The day Bob Radke accepted a ski instructor position at Park City Mountain in 1988 was a fateful day for Park City bikers and hikers. The ski-instructor- turned-trail-builder is responsible for hundreds of miles of trail around Park City.
“Recreation is a big part of a balanced lifestyle,” Bob says, describing his intention “to provide a means for people to get outside, into nature.”
He knew trail construction was his calling when he started working with Mountain Trails Foundation in 2001.
“The work, to me, is really motivating. It fits my personality to dive all in to one thing. I mountain bike and I build trails,” Bob says. “I get to use my college degree in earth sciences. I use my background in soil, geology and atmospherics. I like that.”
In 2002, Bob applied for a trail maintenance supervisor position with Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District and immediately began growing the trail network. “When I started there, they had about 50 miles of trail, if that. When I left, there were 160-plus miles of trails that basin rec managed,” he explains proudly.
Over the years, Bob has helped build many of Park City’s most iconic mountain biking and hiking trails. “When I worked for Mountain Trails, I had a big hand in building Mid Mountain Trail,” he says. And during his 17 years with basin recreation, Bob played a critical role in completing the trails that now define Park City’s bike culture. Examples include the paved Millennium Trail that connects Summit Park to Old Town, the extensive trail network in Jeremy Ranch and his namesake, Bob’s Basin.
He’s also the guy to thank for the Trailside Bike Park, which has two pump tracks, beginner and intermediate flow trails and an advanced freeride trail.
“The Trailside Bike Park is my project,” he humbly admits. “We started that in 2004 with just the little skills park. It took until 2015 when we finished it.”
While Bob loved working for basin recreation, he spent his weekends building trail and dreaming up his own company. It all came to fruition in 2018 when he quit his job and turned his weekend hobby into a full-time business. The result is Creative Trails, a trail planning, designing and building service.
“It was an easy transition when I retired from basin rec. I had something set up and I had some clients, so it was good,” Bob explains.
Now, as the owner of a trail-building company, Bob has more to think about than just building fun, community trails. “I try to be a good employer and a good boss,” Bob says. He likes providing space for growth and new skill development and is happy to report that his employees will have several opportunities to fine-tune their skills this year. Creative Trails’ robust agenda includes two enormous projects in the Wasatch Back: the 16-mile Slate Creek Trail in the Uinta Mountains and a massive network of trails at the new Mayflower Mountain Resort.
While Bob loves building trails and fostering his employees’ development, access to recreation is at the heart of everything he does. “I like helping the community and doing something for the community,” he says. “There is so much that is so easily accessible to everybody. And that is what makes the Park City trail system unique and special.”