Few hot tips on my favorite places to ride in the World....
Obviously this list of favorite places to ride is ongoing. There are always adventures to be had, and trails to explore. I have spent most of my life riding and traveling, so my trail snobbery has it narrowed down a few top picks for different reasons...
#1- Bellingham, WA - Galbraith Mountain
This is an easy one. Close to home, rich brown dirt, big tall evergreen fir trees, ferns, endless flow, insane all mountain riding. The trails here on a 5-6" bike are not to be missed. SST trail is as high speed as you can go, with perfect turns, obstacles, roots, jumps, switchbacks, and it lasts for about 20 minutes of descending after only 40 minutes or so of climbing up a mellow fire road. Heaven. Rain or shine
#2- Rotorua, NZ
New Zealand in general has to be included. North Island and the South Island have a lot of variety. North Island is very similar to Washington with the soil and flowyness, and the south island has more rocky and technical trails. I love the kiwi outdoor extreme mentality, but the fact that there are full time shuttles and permanent drinking fountains in the forest dedicated to bike riding, makes this place amazing. DH, XC, dirt jumps, etc. Rent a van and do a tour of everywhere. Christchurch, Nelson, Queenstown, and Rotorua.
#3- Morzine, France - Portes du soleil
12 resorts that all link up for Downhill Bikes. Rough, technical, steep, mellow, flat, smooth, grassy. There is everything here. You buy a summer season pass for like 200 Euros, and can literally take chairlifts anywhere you want to go. Brutal on wheels and your hands, but this place you get you money's worth of riding. I didn't find much else to do, but eat, sleep, and ride. Perfect. Morzine is inhabited by mostly English, very touristy spot, but that makes it easy to spend time there. Lots of different riders- from families who have never ridden to top World Cup pros basing there to train. I spent a month there and didn't even ride everything. Very unique experience, get used to baguettes and ham every single day.
This is my winter home. We train and live in the Blue Mountains. Places like Thredbo resort are pretty fun as well, but it's really the people and spirit of the sport that come alive here. Friendliest group of people and riders who are well into riding. Opposite seasons, so it's a nice winter place to hide out. I don't find the trails all that difficult or steep, but the the slippery dirt and unique plants are cool to experience. Lots of open space.
I mostly like colorado for the scenery and how much riding you can do. High altitude is pretty tough, but the rocky dry terrain is epic. Not the most difficult terrain I have ever seen, but it does have something special that can only be found here. People in CO are so nice, burritos galore, good coffee, etc. Kind of Yeti territory, as there is a lot of local support and pride in Colorado. They love a good micro beer as well:). The towns and villages are really cute, upscale resorts, and there is plenty of things to do outdoors like fishing, golfing, hiking, biking, camping. Sol Vista, Crested Butte, Keystone, Winterpark, etc...
#6- Lousa, Portugal
I went here before I was a downhiller, but this was a fun place to go, and Bryn said he loved all the DH trails. Think it is mostly for shuttling. Lots of wild pigs roaming around the forrest, but Spain and Portugal are really lively places to go. Feels like a the most spirited part of europe. Warmer than most spots, ocean is right there as well.
For obvious reasons Whistler is the biggest, best bike park in the world. Gets a little crowded, but hit it on a rainy weekday, and you have the place to yourself:)
Start with that.... Jill.