Chances are if you enjoy the mountains in the winter, you’re going to be blown away in the summer. Just imagine, snow-capped peaks set to brilliant fields of colorful wildflowers. Pretty dreamy, huh? In that same vein of thought, if you’re a fan of zooming down mountains in the winter, than you’re going to fall in love with the feeling of cruising down wildflower-lined trails in the summer. Investment in lift-served mountain biking parks is catching fire across Ski Country, and downhill mountain biking is quickly becoming a highly sought-after summer activity. To help you cut to the chase, we compiled a list of North America’s top mountain bike parks, along with their 2015 opening dates.
Whistler Blackcomb Bike Park
Offering a massive, varied downhill trail system and trails that descend for 5,000 feet, Whistler is world-famous for mountain biking. Its resident trail-design company, Gravity Logic, has received international acclaim as the best in the business. Whistler is known as a serious mountain biking destination, but its knowledgeable designers have created plenty of trails for all levels of bikers. As expected, Whistler hosts a ton of biking events every summer, among them are the weekly “Phat Wednesdays” competitions series and Crankworx Freeride Mountain Bike Festival, August 7–16, 2015.
Snowmass Bike Park
Snowmass Bike Park, which opens June 20, 2015, is an ideal experience for families and bikers just picking up downhill riding, because you won’t find a ton of ultra-technical trails. The resort still enjoys smaller crowds in comparison to other bike parks. Snowmass has two advanced trails, Valhalla and Vapor. Valhalla features tons of buffed-out berns, a wall-ride and mostly small to medium jumps. Vapor is more rugged, but the views from atop the trail—of the famed Maroon Bells—are stunning. Families and intermediate bikers will enjoy Verde, Espresso and Easy Rider, which are fun, smoothed-out trails ideal for perfecting your turning and speed control skills. Beginners have a new “skills” park at the mid-way point off of Elk Camp Gondola, which offers an obstacle course that teaches how to properly center your weight, turn and control your speed. Cross-country bikers can also access three trails, one of which, Government trail, runs into Buttermilk resort.
Crested Butte Evolution Bike Park
Crested Butte ushers in the summer season in on June 13, 2015 and will welcome it’s annual “Bike Week,” June 25–28, 2015. Bike Week is hailed as America’s oldest bike festival, and includes all sorts of bike races and events (from pro-class to pure fun), brews, compliments of Oskar Blues, parties and music. Throughout summer, you’re sure to find plenty of bike-related activities going on, since Crested Butte is one of mountain biking’s birthplaces. This mountain bike resort is home of Evolution Park, which features seven downhill trails ranging from easy to expert and another seven cross-country and all-mountain trails.
Winter Park Trestle Bike Park
Famed for its technical downhill park and its convenient proximity to Denver, Winter Park’s Trestle Bike Park is a popular stomping ground for a myriad of pro-downhillers. Trestle may be a popular place among the elite, but it’s also a great park to learn the basics or improve your skills. Those just getting into downhill mountain biking can hire a guide or sign up for a coaching or first-timers lesson at Trestle. A great place for watching world-class bike competitions, Winter Park hosts the Colorado Freeride Festival on July 23-26, 2015.
Keystone Bike Park
Opening June 12, 2015, Keystone Bike Park has trails for every stripe of rider, but its especially renowned as an advanced downhill mountain biking mecca. The Drop Zone, a favorite section among seasoned bikers, features rock gardens, drops and high-speed features, is considered one of the best in the U.S. Keystone also offers access to 100 miles of cross-country biking for those who like to pedal. The resort’s trails even intermingle with the renowned 486-mile Colorado Trail.
*Note: Ski.com suggests that all downhill bikers wear all the appropriate protective gear (full-face helmet, knee/elbow guards, back/neck/chest protection). All of the resorts listed offer instructional lessons for every ability level.
Experience these top resorts in a whole new way and book your summer mountain biking trip today! Start by building a customized quote. If you have any questions call our Mountain Travel Experts at 800-610-8911.
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com managing the website and blog content, I couldn't be happier. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.