Summer 2016 brings new trails and a third lift to the Ramshead mountain area at Killington, scheduled to open by late July. (Chandler Burgess/Killington Resort)
At nearly 100 ski and snowboard resorts across America, the ski lifts provide access for a burgeoning number of mountain bikers who seek the same thrills as downhill skiers and riders: turbo-charged straightaways, high-speed turns and plenty of air.
What began with a small macho, hard-core of downhill-ers has become a broad-ranged, family-oriented activity for summer in the mountains.
“Resorts around the world are finally catching on to the fact that if they mimic their winter operation by designing and building trails for all levels -- especially very easy beginner trails and a wide variety of intermediate trails -- that the families will arrive en masse and the revenue follows,” Dave Kelly, of bike park designers Gravity Logic told SnoCountry.com.
Here’s a look at a sampling of mountain bike parks that keep the lifts turning even when the snow is gone:
Angel Fire, NM.
Small N.M. resort but big-time bike park, with 37 trails covering 50-plus miles, 2,077 feet vertical from 11,000 foot summit. Hosts regional and national races.
Mammoth Mountain, CA.
One of the first bike parks in the nation, now the largest with 80 miles of singletrack, 3,000 vert and 45 trails. Mammoth hosts U.S. Mountain Bike Championships July 12-17, bringing together the nation's best gravity, cross country and enduro racers to settle who's best in 2016.
Spread across five mountains with 45 miles of trails and 1,700 feet vertical – all served by three lifts this summer. Killington is spending another $375,000 to add six additional Gravity Logic designed trial on Ramshead Peak. The resort plays host to the Beast of the East Pro GRT July 28-31.
Sunday River, ME.
Best right now for intermediate and advanced riders, 25 trails drop 1,149 feet in vertical. For new downhillers, minimally experienced beginners, or intermediates looking to improve, the Sunday River Mountain Bike School will teach you the tools needed to improve your mountain bike skills. The Mountain Bike School offers 90-minute clinics that include a bike rental from Specialized, helmet, and instruction.
Grand Targhee, WY.
Views of Wyoming side of Tetons unmatched, plenty of vertical (2,176 feet) on 11 lift-served downhill trails covering 12 miles, plus more than 40 miles of cross country trails. Grand Targhee hosts the Pierre's Hole 50/100 mountain bike race on August 6.