Summer Mountain Safety
Grand Targhee Resort Downhill Biking Safety
Downhill Mountain Biking at Grand Targhee Resort is a significantly different experience from cross country riding. The trails require constant physical and mental effort in order for all riders to maintain control.
All bikes riding the lift served downhill trails at Grand Targhee Resort must have one functioning brake per wheel. This keeps dirt jump bikes, BMX, kids with coaster brakes and beach cruisers off the trails but allows regular mountain bikes and mountain unicycles to ride on the downhill trails.
Helmets are required, a properly fitted full-faced helmet is recommended. Protective clothing and equipment is also recommended. The best protection from abrasion requires gloves, long pants, long sleeves, leg armor, arm armor and solid biking, running or hiking shoes. Body armor like a Pressure Suit or neck brace can provide even further protection. Protective equipment can be rented at the Habitat bike shop.
Our downhill bike trails are specifically designed for full suspension mountain bikes. The trails are rocky, bumpy and become much more difficult without high quality suspension. Without full suspension, fatigue becomes a factor much sooner. The steep grades necessitate disc brakes for adequate stopping power. Cantilever brakes will increase the fatigue factor as more effort will be required to maintain control. All DH Biking participants should ride a properly sized bike and should be able to stand over the seat with their feet flat on the ground. A bike that is too large or one with a high seat post may increase the risk of injury. Please consider visiting Habitat with any questions about sizing and for protective equipment rental.
The level of risk increases with the level of difficulty. Black trails often have significant drops and jumps that require skill and experience to navigate. Every rider should be prepared to dismount their bike and carefully walk portions of the trail that they’re uncomfortable riding down. Young riders become a hazard to other riders if they are unable to ride a trail or move out of the way. Children should be accompanied by an adult at all times and should be monitored for fatigue regularly.
Many of our downhill biking trails include man-made features. Each of these features includes a “gateway”, which is intended to allow users to ride around the feature. Please be sure to inspect each feature prior to use, and if you’re unsure how to properly use it, ask a qualified Grand Targhee Resort employee.
Bikes are permitted on the Dreamcatcher Chair only. The Dreamcatcher Chair is NOT recommended for young children as the level of difficulty and length of the trails is considerably more difficult than the cross country trails. Lift attendants will load and unload bikes on a hook attached to the side of the chair. If you have any questions our concerns, please consult the on-duty attendant. The chairlift may be subject to closure at any time due to mechanical or natural factors. Wind or lightning hold of the lift will dictate a minimum 30 minute closure.
Our Mountain Patrol offers rescue service to any of our downhill trails during normal operating hours. Please alert the on-duty lift attendant in the case of an emergency. Emergency call boxes are located on or near many of our trails. Become familiar with their location, and remember to hold the button down until finished relating your location and the nature of your emergency.
The Mountain Patrol does not offer on-hill repair service. Please be sure to ride equipped to manage any repairs yourself. Repairs and equipment are available at Habitat, located in the base area.
If you have any questions, please let us know and we will put you in contact with knowledgeable personnel.
Mountain Bike Checklist and Responsibility Code
The trails at Grand Targhee Resort are rough and demanding on both the bike and body. Before riding always inspect your equipment or have it checked by a qualified bike mechanic.
- Familiarize yourself with the trail system and select rides within your ability level.
- Make sure that all bike components work properly.
- Helmets are required while riding. Gloves and protective clothing are recommended.
- Always ride with a buddy and be prepared for emergencies.
- Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
- Observe all posted signs and warnings and ride only on designated trails. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
- Be courteous to other riders and pass only when it is safe.
- Yield to other types of trail users including hikers, and vehicles.
- You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.
- Respect the environment and wildlife.
- When entering a trail or starting downhill, you must look uphill and yield to other riders.
- Prior to using any lift you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely. When in doubt, ask a lift operator.
Smart Ride is a mountain bike specific safety program that you should check out before using Mountain Bike Terrain and Skill Development Areas at Northstar and any other mountain bike parks.
- Make a Plan. Every time you ride Mountain Bike Terrain, make a plan for each feature you want to use. Use your first run as a warm up run and to familiarize yourself with the terrain. Your speed and approach will directly affect your maneuver or jump and landing.
- Look Before You Leap. Before getting into Mountain Bike Terrain, observe all signage and warnings. Scope around the jumps first–not over them. Be aware that the features change constantly due to weather, usage, maintenance and other factors. Do not jump blindly and use a spotter when necessary.
- Easy Style It. Know your limits and ride within your ability level. Begin with smaller features and work your way up. Stay in control on the ground and in the air. Do not attempt any features unless you have sufficient ability and experience to do so safely. When in doubt, walk your bike or ride around.
- Respect Gets Respect. Respect the terrain and others. Wait your turn: One person on a feature at a time. Always clear the landing area quickly. Respect all signs and stay off closed terrain and features.
Hiker’s Responsibility Code
- Obey all trail signs and markings and hike only on designated trails.
- Don’t stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible to others.
- Dogs must be on a leash and under an owner’s control at all times while on Grand Targhee Resort property.
- Know how to use the lifts properly. When in doubt, ask a lift operator.
- Respect the environment and wildlife.
- If you are involved in or witness a collision, you must identify yourself to Grand Targhee Resort Mountain Bike Patrol or lift operator.
- Be prepared for constantly changing weather conditions.
- No smoking due to extreme fire danger.
- Some trails may be closed due to construction. Consult lift operators for information.
- Please check in at the Activity Center prior to accessing the trail system.
- Please hike on designated hiking trails and roads only.
- Hiking/outdoor footwear is recommended.