear last year (Friday) due to a parked car near the power station blocking all downhill traffic.

If you just show up a day before/after Summit, you can drive all the trails with no permits/problems. You'll run into random traffic and the occasional group, but nothing as big or organized as what Summit brings to the area.

You don't hear many complaints from random people on the trails, but the tour guide businesses operating out of Telluride can get pretty vocal about our groups. They typically loop Imogene to Ouray then Black Bear back to Telluride. Our groups slow them down, and they can occasionally be unpleasant about that. I've never found them to be as bad on Imogene as on Black Bear, since they are going against our traffic on Imogene and have more room to get around than on Black Bear. Be sure to give them extra room, they tend to be in a hurry. And if you ever have to talk to one who is upset, just remember: these are public roads, they have no more right to them than you do and they're getting paid to be there.
 

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Our groups slow them down, and they can occasionally be unpleasant about that. I've never found them to be as bad on Imogene as on Black Bear, since they are going against our traffic on Imogene and have more room to get around than on Black Bear. Be sure to give them extra room, they tend to be in a hurry. And if you ever have to talk to one who is upset, just remember: these are public roads, they have no more right to them than you do and they're getting paid to be there.
Good advice. Last year on Imogene we were on the photo run and we stopped by the short tunnel to get some pictures. Some guys in Jeeps were none too happy with us; not pleasant AT ALL. You'd think that the people they were riding around would actually like to take in some of the scenery.
 

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The big problem isn't finding other towns to run out of, its the fact that they all link to the same trails so the overcrowding problem on the trails isn't helped.

One thing to consider is a longer summit. Maybe extend it by a day or two but still keep everyone to 3 trails hence everyone would have a non trail day or two mixed in. It would allow more participants with the same number of vehicles on the trails. Those non trail days could be used to explore some of the other things that can be done in the area. Fishing at Ridgeway reservoir or a group drive up to SilverJack Reservoir, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park or something of the sort. There's hundreds of miles of forest service roads on the nearby Uncompahgre National Forest. Its not that there would be nothing to do.

Yes, Hotels would be harder to find. Last year my wife and I stayed in Montrose as I didn't get rooms in Ouray early. It took us 40ish minutes to get to Ouray each morning but I only spent 80 bucks a night and had access to cheaper gas, grocery stores and Starbucks!

There's always more camping at Ridgeway State Park which is a quick 15 or so miles from Ouray. They have laundry and shower facilities too. They also have a few Yurts you can rent.

Maybe there could be more classes set up for the summit that people could attend during the day instead of running a trail. They already do a Ham class, what about an actual on site recovery class, beginner off road class etc...

How about more hands on volunteer work for the Forest Service on the trails?

What if some of the suppliers set up install garages so people could schedule skid plate or bumper installs in the weeks or months before the summit? What if the brand x guys had to come to summit with some tools and a Uhaul full of racks, skids and bumpers? I would pay to have a bumper installed over doing it myself if the rates were reasonable considering the purchase of accessories.

Group buys......group installs?

I really like the summit, we had a fantastic time last year. I can see the event growing out of Ourays (topographic) ability to hold it. There just isn't enough room in town or on the trails. When this happens it only seems logical to divert some of that attention and spread things out past just trail runs everyday.

Just a few thought......
 

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We appreciate your thoughts and suggestions but I do have some thoughts on several of them. These are my thoughts and may or may not be shared by the other Summit directors.

Most wheeling events across this country are set up on a similar schedule rather than as an all week event. It makes it easier for the trip to and from and easier to fit in with just one week of vacation. The idea of wheeling every other day to alleviate trail crowding sounds great but it would not work. Most people would hit the trails every day even if not on organized runs because that's why they made the trip. Besides, we've said time and time again that our permits have limits.

In regards to the vendors, they have jobs too and getting away for more than a few days even to setup as a vendor can be tough. Yes, with more space we could set up install booths for vendors and turn this into a wrench fest instead of a vacation. They would have to bring more people out of production to make this happen. They would spend time wrenching rather than spend time talking to people and making connections. More of this kind of thing happened at early Summits but it was my observation that vendors did not like carrying the extra goods or spending time crawling on asphalt until the wee hours of the night.

More classes. Yes, we could dedicate more time and space to do more classes like the Overland Expo does. But wait, they don't have any trail runs to organize or offer.

It seems that most of these suggestions are centered around making the event bigger and bigger. We're one of the bigger events as it is and we do this all with volunteer organization and labor. We have a great relationship with the town of Ouray and the area forest service and BLM offices. Relocation would affect all of this goodwill and would be a potential downfall. Far more time would be spent managing it and the same problems would have to be solved again and again.

Would it be a better event if it had a 500-600 vehicle limit but never sold out ? I don't think so. That would make it a nightmare for planning. Is our event perfect ? Of course not. We've made changes over the years and you can expect changes in the future.

Since our formula has worked pretty well for eight years (through an economic downturn at that), I would not be expecting any big changes. While some other events have faltered or had trouble selling out over months of open registration, we have grown a little and continued to sell-out faster and faster each year. Based on the popularity it is clear that we are doing something right. :)
 

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IMO - Summit is perfectly sized for the event. Anything else would be too much for the organizers AND the town.
 
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