Quantcast

Potential Downhill Bike Park in Southeast?

DaveBethea

Monkey
Jul 22, 2009
183
0
Daytona Beach,FL
I found this on pinkbike. Sound's cool!


How much is a good downhill park in the southeast worth to you? How far would you drive? Would you pay to use the park?

Here's what I've got to work with:

I have a some property an hour and a half east of Chattanooga, about 3 hours or 170 miles from Atlanta according to Google maps, that could potentially be turned into a bike park. There are approximately 1600 acres of land in a sort of half-bowl shape, with a ridgeline bordering one side going down into a valley and back up the other side of another mountain. 1000 ft of vertical to work with on one side, 800 ft on the other. The ridgeline and mountain link together at a low point around 300 ft from the base, where the only road passes through. There is also a cave on the property to explore.

Let's aim to keep options open and not limit possibilities, so the following stuff is a possibility but not necessarily feasible. I like to be imaginative though. Initial thought would be to have the larger ridgeline side be devoted to downhill, with a slopestyle, dual slalom, northshore/ladders and whatnot, fourcross areas also and possible jump park at the base. Which of those five (SS, DS, 4X, northshore, Jumps) are you interested in? If there's no interest, no need to waste space on it! The downhill has potential for trails over 1 or 2 miles long. The ridgeline would be accessed via shuttle truck, hike a bike/riding to the top, or chairlift (extremely unlikely). On the opposite side of the road and valley (mountainside) would be a more cross country/all mountain area with access to the top via a trail, and then various climbs, loops, and descents, very super D-ish for the most part, but with options to loop back up to higher points on other trails for those who like a climb.

All trails eventually run to the base in the valley, where parking and a lodge building with a cafe and a shop are. Camping will be available for those who wish, either in the valley or at a point on the top of the ridge for those who want to wake up and go downhill first thing. There are also multiple hotels between 10-20 miles away.

Now I think that is a pretty big operation to undertake and invest in, but would a more minimal park still be of interest if that much could not be accomplished? Same setup with downhill on the ridgeline side and xc on the mountain side, but access by trail only (push to the top to get back down) or only partial shuttle truck to 300-500 feet up from base on the ridgeline side, not covering the whole ridgeline. XC trails same, but downhill trails have no 4X, SS, DS, northshore or jump area. Parking and camping but no lodge/shop other than to buy trail access pass (would be cheaper obviously).

What is your opinion? Is it worth it to you? What would you change/add or what ideas do you think would be cool to implement? I want to gauge the level of interest in having a really good bike park in the southeast. I wish it was closer to a major city, but I can't change that. Would you be willing to help build the trails in return for free riding? Let me know! Also, please ask anybody you know that rides what they think and let me know, I would really like to get as much feedback as possible.
 

NCBMXPRO

Monkey
Apr 22, 2005
129
1
Charlotte
I would personally love to see a Valmont Bike Park style spot to ride at. Having a couple DH runs would be a bonus! I also dont mind riding up to ride down if the trail is nice to trail bikes. Where is that posted on Pinkbike?!

 
Last edited:

Bigfoot92

Chimp
Oct 26, 2012
26
0
Atlanta
Hey guys, I'm new to ridemonkey, but I posted the thread on pinkbike and several other places. I'm trying to gauge the level of interest from the downhill community in the South to see if it's worth it for me to build the trails. I don't have any expectation of making loads of money here, but enough to support the system at least. I need to know that enough people would use it to justify cutting multiple trails because as it stands, I don't go there often enough to justify building a bunch of trails for myself.

I would like to mention that it is an hour and a half WEST of Chattanooga, not east. That was a miss-statement on my part.
 

htrdoug

Chimp
Nov 25, 2001
66
0
So.Indiana
Seems like it'd be awfully close to T.T.C. Why not just work with them to improve what they got? Can't be a bad thing to have more venues but you may be trying to spread available manpower pretty thin...
 

Bigfoot92

Chimp
Oct 26, 2012
26
0
Atlanta
Seems like it'd be awfully close to T.T.C. Why not just work with them to improve what they got? Can't be a bad thing to have more venues but you may be trying to spread available manpower pretty thin...
I think my land is about an hour away from TTC. What do you mean work with them to improve what they have? The whole point of this for me is that I have some land that I think would be really fun to ride downhill on, and I want to make it that way. If I go help TTC, that doesn't do anything to solve the problem. To be honest, I've never ridden TTC so I don't know how they are run or what the trails are like, but from their website the seem to be very heavily oriented towards trials dirtbiking, and they just allow mountain bikers to ride there when dirtbiking events aren't going on. Beyond being another body, I don't have anything to offer TTC.
 

motobutane

Monkey
Apr 27, 2010
516
0
WNC
Hey guys, I'm new to ridemonkey, but I posted the thread on pinkbike and several other places. I'm trying to gauge the level of interest from the downhill community in the South to see if it's worth it for me to build the trails. I don't have any expectation of making loads of money here, but enough to support the system at least. I need to know that enough people would use it to justify cutting multiple trails because as it stands, I don't go there often enough to justify building a bunch of trails for myself.

What is your opinion? Is it worth it to you? What would you change/add or what ideas do you think would be cool to implement? I want to gauge the level of interest in having a really good bike park in the southeast.
I would like to mention that it is an hour and a half WEST of Chattanooga, not east. That was a miss-statement on my part.
Two issue's^^^ Do you think you would have time to build even 1 trail going to college at Ga. Tech? Unless your major is in trail building.
The level of interest would be very high for a really good bike park if anything was closer than snowshoe, you said a "Bikepark" but also stated that a chairlift was extremely unlikely at your place. My definition of a bikepark is lift accessible trails.Snowshoe does well just look at it, then contact Beech Mtn and ask them what it takes to build a bikepark.
We understand you have the land and if you build trails there people will come ride but it would be years before you could pay the taxes from profits.
 

Bigfoot92

Chimp
Oct 26, 2012
26
0
Atlanta
Two issue's^^^ Do you think you would have time to build even 1 trail going to college at Ga. Tech? Unless your major is in trail building.
The level of interest would be very high for a really good bike park if anything was closer than snowshoe, you said a "Bikepark" but also stated that a chairlift was extremely unlikely at your place. My definition of a bikepark is lift accessible trails.Snowshoe does well just look at it, then contact Beech Mtn and ask them what it takes to build a bikepark.
We understand you have the land and if you build trails there people will come ride but it would be years before you could pay the taxes from profits.
Yes, despite going to GT I have time to build a trail. Not necessarily in a day or however fast you think it ought to be built, but that's not the point. Effort vs. Payout for one person to ride the trail is not enough to me, but if a lot of people are using the trail it is.

As for it being a bike park? Ok, let's call it a trail system then, that's irrelevant. There will be trails from top to bottom and shuttle access. Never been to Snowshoe, but I have been to Beech and though it was pretty poor, so I don't know that I want to take their advice.

I'm not really sure what you mean in the last part. Are you referring to the land/property taxes? If so, those aren't being paid by use of the land anyway, so I don't know what difference that makes. You should always have the money to pay the taxes on your profit, it's a portion of your profit.
 

OffCamber

Monkey
May 27, 2005
405
6
Loxahatchee, Fl
but I have been to Beech and though it was pretty poor, so I don't know that I want to take their advice.
If this is your opinion of Beech? Good luck with your "project":think: You have probably just alienated most (if not all) of your people. High speed lift, fun trails that will continue to expand, and great people running it with everything you need right there. Good luck:nerd:
 

motobutane

Monkey
Apr 27, 2010
516
0
WNC
If this is your opinion of Beech? Good luck with your "project":think: You have probably just alienated most (if not all) of your people. High speed lift, fun trails that will continue to expand, and great people running it with everything you need right there. Good luck:nerd:
No sh!t - right? If his definition of Beech is "Poor" what exactly does that mean? Looks to me like they have spent a lot of money and time to build/grow their bikepark.
 
Im all for this guy building a bike park but until he rides snowshoe and about 5 other resorts he is wasting his time. You gotta see what people are paying for!
Please come do a few a runs at the TTC in 2 weeks the weekend of the Nov 10th.
Good vibe and shuttles to 2 different peaks!
So close to you and all.
 

bizutch

Delicate CUSTOM flower
Dec 11, 2001
15,926
18
Over your shoulder whispering
I'm not sure why RM has to digress into a hate storm, but everybody work on this project together. Be open minded rather than closed minded.

Everybody has valid points. Beech is doing more and more and to us in the South, it's an awesome improvement over anything else we've had. But the guys right as well. Every other bike park is far ahead of them right now and their trail system is basic at best. Herndon and company have done an AWESOME job there with the task they've been given though! :thumb:

Stop taking offense on either side and give the guy some support and suggestions as to what you'd like to see and things you believe can help. No need to tear one another down on page 1. :D
 
Last edited:

Bigfoot92

Chimp
Oct 26, 2012
26
0
Atlanta
I didn't mean to offend so many people with my statements about Beech, but that was the experience I had. The week I was there (middle of the summer) the lifts weren't running, which was the big thing I was looking forward to as I had driven 4-5 hours to get there. There also didn't seem to be many people around even though the next day there was a race being held. I should have phrased that differently, as the actual trails were generally fun (that I can remember). I think the lift not running and generally not knowing the trails/where I was and being able to find signs or people to help get my bearings took away from the experience though. This was my point of view as a non-local riding there for the first time, and I think that it would obviously be different for someone who does ride there consistently and knows the system, knows where they are going, etc. I would expect people to get lost and probably frustrated at my local trail system as there is no signage at all and lots of different trails overlap, but I know exactly where I'm going and think it's fun.

LOOnatic, the fact that I haven't ridden Snowshoe doesn't mean I'm clueless. I've ridden Keystone and Park City a bit, as well as several of the shuttle serviced trails in Moab, and I've skied many many other resorts that run mountain bike trails in the summer. I've looked at trail maps and elevation profiles to match to see how some of the more well-known trails make their way down the mountain. I've watched countless videos and headcams (as I'm sure we all have). I'm not saying I shouldn't ride Snowshoe or it wouldn't be helpful, as that is probably the farthest thing from the truth, but I do know what a good trail looks like, and I do know what people pay for.
 

OffCamber

Monkey
May 27, 2005
405
6
Loxahatchee, Fl
Not sure what trails you got to ride at Beech. But the DH associated with the resort is a lot of fun. I normally make 5-8 trips north a year. This year only two. Minimum travel time is 10hrs to north Ga. Beech being the closest lift access at 12hrs, SS 16hrs. I normally travel solo, so I need to hook-up with others or have shuttle/lift access. This is why I'll spend a extra 4hrs on the road going to SS. I pull up, check-in and ride for 3-4 days. They also have a large variety of trails. I have yet to ride TTC yet, but the ride weekends at WR are also great. My point being, I am an average rider will to drive along way to ride fun stuff. If you build it, I'm sure I'll make it by on one of my trips.
 

AndyPav

Chimp
Sep 8, 2010
84
0
Columbus GA
So much hate. I think what some guys are trying to get across is the fact u need to scope out some high end bike parks.. my personal favorite so far is mtn creek bike park in nj. I have ridden snowshoe and loved it...even though i broke my hip and collar none there.. ive been to a few others. If you want to build a good trail system that runs via shuttle, i would definitely talk to the guys that helped build and maintain Windrock tn..love that place and they built it SO well.

I imagine to build 4 or 5 good dh/jump/freeride trails in a four month period you will need some heavy artillery...10 to 11 people that are willing to build 3 or 4days a week, and something along the lines of a bobcat would do great justice. Dont forget to utilize things like 4wheelers to make more efficient time...

Also one bit of personal advice...actually two...i read the first somewhere...build the trails and worry about everything else later ( referring to jumps/wooden features ) later...make it flowy and fun then the rest will fall into place. SECONDLY ignore the politics or hating associated with buildinf if they want to criticize you they can grab a shovdl or chainsaw..but dont be afraid to take some constructful criticism.

Good luck and god speed. If u want help im in ft benning. Hit me up
 

roperacer

Monkey
Aug 17, 2009
320
0
chattanooga tn
the ttc only has about 6 days out of the year, that we cannot ride, and we actually could ride if we wanted to, that is on the website just to keep people that has never been there from wondering around on the mtn. the ttc already has a great facility to accommodate mtn bikers and it is still such a hassle to keep going, we got cabins, shower, stage, podium, snack shop, pavilion, even wifi, and we can hardly keep the trails up. you need at least a 10 person workforce to keep the trails up if they are true dh trails. and when it comes to shuttles, no one is gonna pay to hike a bike, so you buy a shuttle rig,, a truck and trailer..well that gets 15 people riding,and if your shuttle road is a public road,, u gotta buy a bus and trailer, its illegal for people to ride on a trailer.then theres the gas and extreme wear and tear up and down the mtn 10 times a day. a true bike park would need a work force with a experienced trail builder as a foreman, a chair lift, insurance and legal documentation, signs,bobcat,hand tools, power tools, and above all a local dh scene. i guess what im getting at is that if its not a already established ski resort or your a millionaire, a true bike park is not gona happen. my opinion would just to simply get some locals together,and build yourself some trails, volunteers is what makes alot of things happen( windrock) (ttc) and even then your almost asking to go to court . we have been handed a damn near ready to go bike park and cant keep it up for lack of local interst, the great thing about a bike park in the southeast is that it can run year round, we do most of our riding in the winter just because youve got beech and sugar and snowshoe open all summer and racing all summer,, so ttc and windrock is the only place to ride dh in the winter . so anway, sorry about all the rambling im still half asleep..RIDE WEEKEND THIS WEEKEND AT TTC looks like perfect weather, so get out and effin ride!
 

Bigfoot92

Chimp
Oct 26, 2012
26
0
Atlanta
I typed up a huge post yesterday, thought I posted it. Anyway, a friend told me Beech mountain has had stuff added since I was there in 2009 or 2010, and from looking at a trail map and the builders blog from 2011 that appears to be the case, so again apologies for my statement.

Andypav, I'm not planning to have this done in 4 months, it is still very much in the concept/planning stage. An absolute best outlook, there might be 2 trails by the end of next summer. There are a lot of other things I need to figure out business and management-wise before I start spending money on building trails.

roperacer, the shuttle road is private, so that's not an issue. Were I to do the actual bike park route, I would have an outside company that already manages other bike parks come in and set it up (basically lease the land for almost nothing to them) so that I don't have to deal with all of that stuff. That would be assuming there was interest from another bike park management/investors in having a bike park in the South, but I don't know how likely this is or if anything like this has been proposed to any of the right people before. Currently, I'm thinking that probably won't happen though, so a shuttle with trails running top to bottom is probably the most likely outcome. As far as getting people there to ride and build, I think I have at least a small crew of people I could gather for trail building and once there is something built that's fun to ride, people will come ride if they know about it.

For whoever is in the know, does TTC do any kind of advertising towards the general mountain bike community? I did some XC riding with a friend who said he's always wanted to do downhill, but he said he doesn't know of much, especially multiple trails together near him or in Georgia in general. He lives in Dalton, Ga (an hour or so south of TTC) and works in a bike shop there, but had never heard of TTC before. I think talking to lots of local bike shops in the Southeast even if they don't sell big travel bikes and even just asking them to post a flyer or something in there shop would at least catch a few people's attention. If there are bike rentals available nearby, seems a good way to draw in people who are maybe more used to a different discipline of riding but want to experience something more thrilling. As long as there are enough trucks and trailers available to keep people going up the mountain at a good rate of course.

Again for whoever is in the know, has TTC actually had any problems getting sued by mountain bikers using the trails? I know the potential is there and I'm not worried about getting legal documents and waivers made up when the time comes, but just curious.
 

roperacer

Monkey
Aug 17, 2009
320
0
chattanooga tn
no problems yet,, although a gurl on a trials bike fell off of one of our wooden drops and broke her arm,,,i think there was a little talk of some legal action, but that is as far as it went and we put up large signs about the features at the shop,, but im sure ttc has a great lawyer or lawyers that put together the release forms, and insurance company.
 

bizutch

Delicate CUSTOM flower
Dec 11, 2001
15,926
18
Over your shoulder whispering
The judge should say "At what point, while balancing your bicycle on the precarious trail and riding onto a wood structure, did you think you were no longer responsible for yourself and that the carpenter was?
 
Im all for this guy building a bike park but until he rides snowshoe and about 5 other resorts he is wasting his time. You gotta see what people are paying for!
Please come do a few a runs at the TTC in 2 weeks the weekend of the Nov 10th.
Good vibe and shuttles to 2 different peaks!
So close to you and all.
I had to repost my post as i think it still applies. I didn't call you clueless just maybe not well rounded in whats around. Thats great you have done some riding out west.
Again i reiterate that you come to the TTC this weekend , ride what they got, have some good times and take away from it what you will.
Like TRoy (roperacer) mentioned - a thriving local scene is key to longevity. Sadly the TTC and Windrock barely make it because there is a real lack of locals that ride/work it regularly despite both places being good.
IF you do get this going (and i hope so) you should contact Elevated Trail Design out of NC to consult on your future plans.
 

CLos

Chimp
Jan 28, 2007
68
0
Regular trails can be found but what makes bike parks special are trails built specifically for our gravity version of the sport DH, Spolestyle jumpy bermy ect, I have made it to a few bike parks this past summer as well and one key thing is the ability to get back up the hill easy (however this works out). This is one of the main reasons so many of us will drive so far to ride. This needs to be available when ever our time allows and that is why lift acces is so attaractive. Example Windrock is awsome now but you need a partner to shuttle. With a lift it would be so much better although I understand it is vey expensive it would allow 2 people to have fun together at the park. This is very key if it is to be a legit park and yes I + many others would travel / pay to ride there.
 

Bigfoot92

Chimp
Oct 26, 2012
26
0
Atlanta
I had to repost my post as i think it still applies. I didn't call you clueless just maybe not well rounded in whats around. Thats great you have done some riding out west.
Again i reiterate that you come to the TTC this weekend , ride what they got, have some good times and take away from it what you will.
Like TRoy (roperacer) mentioned - a thriving local scene is key to longevity. Sadly the TTC and Windrock barely make it because there is a real lack of locals that ride/work it regularly despite both places being good.
IF you do get this going (and i hope so) you should contact Elevated Trail Design out of NC to consult on your future plans.
Ok, I think it's fair to say I'm not as well aware of what's around us in Southeast (part of why I've been out west more) or hadn't been until recently. Will people be at TTC on Friday? I've got some friends coming up to my property on Saturday to do some exploring, but I might be able to make it to TTC mid-day on Friday and ride if I don't have to drive them, assuming other people are there.
 
Tough call for friday unless Troy and crew are doing last minute trail work.
Seeing how close you are you really should do a full day at TTC and a full day or 2 at Windrock as homework.
I've been to almost every bike park in the states and a few in Canada and WindRock is a stallion my friend.
 

davo425

Chimp
Feb 9, 2011
15
0
Ok, I think it's fair to say I'm not as well aware of what's around us in Southeast (part of why I've been out west more) or hadn't been until recently. Will people be at TTC on Friday? I've got some friends coming up to my property on Saturday to do some exploring, but I might be able to make it to TTC mid-day on Friday and ride if I don't have to drive them, assuming other people are there.
there will be a crew riding Sunday as well....
 
Ok. I've got some friends coming up to my property on Saturday to do some exploring, but I might be able to make it to TTC mid-day on Friday and ride if I don't have to drive them, assuming other people are there.
You should put that on hold and come be apart of an organized shuttle day on 2 peaks and rip at will for $10 sat day. Check it out.
 
Last edited:

Bigfoot92

Chimp
Oct 26, 2012
26
0
Atlanta
Just an update: For right now, digging has at least been delayed until January when hunting season ends. I didn't go up there this weekend (hiked the BMT instead), but I have done some planning with the various maps I have of the area to get some basics like parking lots down and talking to my relative about the trails he already has on the property and how they can be utilized for access to future trails.
 

Bigfoot92

Chimp
Oct 26, 2012
26
0
Atlanta
I guess this is a semi-update? Anyway, I went to another property of mine in Sewanee, TN (right next to University of the South) yesterday that I'd never been to before. It's significantly smaller (250 acres) and the elevation change is slightly less at around 800 feet top to bottom. However, I think it has a lot of potential. For starters, shuttling is already possible (about 10 minutes bottom to top?), on paved roads no less. Sewanee is also a good bit easier to get to than my other property since it's major highways most of the way (just under 3 hours from Atlanta).

The area is pretty rocky, with lots of huge boulders and giant slabs that could be utilized. There's an old logging road that hasn't been used in around 50 years and has become pretty rutted and rough and is suprisingly steep in several areas, and it looks like it'd be very fun to bomb down on an AM/DH rig.

I think I'm going back sometime next week to repaint the property lines so I'll be taking my bike with me and riding the logging road top to bottom and doing some more exploring.
 

BDKR

Chimp
Dec 1, 2012
4
0
So much hate. I think what some guys are trying to get across is the fact u need to scope out some high end bike parks.. my personal favorite so far is mtn creek bike park in nj. I have ridden snowshoe and loved it...even though i broke my hip and collar none there.. ive been to a few others. If you want to build a good trail system that runs via shuttle, i would definitely talk to the guys that helped build and maintain Windrock tn..love that place and they built it SO well.

I imagine to build 4 or 5 good dh/jump/freeride trails in a four month period you will need some heavy artillery...10 to 11 people that are willing to build 3 or 4days a week, and something along the lines of a bobcat would do great justice. Dont forget to utilize things like 4wheelers to make more efficient time...

Also one bit of personal advice...actually two...i read the first somewhere...build the trails and worry about everything else later ( referring to jumps/wooden features ) later...make it flowy and fun then the rest will fall into place. SECONDLY ignore the politics or hating associated with buildinf if they want to criticize you they can grab a shovdl or chainsaw..but dont be afraid to take some constructful criticism.

Good luck and god speed. If u want help im in ft benning. Hit me up
+1!!!!!!!
 

d2441980086

Chimp
Aug 24, 2007
4
0
Hey just wanted to post- I was involved with Clemson Freeride for four years as president and saw this thread- love how so many people are building in the Southeast! PM me if you have any questions or if there's anything I can do to help- include build:)
 
Feb 17, 2010
26
0
A, A
We had one helluva race too!! Thank you ALLLLL for showing up, it was fantastic!!! We saw alot of new faces and had a great turnout, great weather, and allover rowdy ride weekend!!
 

Bigfoot92

Chimp
Oct 26, 2012
26
0
Atlanta
Loo I was there Saturday for the practice, but my derailleur cage snapped in half after several runs and I couldn't fix it there, so I didn't stay for the race Sunday. Trails 5 and 6 were pretty damn fun, and yea I heard the jeep died. I'll definitely be back since it's pretty close to where I've started to plan and cut trail in Sewanee, so that makes for a solid weekend that's worth the drive for me from Atlanta.
 

Bigfoot92

Chimp
Oct 26, 2012
26
0
Atlanta
I was on a 575. Tall guy, brown shirt that said moab singletrack down the back, silver tacoma. I was riding with Barry and Ryan for the most part until my derailleur broke.