Stop number eight of ten of the Eastern States Cup Enduro Series made its way up north, to Sugarbush Resort last weekend. The Warren, Vermont resort hosted the Series for the second season in a row and delivered top notch terrain. The size of the mountain presents potential for long race stages and impressive natural terrain.
Let’s get this party started.
Jason Scheiding charges down Stage 1.
Stage 1 was mostly unchanged from last year, sharing the top portion with the famous DH track, and splitting off down the East of Eden trail. The top-to-bottom stage presented racers with three distinct types of terrain.
Racers charged down a high speed, wide open ski slope before finding themselves in a mix of natural and man-made drops and berms. The lower half of the Stage, East of Eden, was an all natural, steep affair. Similar to last year, the dense woods kept the moisture in far longer than the rest of the mountain and racers coped with slimy roots sprawling every which way down the trail.
Stage 1 saw the most attention from riders, examining and experimenting with different lines in order to navigate the slick trail.
Steep, tight, and slick, this part of the Stage was hard to keep momentum on and required the utmost concentration.
Finding your braking points was crucial. Too much brake at the wrong moment and you were guaranteed to be rubber side up.
Kaylen Ballantyne has been very consistent this year in Enduro as well as DH.
At roughly two minutes, Stage 2 was by far the shortest of the day. Berm after berm, racers made their way off the peak, before dropping into Ruffed Up – a truly DH worthy trail. Like Stage 1, it was dark and slick and the terrain steep and tight.
Lauren Petersen yet again showed her Enduro dominance by not just winning the race, but every Stage as well.
Stage 3 took off right where 2 ended. It would be great to see these 2 Stages joined into one in the future. This Stage was a fast mix of natural flowy, yet technical trail, dotted with natural gaps and some man-made berms to keep things interesting.
Fast and raw. Sugarbush has some of the most fun trails you can ride.
Forest dwellers were seen out in the damp shade.
Stage 4 was the longest Stage of the day. With 6 minutes of predominantly gravity fed trail, this is the kind of racing I like to see.
These covered sections of trail were blazing fast. Tunnel vision all the way down.
And some of the wood features riders would rather do without. This was a particularly awkward one. Coming in full speed, you had to slam on the brakes in order to make the right hand corner off this bridge.
Matt Sebas sailing over a natural gap.
Cooler temperatures made for perfect camping conditions. Some even bundled up for the occasion.
With race times ranging between 16 and 20 minutes for just 4 stages, Sugarbush Resort has a lot of potential for putting on a much bigger Enduro race. I would be absolutely thrilled to come back here to a 30+ minute race course. At the end of the day, Isaac Allaire and Lauren Petersen came out victorious in the respective Pro categories. With only two more races to go, the next Eastern States Cup Enduro is at Blue Mountain, PA, only days away.
Sugarbush Resort Bike and Hike Trail Map