Downhill Movement

A growing number of high-tech mountain biking parks deliver a modern taste of gravity for everyone from beginners to experts. Here, a look at ten that take you higher.
Mountain Biking
POV: An adrenaline rush in Sun Valley, Idaho (Karl Weatherly/Digital Vision/Getty)

Maybe you're a rippin', huckin' downhiller. Or, a cross-country rider who needs a day off from grinding climbs. Perhaps, you've never even been on a mountain bike. Regardless of your thick-tire persuasion, you'll find that mountain bike parks across the country that have amped up on technology, trails, clinics, rental fleets, and technical features to deliver a whole new experience, leveraging the infrastructure of the ski resorts (i.e., their lifts) to make it even easier to bomb down hill, valley, gulley, and ravine.

Thanks in part, to the popularity and renown of places such as Whistler Mountain Bike Park, which hosts more than 100,000 visitors in the summer season, focused riding parks have finally arrived. As a result, unique bike parks are cropping up all over the world, from Tasmania to Tamarack, Idaho, and the competition has caused many parks to raise the bar. A wealth of freshly cut singletrack and new features have been unveiled this summer at parks from coast to coast, including family-friendly trails and lessons that are geared specifically to beginner and intermediate riders.

For the body-armor-clad rider who prefers adrenaline-infused technical steeps, berms, and gap jumps, bike parks are debuting new, tricked-out features. No-muss irrigated trails are now on the menu at Northstar-at-Tahoe's mountain bike park in Northern California. And at Diablo Freeride Park in New Jersey, riders can actually track their run time on many of the trails.

Mountain biking greenhorns also get their own form of action, with new top-to-bottom beginner trails at many parks, plus trail sections and skills-development centers that feature learning progressions. Even the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) is getting into the game by designing and building multi-million-dollar IMBA Ride Centers across the country, such as the newly opened Tamarack Resort bike park in Idaho.

"We are really trying to further the sport and build sustainable trails for expert riders as well as beginners," says Mark Eller, IMBA's communications director.

Most of these parks serve as one of the main summer attractions at ski resorts, which means there are often a multitude of activities in store for the whole family, from zip lines and mountain coasters to golf and climbing walls. Here, a look at ten of the most innovative mountain-biking parks across the country.


Published: 17 Jul 2008 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

advertisement

Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »