2015 Windham Mountain Bike Park Details, with Trail Map!

Update 07/14:

Make sure to check out our write up on Windham Mountain Bike Park’s opening weekend!

 

Windham Mountain Bike Park World Cup 2014

The aptly named Doom Drop at the 2014 World Cup Race

2015 is set to be a BIG year for Windham Mountain, and the upstate New York mountain biking community in general. With four enormously successful World Cup races under their belt (featuring tracks that received lavish praise from riders and spectators alike), 2015 will mark the fifth running of that event, as well as the much heralded opening of the bike park during the regular season. For five years now riders have discussed, debated and lamented that Windham’s trails were only technically open during World Cup weekend and closed for the rest of the year.

Mountain Bike Mania

This past Saturday Windham held a very cool but not tremendously promoted event hyping the 2015 World Cup and the opening of the bike park. A section of ski run was cordoned off and set up for timed runs on a circular, bermed loop of snow that proved surprisingly challenging and entertaining. A far cry from Oak Mountain’s recent snow downhill, Windham’s track at first glance seemed rather basic, but proved to be far more exciting than anyone anticipated.

Windham Mountain Bike Racing Snow

Starting on the upper side of the hill, riders negotiated a track that consisted of off-camber corners, a constantly changing track surface and a variety of different bike setups. Rather than race each other, runs were timed and participants were allotted as many runs as they wanted in the quest for top times.

Windham Mountain Bike Racing Snow Uphill

Most different than Oak Mountain was the fact that racers had to pedal uphill, and into the finish, no less. That short uphill segment initially proved a serious challenge for non-fat bikes, but became more manageable as repeated runs packed down the soft surface and lessened the fat tire advantage. Lines quickly developed and racers progressively dropped lap times down from ~20 seconds to the low-15s.

Windham Mountain Bike Park Groms

 

Windham Mountain Bike Park Groms Racing

The groms were killing it…

Windham Mountain Bike Park Grom Crash

…for the most part.

Back at the Lodge

Windham Mountain Bike Park Trek July 2015

Oskar Blues Brewery Windham Mountain Bike Park

Oskar Blues Brewery Windham Mountain Bike Mania 2015

Outside of riding, the fine folks at Windham had a booth filled with details on the bike park and its various amenities. Brendan from Oskar Blues (an official sponsor of the 2015 World Cup) was on hand offering samples of their renowned Dale’s Pale Ale and also their Yella Pils (which I had never tried before and is actually quite delightful).¬†Windham of course offered their usual selection of BBQ eats, which paired with live music from 2-5pm made for a nice end to the day.

Windham Bike Park 2015

It’s been no secret that riders have spent the past half decade begging and itching for Windham to open its lifts for regular season riding. Understandably so – it’s been extremely difficult to sit track-side at four World Cup races and know that outside of one long weekend a year, the trails sit largely un-ridden.

But Windham has hardly been dragging their heels and appears to have taken a thoughtful and carefully planned approach to opening a bike park. This is evidenced by the fact that they’ve partnered with Gravity Logic, the trailbuilders behind the Pacific-Northwest’s famed Whistler-Blackcomb Bike Park, generally considered the golden standard for lift-accessed park design.

The close proximity to downstate and New York City could make Windham a strong competitor for Mountain Creek, generally considered the most popular bike park of the east (and home to several U.S. Nationals races). It provides riders with another stellar option in the Catskills-Adirondacks region which is pretty sparse when it comes to lift-accessed parks.

2015 Windham Mountain Trail Map Bike Park

The as-of-yet-unseen trail map gives us a sneak peek of what to expect when the park formally opens for the season on July 3rd. In addition to the World Cup downhill and Citizens downhill tracks that we’ve seen already, there are two new routes on the far left and right sides of the mountain.

Wilderness Roll and Batavia Skill look to be much longer winding routes likely suitable for beginners or those who enjoy a longer run (though I did hear rumors one of these is to be an A-Line style jump trail, which would hardly be surprising given the Gravity Logic involvement). Either way, easier runs would be a welcome (and necessary) addition given the difficult nature of the existing two tracks, neither of which could really be considered green circle runs.

In addition to the four listed downhill runs are a pump track (always a park favorite) and skills park area, both in close proximity to the lodge. Personally I’m a huge fan of these features – great for groms, beginner riders or experienced rippers looking to mess around at the end of the day.

2015 Windham Mountain Bike Park Info Rates

 

As with any full-service park, Windham will offer group lessons, packages and rentals. Worth noting that price-wise Windham’s lift tickets and rentals are a good bit cheaper than Mountain Creek’s. The difference isn’t appreciable for any regular rider, but does lower the entry point for beginners or riders looking to give downhill a try (an area in which Windham could really excel).

 

Update 07/14:

Make sure to check out our write up on Windham Mountain Bike Park’s opening weekend!