From North To South, Idaho's Resorts Promise Challenging Mountain Biking

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If warm-weather vacation includes a rugged mountain biking experience, then Idaho's spiny Northern Rockies -- and its half-dozen ski and snowboard resorts -- are a likely destination.

Schweitzer sits on a pair of steep bowls of rocky terrain. The MTB trail system doesn't have terrain features nor green-rated runs -- just straight-on downhill all the way.

All the choices offered on the ridge-to-ridge layout rate intermediate or above. Lift-served downhill runs cover the mountain's 2,900 acres with 14 designated routes. The Grand Escape Quad drops bikers off at the 6,400-foot summit, with 2,400 feet of vertical below. Reviewers call Schweitzer "old school" because of its true-to-terrain character. A host of X-C trails sit contiguous to resort boundaries.

Silver Mountain, another rough-and-tumble North Idaho MTB track, also caters to the hardcore, no-frills crowd. The longest gondola in North America takes riders daily out of town to mid-mountain, where casual riders get Chair 4 and a modest 800-foot vertical.

But it's the 3,400 feet of drop below that that marks Silver's reputation. Black diamond technicals stand out: Among others, Snakepit and Frankenbeens get reviewers' raves. Ride time range from 15 to 45 minutes.

To the south, Brundage's Bluebird Express spins Wednesdays to Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., bringing bikers to 7,640 feet elevation. From there, 12 technical trails head down 1,800 vertical feet, with half of them rated green. Most notable is Elk Trail, a 6-mile meander.

Unadulterated blue runs wander around the frontside, with only two expert pitches and only a half-dozen TTFs. So Brundage, like all these Idaho MTB parks, tends to be au naturel.

Farther south, Tamarack continues to undergo a renaissance. Right now, the central Idaho resort lists 25 miles downhill trails that spray off the 6,900-foot summit -- divided up 7 green, 7 expert, and 4 intermediate, and without technical terrain features.

The upper trails feature steep, raw routes on rocky terrain. The midsection is where to mellow green runs converge for the run to the bottom. Ownership has started on a full-on bike park to supplement these natural downhill runs with enhancing features.

An 8-minute ride up Tamarack Express gets bikers to the top where some 1,800 feet of vertical drop for all abilities await. The high-speed quad spins 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

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Summit County Resorts Open Up For Colorado Summer

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Summer has arrived in Colorado's high country, and a quartet of high-altitude resorts in Summit County are cranking up for a bustling summer at four of the Rocky Mountain's busiest mountains.

Typically opening mid-June, standard warm-weather attractions include scenic chairlift or gondola rides, coasters and slides, hiking and mountain biking, disc golf, climbing walls, and music, food and drink. Expect that some labor-intensive activities like ziplining may have hours curtailed or, in the case of Breckenridge and Vail, be shut down.

At Arapahoe Basin, Summit County's only via ferreta has half- and full-day guided tours on the "iron way" -- a series of iron rungs fixed in the rock face -- that begin at 12,000 feet of elevation, and top out at the 13,000-foot summit on West Ridge. Near the base, the Aerial Adventure Park runs ziplines, swings, and balancing acts through old-growth forest.

Down the road at Keystone, tubing lives on into the summer, as crews pile up leftover snow atop Dercum Mountain (11,640). Lanes typically stay open into July, 10 a.m to 2 p.m. You must buy a ride up the gondola to the summit, and pre-pay by the run for tubing. Plenty of other activities at mountain-top Adventure Point.

On the other side of Dillon Reservoir, the force of gravity prevails at Breckenridge in the summertime. The Gold Runner Alpine Coaster pitches down 2,500 feet on elevated tracks, with two 360-degree loops and a top speed of 27 mph. The resort also has three alpine slides that run 2,600 feet down concave tracks -- with manual braking.

And to the west, Copper Mountain's summer starts in the base area. Check out bumper boats on West Lake, and a challenging go-kart track. The Woodward Wrecktangle presents a dozen obstacles to overcome in the Woodward Copper extreme sport complex. All-day summer pass includes Wrecktangle, unlimited rides up the chairlift, and limited shots at other activities.

The cheapest activities at any of the resorts are hiking and mountain biking. Check Forest Service regulations for e-bikes. Most have designated trails.

 

 

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Downhill Biking, Four-Season Access, More Snowmaking At Loon

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As an amazing winter at Loon is in full swing, the New Hampshire resort is already looking ahead to the coming months with plans to break ground on a network of lift-accessed downhill mountain biking trails. Starting April 1, four seasons of White Mountain adventure can be yours with the new Access Pass. And summertime work will also include significant snowmaking efficiency improvements. 

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Utah Resorts Crank Up Lifts For Mountain Biking

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Banking into a berm at Snowbird. (Snowbird/Facebook)

Summertime means getting the mountain bike into the hills where it belongs – and Utah resorts stand ready with lifts running to get bikers to the top.

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Snowshoe Mountain Biking with Halley O'Brien

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Whitefish Mountain Resort Opens Five New MTB Trails This Weekend

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It took five years of planning and several months of earth moving, shoveling and raking, and you can ride them this weekend at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

 

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Angel Fire Switches To Summer Mode; Ziplines To Golf

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With a strong winter season behind it, Angel Fire Resort takes a short breather before putting on its warm-weather outfit.

 

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Crankworx Mountain Bike Freeride Fest Rolls Into Les Deux Alpes July 9-15

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Crankworx, one of the biggest mountain biking competitions in the world rolls into Les Deux Alpes, France July 9-15, 2012. 

 

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