North America's Best Downhilling?

I was at Keystone Ski Resort’s Bike Park a little while ago. I got to chatting with the lift operator. He claimed that Keystone, Winter Park/Trestle Bike Park, and Whistler Blackcomb all compete for the best downhilling in all of North America.

I thought, maybe that is true for bikes, but perhaps there are bike parks made for downhilling that are better for unicycles? It seems like the videos I see of the North Shore Bike Park are way more impressive than any Ski Resort’s bike park that I’ve ever seen.

Does anyone have an opinion about the best downhilling in North America for MUni riders?

I haven’t done whistler yet, but I have to say that the north shore is pretty amazing. If you ever get a chance to ride it make sure you do.

I think that there is a big difference between North Shore and the bike parks that you are referring to. All of those bike parks are at ski resorts where you ride the lift to the top and it is solely for downhill. (Think big berms, jumps, and maybe some platforms) Whereas with the North Shore, you have to ride to the top of the trail and then its all technical or platforms. I think North Shore is more fun on a uni than the “downhill bike” style of the bike parks you talk about.

I find ski resport downhills to be too steep for muni. There’s just too much focus on features that require maintaining speed and air time, so features end up being skipped.

I have more fun on trail systems that are freeride oriented and have a variety of trails designed for a specific to level of riding, for instance:

I rode this area with my family a couple years back, they have three levels of downhill from mild to wild, also a pump track and a balance beam perimeter ride, then there’s some more standard XC fare.

I have just come back from Morzine with Joe Baxter, Steve Colligan and Ed Hawkes. It has some of the best and steepest downhill mountainbiking in Europe. We rode all the reds and black runs we could find, enjoying the vast majority of them. The only ones we hated were the super rocky ones which were just like a massive sharp boulder field. We of course could not do the stupidly massive jumps, but where these were there there was always a way around. It was soooo much fun!

We have some pictures up on the blog and on our facebook pages.


I agree with Scott that to do decent comparisons, ski resort-type parks should be in one category, while freeride-type parks should maybe be in another, while other great downhill rides, like Downieville, don’t fit either of those.

While a ski resort can have some freeride stuff, like Northstar does (not a lot, but they have some bike toys), it’s still a self-contained, much less physically strenuous opportunity to do nearly unlimited downhill. They also have a couple of high speed runs, with giant banked turns, tabletops and other things that are scaled well beyond today’s unicycles. Riding down those was kind of like riding on the freeway, since you had to keep your ears open for bikes approaching from behind at 40 mph. But they also have amazing, technical and long singletrack trails. Not to mention a village and big choice of restaurants right at the bottom of the trails. I’d definitely have to consider Northstar as a top downhilling location. It also has the historic edge of being part of the second-ever MUni Weekend, in 1997.

Vancouver’s North Shore probably stands alone. I don’t know if there’s any other place like it in the world. I called it the Disneyland of MUni, for all of it’s man-made wonders. But it’s hard to compare that to a ski resort, since you have to haul yourself back up after every ride.

I’m always leery of these “best of” comparisons, because usually they boil down to peoples’ favorites. Nothing wrong with that, except very few of us have ridden them all. So no way to objectively compare! The same happens with ratings of roller coasters and ride parks. People tend to live near their favorite ones, and mostly haven’t been on many of the ones farther away from them. So be open and honest, and neutral about any place you’ve never been. I’ve ridden Snowbird, once. But not on their best trails, since those were closed off for a bike event. It was beautiful, but I can’t give it a fair rating.

More on Post Canyon:

Roger, sounds like you had a good time at the resorts. Unfortunatley so mant resorts in the US have gotten to focused on big features which require gap jumps or high speed ramping, which relaly doesn’t work for muni. Same with big rock gardens, just not really usable for muni.

We have a big DH area outside town, Windrock, Tennessee:

It’s shuttled, lots of ATV use, some dedicated mtb trails, one new trail is more freeride oriented, looking to get up there and check it out.

Here’s a sister resort to Keystone, located in West Virginia, has some MTB and DH trails that I’ve been meaning to check out:

What a pity that North America have gone that direction. The majority of the riders of bikes were similar to us and ignored the big jumps. It was stupid steep down hills with roots and banked corners that worked great for us were the most popular. That is with the Downhiller’s, the standard mountain bikes could not what we were doing (that was sooooo cool!).

My favourate course was the Swiss national downhill course that was used in the world championships (I don’t know whether it was this years or last’s). It was just fantastic for Muni.


I actually liked the rocky sections. Especially when you were skidding and weaving about so much that you were certain you were going to fall, then didn’t. Then again, I love riding rocks anyway :slight_smile:

A lot of the black runs at Morzine are extremely steep, tight and rooty, the perfect combo for muni. We could ride them much faster than the bikes, and with far less falls.

we went to wind rock on monday :slight_smile:

haha now do that in the rain :wink:

best downhill trails i ever rode were up in the lovely Swiss Alps! SOOOO much variety and miles and miles of trails and you can ride strictly downhill as well. I only went there in the rain so that made everything super hard. The root sections were impossible in the rain but really fun to try cause like Edd said when you didnt fall you felt amazing haha

For free riding i find my backyard to be the best place, i just wish the hills were longer. Then again this is a very personal question and you will get a wide variety of answers depending on the rider you ask.

Well…looks like I’m going to have to make a pilgrimage to the Disneyland of MUni one of these days. I’ll stop by Northstar and Post Canyon on my way if at all possible. The French Alps look amazing Roger, but are just one $1K+ plane ticket too expensive.

Most bike parks that I’ve been on in the Rockies cater to the high speeds of bikes. They feature a lot of gaps and bumps that look goofy when attempted on a unicycle. Keystone has a few trails that were exceptions to this. They have a few trails that feature skinny bridges into drops, steep descents on technical terrain, plenty of trestles, and minimal table tops. I recommend riding at Keystone’s bike park to any intermediate or advanced MUni riders that ever find themselves in Colorado.

Yeah, the hills just west of Boulder, Colorado have some good and sometimes very illegal free riding features. I used to joke about riding down one of the Flatiron Rock Formations in those hills on my MUni with my rock climbing buddies. The main flatirons are about 1,500’ of vertical descent and have a grade of insane but possible. That sounds like the most challenging downhill ride in North America :astonished: , maybe not the “best”.

Was that this course:

If so im super jealose :smiley: That track looks awesome!

Post Canyon is my regular trail, I ride there 2-3 times a month (just about most of the time). It’s great, man made skinnies, DH, XC, technical stuff, no so technical but scary on a uni, etc :slight_smile:

Another good trail in the area is Syncline. Then there is the sandy ridge system, some great DH and germs that actually work well for muni if you maintain speed.

We have a lot here, it’s kind of hard to justify heading up to the north shore, even though it’s not a bad drive from Portland.

no, that is not the one. That looks absolutlely amazing!