Bald Mountain in Sun Valley, Idaho been offering mountain bikers lift service to the top of the mountain for 20 years. To help celebrate this milestone, the bike park opened two new trails this year and has completed re-routes along the Cold Springs climbing trail to make it more accessible.
While Bald Mountain is celebrating its 20th summer mountain biking season, things have changed a lot over the years. The trail system is currently undergoing a significant expansion that kicked off a couple seasons ago. I got a chance to check out the two new trails, Mindbender and Pale Rider, back in June and found both to be excellent additions to the park.
Of the two new 2018 trails, Mindbender is the longest at 3.5 miles. This intermediate flow trail starts mid-mountain at the top of the Roundhouse Gondola and quickly drops below the restaurant. For a blue trail, it’s steep and offers some of the biggest jumps in the park. Good sight lines make it possible to really let ‘er rip, though everything is totally rollable and fun at any speed. Dry conditions can mean loose, dusty tread, but during my visit in June the surrounding mountains and valley were lush and emerald green.
The Bald Mountain trail builders did a great job sculpting smooth lines, berms, tabletops, and rollers on the Mindbender trail. The upper portions of the trail are mostly exposed and offer great views, while down low the trail dips into pine stands for welcome relief from the sun.
The 1985 western Pale Rider stars Clint Eastwood as a preacher who protects a small mining village from a greedy corporation, and it just so happens part of the movie was filmed right in Sun Valley. As the first double-black-diamond trail in the Bald Mountain bike park, the name seems to imply that riders could find themselves feeling a little pale after riding this 1.2 mile ripper. But don’t worry — you’ll be fine.
The resort describes Pale Rider as a “new school” trail which effectively combines machine-built jump features with natural terrain. The trail is steep, dropping more than 500 feet in just over a mile, and it’s narrower than Mindbender and some of the other trails on the mountain.
Of the two new trails, Pale Rider is easily my favorite, and not because I’m some kind of masochist or gnartech lover. Since the trail has tighter turns, more chunk, and skinnier lines, riders can slow things down a bit and really concentrate on riding clean. Don’t let the double-black rating scare you; if you can get down Mindbender without losing your mind, Pale Rider should be NBD.
The Bald Mountain bike park offers just one more reason for mountain bikers to visit Sun Valley. With new trails like Mindbender, Pale Rider, and others slated to be added soon, this destination is worth a repeat visit!