What to Know Before Mountain Biking at a Ski Area

Although resort skiers and snowboarders are familiar with taking lifts to the top of trails, for most other outdoor sports there is no such thing as a lift.

That’s why the ASO Mammoth team is writing out what you need to know about mountain biking at a ski area here! Whether you’re new to mountain biking or are a seasoned mountain biker visiting a ski area for the first time, this list will make your transition smooth!

Check it out below, then visit ASO Mammoth for the best deals on mountain bike rentals in Mammoth Lakes!

Be Able to Load Your Bike on a Lift

One of the best parts of mountain biking within a ski area is the fact that you don’t have to burn your energy biking uphill if you don’t want to thanks to ski lifts.

Getting your mountain bike on a ski lift is much easier than loading one while skiing or snowboarding in many ways, but if you’re unfamiliar with the process you may not understand why.

Carrier chairs with racks installed instead of seats alternate between regular ski lift chairs. All you have to do is lift your bike, load it onto a rack on the carrier chair, and then step back and wait for the following chair to sit down and ride up.

It’s that simple.

Ask For Help if You Need It

That being said, there’s no shame in asking for help loading your bike on a lift for the first few times. Mountain staff and lift operators will be happy to give you tips on how to properly load your bike and make sure that you can do so safely.

Plus, if you’re renting from the mountain then they will not rent you a bike which you’ll have trouble lifting on and off a lift.

Visit the Beginner Area if You’re a Beginner

Mammoth Bike Park is home to a large beginner area so new mountain bikers can get their feet under them before they hit the dirt. These areas are perfect to get familiar with your bike, how it works, and what you need to do to make sure it rides at the highest level possible.

Don’t be afraid to warm up or even spend your day in the beginning area. You can push yourself to ride harder trails, but you won’t enjoy them if you don’t have the skills to back up your riding!

Look for Mountain Bike Specific Trail Maps

Don’t be fooled into thinking that ski maps with trails rated for skiing are the same for mountain biking.

Once you’re on the mountain you’ll quickly see that mountain biking trails are very different from ski trails, and their difficulty ratings are too. The colors marking trails on mountain bike park maps are different, and while the symbols used to rate their difficulty are the same as skiing you must be aware of other markers like the direction the path runs.

Ride Through Your Speed

Most people want to break as soon as they see a bump or turn in a mountain biking trail, but the truth is that if you ride through them at a safe speed instead of hitting the breaks your ride will be much smoother.

What a safe speed is differs based on ability but remember that your bike will move over bumps and ride through turns easier if it has momentum to carry it there.

Be Aware of Other Riders Behind and in Front of You

Don’t forget that you’re sharing the trails with others! Stay a safe distance from other riders, don’t stop or stand in a place you might get hit, and communicate at all times!