Even in snowstorms, Bob Radke rides a $25 garage sale bike to his job as trails and open space manager for Basin Recreation every day. “I put 10w40 on the chain twice a year and we’re good to go,” he says. But once at work, Radke is rarely at his desk. He and his team manage 145 miles of trails and 1,800 acres of open space in Snyderville Basin. “I can’t imagine much else I’d like more,” he says. “I feel really good about helping to provide a way for people to recreate outside, for free.”
Though the avid skier and cyclist is happy in his skin in Park City (he’s lived here for 30 years), the personal and professional path Radke has cut along the way includes some unusual detours. After graduating from the University of Wyoming, he worked as a surveyor on the rerouting of Highway 40 around the Jordanelle Reservoir. “Pounding stakes in with a sledgehammer doesn’t take much skill,” he laughs. Radke then spent 13 years as a ski instructor and supervisor at Park City Mountain Resort, where he met his wife Wendy, a travel bug. “Chasing Wendy” is how Radke describes the next five years, during which time the couple spent half of each year in Antarctica running recycling efforts at McMurdo Station. “At first I said, ‘I’m not spending all winter sleeping on the ice in a sleeping bag,’” Radke reflects, “but it turns out there are dorms and hot showers there.” The couple has also traveled extensively in New Zealand, Africa, Europe, Canada, and Mexico. And though he’s grateful to have done and seen so much, Radke still counts seeing mountain lions, moose, elk, or a flock of wild turkeys on a local trail as among his happiest moments.
So how does one cut perfect singletrack? Radke says that every trail should serve a purpose while maximizing its unique topography. “And as busy as our trails have grown, I’ve become a fan of designated, directional-use trails,” he says. “They provide a safe experience for everyone. I like to ride my bike fast downhill. I don’t want to scare hikers coming up.” Radke’s favorite trail? “Whichever trail I’m on at the moment is the best.”