"Old School Gnar, New School Air"
26 Apr 2014
Q&A: Mount Snow Bike Park!!
Who are you and what do you do at Mount Snow Bike Park?
Everyone knows me as J. Knox, so we’ll go with that. I am the mountain bike director at Mount Snow during the spring, summer, and fall as well as the retail operations manager and buyer. I’ve been at Mount Snow for five years working on the bike park crew, being a trail guide and managing the retail operations during the mountain bike season.
Tell us a little bit about Mount Snow Bike Park.
Mount Snow is Vermont’s closest big mountain resort to the Northeast’s major metropolitan areas and operates in the southernmost part of the Green Mountain National Forest, making it an accessible getaway for anyone looking for an adventure on public lands. The terrain is served by a high-speed detachable quad chairlift that takes riders to a variety of trails that literally offer something for all ability levels. What sets Mount Snow Bike Park apart from other downhill MTB operations is anyone comfortable on a bike can enjoy gravity. We have legendary steep, narrow and technical terrain that will get the most seasoned pro’s heart pumping, plus we are home to the only introductory downhill trail in the East. This trail, dubbed Trail 7, opened during the summer of 2012 and has since opened up the sport of downhill mountain biking to a whole new market of riders. At Mount Snow Bike Park, the craziest downhillers and the newest beginners will walk away smiling. We also offer the First Drop Program, which is a learn to ride program aimed at familiarizing guests with the equipment, the technique and the terrain that are part of downhill mountain biking. For more advanced riders, we offer a guided tours.
How long ago was Mount Snow Bike Park developed? Who or what was the driving force?
Back in 1988, we opened a Mountain Bike School that was billed as the “first in the nation”. Shortly afterwards we opened the lifts to downhill mountain biking and Mount Snow was known as the “Mountain Bike Capital of the East”. The driving force behind it was the sport was growing and the folks who were here at the time were cyclists, making the decision to open a no brainer.
What is the most popular trail at your bike park?
Trail 9 is our most popular here. We finished building it two summers ago with a ton of berms, step-ups, step-downs, hips, tables, ladder drops and more. Super fun. Riders will come here and just lap it all day.
Will there be any new trails added this year or will you be re-developing any existing trails?
You may see a new freeride trail pop up mid-season this year as well as a pump track. We will also be re-buffing some existing trails to keep them in great shape. Unlike some of our competition, we have a really small trail crew and those guys are incredible. They actually work at the acclaimed Carinthia Parks as park builders during the winter. It’s their passion and that passion comes through in the quality of their work. We’re lucky to have guys who really love what they do, because they want the trails to be as dialed as possible for when they ride :).
Describe the predominant “style” of riding at your park? (Natural vs. Manmade, DH/Tech/Steep vs. Flow/Features) Typically, what kind of terrain do you have? (Rocky, Dry-dusty, Tacky, Roots)…
We really have it all; I can’t say there is one predominant “style” of riding. We have everything from a three-mile long machine built introductory downhill trail to your traditional steep and gnarly World Cup downhill trails. That’s one of the best things about our bike park. It’s not just for the best and most experienced or the people looking for a more mellow time on the mountain, everybody comes here and has a good time.
What is the mountain bike scene/culture like at your bike park?
When our intro trail was finished two summers ago it changed our scene and culture. We are now able to offer terrain for all levels of ability. What it comes down to is we’re all about just having fun and tearing up the dirt, no matter how fast you want to go. We greet everybody with a smile and are here to help anyway we can to make their experience a great one. With the learn-to programs and guided tours we offer a lot of options for anybody interested in the sport.
Tell me a little bit about your town. Where do out-of-towners like to stay while visiting Mount Snow? Are there any restaurants or bars that mtb-ers like to hang?
It’s a mellow resort town during the non-winter months, i.e., the mountain bike season. We’ve got some great local bars like Valley View Saloon and Dover Bar and Grill. Route 100 is lined with great inns and bnb’s that offer super affordable rates during the summer. For anyone looking to treat themselves, we have the Grand Summit Resort Hotel which is located right at the base of the mountain and is actually where our Bike Shop is. Overall, things are super laid back during the spring, summer and fall.
Will you have any big events going on this summer at your bike park?
We don’t have anything planned as of yet.
Do you have an opening day yet?
We typically open Memorial Day weekend every year. (Weather and conditions dependent.)
What does the future hold for Mount Snow?
We’re gonna keep shredding dirt as long as the people keep coming to enjoy. The last few years we’ve seen an uptick in our visitation, so we’re hoping the work we’re doing on the trails and the programs we’re offering to new riders keep people stoked and keep them coming back. The future is dirty, figuratively speaking…in a good way.
Mount Snow's Downhill Demo Center is expanding this year. We will be offering Scott Gamblers for guests to demo this summer. The Gambler will be a great addition to our Demo Center, which already offers Canfield Brothers Jedi's and Devinci Wilson's.