Lightning Bolts With Mallen Twins
2 Aug 2018
The Mallen Twins Visit Thunder Mountain Bike Park in Massachusetts
The yearly trip to Grandma’s house was a little different this time, as we decided to head up for a day trip to Thunder Mountain Bike Park to do some investigating, and see what it was all about. Thunder Mountain is a Gravity Logic built park so the boys were excited, as they are very familiar with their flow trail builds. We decided not to bring our bikes this time, as we were realistically only going to be there for a ½ day. Upon further forethought though, next year we will not only bring our bikes, but our friends too, and we’ll stay for a few days. This park is at the top of our family’s list of, “favorite bikeparks in North America”. In the meantime, the awesome guys at the bike shop set the boys up on full suspension bikes, and sent them on their way.
We arrived around mid morning, and met up with the Marketing Director Gabe, Mountain Guide Delaney, and Social Media Manager Ryder. The boys hit it off with the crew right away, and vanished immediately. They spent the morning on the left side of the mountain, riding some of the gnarlier downhill trails like Juggernaughtand Winetree, “legit” downhill trails. After a brief thunder-hold (fitting), and some lunch at the Grill, they were back at it. They hit trails, Back of the Shack to Rocky Roadto Blue Puliskito Hawleywood, this is when it got real. They did not want to leave, and in fact they want to move to Berkshire East. They spent the rest of the day lapping trails. The boys rode all of the most difficult trails, however, Thunder Mountain offers something for everyone. The Gronkis a perfect intermediate jump line trail that follows Hawleywoodall the way down. Because Gravity Logic built these trails, the flow trails are wide, fast and built well with the idea of progression in mind. They trained and built along side with the trail crew from Berkshire East / Thunder Mountain, so the crew understands how to maintain the trails. There is also drainage installed on some of the larger jump line trails and step ups, and we found that the humidity worked in the favor of the park, keeping the moon dust at bay. The boys had an amazing time, and we will for sure be back...with friends!
A few things to know before you go.
Thunder Mountain Bike Park operates on Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Massachusetts. It opened May 26th, and closes November 4th, 2018. Early and late season hours are subject to change due to weather.
Adult full day $45 - ½ day $34
Junior (14 and under) full day $30, 1/2 day $20
There are also several options for seasons passes. We really like the fact that there is a junior pass option at $199 (set price, before and after May 3).
Adult $369 before May 3rd, and $469 after.
For the locals who both bike and ski, there is a combo pass offering both adult and jr. prices set at $849.
Hours of operation:
Tuesday & Wednesday CLOSED
Be sure to check their website for early and late season hours of operation, and they vary due to weather.
Rentals and Lessons:
If you, like us, are coming up to the park for a day and have traveled from the west, you may want to consider renting a bike at the park. All rentals are well cared for and perfect for this style of riding. They also offer damage insurance for an extra $20, which is never a bad thing. All bike rentals come with the protective gear: full-face helmet, body armor, knee and shin pads. Their rental fleet consists of the Santa Cruz V10, Yeti SB 5.5, Juliana Strega CR, Yeti SB 6, Fury GT , Giant Glory, Specialized Demo and for the groms, a Transition Ripcord 24”.
There are also several lesson and rental packages, which we have found to be a good thing especially when you are in a place you are unfamiliar with!
Thunder Mountain101:“Intro to downhill mountain biking” lesson. It is a good deal at $110, which includes, downhill bike rental, all of your protective gear, lift ticket, and a two-hour lesson with a certified instructor.
Thunder Mountain201: you receive a special promotion at the end of your 101 class for $150. This includes 2 bike rentals and 2 lift tickets that can be used on two separate visits.
If you have all of your own gear, and just want to borrow a guide to show you around and assist you in improving your bikepark skills, the group lessons are the best deal at $40 for 2 hours of maximum shredding.
If you do take a lesson or borrow a guide, just like ski school -- don't forget to tip! Be sure to call ahead to check on rental and lesson availability or to book your lesson and reserve rental equipment - 413-339-6617. You can also book rentals on line
Resort eating can usually break the bank. We are used to the big resort prices out west, so we were pleasantly surprised at the price of the offerings from The Grill, as they were very reasonable! Between $10 and $12 we had our choice of a burger, grilled chicken salad or hot dog. Each came with chips and a bottled drink. The food was amazing, and having all of us in tow, on a vacation, it was good to know that we had the options of good food at a great price.
Thunder Mountain Bikepark operates as Berkshire East Mountain Resort (for mom it was a blast from the past, as she ski raced there a million years ago). It is roughly two hours from Boston Logan Airport, an hour and ½ from Bradley International in Hartford, CT. It is about 20 minutes off I-91 – so a really easy run up the east coast. Just be sure not to hit Springfield Massachusetts during rush hour, it is a zoo.
If you want to bring your own bikes, which we will for sure be doing next year, I suggest logging on to BikeFlights and requesting an estimate of shipping cost. It is for sure less expensive than taking your bike with you on the plane, and you can guarantee it will actually arrive as they are shipped via Fedex. United Airlines lost several of the Outlaw MTB Teams’ Commencal bikes as the boys’ teammates and coach headed to West Virginia this year for Nationals. They got them back AFTER the race. The bikes returned home on another airline, for an additional fee, of course.
Berkshire East/Thunder Mountain Bike Park resides in the quintessential New England mountain town. There are numerous small quaint hotels also bed and breakfasts. They’re mostly located on the river, so after riding, it is the best way to cool off... They have a link to The Warfield House inn on their website, and it looks amazing.
There is also camping, for us bike park folks who travel around in trailers – this is a huge plus! For $25 per night gets you a spot for a vehicle and 4 people , as well as access to showers and bathrooms. I foresee an east coast bike park road trip happening next year.
In all, this park is a gem. Between the meticulously managed and variety packed trails, places to stay and camp, river to swim in, the friendly people and great food, makes this place one of the top bike park to visit. If you find yourself on the east coast, I highly suggest checking out Thunder Mountain Bike Park! Just a word of warning though, you may never want to leave.
Written by @thosemallentwins mom, Liz Mallen
The 10 year old Mallen Twins Luke and Alex reside with their mom and dad in Sandy, Utah. When they are not out sending it on their bikes, they are trying to one up each other at whatever else they are doing. Alex and Luke are the youngest kids invited to join the Commencal USA Jr. Cartel Rider Development Team, and enjoy riding with their Utah based gravity team The Outlaw MTB Team all over the country. They are currently preparing for a month-long trip to compete in Whistler / Crankworx Aline race, as well as several ProGRT races across the Western United States. Follow their adventures and antics on Instagram @thosemallentwins