#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 4

Level

The third of the “Four L’s,” “level,” refers to keeping your torso and shoulders relatively level to the ground and not letting them dip into the turn and/or inside the bike. You want to move your bike laterally under you, leaning your bike, not your body. Riders often get into trouble when they lean their bodies into a flat non bermed turn causing a loss of traction and/or balance. Remembering to stay level will help you avoid this pitfall. Of course, there are times when leaning your body can be useful, but in general there are few negatives in staying level.

LB2015.07.73 goodlevelcroppedIn the above image Doug is letting the bike move laterally under him, keeping his torso “quiet.”

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The image above is an example of tipping into and being inside of the turn. Doug is demonstrating incorrect technique in this image.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember these tips can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

Summer is all about trails! 

I started hiking and biking in early May this year, and to keep my excitement high through the rest of the summer, I recently chatted with Charlie Sturgis, Executive Director of the Mountain Trails Foundation. This organization is involved with everything trail related around Park City. Charlie told story of his Foundation, its current projects and its future goals.

JF: How did you get involved with outdoors sports and activities?

Charlie Sturgis: I’ve always been an outdoorsman, I grew up in Chicago but was always involved with hunting, fishing and skiing. I remember visiting Snowbird in 1974. That’s when I fell in love with the Wasatch Mountains and declared then and there: “This is really cool!” That is how I made Utah my home. I finished my college education at the University of Utah and went to work for Mountaineer Sports and then Wasatch Touring in Salt Lake City. I had a ball! I skied, rock climbed, ice climbed, mountain biked and kayaked wherever and whenever I could.

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JF: What brought you up to Park City?

Charlie Sturgis: Contrary to what many people believe, I didn’t actually start White Pine Touring. I came in when it had just begun in a teepee near the old Park West. The original owners asked me to manage the business for them and they eventually sold it to me. The timing was perfect and that’s when I added biking to winter sports, and we became a year round outdoor shop. My wife and I made Park City our home in 1985.

JF: How did you get involved with the Mountain Trail Foundation?

Charlie Sturgis: Jan Wilking and I started establishing the Mountain Trails Foundation, a non-profit organization, to promote trail development around Park City. In 1993 we hired Troy Duffin, our first executive director. Mountain Trail Foundation has been around for 22 years already! I eventually sold White Pine Touring, stayed on for a few more years, and as the Mountain Trail Foundation executive position opened up in 2009, I seized the opportunity.

JF: What was your vision at the start?

Charlie Sturgis: My vision was to make this nonprofit organization work and run more like a business that would become financially sustainable. At first this wasn’t the case, but today memberships represent 40% of our income, 20% to 25% comes from corporate sponsorship, another 20% to 25% is the product of races and events we organize, and the balance comes from special grants. This allow us to make decisions because we have money in the bank.

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JF: Did you find inspiration at other resorts?

Charlie Sturgis: Not really. From the get-go, things have really worked out well for us. Our growth has been organic, and when success came, we decided to share our best practices; IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) is the “mothership” of an organization like ours, but we really stand as the good example out there. We’re in assuming a leadership position in the outdoors community and remain willing and ready to share our expertise and mentor other organizations.

JF: Who was your audience then, and what is it today?

Charlie Sturgis: Based on surveys, we seem to have as many hikers as we have mountain bikers. We support and advocate for non-motorized recreation. Our audience is everyone from grandparents to their grandkids, hardcore athletes and casual weekend recreationists.

JF: Non-motorized? Then tell me, how do electric bikes fit in the picture?

Charlie Sturgis: The dust has yet to settle on the use of e-mountain bikes. At this point, I’d like to leave you with a few thoughts: Besides some legal issues related to the way conservation easements are written, the electric assisted bike offers an opportunity to someone who wouldn’t normally be getting out, to enjoy the outdoors. It provides an option to easily leave one’s car home. These two goals can easily be accomplished. If today, someone on an e-bike is straying on a trail by mistake, the overall good outweighs the occasional incursion.

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JF: Over time, has your work evolved or is it still the same?

Charlie Sturgis: My job has become more administrative, something I’m not too crazy about, and more regional, in the sense that our influence reaches beyond Park City which is a very good thing.

JF: What are the opportunities for your Foundation in the greater Park City area?

Charlie Sturgis: We’re working on plans to connect all seven adjoining ski areas by trails, so bikers and hikers can go from town to town and use all lifts in between. I’d like to see the Great Western Trail be completed, but at the same time would like to see a more organic growth to our programs, so we don’t get carried away by doing too many things, too fast, and lose control over the users’ experience.

JF: Is the local business community supporting what you do?

Charlie Sturgis: Yes, they are supportive and they would be foolish not too!

JF: How do you see Deer Valley’s Mid Mountain extension fitting into the overall picture?

Charlie Sturgis: Anytime someone is willing to let us build a trail across their land, as it is the case with the Bald Eagle Homeowners Association, we should jump on the chance! Steve Graff, Deer Valley’s Ski Patrol/Mountain Bike Manager, wanted us to get involved with the build. Deer Valley’s Mid Mountain extension is going to provide an easier way down the mountain for the typical family, a gentler trail should make it a lot easier for mom, dad and the kids to get down in confidence. No matter what the size of trail infrastructure a resort can offer, it is important to think of easier access and egress points.

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JF: How can readers of this blog help Mountain Trail Foundation?

Charlie Sturgis: All non-profit organizations often go unnoticed and the Mountain Trail Foundation is no exception. Any contribution, no matter how small, is always meaningful and in the long run, contributes to the non-motorized cause!

 

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 3

Loose

Our second “L,” “loose,” is all about letting the bike work under you. As in any athletic endeavor, it’s important to keep your body loose while biking. In allowing your arms and legs to move long and short you gain more suspension than just what’s on your bike. Having a death grip on your handle bars and riding rigid will only leave your body fatigued and you will constantly get thrown off balance. The looser you ride, the more fun you’ll have moving with the terrain, not bracing against it.

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Doug allows his body to work with the terrain, flexing and extending through the trail’s rollers.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember these tips can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 2

Look

“Look” is the first of what we like to call the “Four L’s.” For both inexperienced and experienced riders a common tendency is to look just ahead of your front wheel.  This does not allow you to anticipate what is coming next and makes us ride defensively. Being able to anticipate line choice and braking zones as well as the looking through corners and technical zones of the trail are the keys to a successful ride. So keep your chin up and your eyes down the trail.

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Doug demonstrates how to look beyond your front tire. His bike is turning but his eyes are already looking to the next part of the trail.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember these tips can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 1

Hi! My name is Lara and I am the Senior Communications Coordinator for Deer Valley Resorts. Each Thursday of the #DeerValleySummer I’ll be sharing a mountain bike tip from our Mountain Bike School. Today we kick it off with the “Neutral Position.”

The neutral position, also known as the “attack” position, is an effective tool used in handling the more technical aspects of mountain biking. In the neutral position you should be standing on your pedals, both feet parallel to the ground, in a loose athletic stance with elbows out and chest low. This allows for movement of the bike under your body and can be especially useful when going downhill, coming to a change in pitch or terrain, or any rough or technical section. In this position you are not pedaling, but already have momentum to propel you forward on the trail. Think of the neutral position as a foundation for being able to do more on your mountain bike – staying seated limits the possibilities.

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LB2015.07.15.dougneutral1croppedWe hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember these tips can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

 

This Bike Doctor Makes Housecalls

Troy Michaud started Flying Sprocket, a mobile bicycle repair service a few years ago. I have used it for the past two seasons to my utmost satisfaction. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Troy to learn more about his unique business.

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JF: Troy, what brought you to Park City?

Troy Michaud: I came from the East Coast; I was working as a technician in a bike shop, then I traveled to Utah on a ski trip and decided to stay. First in Salt Lake and now in Park City; I’m still here seven years later.

JF: What got you into the bike business?

Troy Michaud: I was road bike racing, I was busy “chasing points” all over, east of the Mississippi, holding a semi professional license, and having fun with it. I was training, exploring and meeting all kinds of new people. I took it as far as I could while I was still holding a 40-hour a week job on top of it; a lot of work, but definitely well worth it!

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JF: How would you describe Flying Sprocket?

Troy Michaud: It’s a mobile bicycle repair service.

JF: How did you come up with the idea?

Troy Michaud: While I still was in Salt Lake City, I was wondering what could I do for myself, be my own boss and still stay in the bike industry? I was afraid of a brick and mortar business and of the seasonal nature of a ski town, but I wanted to do something very unique. After seeing mobile dog grooming services and mobile car detailing around, I thought why not the mobile bicycle service? Here I am, four years later, with more work than I know what to do with.

JF: Which services do you offer?

Troy Michaud: Three quarters of the work I do are tune-ups. This means all gear adjustments, brake adjustments, bike cleaning, checking all the nuts and bolts. Then, if the bike needs parts, I’ve got plenty of wear-and-tear products on my van, like chains, cables, brake pads, tires and tubes. I can special items within 24 hours, just like your typical bike shop would.

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JF: How far do you go to service your clients?

Troy Michaud: About seventy-five percent of my clients are located within the Park City  general area. I’ll occasionally do some work in Salt Lake and I even have a client in Bountiful.

JF: How does your service work?

Troy Michaud: First clients set up an appointment. I follow up by calling them to make sure all needs are covered. The only down-time for the customer is the time I’m working on the bike in their own driveway.

JF: Do you go on trails?

Troy Michaud: Not really. I’ve done it on occasions when I wasn’t busy elsewhere, but it’s only an exception.

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JF: What are the most overlooked maintenance steps by riders?

Troy Michaud: It definitely is the wear-and-tear aspect of the bike. Brake pads, drive train including crank, chain ring and cassette. Of course, keeping a bike clean is very important.

JF: How often should people bring their bike for professional service?

Troy Michaud: It depends on riding frequency: If they ride one or two days a week, they can get away with one tune a year. If it’s four times a week, about two hours each time, it should at least be twice a season. More than that should be scheduled even more frequently. Mountain bikes will require more frequent servicing than road bikes.

JF: From your own standpoint what are the advantages of using your services?

Troy Michaud: Convenience is by far the greatest advantage. There’s hardly any downtime with your bike. All shops have great technicians; you can have a great experience with one particular person, but if you bring your bike back, it might not be the same individual working on it. With me, you know that I’m the same person, each time, working on your bike.

JF: How can people contact you?

Troy Michaud: A few different ways. There’s my website FlyingSprocket.com, email me at troy@flyingsprocket.com , or call or text me at 435 640 1006. If I cannot take your call, leave a message or send me a text at this same number, and I’ll get back to you that same day!

Major Mountain Bike Trail Improvements, New Dining and Concerts Usher in Deer Valley Resort’s 2015 Summer Season

As the mountains turn from white to green, Deer Valley Resort reopens its doors and lifts to guests looking to experience summer play available day and night on its mountains. From the rush of a mountain bike descent through the trees or an exhilarating hike along a ridge top to lunch served al fresco and open air evening concerts, Deer Valley offers an unparalleled alpine escape. New this season, guests can relish in summer season longer, as Deer Valley has extended its summer operations to include weekends after Labor Day through Sunday, September 20, 2015, conditions permitting.

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Summer 2015 mountainside activities promise to provide an even higher level of enjoyment as Deer Valley Resort embarks on its largest-ever summer investment to modernize and update its existing mountain biking/hiking trail inventory. Deer Valley Resort enlisted world-renowned bike resort development company, Gravity Logic, to conduct a feasibility analysis of the current mountain bike/hike trail system and provide improvement recommendations. Select recommendations provided by Gravity Logic will occur throughout the 2015 summer season, beginning in June and finishing in mid-August.

“Gravity Logic is known for having designed and built some of the planet’s most well-known, most-ridden and time-tested trails,” said Steve Graff, mountain bike manager for Deer Valley Resort. “We are excited to work with one of the most prominent designers in the world to create an even greater resort trail system that has more mass appeal for novice to expert bikers.”

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One of the scheduled improvements includes a two- to three-mile downhill mountain bike intermediate “flow” trail. This trail will be machine excavated and in-sloped with berms, rollers and jumps. To date, the majority of Deer Valley’s trails have been hand-built. The trail will be approximately four feet wide, as opposed to Deer Valley’s mostly single track trails, and will lead from the top of Bald Mountain to Silver Lake.

“Deer Valley Resort has an expansive network of mountain biking and hiking trails and the resort is already a favorite summertime destination for mountain bikers and hikers said Rob Cocquyt, owner/director of Gravity Logic. “Our goal is to work closely with Deer Valley’s in-house team to enhance what is already in place to elevate the experience for riders/hikers of all ages, skills and interests.”

In addition to trail work with Gravity Logic, Deer Valley and Mountain Trails Foundation have partnered to create an extension of the Mid-mountain trail. The trail will lead from Silver Lake to the Deer Crest trail, eliminating the climb from Silver Lake to the top of Bald Eagle and circumnavigating Bald Eagle.

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“For outdoor, nature, relaxation and music enthusiasts, Deer Valley Resort truly has it all,” said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort. “Summers at the resort offer guests the unique opportunity to try new outdoor activities, challenge themselves physically, discover an appreciation for nature, create lasting family memories and rejuvenate the senses—all experienced in generally mild, pleasant temperatures.”

Summer operations at the resort run seven days a week from June 19 through Labor Day, September 7, 2015, then weekends only through September 20, 2015, weather and conditions permitting. Lift-served mountain biking/hiking and scenic rides are offered from the Silver Lake Express chairlift at Snow Park, the mid-mountain Sterling Express chairlift and the Ruby Express chairlift at Empire Canyon. Summer chairlifts operate from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (conditions permitting) and ample parking is available at Snow Park Lodge. The resort website provides detailed information on mountain biking and hiking/scenic ride lift ticket rates, as well as information on bike rentals, clinics and tours.

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For evening play, Deer Valley Resort brings in an exciting lineup of celebrated singers/songwriters/musicians to entertain guests at open-air, mountainside concerts. To compliment any evening concert, Deer Valley features Gourmet Picnic Baskets or Bags filled with delicious epicurean items from Deer Valley’s kitchens, with options for children’s single bags, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian meals.

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The summer calendar of events features a complete line-up of outdoor concerts at the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater and mountain bike races. Beyond the resort, the Park City surrounding area provides a wide variety of activities, such as golf, river tubing and rafting, boating, horseback riding, ATV adventures, shopping, dining, theaters and historical museums and tours.

With Deer Valley Resort Lodging and Reservations serving not only as property manager but also as the booking agency, guests have access to the largest selection of accommodations with the best service and availability, in the Deer Valley area. Deer Valley’s expert Vacation Planners are available to help guests book and plan outings and adventures tailored to their individual needs.

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When the fun and excitement of summertime activities leave the body famished, Deer Valley now offers four delicious options for refueling. For Deer Valley guests and visitors looking to grab a quick bite or more, the new Silver Lake Snack Shack will now be open daily during the summer season. Located in the Silver Lake Ski Corral at mid-mountain, the shack offers wrap sandwiches, picnic snacks, beverages, beer, desserts and ice cream sandwiches. The shack is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 19 through September 7, 2015, then September 12, 13, 19 and 20, 2015.

Royal Street Café offers a casual atmosphere with scenic deck dining and creative American and international cuisine the entire family can enjoy. Royal Street Café serves creative appetizers, salads and specialties such as a fresh Dungeness crab tower with avocado and sauces of wasabi, ginger-soy and sweet chili, tuna tartare with wild arugula, truffle oil and lemon salad and of course, the famed maple bacon, barbeque bison burger. You’ll also find an equally exciting children’s menu, fine wines, beer and refreshing cocktails. Open for lunch daily June 19, through Labor Day, September 7, 2015, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  Royal Street Café is located mid-mountain at Silver Lake Lodge adjacent to Deer Valley’s Silver Lake Express chairlift.

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Enjoy the view and mountain air while dining lakeside on the outdoor deck at Deer Valley Grocery~Café serving fresh roasted coffee and espresso drinks, salads made with local seasonal ingredients, panini sandwiches, creative appetizer and entrée specials, freshly baked breads, desserts, cakes and other items. A selection of gourmet grocery items, house prepared take-away entrées as well as wine, beer, liquor and seasonal cocktails are available for purchase. Deer Valley Grocery~Café, located in the Deer Valley Plaza building in the Snow Park area, is open daily 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (With extended evening hours until 8:30 p.m. June 19, through Labor Day, September 7, 2015.)  Please call 435-615-2400 for to-go orders.

The Brass Tag restaurant, located in the Lodges at Deer Valley, is open daily from 4 to 9 p.m. and serves their full dinner menu from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The menu features Deer Valley-inspired brick oven cuisine including fresh seafood skillets, seared meats, oven roasted fresh fish, locally sourced produce, seasonal flatbreads and specialty sides. A full bar, beer and wine are also available.

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For Deer Valley’s younger guests, ranging in age from 2 months to 12 years, the resort’s Summer Adventure Camp offers creative activities that ensure campers have fun while learning and connecting with nature. Based out of the Children’s Center at Snow Park Lodge and running Monday through Friday June 8 through August 19, 2015 (no camp on July 3 or 24), Summer Adventure Camp features hiking, hillside playgrounds, indoor entertainment and performances, a bouldering rock-climbing wall and a full supply of craft projects, games, puzzles and more.

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Deer Valley’s convenient location, just 36 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport, affords guests more time to enjoy their alpine retreat. Guests leaving either coast in the morning can be settled at the resort by early afternoon, ready for outdoor play or comfortable relaxation.

For more information on Deer Valley’s summer mountain biking, hiking, scenic chairlift rides, outdoor concerts and dining operations, please visit the resort website.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Lesson

The #DeerValleySummer is filled with more adventures than I could have ever imagined. Friends and family ask me all of the time, “What do you do when the ski season is over?” Lift-served mountain biking, hiking, concerts, standup paddleboarding, the list goes on and on. The question isn’t what do I do, it’s how do I find time to do it all?

Before I started working at Deer Valley, I didn’t know you could take a mountain bike lesson. I soon became aware that Deer Valley Resort’s Bike School offers knowledgeable mountain bike instructors who will teach you the proper techniques to help you ride safely and confidently, while navigating the nearly 70 miles of trails at Deer Valley Resort.

I signed up for a mountain bike lesson so I could learn the ropes of downhill mountain biking. Unlike skiing, I had zero experience in mountain biking, unless you count riding my bike around the neighborhood as a child. I knew that if the instructors in the Ski School could turn me into a skier, then the Bike School could turn me into a mountain biker.

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Not having a mountain bike myself, I rented one from the mountain bike rental shop in Deer Valley Resort’s Snow Park Lodge. The rental shop also made sure I had a helmet, elbow pads and shin guards. Going into the lesson, I was very nervous; after leaving the rental shop, I felt prepared to take on the mountain. I met my bike instructor, Doug Gormley, and we made our way outside to start the lesson.

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Doug showed me the basic braking functions of the bike as well as the gears and how to properly shift. He taught me a trick that I used all day; easy or lower gears, use your thumb and harder or higher gears, use your index finger. I was very surprised how light the bike was and the incredible amount of spring in the shocks.

We went over the four basic riding fundamentals I would need for downhill mountain biking; balance in an athletic position, look ahead, smooth braking and controlled momentum. 20140815_101753

Doug asked if I played on my bike as a child. He said that people who have experience on a bike, even if it’s just jumping off curbs, have a huge advantage when it comes to mountain biking. This helped me get into the balanced athletic position or “platform” as Doug called it. Doug emphasized that I needed to be standing on the bike with both pedals even and my weight balanced. Since this was downhill mountain biking, leaning back was encouraged and being light on the handlebars to avoid going over them.

Looking ahead was the next lesson in my biking education. “Don’t look down, you need to see what’s coming up, not what you’re on. Trust your vision and your body to react.” ,Doug stressed. At first this was the most difficult thing for me to do. I wanted to see what I was rolling over. I soon realized that I needed to see what to prepare for and be looking ahead to properly position myself for the upcoming obstacle.

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Smooth braking was the third fundamental Doug taught me before we made our way to the mountain. I learned how to use the front and rear brakes evenly. I had never been on a bike with hydraulic, disc brakes. These were not the same brakes on my 1998 bike I rode around Taylorsville as an 11 year old. I could tell that too much front brake would cause you to fly over the handlebars. Doug showed me how to place my hands so that my index fingers were on the brakes at all times near the end of the handles. This allowed me to evenly brake and not use one more than the other.

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The last of the four fundamentals was learning how to control my momentum. We practiced in the parking lot going down stairs and hills, controlling my momentum, not too fast and not too slow. A consistent motion all the way down was the goal. Doug stressed going into turns slower with a consistent speed and accelerating out of the turn when I felt comfortable to do so. By this time, I was ready to take on the first trail which was Naildriver, Deer Valley’s easiest downhill mountain bike trail on Bald Mountain.

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After riding up Silver Lake Express chairlift, we rode Sterling Express to the top of Bald Mountain. We stopped at the beginning of the trail for a few last-minute pointers and we went over the four fundamentals again. I was so excited; being scared in the rental shop beforehand felt like a lifetime ago. After the fundamentals, I honestly can’t remember what Doug said. I’m pretty sure it was just “follow me.”

We headed down Naildriver trail, a smooth single track. The views of the Jordanelle Reservoir and the Heber Valley were breathtaking. I followed close behind Doug and felt at ease on the mountain bike. I tried imitating Doug’s route. Little jumps in the trail made for fast learning experiences. If I saw Doug run over a huge rock, I then knew that the mountain bike I was on could handle it as well. I just needed to remember the fundamentals and stay loose.
20140815_121331 (1)Like my first ski lesson, we would stop and talk at certain spots on the trail. Doug gave me pointers and praise along the way. During one of the stops, I learned to lean to steer. The key to this was to lean your bike, not your body. Doug showed me how to make long arm turns and turns with one pedal up and one down. I tried to soak up the 26 years of mountain biking knowledge Doug was sharing with me like a sponge.

We made our way down Bald Mountain and to the end of Naildriver trail. I was surprised at how many different muscles I used navigating down the mountain. The other person in my lesson was wearing a heart rate monitor. It said she burned 800 calories in the short time we had been in the lesson. This was easily the most fun exercise I had ever done. After a few more turning lessons, I said goodbye to Doug and my lesson partner at the bottom of Sterling Express chairlift.

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I had the option to download on Silver Lake Express chairlift or take Tour Des Homes trail down to the Snow Park Lodge. This trail was a lot different than the first one I had been on. Lots of loose gravel and wider trails made for a different experience. It was very cool to see this part of the resort during the summer. Tour Des Homes mountain bike trail follows much of the same trail line as Silver Dollar ski run. This is one of my favorite ski runs, because of the views you see along the way and the homes that line the trail.

I can’t wait to explore more of the fantastic trails Deer Valley Resort has to offer. Have you ever had a mountain bike lesson? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @RyanMayfield or @Deer_Valley.

Want to explore Deer Valley’s variety of trails? Sign up for a guided mountain bike tour led by Deer Valley’s professionally trained instructors. Gain some riding tips while meeting other riders and learning about the mountain and the resort. Participants must be intermediate level and 13 years or older.

For more information on mountain biking or to reserve a space in the Mountain Bike School, please call 435-645-6648 or 888-754-8477.

Things you never thought you could do on a mountain bike

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Your brand new mountain bike is ready to take you on the many exciting trails that Deer Valley Resort has to offer. You may also know the expression, “He who can do the most, can (also) do the least,” and this perfectly applies to this piece of equipment because of its versatility and ruggedness. Today’s mountain bikes feature highly-engineered features, some powerful hydraulic disc brakes and great riding comfort thanks to a full suspension frame. This said, did you even suspect that there was more than one way to enjoy these sturdy and highly technical bikes? I found out by asking some of the experts who work at Deer Valley Resort. In just a few minutes, I was amazed to learn at what a mountain bike can accomplish.

Healing Faster

If you have injured your leg and you’re anxious to get back on your skis in the winter, chances are that your doctor or surgeon will prescribe a strong rehab program involving the use of a bike. Since stationary bikes can be boring after awhile, consider using your mountain bike instead. You don’t need to take it to any expert single track trails though; just ride it on a nearby asphalt or gravel bike path.

Earning a Living

Besides being a professional mountain bike racer, becoming a mountain bike patroler is a neat way to earn a living by using a mountain bike everyday. Patrol work involves a fair amount of trail maintenance activities and you’ll soon find yourself carrying a rake, a pick ax or even a chainsaw while riding. Earning a living this way also applies to the lift operators who, at the end of their shift or the end of the day, can jump on their bikes and ride down the mountain for fun. Policemen in Park City also share in that perk by carrying a service bike on the back of their SUV’s.

Trail Research and Development

New trail ideas generally begin on a map. Very soon however, they must be fine-tuned in their real environment. Most of the time, new trail paths cross obstacles like ski runs, undulating meadows, creek beds, rock formations and forested areas. It often helps a great deal to trace the ideal contours of the trail through that variable terrain by first riding it, before any trail is cut, to uncover the most natural path. On grassy meadows or on ski runs, the bike lays the grass down and works as a fine tracing tool.

Assistant Bike Patrol Manager, Chris Erkkila

Deer Valley Resort’s Assistant Bike Patrol Manager, Chris Erkkila.

Trail Testing

There are moments when it’s time to test a section of a new trail; the builder has to be the guinea pig and test a delicate passage or a tricky area, just like a test pilot would do. On segments of trails that are built around a big rock drop or a succession of large stumps, patrol staff and trail builders will use a bike without a rider. The bike is rolled over the obstacle to make sure that the chainring won’t hit anything. Chris Erkkila, assistant bike partrol manager, says that he uses this technique as a training tool, “When I teach new bike patrollers how to ride on tough terrain, I follow the same procedure and tell them that if the bike clears the obstacle, so can they.”

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Snow Riding

Surprisingly, mountain bikes do quite well on snow. No, we’re not talking about the fat-bikes with gigantic tires that are becoming the new rage in winter, but just your run-of-the-mill mountain bike. They perform well as long as there is fairly good hard-packed snow; you want to look for smooth surfaces and avoid too much tire penetration. Lowering the air pressure helps traction. Of course, when there’s deep snow over some hard pack, the sensation can be one of a kind especially if the snow is some dry, Utah powder. Says Doug Gormley, lead bike instructor, “I have been in a foot of dry, fluffy snow with hard-pack below and the sensation was out of this world.” The Mega Avalanche race in Europe would be another opportunity to test your bike in a group setting and experience mountain biking as a four season sport. Please remember that mountain bikes are not allowed at Deer Valley Resort during the ski season.

The Mega Avalanche race in Europe

The Mega Avalanche race in Europe

Performing tricks

Like any other bicycle, a mountain bike can do wheelies and a variety of tricks. The price to pay is a few more pounds to maneuver, but it’s doable. Wheelies, manuals, bunny hops and the whole panoply of tricks ingrained into BMX culture are totally possible with a mountain bike. Riders can take their “fat tires” on prepared tracks and do some dirt jumping. Most of the time, a bike with only front shocks will suffice and will feel a tad lighter. Besides the added weight, mountain bikes have other limitations. BMX bikes are lighter and tend to soar higher in the air. BMX bikes also have smaller wheels and a shorter wheelbase making them perfectly adapted to the terrain prepared-tracks and dirt jumps, but if you don’t own a BMX, there’s still plenty of fun to be had on your mountain bike.

Going Up and Down Stairs:

I have saved this one for last, because I’ve always been fascinated watching mountain bikers going down stairs without even thinking twice. In fact, I have been told that it’s possible to ride down huge staircases that wind back and forth into corners and zigzag all the way. Yet, as surprisingly as it sounds, the reverse is also true. With proper gearing, climbing stairs is also possible on a bike. You can also use a mountain bike as a trial bike, on which you balance the bike and literally hop the stairs. Doug can do it and he said, “My very first experience was in a building. For stairs, a full-suspension bike is better for both pedaling up the stairs and going down the stairs. A bike without suspension would actually be better for hopping.”

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Upon reading this short overview, you now have a good idea of the amazing capabilities of your mountain bike. What cool things do you do on your mountain bike? Tell us on Twitter @Deer_Valley or in the comments below.

A Week’s Worth of Mountain Bike Trails at Deer Valley Resort

dvr-1wkBike1 Just as we proposed a selection of hiking trails to fill a week’s vacation at Deer Valley Resort, Ski Patrol/Mountain Bike Manager Steve Graff suggested we do the same for mountain biking. Steve wanted to contribute his intimate knowledge of and experience with the local terrain, in an effort to build a fun-filled, week-long, mountain biking itinerary. If you’re looking for some great rides next time you visit Deer Valley Resort, read on.Day 1Whatever the vacation, the first day is often best spent getting acquainted with the destination, its environment and everything it has to offer. If your mountain bike skills aren’t that great or if you never had any opportunities to ride single track on a mountain bike before, a wonderful idea is to come up to Deer Valley Resort and let one of the mountain bike guides familiarize you with the equipment and give you some useful pointers on how to make your whole week a fun and life-changing experience. If you are already very fit or have some serious riding skills and are comfortable negotiating single track trails, a good introductory ride might be “Lost Prospector” in Park City, one of Steve Graff’s little secrets:

“A great entry-level trail, with nice views, shaded tree sections and some exciting switch backs. The trail is moderate in terms of difficulty level and a wonderful way to refresh your riding skills. “

If you are renting a bike, make certain it fits you properly and will work with the kind of riding you plan to do; either cross-country, downhill or something in between. If you own your bike, make sure it has recently been serviced, is well adjusted, the gears and brakes are functioning perfectly and tires are in good condition and adequately inflated. Be sure to wear a good pair of gloves so you can get a good grip on your handlebars. Of course, you must wear a helmet and bring sunscreen, wrap-around sunglasses, food and water. If you forget any of these items, you can find them at the shops around Deer Valley Resort. Having some tools or replacement parts, like an extra inner tube and some basic bike tools is also a good idea, especially if you ride alone. Even if you are not a seasoned bike mechanic, make a point to pack some tools and some essential replacement parts as you may find a good samaritan on the trail who may stop to help you out. When riding Deer Valley’s lift-served trails, you can call Bike Patrol for assistance at 435-615-6208. dvr-1wkBike3 After reacquainting or familiarizing yourself with basic riding skills, your second day should be filled with lift-served mountain biking. Using chairlifts will provide you with a full day experience that would be near impossible to accomplish if you were to climb on your own, unless you are a fitness machine or an endurance athlete. Using the chairlifts enables you to fill your day with mountain biking activities and practice all the skills that have either been dormant or that you’ve learned the day before. A lift-served day should be on any weekly mountain biking itinerary. It’s best to stay on the Sterling Express chairlift and find a trail you like, such as Naildriver, the least difficult route down Bald Mountain, or Sunset, another easy trail, and ride those down as many times as you possibly can. Familiarity with a trail breeds confidence, develops quick responses and yields much more enjoyment since you’re not worried by what’s coming up next. Steve Graff is partial to Deer Camp Trail:

“This is another fun trail I like to recommend for its variety of terrain, its scenic views, its aspen groves and its frequent wildlife sightings.”

While Deer Valley’s weather is great most of the time, what should you do if the weather suddenly turns on you? “If you are on the trails and a thunderstorm happens and if you’re in the middle of a meadow, you don’t want to be the largest object around,” said Steve. “Likewise, in the trees you don’t want to be under the largest pine tree; seek shelter in places that aren’t too exposed.” To preserve the trail, do not ride when conditions are rainy or muddy. Rain storms are generally short-lived, so be patient. Any trail on the valley floor that is either asphalt or gravel is where you should be. If rain persists, take the rest of the day off, visit Park City’s historic Main Street, or do some shopping until everything dries up and the sun returns! dvr-1wkBike4 Now that you’ve spent time on these trails and practiced your skills, taken advantage of the energy-saving chairlifts and become comfortable riding single track on easy trails, you might want to increase the technical difficulty. On the third day, if “downhill” appeals to you, you can seek out more challenging trails. The Aspen Slalom trail which follows the Sterling Express chairlift down, is a good candidate to begin that process. Another one that Steve recommends is Twist and Shout, a steep, single track with tight curves and lots of trees. He also suggests that you hit Payroll trail in the Empire Canyon area, “This is a wonderful course that really flows well, with a number of rollers, drops and bermed-out turns.” dvr-1wkBike5 On the lower mountain, there’s Devo, another trail with steep sections and numerous turns that will test your technical abilities. Keep in mind that lift-served mountain biking runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week at Deer Valley Resort through Labor day. Also, know that the trails aren’t patrolled or swept at the end of the day like ski runs are in winter; there are 60 miles of trails on the resort, with multiple entry and exit points along a given trail, making any attempt to sweep them totally unpractical. This said, if you need any assistance during the hours the chairlifts are open, Deer Valley Patrol Staff are available to help patch an injury or solve mechanical problems. Just call 435-615-6208 or speak to a lift operator for assistance.Day 4To ramp our itinerary up, the fourth day is a great time to venture out to the Mid Mountain Trail. This stunning, single track trail traverses Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort at elevation of 8,000 feet, offering scenic vistas and lush pine forests interspersed with aspen groves. Before leaving, make sure to obtain Mountain Trails Foundation’s map at any Deer Valley Mountain Bike Office for the sections of the trails that are beyond Deer Valley Resort’s boundaries. The best plan is to leave from Silver Lake Village in the morning and head towards Park City Mountain and Canyons resorts. This itinerary can take two forms; either you ride between Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort or you continue on all the way to Canyons Resort. The decision time occurs 15 miles along the way, when you are in sight of the Spiro Trail sign; either you choose to descend via Spiro Trail into Park City and cover the remaining three and a half miles to the base of Park City Mountain Resort, or you carry on for another nine miles, all the way to Red Pine Lodge at Canyons Resort, where you can either download the gondola at no charge or drop down to the base of the resort via Holly’s Trail (expert) or Ambush Trail (Intermediate). In terms of time, count on two hours to ride Silver Lake to Park City and three to four hours to ride to Canyons Resort. From either base areas, there is always the possibility to catch the free city bus back to your place. dvr-1wkBike8Having proven your mettle on the fourth day, the end of the week deserves another great ride with one of two adventure-filled options. The first choice is mostly uphill and begins in Park City at the Spiro Trail. To access the trailhead, park in the Silver Star lot or use the nearby bus stop. From the trailhead, keep to the right and merge onto Armstrong Trail. Climb four miles to Mid Mountain Trail, turn left and continue until you see the new Pinecone Trail. This combination is not for the faint of heart as it grinds its way from Park City, at 6,900 feet all the way to the top of the Wasatch Ridge at 9,500 feet! An alternative is to begin at Silver Lake Village and ride the Mid Mountain Trail to the Pinecone Trail. dvr-1wkBike7 Another option is to ride the Wasatch Crest Trail that straddles the Park City valley and Big Cottonwood and Millcreek Canyons. The Wasatch Crest Trail can be taken from Guardsman Pass, using the Scott Bypass Trail or the Wasatch Connect trailhead, located just down the road on the Big Cottonwood side of the valley. It can also be accessed from the top of Pinecone trail. This trail eventually continues towards Millcreek Canyon which comes out in the Salt Lake Valley. This route is smooth and fast with awesome views of the Wasatch Back and Big Cottonwood Canyon, fields of wildflowers, meadows and trees. Upper Millcreek Trail opens July 1. Bikes are only allowed on this trail on even-numbered days and this classic ride leads you all the way down to the mouth of Millcreek Canyon. Of course, you will need to organize a shuttle to pick you up at the bottom, upon completing your ride for your return back to Deer Valley Resort. Pack your lunch, for those both make for big, long days filled with lots of adventure!

Once more, we have suggested a week’s worth of mountain biking filled with miles of excitement, memorable views, athletic ascents and thrilling downhills. I asked Steve Graff if he had anything to add to this impressive Itinerary. He just said; “Make sure to have fun every mile of the way. If you find some trails too hard, simply return to some easier ones. Again, the name of the game is to recreate and have fun!”