A few days ago, we rolled out Part 1 of 2015's best lift-served bike parks covering Eastern and Midwestern North America as voted by you, the riders, here on TGR.
We have ridden—and love—most of these parks, but these results do not represent our opinion, but yours.
Now in its third year, the MTBparks.com Riders’ Choice Awards survey carries with it an undeniable momentum, and for us, has become an official start to the summer riding season.
Thanks to the survey, you can plan your summer riding trips knowing that this list represents the top bike parks in regions across North America—according to riders like you—who know these parks better than anyone else.
It is our hope that you’ll use this information to plan your next adventure, whether it’s a summer spent crossing the continent, or a weekend in the local mountains, and experience a new bike park or watch your favorite get even better.
PART 2: WESTERN U.S. + ROCKIES
As you head west across this great continent, the elevation rises dramatically, and with it, the possibility for sculpting bigger and better bike parks. From the lush, old-growth forests of Western Canada to the steep and loose high-desert descents of the Southwest, some of the best lift-served riding in the world can be found in the Western U.S., and it's no surprise that some of the most famous ski resorts in the world found here continue to step up their summer game exponentially with ongoing bike park improvements.
BEST OF THE NORTHWEST U.S.: Silver Mountain, ID
Silver Mountain’s short lift lines, long runs and variety of terrain make it a surreal riding destination that should be on your radar regardless of what corner of the country you call home. There’s plenty of steep, raw, handbuilt tech here, but even advanced riders won’t want to skip the blue trails—they offer some of the most fun on the mountain regardless of your ability. Lap chair three for quicker runs, or drop all blistering 3,400 feet to town then shake off the arm pump as you ride North America’s longest gondola over the quaint town of Kellogg and back to the top of the mountain.
Summit Elevation: 6,300 feet
Base Elevation: 2,300 feet
Total Vertical: 4,000 feet
Bike Park Vertical: 3,400 feet
Total Number of Trails: 33
Beginner Trails: 9
Intermediate Trails: 10
Advanced Trails: 13
Expert or Pro Trails: 3
WHY RIDERS VOTED IT THE BEST Silver Mountain Bike Park Director Willy Bartlett works hard to connect with the region’s local bike shops, trail advocacy groups, race series, and group rides to help introduce people to lift served riding, but hasn’t lost sight of the core that made the mountain successful. “We have been on a mission to develop a trail system that is enjoyable for every user group, but the gravity crowd is our #1 priority,” Bartlett told MTBparks. The addition of rental packages, ladies days, and IMBA certified instructors has helped bring in new riders, while the Silver Race Series give local gravity junkies their competitive fix. “These races are affordable, have accurate timing, and are super approachable.”
FROM THE RESORT
Guilty Parties: “Drew Mahan has been heading up our trail crew since we started running the bike park two years ago. We’ve done all of our development and planning internally, and have had some really great builders come up through our trail crew over the last couple of years. It’s a small but dedicated crew, and the sheer amount of work they have been able to get done has been incredible. In a time when a lot of emphasis is being put on polished flow trails, which we have, the trail crew has also been systematically building some amazing hand-built rough and raw stuff like Mutton Conductor and Hot Mess. Without Drew and his hand-picked staff, there wouldn’t be a bike park at Silver, these guys have really made this place what it is today.”
Advice for First Timers: “Pace yourself, and leave yourself more than one day to explore the whole trail system. There is a lot of terrain to cover, and 3,400 feet per run can wear you out quickly. A lot of great riders are surprised by how steep, rough and challenging some of our expert trails are and by the fact that we have a ton of trail bike friendly riding too. It’s really funny to roll up to the lift and have a little girl on a 20-inch bike with a basket queued up next to someone in a full face helmet and race kit. For riders doing the top to bottom riding, come prepared to deal with on-trail mechanicals; this is a big mountain and it can chew up bikes.”
BEST OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS, U.S.: Trestle Bike Park, CO
Quite possibly one of the best known bike parks outside Western Canada, Trestle is perched high in the Rockies but just a short drive from Denver’s urban center and Colorado’s Front Range. Famed for its manicured runs and features courtesy of none other than Gravity Logic, Trestle is the “flow” park in its region. Park and enduro bikes are perfectly at home here on jump lines like Rainmaker, but you’ll have fun on a big rig as well, with options like Trestle DH serving up the gnar.
Summit Elevation: 10,700 feet
Base Elevation: 9,000 feet
Total Vertical: 1,700 feet
Bike Park Vertical: 1,700 feet (518 meters)
Total Number of Trails: 31
Beginner Trails: 3
Intermediate Trails: 12
Advanced Trails: 14
Expert or Pro Trails: 2
WHY RIDERS VOTED IT THE BEST
The resort is working hard to brand itself “Bike Park U.S.A.,” and it shows. With more than 40 miles of trails, garnering attention for the massive slopestyle pro-line Banana Peel, calling itself home to the Colorado Freeride Festival and hosting the National Ski Area Association’s first-ever “Bike Summit,” Trestle has certainly put itself on the bike park map. Not one to rest on its laurels, Winter Park Resort is in the final stages of “Trestle Phase II” expansion, which will add 10 additional miles of trails on the backside of the existing bike park, said to add a markedly different experience to compliment the front side riding.
FROM THE RESORT
Guilty Parties: "Trestle Trail Crew includes 10 members whose sole passion is mountain biking and who put their heart and soul into making Trestle Bike Park the best mountain bike park in the country. Their singular focus is on rider enjoyment because they themselves are riders and they know what those passionate about the sport look for in a trail and in a bike park. Their commitment, especially in the spring as they’re clearing literally feet of snow from the bike park trails, is second to none."
Advice for First Timers: "First, take a deep breath. The amount of terrain to explore at Trestle Bike Park can be overwhelming at first glance, but upon closer look it’s extremely manageable. Start by stopping into our full-service bike shop to make sure you’ve got the right equipment, or even rent a demo for the day. A great way to experience Trestle of the first time is taking a lesson and not only is there is a program specific for all abilities, Trestle Bike School Coaches are a great resource for tips and other insider knowledge. Many first-timers will take a lesson in the morning and then spend the afternoon exploring the park on their own. Finally at the end of the day, grab a cold beer in the Village and chat up a local. Trestle is known for its friendly atmosphere and local riders love to evangelize all that Trestle has to offer. Not only will you get more great tips, more often than not, you’ll find a new riding partner. "
ROCKY MOUNTAIN TOP 5
#2: Deer Valley, UT
#3: Steamboat, CO
#4: Keystone, CO
#5: Canyons, UT
BEST OF THE SOUTHWEST US: Angel Fire, NM
Forget the images of arid desert the state name conjures; Angel Fire Bike Park is a forested gem featuring a variety of soil and weather including a monsoon season that allows builders to do amazing things with the dirt. This three-time “Best of the Southwest” has a summit elevation of nearly 11,000 feet just below a dormant volcano, offering a truly unique riding destination in Northern New Mexico. Trails range from North Shore-inspired skinnies to massive jump lines, manicured flow and boulderiffic World Cup-esque superchunk.
Summit Elevation: 10,677 feet
Base Elevation: 8,600 feet
Total Vertical: 2,077 feet
Bike Park Vertical: 2,077 feet
Total Number of Trails: 37
Beginner Trails : 3
Intermediate Trails: 15
Advanced Trails: 13
Expert or Pro Trails: 4
WHY RIDERS VOTED IT THE BEST Led by Bike Park Director Hogan Koesis, the Angel Fire trail crew meticulously maintains and constantly improves 37 downhill runs totalling 60 miles. The majority of this mountain is best ridden on a big bike, but if you’re looking to pedal, roughly 15 singletrack epics span the surrounding valley, including the famous South Boundary trail. Easy and affordable parking lot camping, an easy drive and early opening date make it a favorite early season pilgrimage among riders from Utah and Colorado’s high-country, but you’ll want to come back mid-summer when the upper mountain opens, offering up some of the best technical terrain.
FROM THE RESORT
Guilty Parties: “Angel Fire was designed and built by riders for riders. The trail crew takes care of the trails throughout the season. Receiving feedback from users, instructors and the bike park director, the trail crew constantly tries their best to create one of the best products in the United States. Most of the trail crew members have been here from the beginning and pretty fined tuned machines now. Hogan Koesis is the only bike park director in the Nation with a Professional Trailbuilders Association endorsement and works very closely with his team of builders and a keen eye for experience is always maximized as a result.”
Advice for First Timers: “The bike park is designed for gravity bikes. Just like Whistler, you will find characteristics that support a full downhill steed. However, generally speaking, our trail map is rated by difficulty with the lowest number being the easiest to the highest number being the hardest. Take your time and have fun exploring! It's not a one-trick pony park, take the time to come for few days.”
SOUTHWEST TOP 5
#1: Angel Fire, NM
#2: Mammoth, CA
#5: Pajarito, NM
BEST OF WESTERN CANADA: Whistler, BC
With everything from burly big-mountain lines and massive granite slabs to titanic tabletops and silky smooth singletrack, Whistler makes the most of its natural and often rocky and rooty terrain. Situated in breathtakingly beautiful British Columbia, the mountain is an utterly unique experience that truly offers something for everyone, so beginners shouldn’t be discouraged by the pros in the lift line, but are encouraged to ease into it; the black trails here are probably harder than the ones back home.
Summit Elevation: 7,494 feet
Base Elevation: 2,140 feet
Total Vertical: 5,280 feet
Bike Park Vertical: 4,946 feet
Total Number of Trails: 57
Beginner Trails: 5
Intermediate Trails: 20
Advanced Trails: 18 <
Expert or Pro Trails: 14
WHY RIDERS VOTED IT THE BEST Perhaps the best-known bike park in the world, it’s no surprise Whistler reclaims its number one rank for the third year in a row. The trail crew here is top notch—builds and signage are some of the most accurate and consistent we’ve encountered. This past season, Whistler reshaped some of its iconic runs such as Crank It Up and A-Line, adding progression without detracting from the thrill that made them great. The bike park also opened a brand new zone for advanced and expert riders last season called the Creek Zone, expanding its already sprawling trail map (68 trails, 4,946 vertical feet) and opening up riding all the way down to Creekside, 10 minutes south of Whistler Village, increasing ride options and accessibility to the bike park.
FROM THE RESORT
Guilty Parties: “We have a fairly large crew and they are working around the clock to keep our trails pristine and in great condition. They are an awesome bunch of hard-working guys who like riding as much as or more than most of our guests riding the park. They are so dedicated to what they do because they are passionate about creating flow and taking your biking experience that step further.”
Advice for First Timers: “Take a lesson. No matter what riding ability you’re at, they are there to cater to your personal ability level and give you tips and pointers to progress your riding to the next level. The instructors know the park like the back of their hand, so are able show you some awesome spots you likely wouldn’t find on your own.”
WESTERN CANADA TOP 5
#1: Whistler, BC
#2: Silver Star, BC
#3: Sun Peaks, BC
#4: Panorama, BC
Want to see how your favorite parks have ranked in previous years?
The 2016 MTBparks Pass retails for $149.99 and is currently available at store.MTBparks.com.
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