Queenstown’s world-class downhill mountain bike offering is getting a significant boost thanks to a $10,000 donation from Skyline Queenstown to fast-track the resort’s first gravity jump trail.
Excavation work on the highly anticipated trail in the Ben Lomond Reserve, adjacent to the Skyline Queenstown Gondola complex, started this week.
Excavators – funded in part by Skyline Queenstown’s donation – are clearing the way and making things easier for Queenstown Mountain Bike Club (QMTBC) volunteers to hand-shape the majority of the jumps on the 800 metre-long trail.
The project was spearheaded by QMTBC, whose volunteers have spent countless hours scoping out the site to find the best topography for the trail, as well as fundraise for the project.
Expected to be complete by mid-late October, Queenstown’s gravity jump trail will be similar to the famous A-Line trail at Whistler Bike Park and the Rollercoaster trail at Hafjell Bike Park in Norway.
Located above Ben Lomond Reserve’s half-way clearing and adjacent to the existing Vertigo trail, the trail will be 2-3 metres wide and jump sizes will vary from 3-4.5m right through to more than 12m. Jumps will be floaty table-top jumps that can send advanced riders a long way but still progressive and safe enough for the intermediate rider.
Skyline Queenstown MTB Operations manager Justin Matthews says Skyline was only too happy to support the good work of QMTBC to help get the trail built sooner.
“The Queenstown Bike Park is a community asset and we are lucky enough to have such a dedicated and motivated mountain bike club here. To be able to help QMTBC out in this way is a no-brainer.”
QMTBC committee member Fraser Gordon says: “This Queenstown Bike Park jump trail is the missing piece in the puzzle for the gravity discipline of mountain biking in Queenstown.
“Skyline Queenstown has always been a big supporter of the club, indirectly, and now they’re supporting us directly with a financial contribution, which is fantastic. Without Skyline Queenstown, we would still be in the fundraising stage, with no chance of being able to open it in time for summer,” Gordon adds.
QMTBC also raised $6000 from a downhill mountain bike race series last year, and has the support of Wilson Contractors for excavation deals to help cover the build costs. QMTBC is welcoming volunteers to help dig the trail every Saturday from 9am.
With the ability to be accessed by gondola, Queenstown Bike Park attracts major international riders during its eight-month season. The 2015-16 season is anticipated to open on September 4 and close on May 8, 2016.