WBP Review: Canyons
22 Sep 2015
Not that we need to point out the obvious but Mark 'Crazy' Kugel, hitting the big booter feature with only one foot on Double Down.
WBP Review: CANYONS BIKE PARK
Not having visited Canyons in a couple of years, we had heard that the trail crew had built a couple of new trails. On our drive from Colorado, our thoughts drifted back to the good times we had at Canyons in 2012 and 2013. Wild Mouse served up a perfect warm-up lap for those intermediate riders seeking to get their flow on. While Rally Cat significantly steps up the airtime with advanced freeride features galore! However, the memory of these trails was slightly dampened with knowledge that they are incredibly short runs (~300 vertical feet) from the top of the ‘High Meadow’ chairlift. It tends to leave riders wanting more. Lucky for you, and us, Canyons does provide more! We couldn’t wait to check out the new trails off the ‘Short Cut’ chairlift and meet with some of the local rippers who call Canyons Bike Park home.
Shout out to Trail Crew!
Mark 'Crazy' Kugel getting artsy.
It’s easy, just head down to the Short Cut lift for fairly quick access to an advanced dollop of trail known as Cliffhanger, and to a standout intermediate (flow) track called Dropkick. Just a little ‘side-note’ of a trail, Cliffhanger is a welcome option for riders coming off the Short Cut lift. Jump on this rocky singletrack for some old school, elevated, wood skinnies. A bit of pucker factor is good to get your blood flowing and heart pumping, while heading towards the start of Dropkick.
Tony Mallen catching some air on one of the many iconic features on Rally Cat.
Dropkick is a legit ‘dark-blue’ trail offering 0.85 miles of berms, jumps, drops, and wood features. One of the most fun intermediate trails we’ve come across! However, once you’ve made a couple of laps on Dropkick, it’s time to peel-off halfway down, increase your amplitude, and throw down some serious bike handling skills on the ‘expert only’ trail named Split Decision. It’s hand built, so it’s narrower than most machine built flow trails and packed with features. Link all the features together with style and you’ll be stoked to move up to the next challenge, that is the infamous GoPro Double Down!
Jonah Brinkerhoff fearless leap off the boner log on Rally Cat.
Shark fin city, Alex Mallen ripping it up.
At 0.8 miles long and descending 650ft., GoPro Double Down is Canyons signature trail. Expect mandatory air with large wood features, gap jumps and drops. Completely new to us, we were so excited to take a look and session our way down, down! Lucky for us, we had Canyons trail crew to show us how it’s done. We have to give ‘mad props’ to Canyons for building a trail that will keep them on the radar for years to come and put a huge smile on the face of even the most seasoned freeriders. This time, earlier in our visit to Canyons, we did notice that Wild Mouse, Rally Cat, and Split Decision had been, dare we say, slightly ‘dumbed-down’ since our last visit in 2013. But wait, before you condemn us for saying the “d” word, GoPro Double Down makes up for any negative feelings we briefly had for the trail crew and Vail Resorts. Their decision to ‘take-the-edge off’ of some of their other flow trails isn’t that big of a deal with the existence of Double Down on the mountain.
The Groms! Left to right: Alex Mallen, Finley Kirschenmann, Luke Mallen, and Jonah Brinkerhoff.
Oh, but we’re not done! Overall, Canyons is definitely a ‘flow’ oriented bike park. However, if your fire needs a solid dose of steep TECH-GNAR to get it started, then the newly carved-out from the side of the mountain, Canyons Downhill trail will practically make you spontaneously combust! Welcome to the vertical world with this one. Descending 1,350ft. towards the base of the mountain, Canyons Downhill will test your skills through rock gardens, off rock drops and off camber sections. Just make sure you have good brake pads for this one. And don’t take your friend who has issues with exposure! Your helmets show just above the shrub line and you can see the gondola going across the canyon for most of the trail. Although, we don’t recommend looking for it while you are riding.
Did he hit dirt? Oh yeah, Beau Brinkerhoff knows how to do it.
Locals rule at Canyons Bike Park. With a relatively long mountain biking season, a ton of all-mountain/XC trails, and community skills parks, not surprisingly, this area breeds talent. Aside from the trail crew, who are fantastic riders, we had the opportunity to photo and video a group of super-grom local rippers. Ranging in age from 7-to-11 years old, these young rock-stars on bikes are the future. With no fear and skills to back it up, we had such a good time ‘sessioning’ the bike park with them! We also got to ride with some of the parents of these kids, and we can attest to their skills as riders as well. Most of the parents came from a skiing background. They see the future in the bike park world and have the foresight to get their kids out on the trails while they are young, just as they were brought up on skis. This is brilliant forward thinking in our opinion. Ask any grown adult you meet at a bike park and most will say they wished bike parks were around when they were a kid. The pack of groms made everything look easy. We expect to see more and more pro riders to come from this area with Red Bull Rampage just down south; Big Mountain riding is only a short drive away for most locals in Utah.
We had a couple fly bys that we caught on camera.
Fly by number two.