Summer is Downhill from Here

Bike Patrol showed up to work early last Thursday to meet the ALERT helicopter in the Willow Lot for training in preparation for opening day at the Whitefish Bike Park, which was last Saturday. Much like our winter ski patrol, our summer bike patrollers are trained to respond to a variety of emergencies, only instead of skis they use bikes and other vehicles to get around the mountain sans snow. They also help with flat tires. You can find them in the patrol building at the summit. Feel free to stop by and say hi the next time you are there.

There are plenty of comparisons to draw between skiing here in the winter and downhill biking in the summer. You need a bike park ticket or a season pass to get on the lift, you ride lifts to get up the mountain, and choose from a variety of trails to go down. Trails are designated by degrees of difficulty ranging from easiest to most difficult (green to black). We created a trail map that offers a “trail progression” guide to tell you where to start, and what trail to try next, as your skills improve, or you warm up to the big stuff. Look for “Progression Suggestions” on our new trail map.

Downhill mountain biking is a growing industry, and the Whitefish Bike Park has reflected this growth in the number of park visitors each summer—in 2009 we had 1,726 park visits and in 2019 we had 9,545! We’ve also expanded the park over the last few years, adding trails of all levels of difficulty. We’ve grown enough to designate our park into zones. The Bad Rock Zone is the best spot to start. Whether warming up or new to the sport, this zone features shorter trails at all levels.

One difference from winter—some people will come and ride for just a couple hours on a 2-hour ticket ($32 for an adult, $27 for juniors and seniors ages 7-12 and 65 or older) yet more will spend a little extra for a full day ticket ($44 for adults, $33 for juniors and seniors). We also have a growing tribe of pass holders—a 2020 Bike Park Season Pass is $249 for adults and $149 for juniors and seniors. The pass includes two free days at four other bike parks: Schweitzer, Grand Targhee, Timberline and Mt. Bachelor. 

Also like winter, we offer lessons including a “Learn to Bike Downhill” package modeled after what we do in the winter for beginners—you get a downhill bike rental, complete with full face helmet, leg and arm pads, a lift ticket for the Bad Rock Zone, and a two-hour lesson—all of that for $114. The lesson provides an excellent introduction to the sport of downhill mountain biking and the skills taught are the fundamental base for all forms of mountain biking. It’s offered twice a day, 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. and reservations are required. Book your lesson online or call 406-862-1995. Private lessons and coaching are also available, as well as group lessons, by calling the same number.

If you don’t have your own downhill bike, or want to try a newer model then rent one! Village Rentals adds bikes to its fleet every summer so if you need or want to rent the latest in downhill bikes they are standing by along with full face helmets, arm and leg pads.

In the winter we are known for our grooming, in the summer we do not groom trails, we do however, have a dedicated trail crew that builds and maintains trails prior to and throughout the season. The crew uses machinery as well as sculpts some sections by hand. Riders in the park rave about the condition of the trails. Just as our winter grooming crew does an excellent job because they ski or snowboard, our trail crew rides the park and knows how to fine tune every jump and berm for your riding pleasure.

This year our B-Side Zone (formerly known as the Overflow Zone) has received lots of TLC from the trail crew. You may have heard we’ve been working on a timber project on the front side of the mountain. This project required taking out three of our mountain bike trails and now we are in the process of replacing them with three new trails—Zeppelin, Meatloaf and Pinball Wizard—as we as rebuilding sections of Cyndi’s Loppers, ZZ Top and The Summit Trail.

You can get to the mountain with your bike on the S.N.O.W. Bus (Shuttle Network of Whitefish), as it runs in the summer for free as it does all winter and busses are equipped with bike racks. Additionally some bikers, ages 21 and older, may partake in an après bike session beer. The Base Lodge Bar is open daily until 6 p.m. Additionally The Bierstube opens July 1 and will serve until 6 p.m. daily and the Hellroaring Saloon opens July 7, with bar and dinner starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

If you miss downhill skiing, you should checkout downhill biking. Find your gravity fed fun right up here where you spend your winter.

BIKE PARK PERKS FOR WINTER 2019/20 PASSHOLDERS

  • 50% OFF Bike Rental (Based on availability. Valid 6/13/20 – 9/20/20)
  • 50% OFF Full Day Bike Park Tickets (1 valid 6/13/20 – 9/7/20, 1 valid 9/11/20 – 9/20/20)
  • $20 OFF Bike Park Pass (Must purchase by 6/30/20)