Starting this weekend, mountain bike riders will be able to ride the Hilltop chairlift — their bikes hooked behind — up to newly constructed trails at the grand opening of the Hilltop Bike Park.
The bike park was designed and built by Pro Trails, a relatively new company based in Nikiski and boasts features often missing from Alaska’s mountain bike parks, said Hilltop general manager Trevor Bird.
“I think what we’ve built is starting to fill that gap,” he said.
Bird said the berms, jumps and wood features will help riders build skills in Anchorage on terrain that’s otherwise unavailable in the state.
Bikers can sign up for a ticket online or in-person. An adult day-pass costs $25 on a weekday and $30 on the weekend. After signing a waiver, riders will hand their bikes off to lift operators who will secure them onto the chairlift behind riders on the way up, Bird said.
Bird said he expects the park to stay open for eight weeks this season and that they’re asking riders to only ride the trails when the park is open. Helmets are mandatory and there are no bike rentals available, though they hope to have some in the future, Bird said.
The new trails, which were constructed in June and July, have man-made features for all rider levels. They include an intermediate flow trail to a black diamond technical trail.
Bird said they’re stressing the motto: “pre-ride, re-ride and free-ride.”
That means they want riders to try out a trail first, get a feel for it, then go around again, and then once riders are comfortable they can really start to rip around them, he said.
“I’m pumped to see the kids on the trails, everyone hooting and hollering,” said Dan Simmons, who works for Pro Trails.
Sixteen-year-old Aven Elsberg who grew up in Alaska and now lives in Whistler, B.C. said, “It’s really good for biking, it puts Alaska on the map.”