North Star Bike Park, filmed and reviewed by Jim Bernstein
Review Date: 11/08/2015
With the growing popularity of mountain biking comes more places to ride with new trails popping up all the time. If you want to have fun and get your exercise you can go out and hit the trails and climb some hills. If you want to get some thrills and not have to climb the hills then you go to a bike park where they either shuttle you up the hill or you take a ski lift with your bike to get to the top.
More and more ski resorts are turning their slopes into downhill runs for summer use and summer profits. Depending on where you live you may have a bunch of bike park options or none at all. For the most part these bike parks will be up in the mountains because that's where the snow is and of course the mountains.
If you live in California there are only a handful of full on bike parks that you can hit and one rather good one is called Northstar Bike Park and it's in Truckee near Lake Tahoe. Northstar is not a huge park with lots of big jumps and professional level trails but rather consists of more natural runs with some man made features built in. There are many black diamond and double black diamond runs that have super rocky or steep sections that will challenge you and your bike. And of course there is the trail they are famous for which is called Livewire which consists of around 4 table tops and other jumps that will put a smile on your face the whole way down. If you are not into the rocks and jumps there are also several blue and green runs which will give you some twists and turns with smaller features or no features at all to ride over but that's not what you come to a bike park for!
Northstar also has a really nice resort as well as many restaurants and shops you can check out while you are not riding. They offer full day and half day lift tickets depending on how much time you want to spend at the park as well as bike rentals and service. There are different lifts that take you to different trails as well but you can pretty much ride to any trail from any lift. Just be sure to get a map if it's your first time so you can figure out where you want to go and what lift you need to take to get there.
North Star Bike Park Videos
North Star Bike Park Review
If you are looking for a bike park that has runs that you don't need to be a Red Bull Rampage veteran to ride then you should definitely check out Northstar. Like mentioned before, Livewire is a super fun run if you like to do a lot of jumping. Plus they irrigate it all day to keep the dust down since the area is pretty dusty overall if it hasn't rained in a while. If you don't feel like trying to clear the jumps you can ride over pretty much everything there but try not to cause a traffic jam or accident if you are going too slow.
If you want something a little more natural and are a fan of rock gardens and trails where taking a fall might end your day then there are several double black diamond runs such as Boondocks and Sticks & Stones. There are also some less treacherous rocky trails that will be a little easier on you such as Flame Out and Pho Dogg. As for some easy going trails that still offer a little excitement you can try Coaster and Mineshaft as well as some others.
Overall Northstar is a fun place to ride and the trails are designed nicely and have a good flow to them. If you do go plan on making a weekend out of it so you can try a bunch of the trails and then master the ones you really like. There is a wide enough variety of trails so even if the park is crowded itself the trails wonâ€™t be too bad. If you spend a couple of days there you will be surprised at how much your skill level and comfort level will improve. Just be sure to start early because parking can get really bad once people start showing up. And also try and find you hotel in advance because they seem to fill up quickly as well.