Wolfe Ashcraft told me on the drive to our starting point that the Tamarack Bike Park would appeal to anyone who can ride a bike and wants to try a downhill, trail experience.
“We really do have something for everyone,” he said. “We have two different types of user groups.”
One is the serious mountain biker who likes to go down “trail” sections made of boulders (we stopped to gaze at one of those).
The other is the resort guest with little to no experience on dirt.
“Many of them have never been on a mountain bike,” said Ashcraft, who manages the Bike Park that opens Saturday. “... I think you can do this with no experience.”
That was reassuring, since I’m about a month into my mountain biking career. And I’d yet to try anything like the Bike Park — a 5.5-mile, 1,700-foot descent through trees and rocks, over bridges and past some terrific views of the valley and lake below.
An hour later, Ashcraft was proven right. I had fun. I didn’t crash. Only two or three times did I feel overwhelmed by the terrain, and it was easy to walk around those technical spots.
Our route was primarily green. We occasionally had to go on blue sections to avoid riding on a road (little character there). There was a noticeable difference between the greens and blues — particularly in the steepest sections. We rode Pura Vida (rated green), Apollo (green), Dirty Blonde (blue), AzuLejos (blue) and Lupine (green).
“This is kind of our money trail,” Ashcraft said. “Great views, through the trees — pretty amazing for our beginning and intermediate riders.”
I used one of Tamarack’s rental fleet of downhill bikes. I own a hardtail. The downhill bikes are full suspension.
“We recommend at the very minimum full suspension,” Ashcraft said.
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north to Donnelly, turn left on Roseberry Road and follow the signs. It takes a little more than 2 hours to drive to Tamarack Resort from Boise.