WBP Review: Snow Summit - Part 1
7 Jul 2015
When you think of SoCal, one might think of sunshine-bleached-hair, miles of beaches, and skateboards of all sizes. But not for us! When we think about SoCal, we think about Snow Summit’s bike park with florescent kitted up riders, some hotshot attitudes (but generally in a good way), and BBQ with potato salad up at the top of the lift station. Oh, and SNL’s “The Californians” skit, of course! This summer our plan has been to stay in a few locations for an extended period time. We want to see what its like to live like the locals do. The last few summers have been amazing, but extremely booked-tight within a locked-down calendar of events. Not this summer. This summer is all about flow, and we wanted Westridge…we mean Snow Summit to bring us to that groovy place. Lucky for us, we found a spot to park our RV and thus began a two and half week SoCal vacay, packed with riding, boating, fire, new friends, cat calling, and eating like champs. Even our dog Dude started running with a new pack.
Coming back to Snow Summit is always like coming home for us. The friendly staff always makes us feel welcome. This is the first time we’ve ridden at Snow Summit during the week and there’s still no shortage of riders. Although, nothing compares to the weekends where people swirl around a labyrinth of barriers to catch a lift to the top. The day we arrived, a forest fire had started just over the mountain and there was quite a stir of fear arising amongst the locals. The fire was growing fast, and the bike park was quite thick with smoke when the wind was blowing towards the city of Big Bear Lake. The fire burned the whole time we were there, but fortunately the fire fighters in California are quite good at what they do and they managed to get the conflagration contained. A little bit of rain helped too! It was only smoky for the first week we were there, and after that, we barely noticed it anymore.
(Big Bear in the Village!)
Snow Summit’s Bike Expo was happening the first weekend we were there, but unfortunately, the forest fire kept some of the vendors and riders at home. We still enjoyed ourselves and didn’t hear any riders complaining about the smoke. In fact, we never heard any complaining coming from riders even though their choices of trails are limited to only three. The much needed and anticipated green trail that would start at the top of the mountain is still elusive and a huge downer for Snow Summit. The approval process is still on going with the Forest Service. We see this as a massive issue, as every bike park should have a trail for novice riders of all ages. And, not just a gravel road to skid down, like we’ve seen at so many other bike parks in the U.S. Every bike park needs a bonafide “green” trail, with berms, small rock-garden options, even wide wooden features are a must for the novice rider to get a feel for what to expect on a more advanced trail. This is so important! We are quite baffled by the hold-up from Forest Service. In fact, we think you should write to them and tell them to approve a green trail from off the top of chair (#2).
Email or call here:
Jody Noiron, Forest Supervisor - San Bernardino - firstname.lastname@example.org 909-382-2600
(The new pumptrack at Snow Summit is popular with the groms and big-kids too!)
While we were there, they were in the process of constructing a new skill-building area, which already has in place a new pump-track and a very short, ½ mile, green trail called, Small Wonder. We had the opportunity to ride this new trail that starts from the top of chair (#4). It’s a great start, but a beginner rider would need to advance to the green trail from off the top of the main lift. We don’t see how a new rider will be able to advance from riding Small Wonder to hitting the jumps on Westridge up top. Not to mention you have to ride Party Wave, which is a black-rated trail, in order to get to the blue trail Westridge. Yes, there are go-arounds for most of the features, but this is unfair and not always safe for newbies and experts alike.
That’s our rant…moving on…
No wait! One more thing! Green trails are not just for new riders, but are also a great way to warm up the muscles and bones before getting shred-nasty! Okay done.
(Rock garden near the bottom of the new beginner trail called "Small Wonder".)
The biggest change that we saw on the mountain was on Westridge. It’s a Blue-rated trail that you can access from Party Wave (a black-rated trail). Westridge is a flow/jump trail with some pretty massive tabletops, some of which have steep take-offs and correspondingly steep landings. Unfortunately, to us, it seemed more like a black-rated trail with go-arounds than a blue-rated trail with black options. But, with that said, Westridge is an awesome trail, and it’s probably the most trafficked trail out of the three in the bike park.
(Wall ride on "Westridge". Max speed is required. Liz Miller knows!)
We had a blast filming our first “girls” only ride on Party Wave & Westridge with some local rippers/racers Sarah Viggers and Liz Miller. Thanks ladies for showing us how it’s done and making it look easy. Keep being awesome!
(Sarah Viggers getting sideways off wall ride #2.)
Next week we will have a part two article with photos & video of Craig Harvey… another local racer who’s been tearing it up on the enduro scene out west right now with a recent 2nd place finish in Sun Valley, ID.
To read about stop #1 at Stevens Pass in Washington go here and report card. For stop #2 Mammoth Mountain article go here or report card...check it out.