Snow Summit With Robyn
10 Jul 2018
Snow Summit Bike Park is currently the only lift access bike park in Southern California. It draws riders from Los Angeles, San Diego, and the nearby Inland Empire. Heads up, this means there will be a lot of riders here on any given Saturday or Sunday! The dirt is mostly decomposed granite. Meaning it’s dusty and there are frequent patches of deep mysterious kitty litter sand. Local riders ride sandy stuff year round, so we don’t mind. Just remember your goggles and go easy on the brakes. Plenty of people will be on downhill bikes, since this is essentially the only place to take one out to play in SoCal, but a 160 travel trail bike is perfectly at home here and will let you take advantage of some killer cross-country trails that are also accessible from the bike park lifts.
(Tiffany sending it on Miracle Mile step up)
There are not a ton of runs at this park, but Snow Summit has done its best to provide a little something for everyone. There are three main trails in the park: a bermy intermediate trail called Turtle Trail, a crowd pleasing jump line trail called Party Wave, and a trail with just enough tech to keep you on your game called Miracle Mile.
(Party Wave Table Top)
Turtle Trail is all about the berms baby, and it’s the perfect warm up lap. The berms start big and sweeping, then they get nice and tight in the lower half. This trail is a great one to practice getting that perfect tilt, controlling your speed, and slingshotting out of the turns. Turtle Trail might not pack big thrills, but the feeling of railing berm after berm is extremely satisfying!
(Party Wave Table Top)
Party Wave is the big dog jump line. It’s wide. It’s big. It’s boisterous. It will make you want to go fast and send it. The jumps are all table tops, and they don’t have any lip. You have to have jumping skills to get more than a foot off the ground on these jumps. If big jumps are your thing, this is your kind of party. Conversely, if you’re just learning to jump, these jumps are very user friendly since they don’t have any lip to them. You can cruise up and pop a little or not at all. The undulation of the jump lines is very nice, and the trail will narrow at points and zip through trees providing a little variety. There are some massive and steep wall rides about half way down. I was told to “envision success,” but I mainly envisioned my way around them. Party Wave is, at heart, a fun fast trail that can be ridden a lot of different ways by differently skilled riders. Rest assured, you will do laps on Party Wave, and you will have a big smile at the bottom every time.
(Party Wave hip jump)
Miracle Mile is for the technically oriented. It is, in fact, the only trail with any texture to it. It features a wood ramp step up gap at the top. This is visible to your left when you are riding the lift. So make sure you don’t case it for the crowd if you try it! Next you’ll go through a chunky rock garden into some paved turns with dirt eroded out in curious places. Watch your lines on this one, but hit it as fast as you dare for a thrill or two. The signs that say “drop” actually have ramps. These places are only drops if you hold maximum speed to send them. If you slow down to scope out the upcoming “drop” you’ll just cruise down a ramp. No drop. Wah... wah… There’s also a wooden right turn that makes me think I’m going to fly off into nothing and a few very steep sections. This trail has a few “oh sh*t” moments every time, which makes me love it. When pressed for a favorite trail at Snow Summit, I’ve always oscillated between Party Wave and Miracle Mile. Then on my last visit, I tried the cross-country, and now there’s a third contender!
(Steep paver section on Miracle Mile)
You can access a huge network of cross-country trials from the top of the Snow Summit lift. I know… you didn’t come to a bike park to ride cross-country, but hear me out. “Cross-country” is a bit of a misnomer when describing the bit that I sampled on my last trip. Don’t think pedaling fast on dull flat trails for hours. Think of your favorite wooded, tight, fast, fun, three mile, singletrack descent. Now think of the beauty of riding that without having to pedal up to do it. That’s what Snow Summit lift access cross-country lets you do, and it’s pure trail riding heaven! I rode Fallline Trail at the insistence of the bike patrol guy I requested a recommendation from. It blew my expectations out of the water. Next time I visit Snow Summit, I’m going to do a lot more exploring on the cross-country network! Make sure to pick up a copy of Follett’s Local Trail Map to explore these trails. The trails are signed, but the roads that are used as connectors can be a little confusing.
(View of Big Bear Lake from lift)
Some other great features of Snow Summit Bike Park are: fantastic food at the top and the bottom of the lift, a nice views of Big Bear Lake from the lift, and a pro-shop without much of a mark-up if you’re the type to forget an essential piece of gear. There is also a very nice wooded campground right at the base of the cross-country trails and pedaling distance to the lift.
(All the foods)