MCBP Has Got it All
9 Oct 2014
At the base of the mountain you’ll find the Red Tail Lodge – the focal point for getting set up with everything you need before you ride, and the place to hangout when you’re done. It’s a busy place – largely because it’s also the main ticket office for the Action Park (water park), meaning there’s heavy people-traffic in and out all day long. The Bike Park season opening and closing matches the water park, so they’re always going on at the same time.
(There's a pot-o'-gold at the end of that rainbow...in the form of awesome mountain bike trails with tons of cool features!)
At the back of the Red Tail Lodge is the Mountain Creek Bike Shop & Monkey Trails Retail Store – a huge grotto of awesome bike kit that you might not need but you’ll certainly want. The whole rental fleet at MCBP is Specialized Demo 8 FSRs, and all the bikes automatically come with a bike lock! Unfortunately, that’s just the nature of things around here – there’s a lot of non-MTB traffic for the water park, with a lot of out-of-towners coming up from the city. The sad fact is that you need to keep an eye on your bike – so make sure you lock up your rental! It’s $100 for a full day or $60 for half a day, which is from 2pm onwards. But what’s cool is that during the core season, the bike park is open until 7pm every evening! Just be sure to remember that on weekdays the lifts don’t start turning until midday, compared to 9am on the weekend.
(Pretty much everything a mountain biker needs can be found at the bike shop.)
As for the kids’ bikes, there are three 24-inch Kona Stinkys available to rent. And of course all rental bikes come with helmets and pads (knee and elbow), all supplied by 661, one of the MCBP main sponsors along with Fly Racing, Oakley, Dakine, GoPro, Specialized, Decline and Pinkbike – just goes to show how highly regarded MCBP is by the rest of the industry! For info, there is actually another bike shop super close to MCBP, just the other side of the huge Appalachian Hotel that sits at the base. And these guys work in collaboration with the bike park shop to help out when things get super busy. Anyway back at MCBP, you can pick up your lift pass - $40 for a day or a 3 Ride Card for $99 (no blackouts!), rent a GoPro for the day for $25, or pick up a souvenir of your visit – one of the many fine MCBP branded goods, from stickers to hoodies to beer mugs. Got to be done!
There are some really great opportunities to improve your riding here. Jeff Anderson and Evan Giladri are the 2 IMBA certified instructors at MCBP, and we had a great impromptu half-hour ‘lesson’ with Jeff on our final afternoon on the trails, to get an idea of what it’s like as a beginner again. So on top of getting in a few final laps and exploring a little further (very difficult to cover all the trails in just a couple of days), we even learned a thing or two from the guys in the know. They are super-keen to help bring on any standard of rider here, and do their best to give tips to riders they see when out on the trails…even outside of a lesson format. Every little bit helps. And given the proximity to the city, they do see a lot of beginners who could often do with taking some well-timed advice.
(Jeff never missed an opportunity to get a wheel off the ground.)
There are obviously more structured formats for this advice though, and so many different options. The Experience DH package is a good place to start, $130 for a 2-hour all-inclusive lesson to cover the fundamentals. And there are also private lessons available, no matter what standard you are currently at. But there are some more intensive courses that are well worth checking out. The Mad March Fall Skill Builder Camp (unfortunately, just gone at the end of September) is run by Mad March Racing, founded in 1998 by two-time World Masters Downhill Champion Shaums March. This is ideal for intermediate to advanced riders looking to improve their riding and racing skills.
(Here's Jeff again, proving my point.)
And then there’s what’s on offer for the girls. Dirt Rock n Root has a mission to help bring more women into mountain biking and to promote mountain biking as a lifetime sport. Founded by Kathi Krause, former pro racer with 10 years on the DH circuit that included three Masters World Downhill Championships, five Masters National Downhill Championships, and winning the prestigious Kamikaze Downhill at Mammoth Mountain, DRR has partnered with MCBP to offer tailor made women’s group camps, private lessons and guided rides throughout the season.
(Features like this abound at Mountain Creek Bike Park.)
Thursday has got to be one of the best days of the week to put in an appearance, in order to check out the Thursday Night Race Leagues. It’s not just about the riding, which of course is a super-relaxed atmosphere for you to test yourself against other riders. But thanks to the 7pm closing time, the fun spills over in to the Biergarten – facing the lift and part of the Red Tail Lodge. There’s a German heritage to the resort ownership here, and so naturally there is a typical German Beer-Garden with a big patio bar restaurant serving cold German beer and some awesome pub-grub…all prepared on the open-air BBQ pit. We definitely recommend the Hog Burger – standard burger with added pulled pork! And of course with all the beer flowing, the party can go in to the evening. Live music keeps things going and don’t be afraid of a little karaoke – winner takes home cash!
(Apres' Bike at the patio Biergarten.)
Obviously, this is a family friendly resort given the water park, but there’s much more to it than that. The Crystal Springs Adventure Center is just down the road with so much more – canoeing, horse riding, archery, fishing, a zipline, family golf and more hiking than you can handle. Mountain Creek Bike Park really is an East Coast cracker and the 2015 Season Passes are on sale now!