Ripping into a new season: Northstar Bike Park comes alive |

Ripping into a new season: Northstar Bike Park comes alive

Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunNorthstar Bike Park patroller and trail builder Kurt Gale boosts a hit on the new Lower Woods trail. The park will be open through the holiday weekend, then again on weekends starting May 31. Daily operations start June 20.

Are you ready to rip through berms, float over jumps and tear up tacky trail? Well then bust out the big tires and strap on your shin pads, trailboss. Northstar-at-Tahoes Bike Park is now open.As of 10 a.m. Friday, the Northstar gondola is back loading bicycles as the Bike Park welcomes again legions of dirt-crazed riders for another season.

Open a full month earlier than last year, the Northstar trail crew has been working through the snow melt to get the lower mountain trail system buffed to perfection for opening day. Though only trails below mid-mountain are ready to ride, Northstar Bike Park Manager Kyle Crezee is thrilled with the early season offering as the resort will debut several new and re-vamped trail sections.Every inch of the lower mountain has seen some love, said Crezee. Existing trails will be faster and smoother than ever before and weve added a few sweet surprises that people should be really psyched about.

Highlights of the new trail features already open for 2008 include a fat pack of jumps, drops and berms on Upper Mine Shaft and Woods trails, and a total re-route and extension of the Liftline trail. The new and improved Liftline trail will treat confident riders to a couple thousand feet of flowing freeride fun complete with a new hip jump option that Crezee expects to be a big hit, both literally and figuratively. Dont pass off Northstar as an expert only affair, however. Intermediate and beginner riders will also find plenty of dirt to pedal as the lower mountain still holds miles of twisting singletrack without the technical obstacles.Looking ahead to later this summer, Northstar has a long list of improvements in store for the rest of the trail system once the snow melts. The famed Livewire jump trail will be tweaked to improve trail moisture and extended another 300 yards to finish right at the base of the Tahoe Zephyr Express lift. Speaking of lift lines, dont expect to wait as long this year, either. Twelve new bike racks have been added to the Tahoe Zephyr Express lift, doubling its uphill capacity.For those riders who havent hucked enough by the time the lifts close, Northstar will also be constructing a triple set of dirt jumps just above the Village in the meadow at the end of the Lower Mineshaft trail. The jump park will feature beginner, intermediate and expert jump lines that you can ride until dark. Crezee and the trail crew hope to break ground on the jump park in the coming weeks with tentative opening date set for mid July.

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