Regular readers may remember that I visited the Big Bear, California area during my summer 2012 road trip, and that I wrote a detailed article on Snow Summit Mountain Resort.
Of all the ski resorts in the United States, Snow Summit has one of the most storied histories in downhill mountain biking lore, but also one of the most controversial. In my article from last summer, I detailed the controversial history surrounding Snow Summit’s rapid fall from one of the top downhill racing stops in the states to not allowing downhill mountain biking on their property at all.
However, when I was in Big Bear last summer I heard rumors that the winds of change were blowing. Rumor was that IMBA was going to build a high-quality trail along the ridge line and also consult on trail development at the resort.
The development of mountain bike-specific downhill trails on resort property was simply a rumor I forgot about, until I saw a recent press release from Snow Summit. Here’s the part that we’re interested in:
Gravity Logic, experts in bike park design and development, designed Snow Summit’s new advanced trail, “Miracle Mile.” The downhill trail features sweeping s-turns, 33 berms, six rollers, ten jumps and three wood features including a 30-foot bridge, diving board and berm. Snow Summit plans on opening at least three new trails in addition to existing trails with accessibility for all levels by the end of summer.
The rumors have been substantiated! Snow Summit is officially back in the downhill game! It will be interesting to see if they try to rejoin the race scene as well, or just stick to the more recreational side of DH mountain biking.
Check out a short promo video from the new trail here:
As for IMBA’s involvement, some digging around on the interwebs revealed a blog post from May 22nd about the development of the Skyline trail. According to IMBA,
The Skyline Trail design was completed in late summer 2012. Eventually, it will be an 8.5-mile linear trail within the fuel break, with recommendations for other adjacent connector trails. Construction started with volunteers in fall 2012, and continued into early winter, with the assistance of Bellfree Contractors. To date, 3.5 miles of the Skyline Trail have been completed, with the remaining 5 miles currently under construction.
Suffice it to say that after years of seeming hostility to the mountain bike community, the tides have truly turned in Big Bear and they are embracing the economic benefits that mountain biking can bring them during the summer months. And for Big Bear, the possible economic benefits are huge. Located just a couple of hours from the massive population of the greater Los Angeles area, there are thousands upon thousands of mountain bikers that Big Bear’s growing trail system could attract.
At the end of my three-part series on Big Bear last summer, I had this to say about the area in general:
The bottom line is that Big Bear is a fantastic mountain bike destination with all sorts of trails for all different types of riders, ranging from beginner cross country riders to technically-proficient downhillers. With cooler temperatures and more shade than the nearby Los Angeles area, thanks to the abundance of pine trees, Big Bear reigns as the perfect next-door destination for thousands of So Cal mountain bikers. If Snow Summit (or one of the other resorts in the air) chooses to expand their purpose-built downhill trails, and once the Skyline Trail is constructed by Trail Solutions, Big Bear has the potential to gain even more traction as the premiere mountain bike destination in Southern California.
Both of those “ifs” are now a reality. Keep your eye on the riding scene in Big Bear. It’s about to get huge!
Your Turn: Have you ever ridden in Big Bear? When did you go, and what were your impressions?