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Ride More In New Zealand

Aug 13, 2014
by Jamie Mead  
With a lot of hype surrounding the Skyline Rotorua Mountain Bike Gravity Park opening in New Zealand last Friday, it was a pleasure to grab a chance to ride the world’s first year-round, all-terrain gondola accessed trails and get a taste of what’s on offer.

The park’s 200 metre vertical rise gives riders the chance to smash out 30 to 40 runs a day. After riding a couple of trails you really get a feel for the network, which is a lush blend of digger built and hand built trails, providing welcome diversity.

Year around park riding.

The catalyst for the Skyline Gravity Park that has now become somewhat of an institution is the Sprint Warrior track. This advanced trail provides a plethora of features with machine built berms, step-downs, gap jumps, hand built trail, the list goes on.

Hitting the step down on Moss Piglet Rotorua Two two step downs followed by three massive tables ending with Empire of Dirt s Surgeon s Table.

It also leads into two other Grade 5 trails – Moss Piglet and Ten Fifty One. All of this fun wrapped up in a warp speed package of three to four minutes top to bottom. For those keen on the big stuff, the bottom section of Moss Piglet is a sight to behold. This section of trail, accessed from Sprint Warrior, takes you over two big tables before dropping into a gnarly, off-camber, raked-in line through the forest which is sure to please the purist. But to finish with a bang, this continues into the jumps track starting off with a ‘must jump’ step down, laden with boulders in the gut of it, which then leads into the The Surgeon’s Table – Empire of Dirt’s pièce de résistance resembling something out of an international slope-style course. It’s basically a sizeable step-up onto the table itself and then an equally sizeable step-down again. With an open face helmet and no armor in sight, I was more than happy leaving the Surgeon’s Table on the ‘to do’ list for the time being.

Sending the huge table on Moss Piglet trail Skyline Rotorua NZ.

Moving on from this feature is a line of big tables which wrap up with a huge 10m lip to lip tabletop to pull out your sickest whip and taking riders out to the trail end. The jumps are well groomed and will be a huge hit.

Sprint Warrior trail leads into Hipster flowing from chisled berm to chisled berm.

There are a number of mixed level trails on the hill including another intermediate run called Hipster which flows seamlessly from chiselled berm to chiselled berm. The speed, flow and jumps that have been added for good measure will make you want to ride this over and over again. Everything links together well on Hipster and I had the fortune of following down one of the park patrollers, Zac, giving me the opportunity to maintain speed and hit the various jumps with the guidance of a park local, something that may have been slightly harder coming into the track blind. Finishing at the Sprint Warrior table top allows you to pull your sickest trick for the audience riding the gondola above. Hipster is bound to be a favourite and won’t disappoint.

Simple Jack Rotorua wide flowing trail with easy gradient Keep s everyone grinning.

Simple Jack is the park’s longest trail at 2.3km. The Grade 2 run traverses across the eastern side of Mt Ngongotaha, crossing the hillside three times taking in exceptional views over the city and Lake Rotorua before leading the rider round a mega-berm and dropping into the Redwood forest where things start getting a bit more hectic.
The corners start tightening up and superb use of the landscape means berms practically turn into wall rides if you hit them hot enough before spitting you out of the bush at the trail end, leaving you wanting more.

Views across Lake Rotorua from the top of the Skyline Bike Park trails.

To mix it up on another run you can take the fork in the Redwoods to hit the Grade 3 Daywalker Trail which steps up to a more intermediate ride as the trail narrows and steepens, making for an awesome option to have more fun with. This ride left the crew feeling pumped and keen to hit the trails again soon. It also cemented that this is a world-class downhill mountain bike park that will further reinforce Rotorua and New Zealand as being an international mountain biking destination.

It’s clear that the New Zealand government’s $225,000 funding investment in the park through the Tourism Growth Partnership has allowed the creation of an extensive and world-class site.

Wide flowing trail with huge mega berms beginning with views across Rotorua and descending into the Redwoods forest.

You can lock in a half-day pass for $55 and there’s a range of options through to a full year pass at $899 ($799 earlybird till Sep 7) for unlimited gondola and downhill mountain bike trail access.

And for those heading to New Zealand that don’t have bikes, Multi Day Adventures own and operate a Mountain Bike Rotorua hire base at the bottom Skyline terminal, providing bike hire, repair and servicing, as well as guided tours of the trails.

Keep your eyes peeled on how this site continues to develop – I have a feeling that this park will be a game-changer in New Zealand mountain biking.

www.skyline.co.nz/rotorua/Mountain_Biking/


22 Comments

  • 13 1
 Grrr.... I wish they'd hurry up and start Christchurch's chair lift.
  • 9 0
 Good things take time Smile
  • 3 0
 Are they making any progress with that?
  • 3 0
 I've seen a little tree felling in the area but I'm not sure whether that's related. Work is meant to start in November-December this year.
  • 2 0
 www.selectevolution.com/christchurchadventurepark/project-summary.php
Some info in the link. There is a drop in information day, today at the Cashmere Bowling Club on Crichtion Terrace (behind that café that the roadies hangout at) I think it is from 2-6pm...
  • 1 0
 That is going to be off the charts when that is up and running.....120km of trails!
  • 1 0
 I know, plus I'll be at Uni when its fully up and running so after lectures DH methinks.
  • 1 0
 Was the deciding factor for going to Uni there over Otago, hopefully work starts soon!
  • 3 0
 Rode there on Sunday and overall it is pretty awesome. They have plenty of gondolas allocated for bikes so much so that we were getting two runs in while the 'normal' punters heading up the hill to use the luge were still waiting in the queue. One thing I found out while I was there is half day pass runs 4 hours from when you first use it (e.g. 10am - 2pm) which makes it a good option.
  • 2 0
 Siiiiickkk!! taking a crew up there in a couple weekends time, gunna be epic ! Finish it off with a lap of rainbow mtn & soak in the hot pools after yeeewwww!
  • 2 0
 Slightly excited.................
  • 2 0
 Interesting, only comments by Kiwis, no Aussies nor Mericans ?
  • 2 0
 Worth a look.
  • 3 3
 Then there's the prices which aren't so awesome.
  • 4 0
 Prices aren't that bad and you get way more runs on a gondola than a 4x4 with a trailer.
  • 4 0
 You will get around 14 runs for $55 (half day) at Skyline compared to 20 runs for $100 for the shuttles. Sure the runs are shorter at Skyline but it is quicker to get up the hill and you have bike patrollers fixing you up if you crash.
  • 2 1
 I initially thought that but compare it to 440 which is $50 for 8 - 10 runs. On a half day you can get upto 16 runs in making it about $3,50 a run and the full day one guy got 35 runs in which is about $2.15 a run which is incredibly cheap. It is actually one of the best values around unless you want to ride up hills. I rode it on opening day and it was awesome. How they have set up the half day is wicked to. You have 4 hours of riding from your first scan to get on the gondola.
  • 2 0
 Bike patroller would be a pretty sweet job, just ripping around the trails until you see someone.
  • 1 0
 I'd do it for free
  • 2 0
 FourFortys runs are considerably longer than the gondy. Just sayin.
  • 1 0
 macyp yep your $ per downhill km is definitely better at Southstar and (from what I have heard) at 440. But the gondy isn't that much more expensive on a per km basis. Also you get more in a shorter period of time on the gondy (e.g. easily 30kms in 4 hours) which would be pretty hard to squeeze in with Southstar. I can't comment about 440 as I haven't been there.
  • 1 0
 Yeah I'd do it for free

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