Mountain biking and skiing go hand-in-hand at many ski resorts, as many skiers and snowboarders enjoy a lot of the same vibe from mountain biking down a trail as they do skiing or snowboarding. The downside being that falling on dirt is quite a bit less forgiving than toppling over on powder snow. But of course you knew that. So as winter turns to spring, we’ve got some suggestions for ski resorts with excellent mountain biking trails, programs and academies. Read on to explore some of the best ski resorts for mountain biking in North America. And then head to this article, for lift-accessed mountain biking recommendations around North America.
These are some of the best ski resorts for mountain biking
Killington Mountain Bike Park features 3 high-speed lifts serving more than 30 miles of classic New England singletrack and Gravity Logic flow trails for beginners, intermediates and experts. Mountain bikers are greeted with nearly 2,000 feet of vertical.
Three unique mountain areas make up Killington’s gravity-fueled bike park. Snowshed is the beginner terrain, which includes some intermediate trails, for maximizing progression. Ramshead is home to Killington’s freeride trails, with a mix of intermediate and advanced terrain. Killington Peak offers classic New England trails with plenty of rock and roots to keep you honest.
Killington has several camps for bikers: Group, private, youth (3-day midweek camps for ages 7-17) and adult (weekend camps, age 18+) and bike park camps. Season passes, packages and rentals are available. Killington Mountain Bike Park typically opens in early June.
Deer Valley Resort, Utah
Deer Valley Resort’s mountain biking is spread over 6 mountains and features up to 3,000 vertical feet of elevation changes. Riders will find some 70 miles of mountain bike trails, including 4 flow trails by Gravity Logic. Trails are accessed via three chairlifts: Silver Lake Express at the base of the resort, with Sterling Express and Homestake Express located mid-mountain. Several of Deer Valley Resort’s mountain bike trails connect with Park City Mountain Resort’s extensive 400-mile network of singletrack mountain biking trails.
Choose from clinics or private mountain bike lessons at Deer Valley. Adult clinics are packages designed to improve your skills while you take part in a guided trail ride. Kids clinics improve their skills and confidence on a guided trail ride. Packages include a full day bike rental, bike clinic and a lift ticket.
Whistler Mountain Bike Park has often been touted as the top lift-accessed bike park in the world. Its 70 trails are spread out over about 50 miles of lift-served terrain, and features 4,900 feet of vertical. Whistler Mountain Bike Park is separated into four main zones: Fitzsimmons, Garbanzo, Creekside, and Peak. Each offers unique trails with natural features.
Whistler’s gravity-fed downhill biking experience includes green trails, technical double blacks and jump trails. Whistler Mountain Bike Park summer programming includes adults, teens and kids’ lessons, camps, private lessons, women’s and men’s nights, kids’ club and instructor training programs. Summer Gravity Park (SGC) broke new ground in 2002 as the first camp of its kind. New this year are perks packed into a weekday camp with 5 days of riding with top-level coaches, lift line priority, and prizes from sponsors.
Whistler Mountain Bike Park opens in May. While Creekside Zone was closed for summer ‘22, to install a new high-speed Creekside Gondola and Big Red Express Chairlift for more capacity, it’s reopened.
Winter Park, Colorado
Winter Park is dubbed Mountain Bike Capital USA thanks to more than 600 miles of trails throughout the Winter Park and Fraser areas. Trestle Bike Park offers some exciting riding, and is particularly great for its convenience to Denver. Trestle Bike Park is self-proclaimed as North America’s fastest growing bike park. It features more than 40 miles of lift-served trails to drop into.
Trestle Bike School offers full day programs for every level of rider. Like-minded women learn under the guidance of amazing female coaches in the Gravity Goddess program. DH Bike Camp, offered twice during the summer, is for kids 7-14, and features 3 consecutive days of learning.
Northern California’s largest mountain bike park beckons riders on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, near Truckee. Beginner to advanced cross-country and downhill mountain biking trails, bike rentals, and bike shop services are available. Favorite technical descents include Sticks N’ Stones and Boondocks, while anti-gravity rides on the jumps of Livewire and Gypsy are popular. Lap the Big Springs Gondola to warm up, then head to Vista Express or Zephyr Express for more.
Northstar’s Freeride 101 group bike lessons are a great entry-level experience for all ages. Teens (10-16) can enroll in the 5-day Trailblazer Camp with coaches from the Northstar Bike Academy, with four days of group lessons. This camp utilizes the Bike Park’s lift-accessed downhill bike trails.
The Slabs is Boreal’s fun lift-accessed downhill mountain bike park in Soda Springs. Get into the zone with access to The Slabs downhill mountain bike trails, dirt jumps, a pump track, and indoor/outdoor concrete parks. The Slabs consists of 5 trails ranging in ability level. The Trenches are the playground for dirt-lovers looking to start tricking, while riders of all abilities can find something they love.
The Woodward Tahoe Mountain Bike Camp is a very popular place to learn or progress. Once instruction groups are formed, each day is split into two parts, featuring a 2.5-hour mandatory group instruction session and then individual progression sessions where campers can choose from different parks with stationed instructors. Week-long day camps offer 5 days of sport-specific instruction Monday–Friday. Campers are dropped off each morning and picked up each evening following camp activities and instruction. Weeks start June 28 and end Aug 7.
Crested Butte, Colorado
The Crested Butte Mountain Bike Park was established in 2009 and has been designed to meet the needs of all riders, from beginners to gravity experts. The lift-served bike haul, via the Red Lady Express, has a network of trails that contain both lift-served downhill trails and cross-country rides that connect to some of the popular rides in and around Crested Butte. Crested Butte Mountain Bike Park has 30 miles of lift-served singletrack, and is typically open June through September.
Crested Butte offers professional guides who teach the essentials like proper braking skills, technical descents and how to traverse difficult terrain. These certified guides offer 2-hour group lessons, 2-hour, 4-hour and 7-hour private lessons. The packages include bike rental and lift ticket.
The base of Snowmass Mountain turns into a mecca for mountain biking each summer season. Snowmass Bike Park, which opens in June, features nearly 3,000 feet of vertical. Difficult trails include Viking, Vapor and Valhalla, all of which will test your technical capabilities. Midweek is often the best time to visit, as certain Tuesdays in July and August are Bonus Bike Nights when lift-served biking continues until dusk. A variety of bike rentals are available.
Snowmass Bike Park’s working mountain bike center offers lessons to riders of all abilities. Coaches teach everything needed for first-time downhill mountain bikers, from cornering and jumping techniques to bike handling skills.
Downhill bike clinics, private bike lessons, and kids’ bike camps are also available. The 3-day kids’ camp is for children in grades first through sixth. Kids will ride on trails throughout Snowmass Village and on Snowmass Mountain featuring manmade obstacles and features like jumps and drops.
Big Bear Resort, California
Summit Bike Park at Big Bear Resort in the San Bernardino Mountains features gravity-fed trails and a variety of singletrack trails that require minimal pedaling or braking. Access over 60 miles of cross-country trails with views of the San Bernardino range and Big Bear Lake. The park features a diverse mix of natural and manmade features including step-ups, berms, and bridges to challenge riders of all ability levels. Beginner features are called Small Wonder while the Skill Builder Park has more advanced runs like 10-ply and Party Wave.
Group and private lessons for ages 6 and up are available with priority lift access for all lessons. Each participant is placed in a class based on ability. Private mountain biking lessons provide an immersive experience that’s uniquely tailored to individual needs and skill set. You can choose between cross-country or freeride mountain biking during check-in. Bike rentals, tuning and repair are also available.
Snowshoe Mountain Resort, West Virginia
Snowshoe Bike Park is home to one of the largest trail systems in the East, with nearly 40 trails and 1,500 vertical feet of descent, featuring legendary berms, jumps drops and flow for every ability level. The park is recognized as one of the best in the U.S, as evidenced by it hosting events like the 2023 Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. First-time riders, pro downhillers, cross-country lovers and everyone in between can find their trail.
New this year are Speciality Skill Clinics that focus on specific skills like drops and jumps. Also new is a 90-minute and 3-hour Advanced Mountain Clinic that give a feel for the bike park. Kids 7-14 can join the Dirt Tracks Ride Club, which emphasizes skill building. The Mountain Adventure Center (The MAC) carries a full line of Trek Downhill and Enduro bikes for the whole family.
Angel Fire, New Mexico
Angel Fire Bike Park, voted Best in the Southwest by MTBparks.com for 7 years in a row, is the largest bike park in the Rocky Mountains. It features 2,000-plus vertical feet and 60 miles of lift-served terrain consisting of skinnies, jump lines, manicured flow and super chunk trails. The personalized approach here accommodates beginner riders, and group sizes are never more than 5 to a class.
The 3-hour lessons include half-day standard or junior bike rental, full armor and a full-day lift ticket. Each lesson is geared toward individual goals. Angel Fire also offers private 3-hour lessons; lift tickets and rentals sold separately. Bike and gear rentals are available through the on-site Bike Shop.
Photo Header Credit: Crested Butte Mountain Resort ©Randi Sidman-Moore