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  1. #1
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    NE downhill - highland vs burke mountain (beginners review)

    So this is from the perspective of a beginner for beginners- I know there are some other ski resorts that do downhill but i feel like these are the two main places i know of and have been to. Ive been to both twice.

    As someone new to downhill, I cant believe how much more I think i enjoy burke mountain over highland. In general, i found it easier to ride "at my level" and progress at my own pace, whereas highland feels like im trying to keep up with the mountain. In my experience highland was very intimidating, even the green trails, just because of the speed and buff trails in sections. The higher difficulty mostly translates into faster and more features. Burke on the other hand, while it has faster/more feature type trails, has black diamonds that are just less groomed, more narrow, and technical through the woods. I kind of like the more rugged terrain less maintained aspect of those trails especially on a 6"+ FS bike.. who needs such smooth fast dirt all the time? Highlands green trails also lack real berms, (instructor explained this to me as an example of their lower difficulty level) whereas burke's green 'rolly grail' has a great section of berms but its just not as steep, more fun to get the hang of and become faster.

    The only black diamond i rode at highland was hellion, so i cant speak for all of them, but it too was smooth, fast, and lots of jumps (i rolled over those haha). The others have bigger drops/features, its fun to watch others hit them on the chair ride.

    Both mountains im sure are awesome if you're experienced, but I felt myself progress more at burke through the course of a day than highland which a lot of times felt like i was biting off more than i could chew. Im sure this all depends on the skill level you go into it with but that was my experience.

  2. #2
    RideDirt
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    Burke over Highland? Wow thats a first. Highland has really nice berms, you just need to know how to ride them. Also Hellion is a black diamond not because of the terrain but cuz of the big jumps, its a freeride trail.

    If you want downhill, they sure do have it in Highland. You can find extremely rough terrain and huge drops. They also provide a nice little progression area too. Highland is designed and maintained by a great bunch of skilled riders, they are well thought out. You need to learn how to ride more and better to understand trails better.

  3. #3
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    I understand the OP's position. I think most of us more experienced riders would definitely agree Highland is awesome. I think the OP found the intensity and size of things at Highland intimidating. With more experience, I believe highland would get "more fun" for them. I was at Burke recently and enjoyed a few of the trails a great deal (Jester/Knightslayer) but felt some of the others were just meh. Seriously meh actually. (sorry didn't get a chance to get to top of mountain so can't speak for all the trails)

    OP, cut your teeth and learn at Burke, then come back to Highland when you're ready. You'll love it.

  4. #4
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    And dont get me wrong i enjoyed myself at highland too (going back there next week!!).


    I ride a specialized pitch too, rode it at highland and burke, in case that makes a difference. Im debating on renting a Demo at highland next week just for the sake of treating myself, but the comfort of being on my own bike might be too tough to give up.

  5. #5
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    To the OP, I highly recommend being on a proper DH bike for the true experience. Due to the obvious (slacker geometry, lower center of gravity, greater travel, thicker tires) you'll likely have a more enriching experience; and will ride faster and harder.

  6. #6
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    NE downhill - highland vs burke mountain (beginners review)

    I haven't ridden the DH at Burke, but I can see where the op is coming from. I like highland and ride everything except the big stuff on NE style , but I was kind if shocked at their beginner trail, from what I see of beginners it would be real easy for an inexperienced rider to get in way over their head at highland.


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  7. #7
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    Highland vs. Burke

    I think Highland fosters some of the very best progression at any bike park. With their indoor park/foam pit, outdoors airbag, pump track, and 2 dirt jump areas...not to mention all the trails. Cat's Paw is one of the best intermediate trails around. I thought the green trail was spot-on too! I like their trails rating system with emphasis on Freeride terrain vs. Tech-Gnar.

    Roly Grail at Burke is a great green run too. Jester is a fine intermediate trail, and Knight Slayer is an awesome black jump trail. However, the black single track trails on lower Burke seemed to be more appropriately rated as a blue trail. Upper Burke DH is off-the-chain difficult!...one trail even has a triple black rating which is totally justified.

    Check out Bike Park Specialists | WorldBikeParks | The Ultimate Bike Park Guide for a great review, photo gallery, and multiple video edits from Highland and Burke this summer.

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