OUT & ABOUT: Mountain biking at Powder Ridge in Middlefield

MIDDLEFIELD — Powder Ridge Park opened its mountain biking trails for the season this weekend, welcoming beginners and experts alike. 

“The trails here are nice, you can go up North and get bigger mountains, but this is a great learning area because the mountain’s not two thousand feet tall,” said Jordan Newth, a member of the park’s trail team and a professional mountain biker. 

Returnees may notice some new and revamped trails done by DirtSculpt, a company that specializes in bike trails. This time of year, the park’s trail team are working to restore the six trails after the winter. 

“Bringing DirtSculpt in is a huge step forward for us,” Newth said. “... they have the resources to build things more efficiently and quicker.” 

The team recommends beginners learn basic techniques from coaches on site before moving to some of the easier trails.

 “A lot of times when people are new they try to fight the bike instead of letting the bike do the work,” Newth said. “It’s like going skiing when you’ve never skied before. It’s not very hard, but it's intimidating because it’s a new challenge.” 

The park has been refocusing on beginner bikers in an effort to attract more to the sport. 

“Downhill mountain biking is a sport that's gaining ground nationwide, but it is still a very exclusive club,”  said Powder Ridge owner Sean Hayes.“...so what we're trying to do is open it up to the general public – young kids, even adults,”

Hayes started biking at age 50 and has since made it successfully down all their trails. The park allows for the extreme sensations of going downhill without pedaling uphill because the park has a working lift service, he said. 

“As long as you've ridden a bike before, we can take you from beginner through the learning center with our coaches ... we will teach you how to downhill mountain bike,” Hayes said. 

Newth, a Vermont resident living in the state for the summer, started biking at age 8 when his father took him to a nearby BMX track.  He has since traveled the world to race, most recently competing in Madeira, Portugal. 

The park’s annual Race the Ridge event is scheduled for June 22. This season, the trail team is also working on two more trails for people to enjoy. Lessons can be reserved online or by calling the park, which also provides guides for going down the mountain. 

Powder Ridge also offers summer activities like synthetic ski and snowboarding, tubing, zip lines, and disc golf.

Twitter: @baileyfaywright


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