Hooked on Downhill

I have lived our here two years and regrettably, it took me that long to put on a full-face helmet, throw on some knee and shoulder pads, and charge down Grand Targhee’s singletrack on a downhill bike. I have no idea what took me so long!

We joined forces with two Jackson residences for a 101 Gravity Session with the Grand Targhee Bike School taught by IMBA-certified instructor Gary Chrisman for an afternoon of epic times on exciting high alpine terrain, including testing out the opening day of the newest flow trail Chutes & Ladders. Mountain Habitat set us up on Rocky Mountain Flatlines and we were good to go.

The class began with drills focusing on body and bike positioning, keeping pedals level, and managing turns. After Gary gave us the go-ahead, we headed to the lift to see what we could do.

A road biker at heart, the Texas heat and flat roads did not lend itself to exciting downhill terrain of any kind. On occasion, I’d hope on a mountain bike to ride a trail or two, but Austin was limited to hills and heat. But thankfully, Teton Valley is the best kept secret in the mountain biking community and I now have access to endless miles of cross country trails both in the valley and at Grand Targhee Resort.

Here, the high alpine cool temperatures and lush mountain landscape make for tacky dirt perfect for grippy riding, and unbeatable scenery amid aspen groves and vibrant wildflowers.

We took Dreamcatcher to the top of Fred’s Mountain Summit accessing nine lift serviced downhill trails. For this class, Gary chose to take us on Sidewinder, an intermediate downhill trail with plenty of switchbacks perfect for practicing turning. (Lesson learned: Speed is your friend. After a turn that left me dusting dirt from my legs and a little bruised, I learned to brake slightly before the turn and let the bike do what it was meant to do.)

Next, we took our new found skills to Chutes & Ladders, a must-try flow trail with exciting features we were all thrilled to try out. We all hit the banks turns and finished with catching a little air on the wooden bridge. All smiles, we made it to the base area ready to go again.