5 Tips for Tackling a Bike Park

Prepare for Trestle and Bike Granby Ranch

How to Guide to Winter Park and Frasers Bike Parks

Winter Park and Fraser area earned the nickname, Mountain Bike Capital USA because of its 600 miles of trails, which includes the two downhill bike parks in the region: Bike Granby Ranch, home of the new family-friendly Strawberry Jam Trail, and Trestle Bike Park, the fastest-growing bike park in North America and the second biggest bike park program in the world. Check out our five ways visitors can experience downhill biking at the bike parks while visiting Mountain Bike Capital USA.

The words “bike park” might be intimidating for those who are new to downhill biking. But experts say a downhill experience may be just the ticket for people who are new to mountain biking or those who live at lower elevations. “It can be challenging to do cross-country mountain biking at elevation,” says Jamie Wolter, bike park manager at Bike Granby Ranch. “But downhill is different. It doesn’t take aerobic stamina since it’s a gravity-fed experience, which really opens it up to all sorts of people.”   Bob Holme, manger of Trestle Bike Park, agrees, noting that the biking entire experience is flipped upside down with downhill since there are no hard climbs to get bikers to the decents. Instead they ride a chairlift up the mountain and ride back down – just like with downhill skiing in the wintertime. So what advice do these local experts have to make a downhill biking experience one to remember for all the right reasons? Here are five tips from the pros.  

  1. Take a lesson. Both Holme and Wolter say it’s worth the time and effort to take a lesson or enroll in a clinic. Prices typically range from about $40-$80 depending on the class type, group size and length of the lesson.
  2. Rent downhill gear. The pros caution riders not to rely on their cross-country mountain bikes for downhill biking. Downhill bikes are built specifically for the sport and feature bigger tires, wider wheels, heavier frames and different pedals, suspension and gear systems. Additionally, body armor pads and helmets (which are more like motocross helmets than bike helmets) can be rented, which help instill confidence.
  3. Ride more than one day. By devoting more than one day to riding, notes Holme, bikers can build on their skills and confidence level, leading to a more positive overall experience.
  4. Start on easy trails. Downhill trails are rated green, blue, black and double black, just like downhill ski trails. Practice on the green and blue trails before tackling the more difficult terrain, say the pros. Additionally, they note that one shouldn’t assume his or her cross-country skill level translates to downhill because the sports each require a unique skill set.
  5. Be open minded and get ready to have fun! “What I always say to people is that they should get ready to have the ride of a lifetime!” says Holme. Wolter adds, “It’s a hoot!”

Now, get out there and get ready to ride and discover all that Mountain Bike Capital USAhas to offer.