So much has changed since 1996 when we built our very first lift-served mountain bike trail—The Summit Trail. Back then this narrow singletrack trail, nearly 8 miles long with more than 2,000 feet of vertical, was an epic excursion. In some ways it still is, yet mountain biking trails, like the times, “they are a changin’.”
Twenty years later, The Summit Trail still zig-zags across our mountain, however a new generation of trails cascade like ribbons down its fall lines. Ski areas are adapting to a new style of trails which have driven the “classic style” like that of the Summit Trail into a class of its own. This new breed of trail building embraces the mountain’s natural contours, features and terrain so riders can take advantage of gravity without needing to pedal or brake abruptly. The new style uses the term “flow” to describe the roller coaster-like experience of today’s downhill mountain biking. In 2014 the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) named our trail Kashmir (built in 2013) a “Model Flow Trail.”
This summer we opened a new chapter in the Whitefish Bike Park story and aspire drive the plot in a new direction where many new characters, in the form of novice downhill mountain bikers, will be introduced to the sport. We’ve added bike carriers to the Bad Rock chairlift to access three new trails, designated as either beginner/intermediate or intermediate, and designed for riders new to the sport to develop the skills they need to progress to other trails. The trails are wider, less steep and have fewer features which are mercifully spread apart with “recovery” areas to account for any needed corrections. Bad Rock also provides access to two expert trails.
Another new plotline in this summer’s story is we’ve divided our Bike Park into four zones: the Bad Rock Zone, Summit Zone, Overflow Zone and Multi-use Zone. The Bad Rock Zone is an ideal starting point especially if new to mountain biking. The Summit Zone as one would expect, is accessed by Chair 1 where almost 25 miles of trail begin including our four main routes – The Summit Trail, Kashmir, Freebird and Runaway Train. The Overflow Zone offers almost eight miles of lift-accessed trails including our biggest jumps, technical trails, berms and more.
Our fourth zone, the Multi-Use Zone, as its name suggests allows hikers and bikers a place to retreat. From a mountain biking perspective, these trails are designed for cross-country (XC) biking. In fact several of the trails in this network were the original trails built in the 1990s prior to the Summit Trail. Check out the trail maps for all of these zones here.