Kelly Canyon to offer lift-serviced mountain biking this summer

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RIRIE — Kelly Canyon Ski Resort, which celebrated its 62nd ski season this year, will open for its first-ever summer season next month with 20 miles of lift-serviced mountain bike trails.

According to Kelly Canyon co-owner Dave Stoddard, most of the terrain has a dirt surface rather than extensive rock surfaces, about half the trails are bi-directional, and the rest are singletrack. He says around 80 percent are rated Easier (green circle) to More Difficult (blue square), but additional Most Difficult (black diamond) trails are in the works.

Lift 4 will haul bikes and riders up the mountain’s 1,000 vertical feet and provide access to all 20 miles of trails, for which world-renowned bike trail developer Alpine Bike Parks provided initial design consulting. Alternatively, riders may explore less steep trails at the foot of the mountain without using the lift.

“The trails flow nicely underneath canopies and across varied terrain, and we constructed them to take advantage of the spectacular views at many points on the mountain,” Stoddard says. “We’ve also installed about 30 features, including rollers, jumps, and banked corners.”

However, he says Kelly Canyon Bike Park should appeal to all levels of riders. “We approached the trail design with the thinking that lift-served mountain biking can be a family sport,” Stoddard says, “and not just for accomplished extreme riders.”

The resort’s summer operations will begin sometime in June and likely continue into October. It will open Thursdays through Saturdays. Visit SkiKelly.com for more details.

With Kelly Canyon celebrating its inaugural summer season, now more than half of Ski Idaho resorts — 10 of 18 — offer mountain biking adventures and more.

“Summer increasingly rivals winter at ski areas nationwide, and Idaho is no different,” Ski Idaho board president and Brundage Mountain Co. president Bob Looper says. “In fact, summer visitors account for nearly 20 percent of annual consumer spending at Idaho ski resorts.”

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area in North Idaho near the historic town of Wallace will open the Route of the Hiawatha May 24.

Considered the crown jewel of the nation’s rails-to-trails initiative, the 15-mile Route of the Hiawatha’s gentle 2-percent, all-downhill ride straddles the Idaho-Montana state line, delves 10 tunnels, crosses seven sky-high train trestles, and sports shuttle service. Attracting more than 50,000 riders last summer, the Route of the Hiawatha is by far the most popular ski area bike trail in the country. It is accessible daily through Sept. 22 and is offering full-moon rides June 17, July 16, Aug. 15, and Sept. 14 by reservation only. Visit RideTheHiawatha.com for more details.

Iron Riders re-enactors will celebrate the contributions of U.S. Army Buffalo Soldiers in the area with a commemorative ride of the Route of the Hiawatha and special appearances in Wallace June 7-8. Comprised of Vietnam veterans, the group will ride replicas of the 19th-century one-speed bikes the original Iron Riders pedaled on an epic 1,900-mile trek from Missoula, Mont., to St. Louis 118 years ago this summer to test the viability of bicycles for moving troops.

Meanwhile, 25 miles west, Silver Mountain Resort in the North Idaho town of Kellogg is opening for summer over Memorial Day weekend, too. Weekend operations start May 25, with daily operations occurring between June 21 and Sept. 2. Weekend operations will continue through Sept. 29, with bonus days including May 27, June 14, and Sept. 20.

Voted Best in the Northwest on four separate occasions in the MTBparks.com Riders’ Choice Awards as recently as 2017, Silver Mountain Bike Park maintains almost 40 singletrack trails that span 3,300 vertical feet. The resort also boasts the state’s largest indoor waterpark, scenic rides on North America’s longest gondola, trail hiking and running, and the exquisite nine-hole Galena Ridge Golf Course tucked away in the mountains of the Silver Valley. Visit SilverMt.com for more details.

Bogus Basin in Southwest Idaho near Boise is also opening for summer over Memorial Day weekend. Weekend operations begin May 25, with daily operations commencing June 20 and continuing through Sept. 2. Weekend operations will resume through Oct. 13.

MTBproject.com ranks Around the Mountain at Bogus Basin as the number-one trail in Idaho. The recreation area also serves as the main access point to the Mahalo and Dry Creek trails, collectively ranked number two in the state. Beyond biking, Bogus Basin operates the Glade Runner, the Pacific Northwest’s first mountain coaster, year-round. The recreation area also offers summer tubing, bungee trampolines, a climbing wall, gold panning, horseback riding, trail hiking and running, and scenic chairlift rides. Visit BogusBasin.org for more details.

Just across the border in Alta, Wyo., Grand Targhee — which affiliates with the Idaho Ski Areas Association because the resort is only accessible via Driggs, Idaho — will kick off daily summer operations June 14.

Ranked among the Northwest’s top-five bike parks in the MTBparks.com Riders’ Choice Best Bike Parks Awards for five consecutive years, Grand Targhee offers 2,200 vertical feet of lift-serviced downhill and more than 60 miles of multi-use trails. Midsummer last year the resort added the new, highly acclaimed technical trail Blondie to its suite of descents, and it completed another, Tall Cool One, in September.

With its Shoshone lift spinning alongside big brother Dreamcatcher this summer, the bike park has officially entered the family friendly realm. The Shoshone lift will remain open until 7 p.m. during four Family Fridays events June 28, July 5, July 26, and Aug. 16.

Other activities include kids summer camps, bungee trampolines, a climbing wall, gold panning, a nature center, horseback riding, trail hiking and running, scenic chairlift rides, and an 8,000-foot-long, 18-hole disc golf course. Visit GrandTarghee.com for more details.

Tamarack Resort in Southwest Idaho near Donnelly will open June 14 for a professional bike race that weekend. Hundreds of the best downhill racers in the country will test their mettle on Tamarack’s most burly trails at the NW Cup/Pro GRT, which the resort bills as the biggest and the baddest downhill race event Idaho will see this summer. The bike park is open to the public June 14-15 but closed for racers only June 16. Beyond opening weekend, lift service will be available on Saturdays and Sundays through Sept. 15 excluding June 16 and June 22-23. Bonus days include July 4-5, and Sept. 2.

The International Mountain Bicycling Association created Tamarack’s 25-mile trail system. The resort also offers zip line canopy tours that explore 3,500 feet of terrain, including eight different zip lines, two suspension bridges, and a 105-foot-high tree house. Visitors also can book whitewater rafting trips, hike and run trails, take scenic chairlift rides, relax at the spa, and enjoy an array of watersports on Lake Cascade. Visit TamarackIdaho.com for more details.

Also in Southwest Idaho near the town of McCall, Brundage Mountain will commence weekend operations June 15-16 and June 22-23 and transition to a five-days-per-week schedule (Wednesdays through Sundays) June 26 through Labor Day weekend. Bonus days include July 1-2 and Sept. 2.

Brundage Bike Park’s 26 miles of paths include 20 miles of hand-built singletrack and 6 miles of brand-new cross-country routes that afford incredible views of the Payette lakes, McCall, and Long Valley. The mountain also offers scenic chairlift rides, trail hiking and running, and a 2,500-foot-long, nine-hole disc golf course. Visit Brundage.com for more details.

Biking season at Schweitzer Mountain Resort in North Idaho near Sandpoint begins June 21, with daily operations continuing through Sept. 2.

Schweitzer maintains more than 20 miles of mountain bike trails. The resort’s summer visitors also can take side-by-side rides on dual, 700-foot zip lines, play disc golf, geocache, jump on bungee trampolines, scale a 25-foot climbing wall, hike and run trails, pan for gold, pick huckleberries, and go horseback riding. Visit Schweitzer.com for more details.

World-famous Sun Valley Resort in South Central Idaho will also begin lift-served mountain biking on June 21, giving access to flow trails on the front side of Bald Mountain. The Cold Springs and Warm Springs perimeter trails open July 1 after the elk calving season ends. The projected last day of summer mountain operations is Sept. 8.

Outerbike, a bike demo event, is making its debut for the season at Sun Valley June 21-23. Hundreds of riders will have three days to test bikes on Bald Mountain and the surrounding trails. Sun Valley is the first stop of the Outerbike tour this year, with three other venues on the schedule later in the season — Moab, Utah; Crested Butte, Colo.; and Bentonville, Ark. The action-packed weekend of biking includes the National Interscholastic Cycling Association high school mountain bike summit for coaches and leagues, the Sheeptown Drag Races in downtown Hailey, Ketchum’s Summer Solstice Soiree, and the PeopleForBikes DRAFT meetup.

Enduro racing returns for another year on Bald Mountain with the Full Tilt Enduro Sept. 7.

The nation’s first ski destination ski resort and global birthplace of lift-assisted skiing, Sun Valley boasts hundreds of miles of singletrack and more than 3,000 vertical feet of descent. Riders also have easy access to more than 30 miles of paved, car-free bike paths throughout the Wood River Valley. In addition, the resort offers an array of activities, including golf at three championship courses, scenic gondola rides, a spa, a shooting range, bowling, fly fishing, hiking, trail running, ice shows, ice skating, tennis, paddle boats, fishing, beach volleyball on Sun Valley Lake, three outdoor swimming pools, and concerts at the Sun Valley Pavilion and River Run. Visit SunValley.com for more details.

Pomerelle Mountain Resort in Southern Idaho near Albion will open for summer July 7. It will operate Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 31 except July 20.

The resort offers lift-served mountain biking, but Pomerelle has no rentals so riders must bring their own cycles. It also maintains an 18-hole course that serves up some of the finest high-altitude disc golfing in the state. Discs are available for rent, but play is free unless visitors want to ride the chairlift to the top of the course. They also can play volleyball, enjoy scenic chairlift rides, and hike and run trails. Visit Pomerelle.com for more details.

Many of the mountains are available for weddings and retreats, and several will be staging music festivals, beer festivals, arts and crafts fairs, and professional and amateur sports events throughout the summer. Visit skiidaho.us for more details.

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