MTBparks.com Annouces Winners of 2013 Rider Choice Awards,
Revealing the Best Mountain Bike Parks in North America
Last summer, there was a surge of "Best Bike Park" articles circulating around the Internet. And as it normally goes with all things found online, each article seemed to draw a spark of controversy amongst the vocal riders who would comment about how each article had completely missed the mark, excluded an obvious choice and so on. Regardless of each article’s rankings, there was one constant: they always got riders talking—passionately—about their favorite bike parks, which ones were missed and which ones should have been included.
For MTBparks.com, it indicated a serious need for a rider-driven fact-finding mission. In August, during Crankworx, we began the task of asking riders to share their opinions in an online survey. Where do you ride? What is your favorite resort? What makes each place so great?
Within three months, nearly 3,000 riders chimed in and shared opinions on everything from favorite bike park for a day trip to best jump trails and more than 20 other questions. By the time riders reached the end of the survey, the final question was revealed: Of all the places you have ridden, what is your favorite bike park?
There were two critical factors we considered when choosing this final question.
1. Riders had to think about all of the places they had ridden, and had answered questions about what they liked about different resorts. So by the time they reached this point, they had already been asked to rate what they liked about resorts they had visited in the past.
2. The question simply asked: “Of all the places you have ridden…”
We wanted riders to be mindful of the places they knew best and to vote for the bike parks that they frequent and call their personal favorite.
The results revealed regional favorites across the US and Canada. And the data became much more significant than simply providing results for the Best Bike Park in North America. More importantly, the survey revealed a collection of the best bike parks in eight different regions. Now, for the first time, regardless of where you live, 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.
Each of these top-rated lift-served mountain-bike parks in each region offers something unique. It goes without saying that a top-rated bike park in the Midwest is not going to provide the same experience as one might find in Western Canada, but it will provide you with a great experience and top notch riding in its respective region that's worth checking out. And if you're lucky enough to road trip across the continent, these results can serve as your starting point of must-hit resorts, regardless of where your travels take you.
The following results are just the beginning. Of course there’s a chance that your favorite bike park didn't make the cut. For 2014 you’ll be able to share your opinions about your personal favorites at MTBparks.com where we’ll be adding a comprehensive rating system that will help determine the results for this summer’s best parks.
Without further ado, here’s the complete listing of the rider-voted Best Bike Parks in North America.
Photo Credit: Whistler Mountain Bike Park
Mountain biking has been a mainstay at Whistler Blackcomb since 1992, perhaps longer. But back then there were no bike trails, per se, just fire roads. In the year 2000, long before anyone knew if it would take off, the Whistler Bike Park vision began to form and the first world-class trails began to take shape.
Fourteen years later, the most popular bike-park destination in the world continues to work hard to maintain that vision. Two years ago, the now infamous Top of the World high-alpine trail allowed riders to drop in from the peak of Whistler Mountain, expanding the park’s vertical drop by over 1,000 feet to over 5,000. Last year, Whistler Bike Park completed work on the Blue Velvet Trail, giving riders a new top-to-bottom, fast, flowy and fun intermediate trail in the Garbanzo Zone. The resort also began major upgrades on old singletrack trails in the upper mountain, bringing them to current standards. Lower A-Line and EZ Does It underwent alignment improvements last year as well, giving riders a better experience at both ends of the spectrum.
This summer the Whistler trail crew will continue to rework more of the mountain’s older trails. “Look forward to the return of some classics like Clown Shoes that have been closed for some time,” Brian Finestone, Whistler Bike Park Manager, tells us. “As always, we will be putting time into the Biker X and Boneyard as well as the Canadian Open Downhill course.”
Whistler Mountain Bike Park’s official opening date this year is May 17 with daily operations from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Photo Credit: Ski Bromont, Sébastien Larose
As home of 2008 and 2009 World Cup events, Bromont Bike Park is known for having some of the best expert-level, gnarly, tech-flow riding anywhere. During the last few years, the resort has been working on making the bike park appealing to a wider range of riders, including the addition of a beginners’ trail network. The new trails, while more accessible to novice riders, also offer plenty of features to keep experienced riders entertained.
The 12-member trail crew added a lot of “new school” features, including rollers, jumps and berms last year, and plans to continue building more throughout the 2014 season.
Bromont adds a beginner program this summer with a package that includes lift ticket, bike and gear rental, and a lesson. So far, July 12 and 26 are set dates for riders to sign up for this package, but the resort promises to be adding more dates as summer approaches.
The Bromont Bike Park anticipates an opening date of May 16 at noon, and if conditions allow, the resort may be open for shredding on May 10 this year.
Photo Credit: Highland Mountain Bike Park
Highland Mountain Bike Park is 100-percent world-class bike park, with a crew that works year round to keep things running smoothly.
Highland’s history began in 1967, when the area first began development as a ski area. After nearly 40 years of ups and downs, the run down New Hampshire ski area was brought back to life in 2006 by Mark Hayes, who was a downhill mountain-bike racer with a vision.
Nearly 10 years later, Highland offers something for everyone. From the Highland signature lesson, Find Your Ride, which costs $99 and includes a lesson, rental equipment and a lift ticket that grants access to the Highland Training Center, two amazing jump parks, pump tracks, cross-country trails and The Red Bull Ayr Bag.
Pro riders depend on Highland each year to train for some of the biggest competitions in the world. Brett Rheeder, Mike Montgomery, Kyle Strait, Tyler McCaul, Aaron Chase and many others come to Highland when it’s time to try something new. The bike park’s trail network is diverse and offers everything from real east coast downhill trails to smooth flow trails, like Cat’s Paw, to the beginner-friendly trail, Easy Rider.
Photo Credit: Mountain Creek Bike Park, Dave Trumpore
Mountain Creek Bike Park, NJ, is just 47 miles from the George Washington Bridge, making it the closest lift-served bike park to New York City. The bike park has provided some of the best machine built and natural downhill mountain biking terrain East of the Mississippi for quite some time now, building a reputation that earned it this top ranking.
Riders ranging from World Cup Racers and World Champions to first time beginners flock to Mountain Creek to ride an assortment of trails designed to challenge all ability levels. The trails are maintained by a dedicated trail building team that has put a lot of work into turning the park around the last two years.
Mountain Creek Bike Park fires up its lift again on May 3 this year, for one of the longest lift-served riding seasons in North America. The park crew’s vision is to continue to offer a world-class trail network of purposefully designed and immaculately maintained natural terrain and man-made features.
Photo Credit: Trestle Bike Park | Winter Park Resort
Before Trestle Bike Park ever existed, Winter Park Resort had been providing lift-access biking as far back as the early ‘90s and has had an extensive network of cross-country trails for as long as anyone can remember. In 2005, the resort began a transformation that involved the addition of purpose-built mountain bike trails. Over the last nine years, Trestle Bike Park has grown to become a leading force in bringing world-class gravity trails to the lower 48.
The Trestle Bike Park crew is constantly building and maintaining the bike park as a whole and has a history of investing significantly into Trestle’s infrastructure. Last year, this included the addition of the US’s newest premier, double-black-diamond downhill mountain biking trail and pro-line, Banana Peel. Riders can look forward to continued trail improvements throughout 2014 as well.
Trestle Bike Park is also host to a number of events each year ranging from small, grassroots races to the Enduro World Series to one of the largest mountain bike festivals in the US, Colorado Freeride Festival—a.k.a. #CFFest 2014—which will include over $45,000 in prize money this year. The festival is free for spectators and will showcase athletes in Slopestyle, Enduro, Air Downhill, Cross Country and Wild Pond Crossing. Plus, free family activities, product demos with some of the biggest names in mountain biking and action sports, meet and greets with the athletes, and more in the Festivillage.
When will Trestle Bike Park open for 2014? There’s not an official date set yet, as Mother Nature really plays a role in determining things in the Colorado high-country, but the resort is hoping for a mid-June opening.
Photo Credit: Grand Targhee Resort | Kevin CassGrand Targhee began offering lift-access biking sometime before the summer of 1994, but that was only on the Teton Valley Traverse until summer of 2007. During the summer of 2007 the resort began to focus on the addition of downhill mountain-bike trails. During the summer of 2012 the resort really got serious and began work on improving and adding trails within the entire trail system, and began work building what would be voted the Best Bike Park in the Northwest.
Grand Targhee Bike Park has been working hard the last three years to make improvements on its existing trail system, while adding additional downhill and cross-country trails. Not only has Targhee provided dedicated areas for different kinds of users, making the experience better for everyone, the resort has also worked hard to incorporate the natural flow and topographical features into the trail design.
In 2014 the trail crew will continue to enhance and build-out the flow park, add additional downhill trails and improve cross-country trails. Plans are in place to add a skills park near the Main Plaza to help introduce people to mountain biking through the resort’s bike school.
Grand Targhee plans to start opening the trails as soon as the snow melts, with an official opening date of June 13 and closing date of Sept 28, weather and conditions permitting.
Photo Credit: Angel Fire Resort Bike Park
Angel Fire resort has played a role in lift-access mountain biking since the early 90's. In 2010 the resort began a long-term commitment to building one of the best bike parks in North America. And so far it looks like the New Mexico resort is on track.
Angel Fire Bike Park recently completed the addition of over 40 miles of trail and has enhanced the experience for both the seasoned downhillers as well as less-experienced riders. These improvements have solidified Angel Fire’s ranking in the Southwest; the resort is quickly becoming one of the biggest, and best bike parks in North America.
Angel Fire is currently working with infamous trail builder Gravity Logic to sculpt a new black-diamond jump trail, and a new blue flow trail is also under way, sponsored by Cycles Devnici, that will connect the summit with the mid-mountain trail system. In addition to new trails, park staff will continue to improve easier runs and infuse the established trail system with new flow features. Along with all the dirt getting moved around, a packed event schedule aims to help make Angel Fire the place to be this summer.
The season starts May 16 and lifts will load Monday through Friday throughout the early season with expanded hours and daily operations starting in mid-June. The season is slated to run through early October, making for one of the longest seasons in the West.
Photo Credit: The Rock Bike Park
The Rock Bike Park in Wisconsin hit the downhill scene last summer when it fired up the chair for its first season of lift-served, gravity-fed mountain biking. Bringing a world-class trail building team like Gravity Logic in to develop and build the trails probably helped contribute to the parks ranking #1 in its inaugural year.
The Rock Bike Park is definitely one of a kind. Midwest gravity junkies can get their lift-access, downhill mountain biking fix on some of the best trails around.
No additional information was available at press time, but we expect this Wisconsin bike park to open as soon as the weather will allow. Perhaps as early as sometime in April.
ATTENTION RIDERS!!! CLICK THE IMAGE TO VOTE FOR YOUR 2014 FAVORITES!!!