August 11, 2014 – Several lift-access destinations made the cut last week when IMBA announced their picks of some of the best new mountain biking spots for 2014 with the IMBA Model Trail awards. Grand Targhee, WY, Silver Star, BC, Whitefish, MT and Sun Valley, ID were among the elite awardees.
From IMBA's press release...
Once a year, IMBA recognizes outstanding mountain bike trails and locations with the IMBA Model Trail awards. The goal of this program—which encompasses Epics, Ride Centers, Flow Trails and, new this year, Community Bike Parks—is to inspire and inform so that we can all have more great places to ride. We announced the winners a bit early this year in order to recognize them publicly at the 2014 IMBA World Summit.
This year, we have one of our largest classes with 10 new Ride Centers, six Epics, four Flow Trails and two Community Bike Parks, in locations ranging from Australia to Canada, and from Arkansas to Wyoming. IMBA received a record number of applications, all of which were painstakingly evaluated over the course of several months by the IMBA Trail Solutions team and IMBA’s region directors.
We are confident that these awardees should go on your short list of riding destinations.These are the trails worth traveling to, the best places to introduce someone to the sport we all love and are the facilities builders and advocates should look to for inspiration. They vary from gorgeous adventures in the backcountry to innovative trail systems located near large population centers.
IMBA RIDE CENTERS
The Ride Center designation represents IMBA's recognition of large-scale mountain bike destinations that offer a wide range of great trails for every riding style. Ride Centers not only invite you to plan a multi-day trip with your full quiver of mountain bikes and the whole family, they take care of you both on and off the trail by being places where mountain bikers are welcomed.
Bentonville, AR; Silver-level
Santa Fe, NM; Silver-level
Tucson, AZ; Silver-level
Chequamegon, WI; Bronze-level
Fayetteville, AR; Bronze-level
Marquette, MI; Bronze-level
Valley of the Sun: Phoenix-Scottsdale, AZ; Bronze-level
IMBA EPIC DESTINATIONS
IMBA has used the Epic® designation for more than a decade. With the addition of new Model Trail classifications in recent years, IMBA has returned the Epics to the original intent of the designation—demanding, singletrack adventures in a natural setting. The current Epics celebrate true backcountry riding experiences that are technically and physically challenging, more than 80 percent singletrack and at least 20 miles in length. All of theses Epics offer amazing opportunities to interact with the natural world.
Australian Alpine Epic Trail, Australia — Built by the resort team at Mt. Buller, the country's only Ride Center, this half- to full-day, 35-mile ride delivers a stunning journey through backcountry wild lands.
Cannell Trail, Sherman Pass, CA — This 26-mile ride in the Sierra Mountains is remote and can take anywhere from three hours to a full day to complete. Highlights include “The Plunge,” a near-continuous descent of 5,000 feet.
Goodwater Trail, Lake Georgetown, TX — This 26-mile loop circumnavigates Lake Georgetown (near Austin), offering sweeping views of the lake as it weaves through cedar stands and cactus-strewn fields of limestone. The hills are minimal but the trail is very technical.
Grand Targhee Loop, WY — The Grand Targhee Loop is 25 miles on 100-percent singletrack. It features a mix of smooth, intermediate-friendly trail with plenty of technical sections to keep skilled riders alert and excited.
The route winds through alpine meadows blanketed in wildflowers, forests of pine and aspen trees and jaw-dropping views of the Tetons. Multiple trail options allow for riders to tailor this experience to their liking.
Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, AR — This trail offers 45 miles of singletrack along the southern shore of Lake Ouachita in west-central Arkansas. Prepare for a deep woods experience that includes panoramic views of the lake and its emerald islands.
Upper Buffalo Trail, AR — The Upper Buffalo Mountain Bike Trail offers about 40 miles of singletrack surrounding the highest point in the Ozark Mountains. This gem of Midwest riding laces around the headwaters of the Buffalo National River on a mixture of narrow, hand-built singletrack and machine-cut flow trails.
As the sport of mountain biking has evolved over the past decades, it has driven the development of a new style of trail with features and concepts that push the limits of traditional singletrack. Flow trails are what you make them: leisurely rides with your kids where beginners can roll over dirt features and bypass technical ones, or an exploration of skills and airtime for fast, talented riders.
Flow Country Trail Petzen, Karnten, Austria
Length – 2.54 miles (4.09km)
Elevation Loss – 1,684 Vertical Feet (513.3m)
Whitefish resort's backbone flow trail is Kashmir, running along the west ridge of the mountain towards the lower pod of downhill trails.
This 4-mile trail was created to provide a fun and friendly experience in the Sawtooth Mountains. The grades are tame and the rollers are smooth, but experienced riders seeking airtime need only to stay off the brakes.
Superflow Trail, Czech Republic
COMMUNITY BIKE PARKS
IMBA added recognition of Community Bike Parks to its Model Trail awards to recognize an important and emerging category of trail design. Well-designed bike parks accommodate a variety of skill levels, with progressive features and flow-based designs that encourage cyclists of all abilities, on all kinds of bikes, to ride together and learn from one another in the same space, at the same time. Don’t miss IMBA’s forthcoming book, Bike Parks: IMBA’s Guide to New School Trails, to be released this fall.
Rockburn Branch Skills Park, Elkridge, MD
Valmont Bike Park, Boulder, CO
IMBA’s dream is to have a trail worthy of a "model" designation in every mountain biker’s backyard. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our advocates around the world, IMBA’s U.S. Regional Director program, seeds sown by the Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew and the thousands of trail miles designed and built by mountain bike groups and IMBA Trail Solutions nationwide, we’re all on our way to realizing that dream together.
The first of its kind, the MTBparks Pass gives you, the rider, an opportunity to plan your best gravity-fed mountain biking road trips ever. Your MTBparks Pass gives you a wide range of perks, including free and discounted lift tickets at a growing list North America’s Best Bike Parks, all for one low price.
If you like lift-served mountain biking as much as we do, be sure to check out the Best Bike Parks Riders' Choice Awards here!