AUG 2015 - MOUNTAIN BIKING
Singletrack in the Southern Adirondacks
Greater Diversity in Two Riding Parks
By Steve Ovitt
Singletrack mountain bike trails designed and built to deliver exceptional riding experiences have finally arrived in Warren County. Up until the last couple of years local mountain bikers have had to travel hours to get to quality singletrack riding. That has changed with the development of extensive and growing trail systems at Ski Bowl Park in North Creek and the Gurney Lane Park in Queensbury. Both trail systems have been developed on town owned parks utilizing professional outdoor recreation consulting and trail building specialist Wilderness Property Management. These trail systems have been designed to offer a wide variety of mountain bike specific riding experiences from expert technical trails to smooth easy flow trails.
Flow, rollers, banks, gravity drops, rock riding, tree banks, log riding and handle bar moves are present at each of the parks. The initial push in 2013 and 2014 was to put as much well-designed sustainable trail on the ground as possible at each park. Now in addition to growing the trail systems, there is an emphasis on creating a greater diversity of riding experiences and features.
Gurney Lane Park – In 2015, Gurney Lane Park has added 2K of machine and hand built flow trail with rollers, and banks and a kilometer of trail with dozens of technical boulder riding opportunities. Additionally there have been upgraded trail features added to the previous year’s trails.
This adds up to just under 10K of singletrack trail in a system that includes awesome gravity drops on Erratic’s downhill, rocks to ride that are bigger than your bike on Rock Buster, and an intersection with trails Salsa, Surf and Coaster that is called Birmingham to give your imagination an idea of what the riding is like.
Gurney offers something for everybody, starting with smooth open flow trail on Home Page, and then progresses to more challenging trails as you get farther from the park entrance.
Trail Descriptions: From Home Page climb up Twitter, on your return trip ride the flow down on the east side of Twitter. Tumblr is the closest challenging trail that should be ridden down from the top of Twitter. Excalibur takes you to the more challenging trails and demands that you ride some rock on the way.
Rogue is your climbing trunk trail that allows you to do reps on Erratic, DWI and TNT. The banked flow turns and fast trail on the downhill portion of Rogue are alone worth the trip to Gurney. Ride Coaster to Salsa all the way to the upper parking lot in one continuous ride to have the ultimate forest flow trail experience, and return on Surf to do it over again.
North Creek Ski Bowl Park – In 2015 Ski Bowl Park saw the completion of its Snakes Tongue natural terrain park; the addition of banks and rollers to Hoot; rock work, corduroy and banked turns on Alternative; and upgrades on Lower Raymond Brook Downhill, Heart Brake and Ski Bowl Loop. In late summer there will be a kilometer of trail constructed with some nice banked turns from the top of the Village Lift to the 46er Trail.
The Ski Bowl Park has 14K of singletrack trail that all but the Raymond Brook Downhill were designed to ride in both directions, giving you the opportunity to ride 25K in an afternoon or morning.
Trail Descriptions: The Snakes Tongue terrain park has three trails that maximize the high banks of a forked drainage, and a connected long rock ledge riding opportunity. Mo is a fun set of momentum drops; Curly has high-banked riding opportunities that include a rock ledge face ride on one of the turns; and On-The-Rocks is a very challenging expert technical rock ledge riding loop.
Alternative is the trail that gives you everything. Multiple alternative lines, as the name suggests, are available on a 2.2K loop. You can ride big rock drops, fast flow trail with rollers to ride over or ride off of, tree banks and rocked stream crossings, and the list goes on.
Heart Brake is for the physically fit, old-style technical trail rider who loves climbing, tight turns and trail with a narrow tread.
The Lower Raymond Brook Downhill is overlooked by many visitors, which may be good thing for intermediates, and a crying shame for experts. Grind the 2K up the Ski Bowl Connector to the Rabbit Pond/Raymond Brook intersection, and you will be rewarded with a drop of 435 feet in just over a kilometer on your way to NY Route 28. It flows, it’s fast and rocky – making it a downhiller’s dream.
Trail maps for these two areas can be found on the “Trail Maps & Docs” page at wildernesspropertymanagement.com.
Location is key for both of these trail systems. The Ski Bowl Park trail system starts beside the Johnsburg Town Hall, right of off Main Street in North Creek. The Gurney Lane Mountain Bike Park is less than half-a-mile west of I-87, exit 20, on Gurney Lane Road. Many local residents and visiting tourists can ride right from their homes or lodging to these trail systems with opportunities to grab a coffee on the way out and a beer on the way home.
The concept, planning, design and construction for these trail systems was completed by Wilderness Property Management, Inc., a local recreation development company. The owners, Sylvia and Steve Ovitt, have been responsible for creating and constructing over 50 miles of mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and hiking trails in the southern Adirondacks over the last 11 years.
WPM creates only environmentally-sound sustainable trails, adheres to the best trail standards, and strives to create new and better standards for trails and outdoor recreation facilities. I say, “A trail should be something more than a whole through the woods with roots and rocks!”
Steve Ovitt (email@example.com) of North Creek co-owns Wilderness Property Management, Inc., with his wife Sylvia. A NYS Forest Ranger for 25 years with experience in recreation, risk management, construction and outdoor education, Steve is an avid outdoorsman who mountain bikes, skis, hikes, and teaches Adventure Sports classes at SUNY Adirondack in Queensbury.