In the last decade the world has watched the exponential rise of the Mountain Bike industry. We believe this is partly because it’s pretty rad to watch the guys and girls ‘huck’ themselves of crazy cliffs/jumps/anything in their way, but also because pretty much everyone can ride a bike. This fact allows people to have a real connection with the crazier aspects of the sport, as the fact that we can ride a bike gives us a real perspective of how ridiculously talented and crazy some of the professionals really are. It’s entirely humbling to watch with an understanding we might never be able to do the same things, but sometimes it’s entirely inspiring, and provides the creative kick to get yourself started on a similar journey.
After 10 years of living in Queenstown, I have had the pleasure of watching the industry burgeon from within. I moved to this area actually because I was already in love with the sport, as I just happened to see a segment of the riding available within the area on a free DVD. Now with a decade of development in the ‘scene’, the infrastructure available to riders is incredible, and the comparisons between Queenstown and the mountain bike mecca that is Whistler have begun.
What really boosted the industry here was the support from Skyline Queenstown. Whilst we’ve always had great trails and riding avenues around, lift access was the one thing that was lacking. Coronet Peak and Cardrona had tried in years gone by, but at that point decided that it wasn’t worth their time and effort as the industry hadn’t quite kicked off. Skyline Queenstown had historically been against allowing biking access on the gondola – even though there were always trails up there – but come 2011 they decided to change their tune. Fast forward to 2016, and the ‘gondy’ is now firmly the jewel in the NZ mountain bike crown, drawing riders from all over the globe for a cheeky shred.
The best part about this, is the inclusion of beginner trails. I still think back to the days of attempting to teach people on what were considered the easiest tracks in the area before gondola access – it is now entirely apparent that we were putting people in the deep end! The beginner trails accessed by the Gondola provide an exemplary learning environment for those wishing to give the sport a go, allowing anyone who can ride a bike to experience the thrills of downhill mountain biking in an environment that isn’t too daunting. Trails are sign-posted and graded much like ski runs at a resort, so there’s everything from complete novice (green) to the raddest of the rad (double black).
But the gondola is only one aspect of the riding available in Queenstown. There is everything from basic riding paths for families, to 60ft gap jumps, to easily accessed and free trail centers for people to earn their turns and become one with nature. So don’t let the opportunity slip by – get yourself a reservation at one of the best hostel’s in Queenstown, and get out on your bike today. We’ve even got secure storage for your pride and joy while you catch some z’s after a long day of shred!