Mountain bike terrain around Lake Tahoe continues to open
Take off the training wheels and pull out the full-suspension – Tahoe trails are finally ripe for riding.
“This is our golden hour right now,” said South Shore’s Gary Bell. “A month late.”
From Kirkwood Mountain Resort to Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, from Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride to the Flume Trail, more and more terrain opens for cyclists every day.
With the opening of Spooner Lake Outdoor Company’s Tahoe Rim Trail Shuttle, the phones have been ringing off the hook, said employee Erin Johansen.
“The Flume Trail is completely clear and rideable,” she said. “The Tahoe Rim Trail is the one that still have some snow on it.”
The shuttle will shoot riders up to Tahoe Meadows near Mt. Rose and give them a solid 13-mile ride back down. Or cyclists can meet up with the Upper Flume near Marlette Lake, but the section might be a little sketchy still.
“Nobody’s really doing that,” Johansen said.
This year’s mountain bike conditions have been characterized by “less sand and more snow,” she added.
Kirkwood Mountain Resort
By this weekend, Kirkwood is looking to have 100 percent of their terrain open, said spokesman Michael Dalzell.
The resort is gearing up for the Kirkwood Mountain Classic XC race on July 30, which will coincide with the wildflower festival. More than 150 riders are expected to show, Dalzell said, and they’ve got a heck of a course waiting for them.
“We consider it a true mountain bike race,” he said.
Competitors will be doing a whole lot of climbing along trails that will take them from Red Cliff to Snow Kirk.
With record snowfall, the mountain is somewhat late in opening the mountain bike park. On opening day, they only had three trails available.
“We’re probably three weeks behind from a mountain bike business perspective,” Dalzell said.
Opening in mid-June with just the gondola open, Northstar was finally able to get their upper lifts turning last week.
“We’re pretty much 100 percent open,” said Northstar bike shop employee Nick Sperry.
Dust is a little bit of a problem at the world-class mountain biking resort, but some trails, like Live Wire, are irrigated. Trail crews are out and about keeping tracks in shape as well.
Northstar is hosting bimonthly downhill races on Saturdays and Sundays for all ages and ability levels. The resort will also be hosting the Lake Tahoe Trail 100K, a qualifying event for the prestigious Leadville Trail 100, on July 24, the Pro GRT, a professional downhill, 4X and slalom race on August 27-28, and the Tara Llanes Classic, a fundraiser for the Tara Llanes Road to Recovery Fund and the Reeve-Irvine Research Center, on Sept. 24-25.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
As summer rolls on and the heavy snowfall finally melts away, there’s one question common among South Tahoe cyclists: What’s up with Mr. Toad’s?
“Toad’s is the one everybody is asking about,” said Sierra Ski and Cycle Works’ Gary Bell.
Though most of the snow is gone, Forest Service crews are working to clear down trees and debris on the trail, Bell said. And the trail is still relatively damp, reported South Shore rider Chase Harriman.
If cyclists do choose to ride Mr. Toads or other trails where snow or puddles might still be, it is important to ride through them rather than around them so as not to widen trails, Bell recommended.
Hilride in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service is working on a plan to improve the Corral Trail for all users. The organization will present its preliminary design for the trail July 24.
“We’re kind of early in the design, so I don’t what the biggest change is going to be yet,” said U.S. Forest Service trail guru Garrett Villanueva.
Over the course of several meetings and input sessions, Hilride gathered a load of suggestions for the multi-use trail. But not all the suggestions will mesh.
“There’s certainly different ideas, but not all the ideas are compatible,” Villanueva said. “I’m fairly sure we’re not going to make everybody perfectly happy.”
Villanueva hopes to have final drawings for the Corral Trail design by September of this year and possibly a few on-trail work days, he said.
The Van Sickle Connector, the unofficial title of the trail that runs from Van Sickle State Park to the Tahoe Rim Trail at Daggett Summitt, is still under construction.
Crews are working to connect the trails, but there’s still a lot of work to do up there, Villanueva said. It isn’t recommended for mountain biking yet because it doesn’t really go anywhere, he added.
For more information on trail conditions around Lake Tahoe visit the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association’s website, mountainbiketahoe.org.