These are 9 of the top bike parks on the planet
© Mattias Fredriksson
Have mountain bike? Will travel? Then start planning a trip to remember at some of the most thrilling bike parks across the world.
Just a handful of years ago the choice of bike parks – gravity-focused riding centres with an uplift back to the top of the hill – was quite limited. Now more and more ski resorts are recognising the potential for summer revenues and, away from the big mountains, smaller bike parks with vehicle-and-trailer uplift are springing up all over the place. This has given rise to longer MTB seasons (ski resorts typically only open lifts for a short summer season), and more diverse terrain.
Here's our pick of some of the best established bike parks on the planet:
1. Whistler, Canada
Season: May – October
There's nowhere else quite like Whistler. The original and still the best, the British Columbia resort has a huge range of trails for absolutely every level and style of rider, all accessed by fast, modern lifts and ending in a dreamy town where evenings are spent at the skatepark, indoor airbag, jumps or on a trail ride into the wilderness.
For the pros, the likes of Crabapple Hits and Dirt Merchant provide some of the biggest bike park jumps on the planet; at the other end of the spectrum there are copious green and blue-graded trails for beginners.
Into the dirt of Whistler
Then there are the longer runs from the Garbanzo lift and Top of the World – new developments in the lesser-used Creekside area, and let’s not forget A-Line, probably the best-known bike park trail in the world.
2. Portes du Soleil, France/Switzerland
Season: June – September (opening dates differ per resort)
The absolute classic of European resort riding, Portes du Soleil is the name of a huge area of interlinked towns and bike parks, including Châtel, Les Gets, Morzine-Avoriaz, Morgins and Champéry, spread across France and Switzerland.
The most impressive development is in Châtel, where a full-time trail team regularly shape and maintain dozens of tracks and trails, with monster berms, innumerable jumps and some massive hucks to be found around the bike park. For classic downhill tracks and the best after-ride vibes, Morzine is the place to hang out.
3. Åre, Sweden
Season: June – October (varying opening days)
For a northern European bike park experience, there's nowhere quite like Åre. Its sizeable Swedish hills slope gently into lakes and forests on all sides – a stunning setting, especially in the golden light of a long Scandi summer’s evening.
The mountain biking element is like a mini Whistler – the tracks are superbly built, with enormous banked turns and fun, safe jumps on the machine-made trails, while there are also plenty more natural options for those looking for an out-of-park adventure.
4. Vallnord, Andorra
Season: May – October (varying opening days)
Known for its tax-reduced bargains, the small state of Andorra, located among pristine Pyrenean peaks, has always been a big draw for mountain tourism. In terms of mountain biking, Andorra has really been put on the map by its annual World Cup downhill and cross-country races, and the fact that Commencal are based here.
Vallnord is the country’s main bike park (there’s also Soldeu a short drive away), and its numerous downhill and freeride tracks, enduro options, pump track, 4X track and kids’ ride area make it a fantastic destination for all gravity-centric riders. Cheap accommodation and food, favourable weather, and a long season round-off the package.
5. Queenstown, New Zealand
Season: September – May
New Zealand’s outdoor capital boasts all sorts of mountain and water-based pursuits, not least a healthy mountain bike offering. Development of the Skyline gondola bike park has gone through the roof in recent years, and with it so too has the popularity of this must-visit off-season destination.
Skyline Bike Park 2017- World Cup and Huck Yeah
When the Northern Hemisphere is deep in winter, many of the world’s pro riders head to Queenstown for some downhill laps, trail rides and evenings by the lake. The lift also boasts one of the longest opening seasons in the world.
6. Sölden, Austria
Season: June – September
Now for something completely different. Sölden’s mountain biking is very much aimed at the masses. It’s more-or-less a lift-accessed trail centre, with mellow gradients, artificial surfacing in places and little in the way of big jumps. This is a new vision of summertime ski resort riding, with the trails aimed at trail and enduro bikes – flow and man-made singletrack is the name of the game here.
The town is heavily investing in mountain biking, meaning the trail network grows every year. There are two pump tracks, hotels and businesses embrace mountain biking, and it couldn’t be in a more picturesque setting.
7. Coast Gravity Park, Canada
Ever since the Coastal Crew, a group of pro riders from British Columbia, opened the Coast Gravity Park, it's been a site of pilgrimage for any serious gravity rider visiting western Canada. The park's featured in countless videos and photoshoots for its perfectly smooth berms and textbook jumps, but there’s more to it than that.
Brandon Semenuk rips up the jump Line at Coastal Gravity Park
12 official trails of varying difficulty and intent offer a little something for most riders. It features in this list of top resorts worldwide not for its number of trails or its infrastructure, but because it shows what a year-round rider-created bike park can look like, removing gravity riding from a reliance on chairlifts (trucks take riders back up the hill) and pushing the limits of track construction while at it.
8. BikePark Wales
Wales is full of great mountain biking – it has trail centres and bike parks all over the place. While Revolution Bike Park, Black Mountains Cycle Centre and Antur Stiniog are impressive in their own right, BikePark Wales is the country’s most rounded gravity-orientated destination.
Tahnée Seagrave, Andreu Lacondeguy and Loïc Bruni ride BikePark Wales
From easy, meandering and flowy singletrack, to massive jump lines and downhill tech, this diminutive hillside in the southern valleys provides options for just about every rider. Daily uplift services are popular and fill up quickly, so sometimes must be booked months in advance (there’s a climbing trail and push-up track, too).
9. EVO Bike Park, France
Another progressive bike park inspired by Coast Gravity Park, proving again that mountain bikers don’t need ski resort infrastructure to have a good time. EVO Bike Park is on a small site off the beaten track in the south of France, and it’s the place to go for year-round monster hucks in Europe. For that reason, most of the runs are for experts only, and ones who enjoy airtime at that. Uplift is in big trucks and space is limited, so make sure to book in advance.