A Beginner's Guide To Snowmass Bike Park
The Snowmass Bike Park
Thanks to a growing trail network for all abilities, Snowmass Bike Park has been a draw for mountain bikers for a long time. From beginners to the downhill-scene experts looking to learn new skills and practice for competition—there are 16 purpose-built trails for every kind of rider.
First, it's good to know that like in skiing and snowboarding, trails are rated green, blue, and black.
With a vertical rise of nearly 2,900 feet served by the Elk Camp Gondola and Elk Camp Chairlift (in addition to the Meadows chair), trails can be long. The blue trail, French Press, for example, is the lengthiest, extending an impressive 4.5 miles and chock full of natural and manmade features. The green trail, Verde (great for beginners), offers 3.8 miles of wide, forgiving singletrack, smooth bank turns, and even a few opportunities to get air (or to easily avoid leaving the ground).
Unlike a lot of bike parks where first-timers learning the basics at the base of the mountain, the Meadows skills area is a new addition of trails located at mid-mountain, just steps away from the top of the gondola. There’s EZ-PZ, a green (easiest) trail and there’s Lemon, a blue (more difficult) trail with great practice features that are a little bigger without being intimidating. Situated at about 10,000 feet, the Meadows stays relatively cool throughout the summer—and the scenic, restful ride on the Meadows chair is a treat.
Beginners can spend all day in this friendly environment, or simply use it as a warm-up before exploring other runs across the mountain.
Ready to Give Downhill Mountain Biking A Try?
Here’s what else you should know.
Just like with skiing, true beginner mountain bikers benefit greatly from professional instruction. Snowmass has a dedicated Bike School offering multiple options for private coaching and group clinics, including an Intro to Downhill clinic. Learning how to sit (and stand) on your bike, properly apply brakes, and control your trajectory on features are key to enjoying the ride. Our Pros are some of the best riders in the Valley and will not only teach you how to bike, but will act as your personal tour guides so you can learn about the mountain.
If you haven’t been to a bike park before, chances are you don’t have a downhill mountain bike. Built for stability at speed, with generous travel (length of suspension), these bikes are tailor made for bike park trails and will increase your enjoyment and safety. Four Mountain Sports, with a location at the bottom of the gondola in Base Village, rents a variety of bikes, starting with a 20-inch-wheel bike suitable for a 5-year-old. Downhill bike rentals include a helmet and protective pads, and packages including rentals, lift tickets, and instruction are available.