Christy Sports The Ridge Report
A Blog About Everything Skiing & Snowboarding in Colorado & Utah
Colorado Mountain Biking Lifts

Ski lifts aren’t just for skiing. When the warm sun melts the snow blanketing towns at higher elevation, ski resorts serve as a mountain biker’s haven. If you’ve ever dreamed of flying down a hill without having to make the taxing climb up, you’ve got to try this! Check out some of our favorite lift-served mountain bike trails in Colorado to get your summer adrenaline fix.

Lift-Served Mountain Biking Trails in Colorado

Crested Butte Mountain Bike Park (formerly Evolution Bike Park)

Crested Butte is a mountain biker’s dream. A mix of technical and smooth routes, the bike park boasts over 30 miles of can’t-miss terrain. Take the lift up for a breathtaking view of the wildflowers. Just make sure to watch where you’re going on the way down, as the brightly-colored wildflowers can be distracting in this mountain bike mecca.

Bike Granby Ranch

Granby is a small town with a big biking population. Still, you probably won’t have to dodge crowds when you explore this ski area in the summer, as it’s tucked away between Winter Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Loved for its relatively ungroomed terrain catering to all levels of mountain biker, this best-kept secret won’t be a secret for long!

Trestle Bike Park at Winter Park

Trestle is a legendary park in the mountain biking community. Named for its wooden trestles, the lift-served bike park offers slightly more manicured trails than Bike Granby Ranch just 20 miles away. Take lessons at the Trestle Bike Park School or hop of the lift and directly down a double black diamond- there is something for everyone!

Steamboat Bike Park

Making your way to Steamboat with a bike rack in tow? Say hello to 2,200 vertical feet of lift-served trails. The Boat used to be known more for its cross-country biking trails. Now, you may require a soak in the nearby Strawberry Park Hot Springs to soothe sore legs after a day mountain biking in Steamboat.

Snowmass Bike Park

Choose from classic cross-country trails or feel the wind in your hair as you wind down epic singletrack. Snowmass bike park is all about versatility on two wheels. The park features a few new intermediate/ expert trails so be the first to give em a try! Riding down from the top of Elk Camp Chairlift to Snowmass Village takes you on a 2,897 vertical foot decent.

Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain is a family-friendly destination all year, offering sought-after skiing in the winter and mountain biking in the summer. The Eagle Lift serves all levels of biker, from challenging single-track trails to less aggressive routes. If catching a lift up isn’t your jam, wide service roads offer the ability to ride up after hours.

Mountain Village Bike Park at Telluride Ski Resort

Telluride has an ALL NEW bike park scheduled to open this summer and will offer day and season-long passes. Access XC, FREERIDE and TECHNICAL trails with the help of Village Express to make your way up. Then, enjoy the epic ride down!

Don’t have your own wheels? You can still experience all of the amazing mountain biking Colorado has to offer. Rent bikes from Christy Sports before you try out some of these awesome trails. Flying down without sweating the uphill is sure not to bring you down.

The challenge of the climb and the thrill of the downhill are not lost on the savvy mountain-biker. But for those who want to get in on the action, starting out can seem a little daunting. Mountain biking is a great way to stay active while exploring the beauty of nature. It can also be logistically dangerous, especially for beginners who are not adequately prepared. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Mountain Biking Basic Tips

  1. Know Your Limits

Trust us, mountain biking is a valid excuse to skip that daily trip to the gym. The outdoor activity may touch muscle groups you didn’t know existed, and it will certainly make your lungs do a little heavy lifting. The lifting is heavier if you are mountain biking at altitude, like in Colorado. Don’t push yourself beyond your limits. It’s ok to take breaks! While challenging, this should also be an enjoyable summer activity.

  1. Respect the Terrain

Along with knowing your limits comes being aware when terrain throws you too far out of your comfort zone. Much like ski runs, mountain bike trails are rated for difficulty based on width, surface, grade, and technical features. (see below) Don’t go straight for a black diamond, and if you hit a section that is too steep or technical on a green circle, don’t be afraid to walk it. Just make sure to steer clear of other bikers heading down the trail.

Mountain bike difficulty rating.

  1. Rent FirstRenting for first time mountain biking.

The urge to splurge on a shiny new mountain bike can be hard to fight, especially if you aren’t aware you have options. Rent a bike first! Decide what style of riding you enjoy and what type of bicycle is best for that venture before you call one your own. Your rental expert will be able to point you in the direction of the right fit for starting out, and bike demos will allow you to try before you buy.

  1. Wear a Helmet

At the risk of sounding like your mother, this is still the most tried and true bike safety tip in the book. The need for head protection is magnified on rocky, uneven mountain trails.

Wear a helmet mountain biking for beginners.

  1. Use Your Gears

Gears are designed to create a more comfortable ride so make sure to learn how the specific gears on the bike you’re riding operate. Your rental tech can demonstrate how to shift gears on the bike you choose to accompany you on the trails. As a rule of thumb, take the downhills at a higher gear and shift to a lower gear when climbing to take some of the workload off of your legs.

  1. Position Your Body

Correct body positioning leads to optimal balance. When climbing, lean forward into the handlebars and slide your body to the front of the seat. This will place the pressure on your front wheel and help stabilize your bike. When going downhill, either slow your pedaling or stop it completely as you float above your seat and loosen your body to comfortably absorb impact.

Mountain biking downhill for beginners. Mountain biking uphill for beginners.

  1. Enjoy Yourself

Mountain biking is a blast, so don’t let the logistics keep you from exploring the trails on two wheels. Remember to enjoy the scenery and have fun! While mountain biking is a technical sport, start slow on the easier trails and you’ll be amazed how quickly you get the hang of it. (And the size of the smile on your face on those quick downhills.)


Check out Christy Sports’ mountain bike rentals in the premier mountain towns of Colorado and Utah. With a variety of bikes and gear and a knowledgeable staff, we cover riders from novice to advanced. When renting a bike, ask your Christy Sports bike expert for their tips and tricks, as well as their favorite spots to start shredding in the area.

mountain_bike_trail_riding

Here in the Rocky Mountains, we are fortunate to live in such a beautiful place that we can enjoy different activities amongst the seasons. The weather is warming up and it’s a wonderful time to be outdoors, but the biggest drawback of the spring is that the trails are still primarily too wet for mountain biking. This year it seemed as winter was never-ending – were not complaining we enjoyed all those laps on the hills late into the season – yet getting the bike out to hit the trails is where most of us want to be when it’s warm.

While it is extremely tempting to get out there and go ride even if the trail is wet, in doing so it can have an adverse effect on the trail all summer. Riding on wet biking trails can cause ruts and erosion, widening of the trail, and damage to that bike you love so much. There are trails and areas in the Rocky Mountains that handle the moisture better than others such as a trail with more sand or gravel, but it is best to avoid the trails that turn to mud or full of water.

Erosion and Ruts:

If the trail is wet and muddy, continual bike riding creates ruts making the trail worse when it dries. The more a trail is ridden on, the more susceptible it becomes to erosion, yet erosion is accelerated when the trail is muddy and bike tires are going deeper into the dirt. Ruts on trails require additional trail maintenance, which is done by volunteer work. There is a huge misconception that the trail will just repair itself. That is False. The trail will become worse over time. The more work volunteers have to do to correct ruts and erosion from trail abuse and weather, the less time they have to focus on other trail improvements.  It would be a real bummer not to be able to enjoy those trails all summer in the gorgeous weather.

Widening of the Trails:

Riders usually tend to go around the muddy areas and off-trail when the paths are wet. In doing this, it will start to create another trail, leaving behind the vison of a singletrack path and making erosion worse. Riding the wet trails also hurts the natural environment leading to additional damage. At the end of the day, riders will have to make the decision to get off their bike to walk through puddles if the path is deeply saturated in parts instead of riding around it. Although, if the trail is truly mud filled or gets worse as you ride further into it and it’s probably best to turn back around and find another trail to ride.

Damage to Your Bike:

We have seen the commercials and ads of how awesome it looks when the mud is flinging back from the tires, leading us to believe our bikes can handle it all! Well, that image is not completely true. You weren’t sold a lie, but in all reality mud can have a severe impact on your bike. Riding wet, muddy trails will cause mud to lump up on your rear tire, which can catch your rear derailleur forcing it to bend or break. This is a real quick way hurt your bike and it’s not the only part that can be impacted-think about the other essential bike parts as well that could be damaged.

We know this time of year can be a real pain for bike riders. Most of us are dying to get out there to ride our favorite trails. The warm weather and sunny skies can trick us into believing we are good to get out there, but that is generally not the case. Various circumstances such as afternoon rain storms and water runoff play a major part in trail conditions. It is best to plan ahead and have alternative trail options ready. Read trail conditions and statuses before heading out. It may be very tempting, especially when you have put in the effort and time, to ride a muddy trail, but remember the impact that has on the trails, your bike, and after all who truly enjoys being soaking wet and muddy?

Do you have any tips to add? Do you know of a good trail to ride during the mud season? Comment below.