Gearing up for downhill |

Gearing up for downhill

Mountain biking downhill is fun, most dirt pedalers will agree. If the sport is your thing, you need to get to Northstar this summer to check out its revamped mountain bike park, which is set to reopen a week from today.

I was lucky to hook up recently with Kyle Crezee, Northstar’s mountain bike park manager, to check out the park and see what was going on.

Kyle has been busy designing a park that will stoke out all mountain bikers.

After a one-year hiatus, Northstar has introduced two new trails and five new segments to existing downhill trails. A full-time trail crew has been on the hill building and designing new trails. While checking out the new park, I met some of the trail builders and was impressed with their desire to create a super cool bike park.

Crew members all had different backgrounds that seemed perfect to create mountain bike trails for all abilities. It was clear that they were all excited to have the opportunity to build a park the way they wanted to. The crew has incorporated natural and man-made features such as rock rides, log rides, berms and jumps into a flowing downhill path that looks fluid and fun.

Northstar also purchased a 480 Sweco bulldozer, a small dozer capable of cutting flat trails into the side of a mountain. It seems the Sweco will be instrumental in building new trails in the future.

Scheduled to open sometime during the summer is a signature, irrigated trail called “Livewire,” which consists of a mile and a half of perfect flowing jumps and berms suitable for all ability levels. The irrigation will keep the dirt wet and tacky to help keep the trail in perfect condition, as in having a powder day in the summer.

For riders who are new to log rides and obstacles, the park will offer a skills development area. Here riders can dial in skills in a less intimidating setting.

And for riders who are just getting started, they can check out a new rental bike from the Plaza Bike shop, which will demo Giant bikes with six and eight inches of travel to rip the trails on.

There is also a downhill and cross-country race series for riders looking to compete. Every Thursday evening between July 5 and Aug. 16 there will be cross-country races, and on five different Sundays from July 1 until Sept. 23 there will be downhill races.

Access to cross-country trails will be available for those who aren’t so keen on just going downhill, but I recommend that you try it out. I am more of a cross-country rider but could see myself spending more time checking out trails like these.

With more mountain bike parks popping up around the country, it is good to see Northstar putting Tahoe on the map.


Kip Garre is a 10-year resident of Squaw Valley who works in the spring as a guide for Points North Heli-Adventures in Alaska and paints houses in the summer when not mountain biking, climbing, running, skydiving or skiing.

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