Highland Mountain Bike Park in New Hampshire is the antithesis of Quebec’s Bromont Resort. There are no bikini-clad babes here. Instead, the women are in the lift line kitted out in armor and waiting to lap you. Thereâ€™s no water park either. Just a reedy swamp beside the lodge where the winner of the recent Claymore Challenge got dunked.
Basically, this is as grassroots as it gets and we love it. Highland was formed by husband-and-wife team Mark and Loren Hayes from the ashes of a defunct ski hill and now boasts 12 downhill runs thatâ€™ll rattle you so silly youâ€™ll smile your teeth out. They also have a slalom course, pump track, an indoor training centre where the next generation of huckers are working on making you feel inadequate and a slopestyle park designed by a front loading genius. There is no spandex here. Itâ€™s all armour, ripped jeans and underwear. (Evidently, if the Claymore Challenge is any indication, the harder you ride, the more gitch youâ€™re allowed to show.)
And this place is as buff. The berms are like concrete, the tabletops are built with precision accuracy and there are servants to dismount your bike from the chair. What more do you freakinâ€™ need? A water slide? Drink Dogfish IPA at the lodgeâ€™s bar and youâ€™ll get all the liquid refreshment you need.
Highland is organic. None of this â€œJe me souviensâ€ crap. (Who cares what Quebecers remember anyway?) At Highland in New Hampshire thereâ€™s no time to live in the past. Thereâ€™s only enough time to â€œLive Free or Die!â€