Last year was the first time I got to ride the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park, and if you read the review, you might have gotten the impression that Mammoth is more heavily geared towards big-hit bikes and experienced riders. With fast, fun technical and feature-rich double black diamond trails like Twilight Zone, Bullet and Techno Rock, Mammoth Mountain Bike Park has more than enough terrain to push the skills and huevos of even the biggest screwball daredevil. Mammoth also features flowing, fast and hardtail-friendly cross-country trails like Paper Route, Juniper and Beach Cruiser for those who prefer to earn their descents.
But in addition to attracting loco downhillers and scary fit cross-country riders, a successful mountain bike park must also cater to the future of the sport; kids and beginning adults. By making easily accessible, safe and fun trails focused on building skills, kids and beginning adults become better riders while having a ton of fun, effectively growing the popularity and success of mountain biking as a national pastime.
This all-inclusive trail-building strategy is a central focus of Mammoth Mountain Bike Park supervisor, Mark Hendrickson. Two winters ago, Mammoth had a biblical amount of snowfall, delaying the park opening until late July. But this past winter was exceptionally dry, giving Hendrickson and his crew a huge head start in preparing new trails for the season.
Previously, Downtown trail was the main featured beginner trail. A fun, gently winding trail boasting banked corners with pavers, Downtown trail drops approximately four miles downhill through a lush pine forest from the ski resort to the main village. Downtown trail is a perfect connector that can either start or end your ride, but for true beginners, Downtown trail poses a slight issue.
“In order for beginners to really learn, they need skills repetition on the same obstacles and corners,” said Hendrickson. “Downtown is a great trail, but it’s too long for kids and beginners to build that strong base of riding skill.”
So Hendrickson and his crew focused their efforts on a network of three new green circle downhill trails easily accessible from the Discovery chairlift across from the gondola. Explorer, Adventure and Discovery trails all feature a wide, smooth track with perfectly shaped banked corners made with concrete pavers.