By Brad Fauber
Bryce Resort had to delay the opening of its mountain bike park last weekend due to required maintenance of the resort's chairlift, but the trails are finally set to make their anticipated re-opening.
The mountain bike park, which made its successful debut last year, will open to the public today.
"We're still working on some of the new stuff, but it's absolutely phenomenal," Bryce Resort general manager Rob Schwartz said on Thursday.
Bryce Resort will be unveiling plenty of new features of the chairlift-accessible mountain bike park this season, including new and upgraded obstacles, trail expansions and a new downhill course.
The park's newest addition is a trail named "Pickle Back," a double diamond (expert) downhill run that features a gap jump. The addition of Pickle Back gives Bryce Resort two expert level trails, as it joins the Copperhead run that was unveiled last year.
Schwartz said the Screwdriver trail (intermediate) has been expanded into a full top to bottom run -- it merged onto the beginner-level Sundowner course last year -- and the popular advanced-level Car Bomb run has been upgraded to allow riders of various skill levels to tackle the course.
"That's gotten probably the most alteration," Schwartz said of Car Bomb. "It's been given a bunch of wooden features and man-made features. ... The main thing about all these features on Car Bomb is that you can roll them. If you're a very advanced rider you're going to jump these features, but when you're learning and you're progressing, you can ride them at a very slow speed and roll off them. They don't force you into a jumping situation. They don't force you to drop off a ledge or anything like that."
Schwartz said plenty of new features have been added to the resort's downhill trails, including a "C-wall" -- which is essentially a looping, banked turn -- at the bottom of the slope where the Brew Thru, Copperhead and Pickle Back trails end.
"The nice thing about the park this year is it's going to ride like a completely new park," Schwartz said.
A "Skills Zone" has also been added to allow less-experienced riders an opportunity to navigate some of the biking obstacles on a flat terrain before attempting them on the downhill runs.
"It gets people used to the idea of kind of keeping their eyes in front of them, helps teach them their body posture and how to ride some of these items that we've put out there," Schwartz said.
Bryce Resort's mountain bike park will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until June 9, when the park will expand its operating days to include Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, in addition to the weekends.
Riders will have several different options when it comes to purchasing passes for the trails. A day pass will be available for $34, and a four-hour flex pass can also be purchased for $28. Riders can also buy a season pass for $220 ($180 for Bryce Resort members).
Bryce Resort will continue to provide rental options for riders, which will include everything from bikes to safety equipment to Go-Pro helmet-mounted cameras to record riders' downhill experiences.
Schwartz said he hopes that Bryce Resort can continue to sell its unique chairlift-access feature as a way to bring in more and more customers in the coming year.
"The goal this year is to literally double the visits," Schwartz said. "... Right now, people who know mountain bike parks, they know about us and they're going to come out. But there's just hundreds of thousands of active bike riders out there who have never even thought about lift-access biking, and that's who were going after this year."
In addition to the mountain bike park, Bryce Resort will also be opening its Zipline Adventure today. Bryce is also hosting its Memorial Day Golf Tournament on May 24.
For more information about Bryce Resort's mountain bike park, or other events, visit bryceresort.com.
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD