It’s not every day that a new lift-accessed bike park pops up in New England, or anywhere for that matter. While many ski resorts are recognizing the value of summer mountain biking revenue these days, initial build-out costs are high and there certainly is some competition out there. Thunder Mountain Bike Park opened in 2015 and they are going full steam ahead- we had to check it out this summer and wow, we were impressed!
According to Gabe at TMBP, Berkshire East Ski Resort hired Gravity Logic to build out their ultimate bike park and “gave them the keys to the castle.” Thunder opened in 2015 with a plethora of natural and machine-built trails suited for any rider to have fun and progress on. For 2016 the building has continued, including new top-to-bottom trails such as Sugar Line and Hawleywood.
TMBP is located in beautiful Charlemont, Massachusetts- just a few minutes off the I-91 corridor. Their location offers easy access from both southern and northern points, and has helped them earn a loyal base of riders from all over the Northeast.
We visited Thunder over Labor Day Weekend, expecting some holiday traffic and lines. While the park was busy, we never seemed to encounter long lift lines. We attributed this to the diversity of trails- riders are constantly spread across the mountain, enjoying different options without getting too congested.
We started our day on Blue Pulaski, an intermediate blue flow trail off the summit. Thunder- like the rest of New England- has had a dry summer, but you wouldn’t really know it from riding the trails. Brake bumps were pretty minimal, with only a few dust pockets to catch your tires here and there. Blue Pulaski offered fun rollers and fast berms, with a few rocks and roots here and there for some variety.
From Blue Pulaski we dropped into Hawleywood, Thunder’s new large jump trail. We had both seen previews of this trail under construction, and were chomping on the bit to sample this new dirt masterpiece. Hawleywood delivers large, fast, and smooth features from start to finish. Riders can either roll the features, or jump everything and make your way down at warp speed. You can expect overhead berms, drops, hips, step-ups and step-downs, tabletops, and more on this manicured rollercoaster ride.
After a few runs on Hawleywood we headed over to The Schist and Trillium to sample some natural terrain. The Schist is steep and fast, littered with roots and rocks to keep riders on their toes and get the blood flowing. This is a real New England style DH run sure to please anyone looking for a race-style feel. Trillium is a new trail mixing both natural and manmade features, and proved to be one of our favorites. Picture steep, smooth berms in gladed woods surrounded by ferns, with natural fast singletrack in between. This trail just begs to be ridden faster and faster on any kind of bike.
Unfortunately we only had one day to ride Thunder, and didn’t get to explore all the trails on the map. What we did ride was very impressive, and we are itching to return! Gravity Logic and the Thunder crew have built an amazing park in a short amount of time and are not stopping anytime soon- we cannot wait to see what the future holds for this gem. Thank you Gabe and the entire TMBP team for hosting us!
For more information and to plan your trip, visit www.thundermountainbikepark.com!