Father's Day fun in Bike Park
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort lift accesses mountain bike trails that range from mellow to extreme.
Aaron Gallegos does a tail whip off a jump Saturday on the True Grit Trail at the Bike Park in Teton Village. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has opened its bike park for the summer, offering mountain biking for all levels. Rentals of bikes and protective equipment also are available at Teton Village shops. JONATHAN CROSBY / NEWS&GUIDEView our entire photo gallery >>
By Miller N. Resor, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
June 19, 2013
Teton Village was buzzing with activity on Father’s Day.
A long line of families waited for a trip up the Aerial Tram. Young children and their fathers played soccer in an open field in front of the Bridger Center. And small groups meandered through the peripheral aspen and pine trees as they negotiated the Frisbee golf course.
The most intense Father’s Day action, however, could be found flying down the dusty trails of the Jackson Hole Bike Park.
The six trails that drop from the top of the Teewinot chairlift opened Saturday for lift-accessed downhill mountain biking, kicking off the Bike Park’s third season.
Kim Mahaffey and his son Bryce Brose, from Baker City, Ore., rode the trails for the first time two years ago. On Sunday, they were back for their second time to celebrate Father’s Day.
Neither Mahaffey nor Brose had done much downhill bike riding before their first ride in 2011, but both were immediately hooked.
“This mountain is super sick,” Brose said. “It’s awesome to ride. I’m feeling like a pro.”
Mahaffey agreed that the Bike Park was just right for improving quickly and gaining confidence.
“The jumps are really well made and allow you to progress smoothly,” he said. “We’ve been riding since 10 a.m. this morning, and although I’m going to feel it tomorrow, I’ve improved significantly.”
Robert Caliva was also out Sunday riding with his son, Dan. The father and son from Idaho Falls first rode lift-accessed terrain in Whitefish, Mont., eight years ago. They have ridden at Snowbird in Utah and at Targhee as well, but since discovering the Jackson Hole Bike Park three years ago they are hooked.
“This is the first place we come every year now,” Robert Caliva said. “Here it is nothing but short trails with banks and obstacles and jumps. It’s very different from Targhee or Snowbird, but just a blast.”
His son agreed.
“The trails are really quick and really fun,” he said. “You can definitely learn new things on them. I’ve definitely improved over time. We just love it here.”
Beginner to expert
The Jackson Hole Bike Park offers two beginner trails, two intermediate, one advanced intermediate and one expert trail. Riders can get the feel of their bike on the easy banked turns and small bumps of Lucky Charm and Trapper before progressing to the midsize jumps and tighter turns of Bandit and Bronco.
Once comfortable on the bigger jumps of Bandit, they might try the even bigger jumps and banked corners of True Grit. Quick Draw, the only double black diamond in the park, offers a narrow rocky trail with rock and root drops.
Mike Donovan, who has downhill biked for years on Teton Pass but was recovering from back surgery last year, was out in the park Sunday.
“I like it out here,” he said, “It’s pretty easy. It’s nice here, because you can just keep lapping stuff, and you get more comfortable with it pretty quick.”
An hour of riding
Donovan also has a young son who attends the resort’s Kids Ranch a couple of days a week. He said the Bike Park is great for getting an hour of riding in before picking up his son.
Maggie and Joey Weamer, from Bozeman, Mont., were also in the Bike Park on Sunday. They come down several times each summer to ride at the park, which they described as “smooth” and “fun.”
The Bike Park operates 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until Sept. 15. Beginning July 12, Friday Night Bikes will keep the Bike Park open until 7 p.m. Friday nights and will feature music, food and drink specials and two-for-one bike rentals.
JH Sports and Teton Village Sports have full-suspension bike to rent ranging in price from $59 for an adult half day to $119 for a full-day demo with lift ticket. For a full list of prices go to JacksonHole.com.
Rentals come with face-protecting helmets, downhill mountain biking shoes, gloves, shin guards and elbow pads, though it’s clear from the waivers riders sign that Jackson Hole Mountain Resort seeks protection from liability.
As goes the sign that famously graced the resort’s tram line for years, so goes the safety message on the Bike Park map: “This mountain is like nothing you’ve experienced before.”