If you love the mountains during the winter, chances are you'll be in awe during the summer. The mountains are truly a dream in the summer, abundant in wildflower meadows and green-filled forests. Along those same lines, if you're a fan of speeding down the ski slopes, then you'll also fall in love with cruising down those same dirt paths in the summer. Bike parks are popping up around ski resorts like wildfire as the sport becomes a heavily sought-after summer activity. To help you find the best park, we compiled a list of the top bike parks in North America, along with their 2017 open dates.
Whistler Blackcomb Bike Park | Opens May 19
Photo: Whistler Blackcomb Bike Park
Whistler is world-famous for mountain biking, and their 52-trail system proves just that. The varied downhill trails descend up to 5,000 feet, and were designed by Gravity Logic, who received international acclaim as the best in the business. While the park is known for serious mountain biking, there are still trails available for all ages and levels of bikers. Whistler hosts an array of mountain bike events and competitions during the summer, including the "Phat Wednesdays" race series, summer gravity camps and Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival Aug. 11-20.
Snowmass Bike Park | Opens June 23
Photo: Snowmass Bike Park
Winding from the top of Elk Camp Chairlift all the way to Snowmass Base Village, Snowmass Bike Park has trails for every level of downhill mountain bike rider. 2,897 vertical feet of downhill trails delivers all the thrill of your favorite ski slope, but without the snow. Snowmass is perfect for bikers who are just starting out, as they can test their new skills at the mid-way point of Elk Camp Gondola, using the obstacle course to practice centering their weight and controlling their speed. Intermediate bikers will enjoy the Verde, Espresso and Easy Rider trails, while advanced bikers can hone their skills on Valhalla and Vapor. Cross-country bikers can also access over 50 miles of trails, including the Government trail that runs into Buttermilk.
Crested Butte Evolution Bike Park | Opens June 10
Photo: Crested Butte Evolution Bike Park
Crested Butte is one of the first places where people started taking their bikes off the road and into the mountains. To keep this tradition alive, Crested Butte hosts Bike Week (June 22-25) to celebrate bikers getting into the mountains. The week is filled with races, clinics, a film festival, brews, parties and music. The Evolution Bike Park was designed to meet the needs of all riders, and contains a diverse network of trails, from lift-served downhill to cross-country. The park features seven downhill trails ranging from easy to expert, and seven other cross-country trails.
Winter Park Trestle Bike Park | Opens TBA
Photo: Winter Park Trestle Bike Park
Located in the heart of mountain bike capital USA, Trestle Bike Park is comprised of over 40 miles of gravity-fed dirt, and over 600 trails for all skill levels. With its close proximity to Denver, Winter Park is a big stomping ground for professional-downhillers. Don't let that deter you, because it's also a great place to learn basic skills or improve. Bikers can even hire a guide or coach for a first-time lesson. Trestle Bike Park also hosts the annual Colorado Freeride Festival, taking place this year from July 27-30.
Keystone Bike Park | Opens TBA
Photo: Keystone Bike Park
The Keystone Bike Park boasts some of the country's best downhill trails, providing terrain for riders of all skills and abilities. The Drop Zone is a favorite area among seasoned riders, featuring rock gardens, drops and high-speed features, and is also considered one of the best in the U.S. Keystone offers 55 trails with a vertical drop of 2,360. Beginner and intermediate riders can enjoy roller coaster rides over bridges and berms without the rock gardens or steepness found in the more advanced areas of the park. The park trails also connect to the 486-mile Colorado Trail, providing endless opportunities for pedaling.
*Note: Mountain Reservations suggests that all downhill bikers wear all the appropriate protective gear (full-face helmet, knee/elbow guards, back/neck/chest protection). All of the resorts listed offer instructional lessons for every ability level.