Ski Season Is Over - Get Your Downhill Fix On Your Mountain Bike
There is great news for people who enjoy the rush of downhill skiing but dread the end of ski season. Ski resorts across the country have found an amazing way to become year round destinations by opening the gondolas and trails to mountain biking.
If you haven't heard of this new trend yet, or aren't sold on the idea that it will be worth the effort check out this information and decide for yourself.
A day of mountain biking the ski trails sounds a lot like a day skiing those trails. You start out at base camp getting fitted for bikes and equipment, just like skiing, then load yourself and equipment onto a gondola or chairlift. After a beautiful ride to the higher elevations you can get a nice warm up run on a blue trail and enjoy a breeze in your face and views of flowers as you enjoy a nice pace down the run. You can stop at any time and enjoy the views and scenery and then take the lift back to do more runs until you finish the day with a beer or glass of wine. Sounds a lot like a day skiing and this is an option until the snow season starts again!
So now you are interested, but where are there ski resorts that are offering mountain biking in the ski off season? There are ski resorts in at least 11 states that have committed to be year round resorts and are catering to the spring and summer biker. Here is a list to get you going, and there are more adding all the time as this grows in popularity.
Some pretty great places to build a summer vacation around or just a weekend getaway!
If you are new to the idea of mountain biking ski resorts, and are not an active skier, there are some basics that will make you feel more comfortable giving this great adventure a try.
The first, is that you will see that biking trails have the same trail difficulty rating as they do ski runs. These are color coded and are the same at all ski resorts: green is easiest, blue is more difficult, black is most difficult (you’ll see riders in full-face helmets and armored padding) and black diamonds are expert-only trails.
If you own a good mountain bike, helmet and gloves you will be pretty much good to go. But, if you are unsure of equipment most resorts have rental equipment available just be sure to call ahead and check before you arrive.
Another basic that is very important is to remember is to always stay on the trail. This is for both for your own safety and to preserve the beautiful scenery you will be enjoying. Along those lines, it is also essential to make sure you respect trail closure notices, pack out EVERY piece of trash you bring in and never approach wildlife you may see on the trails.
You do not need to feel that a family, or newer mountain biker, is not able to bike on these ski runs and this experience is certainly not limited to slightly crazy bikers in full body armor padding. Just like learning to ski, take your time and start with the easier trails and enjoy the surroundings and experience. If you want to move up to the more challenging trails after you master the others then go for it but this should be fun for everyone and not just adrenaline junkies.
Many non-skiers have begun to bike the easier runs and find it more comfortable than the idea of learning to ski since most people can ride a bike. Biking at a ski resort is a great family vacation and the communities that surround the resort offer great restaurants, shopping and various other attractions that can actually be more fun in nice warm weather.
As you can see in this video above many ski resorts not only have equipment rental but also offer beginner lessons just like they do for ski season. So grab you water bottle and plan a visit to a ski resort this spring and summer and get biking those ski runs.
This is a really amazing way to enjoy the scenery, views and surrounding communities in ways that you can't when everything is covered in snow. Come back and add comment about your favorite ski resort to bike!