Mountain biking continues to see a constant evolution in its definition. Only a few short years ago, the concept of “slopestyle” on a mountain bike was only known to a few crazy riders and trail builders. Today, events such as Crankworx continue to push the sport forward into one of the world’s most exciting spectator sports. The boom in popularity is largely due to the increased exposure of bike parks. These parks are professionally designed and maintained, and usually contain some sort of vertical boost such as a chairlift to whisk bikers up the mountain. The parks tend to pop up at ski resorts. It’s pretty obvious why: mountain resorts already have the infrastructure, aren’t doing much in summertime, and usually have an army of ready employees looking for summertime work.
Here is a roundup of the world’s top bike parks. This is one man’s opinion, so if I left out your favorite bike park please let us know in the comments. Happy riding!
Les Gets, France
This area attracts a wide variety of riders, from beginner to extreme. Like most bike parks there is something for everyone, but the ease of progression here is large, due in part to the huge investment the developers make year after year.
Les 2 Alpes, France
The site of Crankworx Europe, Les Deux Alpes has towering alpine monoliths all around, giving this park the honor of one of the most scenic on earth.
Angel Fire, NM
If you like everything in one nice, neat, organized package, Angel Fire is for you. With some amazingly consistent weather, this resort is one that will rarely get muddy, leaving you with more days in the sun. Recent years have seen a huge push in trail development. The resort has only one lift, but that just makes everything much more manageable. Throw in the fact that it sits well off the beaten path and this resort is well suited to be that hidden gem that you (don’t) tell your friends about.
Queenstown, New Zealand
When the snow starts falling in the Northern hemisphere, the bike park in Queenstown is just getting going. Having only opened it’s trails in September 2011, this park is young but fast gaining a reputation as one of the best bike parks in the southern hemisphere, and the only one with gondola-access.
Eagle Bike Park, Eagle, ID
This park may not be big, or intensely gnarly, or anything like that. What gives it the nod on this list is that it’s a community effort. Local riders got together to petition the city council to build a bike park. They raised the money and employed a contractor to get it going. What resulted was a free-to-use park on community land. The Eagle Bike Park has helped pave the way for other community-owned bike parks, giving hope to mountain bikers everywhere and proving that you don’t need to be a lavish resort to have some really fun trails.
Whistler, BC, Canada
No list is complete without the recognition of the Whistler Bike Park. It is without a doubt the best in the world, and the standard at which all other bike parks are set. It may have not been the first, but the efforts of the resort quickly propelled it to become the Mecca of Mountain Biking. It’s flagship event Crankworx has become the go-to Mountain Bike festival of summer. The slopestyle format was pioneered here, and continues to push the boundaries with every iteration, now known as the Red Bull Joyride. No professional Mountain Bike career can happen without a few stops in Whistler. And for every aspiring downhill mountain biker, you have to see it to believe it. Or I should say, you should ride it to believe it! What are some of your favorite parks that we missed? Let us know!