Over 3,000 Feet of Gravity Assisted Glory
2018 marks Sun Valley Resort’s 20th year of lift accessed mountain biking, and this season is shaping up to be the best one yet. Sun Valley’s trail crew has been hard at work building new trails and the results are sure to satisfy all gravity loving riders. With considerable resources put into its chairlift accessible mountain biking, Sun Valley now provides a legit downhill experience to compliment the world class all-mountain trails this area is known for. The addition of two new mid-mountain trails accessed via the Roundhouse Gondola give riders the option of banging out 30-minute hot laps off the gondola or continuing to the Christmas Chairlift for multiple options off the top.
From the top of Bald Mountain, soak in endless views of the area’s five mountain ranges before you dive into more than 3,000 feet of gravity assisted glory. For a warm up run, try Lupine Loop, a gently flowing downhill that traverses Baldy’s wide open Bowls. With small jumps and the perfect pitch, Lupine Loop is the best trail to get up to speed and comfortable on your bike. For a bit more of a challenge, Saddle Up is a flow trail off the top of Baldy full of jumps and berms that takes riders across the upper mountain before delivering them back to the Roundhouse Lodge. Here, you can hop on the Christmas Chairlift for another lap to the top or if you are feeling like more airtime, check out the newly built Mind Bender trail starting on the backside of Roundhouse Lodge.
Featuring the biggest jumps in the entire valley, Mind Bender is perfect for experienced riders looking to take their game to the next level. Expertly sculpted machine-built takeoffs match up perfectly with steep transitions, while big banked turns allow riders to carry speed across the fall line of Baldy’s legendary pitch. For riders who desire a more natural trail experience, the newly built Pale Rider trail starts at the top of the River Run Chairlift and features more of an old-school vibe. Pale Rider is steeper, faster, and rougher than Baldy’s other trails, with natural rock sections and a few man-made jumps to keep riders honest.
If jumps are not your thing but you still appreciate downhill riding, the trails off the backside of Baldy offer epic backcountry-style singletrack with amazing views of the Smoky Mountains. Traversing through the burned-out trees on the Warm Springs Trail will make you feel like you are deep in the mountains, not on a lift accessed trail. With flowing turns, wildflowers, beautiful scenery, and 3,100 feet of downhill punctuated by a small climb, the Warm Springs Trail is a must ride when visiting the Sun Valley area. For a similar but different experience, the Cold Springs Trail offers smooth high-speed riding across some of Baldy’s best backcountry ski terrain.
From two-way flowing backcountry trails off the backside of Bald Mountain, to downhill only machine-built trails that feature rocks, jumps, and berms, riders at Sun Valley can experience all that mountain biking has to offer. Before hitting the trails, check out Pete Lane’s Mountain Sports at the base of River Run for sales, rentals, guided tours, and lessons. There has never been a better time to take advantage of Sun Valley’s lift assisted mountain biking so grab your bike, hop on the lift, and enjoy the most exciting way to experience Baldy this summer.
Words by Gabe Schroder
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