Item: Stevens Bike Park 8/26/12
Displays the photo gallery for a selected Gallery Album.It was a sunny Sunday in eastern Washington, and we had spent two days of pedaling for vertical in 90 degree heat. Myself and a group of friends had descended on the small town of Leavenworth for a friend’s birthday, and—while the exercise was fun—we wanted some easier turns. While all of us had experienced Stevens Pass’s winter goods, only a few of us had experienced the mountain’s recently-opened bike park, and we decided to makethe 45-minute drive.
We were welcomed by a full parking lot packed with bikes—all types and sizes, from hard tails to full-on downhill rigs, with an accompanying assortment of families, dirt shredders and everything in between. Despite the parking lot crowd, we were surprised to find no lift lines and two ridiculously fun trails. The PNW is infamous for its
winding, root-riddled, wooden-featured trails, and the mountain offered just
that—and a quietly developing community, as homegrown as its winter roots.
The park, which first debuted in the fall of last year and has been open Friday through Sundays during this summer, uses a renovated Hogsback to get riders to the top of the two current trails. The first is called Rock Crusher, a fun, jumpy blue square trail that
is perfect for the beginning mountain biker or the pro who just wants to do a lot of tail whips; the second is called Slingshot Wookie, a techy, steep, black diamond singletrack that will keep even the best riders entertained all day. Both trails have fun wood features, deep berms and rollers—easy to cruise over or boost, whatever your fancy.
Following their recent Gold Eagle Award for ski hill sustainability and their long history of environmental stewardship recognition, the trail system uses natural openings in the trees to avoid having to cut them out. This gives Slingshot Wookie a natural singletrack feel, and their newest trail (slated to open sometime in the next few weeks) is designed in similar fashion, a blue square singletrack winding its way towards Tye Mill chair. Complete with numerous bridged stream crossings, riders will forget they’re not far from the top of the lift.
And the trails are only getting better. Stevens has an 11-person trail crew and three excavators building new trail during the week while the hill is closed, and the progress is easily visible—one of their big goals is a new jump trail, a mini-version of Whistler’s A-Line, up possibly by late fall or early next season. Just as the mountain’s winter terrain is some of the best in the PNW, its summer terrain has the potential for many more
great trails—and plan on seeing just that in the next few years.
If the morning seemed empty, by 2 p.m. lift lines were non-existent and the trails completely empty. Riding up the chair, we watched different folks from our group mash their way down Rock Crusher or Wookie, cheering or heckling depending on the situation. We joked and chatted with the employees, who even let us take a shot at their impromptu putting green at the top of the lift, and at the end of the day raced down to try and catch the 5:59 p.m. last chair. I’m pretty sure it was 6:01 by the time we got down, but they pretended we’d made it and we happily jumped back on for another Rock Crusher lap. Homegrown community at its best.
A special thanks to Joel Martinez and Nate Escolona from Stevens Pass for the hospitality and the taste of the PNW’s newest goods!