Northstar Bike Park 7/31/12

31 Jul, 2012

What a difference a resort looks like in the winter and the summer. In January I was lapping snow covered trails (even got a couple powder days) and here I am in July riding different trails on the same terrain at Northstar Resort. From boots to bike pads. Once I knew I’d be spending time in Lake Tahoe, I made sure to arrange a visit to ride Northstar’s Bike Park. It’s been fun to ride new terrain and really test my skills this summer as I travel to different Bike Parks.

I arrived early to the Northstar village to make sure I had time to stop into the marketing department and thank them for setting up my visit. Then I waited at the Plaza Bikes to meet up with my Bike Academy coach, Luke Sheppard, for a bumps and bends clinic. Since learning to mountain bike last summer, I learned on my own with tips and it wasn’t until this summer that I started taking clinics to get technique down and better my skills. Luke and I headed up the Tahoe Zephyr Express lift to start the day of riding.

After talking about my bike park experience, we headed to Coaster so Luke could watch my riding and get a feel for my ability level beyond what I had described. It was a good warm-up trail and he immediately noticed some bad techniques I had picked up and how to make me ride better. We ended up doing a section of Live Wire to really get into the jump portion before stopping at the water towers to work on jump technique. I had started to preload at Whistler Bike Park but I was using more of my arms/shoulders instead of my feet so we tried to fix that. I tried working on a couple other things on the cement like wheelies but it’ll definitely take more practice to get those down. The first run was full of pointers which was great but also meant I needed to adjust my riding to be better downhill.

The second run, we did a full top to bottom Live Wire run and I got to really work on the technique through the jumps, berms and features. Being able to follow my coach’s line down Live Wire helped tremendously for speed and getting a bit more confident in my riding. I would look back and see what I had just ridden through and be stoked. The pic below is the logs to flat down bridge.

For our last lap together, Luke asked me if I wanted something new and I was game for it. We talked about rocks and more technical trails. The next trail was Gypsy which ended up being my favorite because it was tough, it was loose rocks and a lot more technical than anything I had imagined. But it was fun!

To get into Gypsy, you ride what I consider rock stairs. It’s a setup of rocks that go down a foot at a time. It’s one of those entry points you don’t want to mess up but it’s rad when you get through clean.

Luke made sure to stop next to the harder features to talk me through them. These were definitely features I would have walked or gone around had he not been there. The next up was log barrels to rocks to berm. It felt good to stay low, back and ride it out.

I made sure to stop and use Luke as my model for the rock to down bridge and wall ride soon after. He was a good coach and it felt like I was riding with someone who really helped my riding along with good tips with the right amount of confidence for my ability level.

Luke on the wall ride

Pretty fun to realize you are riding through terrain that is the Stash in the winter and in the summer it’s full of fun features too.

 Definitely a great start to riding Northstar in the summer. It was good to have the clinic and help on my own riding. I ended up taking more laps down Live Wire before heading out for the day. Returning later this week for more fun techy trail riding!

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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1 Comment

  1. Stuart
    August 02, 2012

    Mate, we’ve got some good trails in the UK, but nothing like these. Looks awesome.