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  1. #1
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    Best Bike question for SLC and Park City Canyons Bike Park Riders

    Fingers crossed I get into U of U and will be moving to SLC next Fall. If I do I plan to ride Canyons Bike Park at least 3 times or more per month. Currently I ride a 2012 Scott Genius LT30 (180mm travel all-mtn bike). I have taken this bike through Moab, Trestle Bike Park, and Snowshoe Bike Park and it handles it. I even rode Bobsled Trail and I street Dirt jumps on this setup.

    My question is: If I want to frequent Canyons would it be best to spend some cash and purchase a new *Scott Voltage FR20? Or is the bike I have suitable for Canyons? I ask because I didn't actually get to ride canyons and don't know the terrain very well.

    For example, I rode Mammoth three days last month and can say for a fact that if I lived within an hour of that park I would definitely scrape together and get a FR bike.

    *can get a decent deal on Scott but no other manufacturers. Would entertain the idea of a used FR bike.

  2. #2
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    I'd try that bike first and then decide.

  3. #3
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    I would probably prefer what you have over a voltage in the bike park.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedeathstar View Post
    I would probably prefer what you have over a voltage in the bike park.
    Why do you say that? Is there some extensive pedaling?

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    Quote Originally Posted by foxphotog View Post
    Why do you say that? Is there some extensive pedaling?
    No, not much pedaling at all. It just isn't that big. Lots of flowy table tops and stuff like that. The stunts/features are not as big as Trestle, trails are pretty short, and there is no rough DH at all.

    I love my 160 mm Enduro at Canyons.
    '11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
    '13 Felt Z4 for the road

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the input.

  7. #7
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    Keep in mind: There are 3, or maybe 4 trails worth riding in the Canyons "bike park". They are ~90 second runs with some stunts and tables/small drops (ie <5'). The chairlift ride to get back to the top takes something like 7 minutes on an *amazingly* slow non-detachable lift from WW2 that runs at half speed on caged squirrels.

    I actually tested this, and without trying very hard, I can ride up the service road at the bike park at about exactly the same speed as the lift gets you up there. The total elevation gain/loss can't be more than 150 feet or something.

    You can do the gondola+lift ride (~30 minutes) and get a 10 minute ride on Insurgent/Holly's but you're mostly on really XC terrain after the first mile or so and the bottom portion is bizarrely open to 2-way hiker/biker traffic which makes riding it at full gas pretty much a no-go.

    If you are used to Trestle, Keystone, Mammoth, etc, you will be SORELY disappointed. I rode Canyons once this year and I have to say I wish I hadn't spent the 29 bucks. Heck, I don't think I'd ride there even if it was free.

    To return to the real issue: your 180mm bike is actually more than you need for Canyons, and it's WAY more than you need for most of the riding in the Wasatch, so much so that you'll probably have a lot less fun than you would on a 4-6" trail bike (or heck, a hardtail). The classic SLC area riding is really not very technical. Get an XC bike if you want to be out riding a lot. Your current sled will handle anything at the resort with contemptuous ease.

    -Walt
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  8. #8
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    Thanks Walt. I think Park City is not what I have imagined.

  9. #9
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    If you want to come to the U to ski (setting aside getting an education for the moment), the skiing is awesome. If you want to come to ride bikes, the mountain biking is also awesome - but it's all XC, really. Park City is awesome, but it has next to no tech riding and *nothing* that you'd want/need more than 5-6" of travel for, so if having awesome lift-served DH is a priority for you, I'd look elsewhere.

    -Walt
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  10. #10
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    I googled some PhD programs in Vancouver after reading these comments.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    If you want to come to the U to ski (setting aside getting an education for the moment), the skiing is awesome. If you want to come to ride bikes, the mountain biking is also awesome - but it's all XC, really. Park City is awesome, but it has next to no tech riding and *nothing* that you'd want/need more than 5-6" of travel for, so if having awesome lift-served DH is a priority for you, I'd look elsewhere.

    -Walt
    Yep, pretty much true. I would say we have the best (only? can't think of anywhere else that has anything) lift-served riding w/in 30 minutes of a million + population, world class university, and all of that. But Trestle, Northstar, etc., are in a different league than the Canyons or DV.

    I have a good time going up there and riding a few times a year, particularly leading up to a trip to a "big" park. I don't know if I could ride Canyons weekly w/o getting a little bored, though.
    '11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
    '13 Felt Z4 for the road

  12. #12
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    I still feel pretty good about SLC. I do some dirt jumping too and was pretty impressed with the I street stuff, and heard that Tanner Park was pretty Gnar. The freeride section of lower Bobsled would probably be enough to scratch my itch too. Plus at least a once a year Moab trip, or Virgin Utah trip.

  13. #13
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    What program are you applying to?

    If you end up coming out, look me up. I can show you some decent gnar around the U, you just have to suffer like a dog to get to it.

    There were going to be some public meetings about the future of I-street at some point this summer I think but I haven't kept up with that - I think the jumps are relatively safe in the short term but realistically the city/water district could bulldoze them anytime. I think there are some plans in the works for a jump park in PC as well.

    -Walt
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  14. #14
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    I'm applying to the Communication PhD program. My current MA thesis is all about how technologies mediate recreational experiences, and I'm hoping to extend this research in Utah. I will contact you if I indeed do get in, it's a highly competitive program. But I won't start until Fall 14, I'm just planning waaaay ahead.

  15. #15
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    Well, if you are out for an interview, stop by. I live about 1 block from campus - our lunch ride is Bobsled!

    -Walt
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  16. #16
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    I don't do any DH stuff, but I took Holly's on my rigid bike and thought it wasn't bad (I do ride with a Knard up front that takes some of the sting away). Your bike should be just fine.

    XC is awesome, though. Great views and lots of suffering. Plus, Moab and St. G isn't far away.

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    canyons was bought this years by the same group that own northstar, vail, etc and have a great deal of interest in mountain biking. according to the staff down there plans are for opening another lift maybe to the top of the mountain linking current trails, at least 10 more trails with a more tech and a world cup style dh trail, 5' - 10' drops and 30' jumps were also mentioned, all rumours right now but the trail crew have worked all summer, there is a new double black The Canyons, Split Decision - YouTube
    and the insurgents trail has had some fairly tasty new features on it, what ever happens i expect it will be significantly improved by the end of next summer.
    like other people have said your current bike would be fine for canyons as it currently is, deer valley actually has some double blacks which are more suited to the big bikes, different style of riding there completely, though sadly never changed or improved and probably wont be any time soon

  18. #18
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    That's great! I really hope it gets built up like you are saying. Thanks!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ^SirFallzAlot^ View Post
    there is a new double black The Canyons, Split Decision - YouTube
    and the insurgents trail has had some fairly tasty new features on it, what ever happens i expect it will be significantly improved by the end of next summer.
    Wow, that trail looks great (although I am uncomfortable with the "cheese-grater" type jumps where you jump up on to the table, would take me a bit to work up to those!). I hope the Canyons continues to improve -- they have the terrain and resources, they just need to make it happen. Given that PC is considered a mtb destination now, all that is missing is a top flight lift served bike park, and we will have just about everything you'd want to do on a bike here. I hope they make it happen!

    But to the OP, despite the current lack of gnarly DH and FR stuff here, SLC is an awesome outdoors city, best in the country IMO (and I've lived in Denver, Portland, and Seattle). I moved here to ski bum, and quickly realized I could both go to the U (and live in a city with reasonable rental rates, jobs, etc) and ski 3-5 days a week at some of the country's best skiing. Not many places one can have all of those options. When I have left since then either to finish education or pursue jobs elsewhere, I've really missed living here (and I don't intend to leave again!).
    '11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
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    PC offers a lot more riding than most people are aware of. I've been lucky enough to meet some really passionate locals since I moved out here two years ago and have been shown many a sweet zone that would easily be missed by someone who didn't know it was there. The steep/gnarly/loose/ singletrack abounds, there are plenty of "illegal" DH builds with features that sound like they might be what you are looking for. A group in the southern part of the SLC valley has been putting in some awesome work on a freeride area in Draper, and as mentioned above the Canyons plans on putting in a lot of money and expanding their current lift serviced options. I would recommend sticking with what you have and even considering getting a long-travel HT of sorts for long singletrack days and DJ laps. Don't let the hate get you down SLC is a great place to live and ride.

  21. #21
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    Thanks for the input. And actually, Pinkbike just had an article yesterday talking about some of the same things. Off the grid trails and such. Also the photos from Canyons didn't look all that bad. I'm super pumped, hopefully I end up moving there.

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    Glad you saw the article on PB, good write-up on a lot of the cool DH/FR going on in PC right now. If you didn't follow the link in the article about the OTG race it's also a great read (First Annual Old Town Guerrilla Run - Pinkbike). And following the trend of good bike press on PC I just saw a front page article right here on MTBR by everyone's favorite ASS, check it out (The Angry Singlespeeder: Park City ? A Silver Town With Gold Singletrack | Mountain Bike Review)

  23. #23
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    I also think it would be awesome if Interbike moved from Vegas to somewhere like SLC.

  24. #24
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    They talk about it all the time but:
    -Downtown arguably/supposedly can't handle the size of the convention (though they can handle OR, which I thought was just about the same size?)
    -Presumably Vegas is seen as more hip and cool (that's not too hard) and the schmooze/booze/strip club crowd would boycott.
    -Inertia.

    Vegas also has more predictable (read: no unexpected September blizzards) weather this time of year which probably counts for something.

    I'm super stoked to see that there are some pirate trails to hit... will have to learn the secret handshake and dust off the long travel rig, I guess!

    -Walt
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  25. #25
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    Well I've ridden around SLC, and I've ridden Bootleg Canyon just outside of Vegas where the Interbike tests are, and I can say without a doubt that SLC is much, much better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by foxphotog View Post
    Well I've ridden around SLC, and I've ridden Bootleg Canyon just outside of Vegas where the Interbike tests are, and I can say without a doubt that SLC is much, much better.
    I was very underwhelmed by Bootleg when I rode there 2 years ago. At least it's year-round riding, I guess.

  27. #27
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    How many realistic months of riding do you get in and around SLC? I don't mind throwing on the thermal arm and leg warmers, but when it gets so cold your ears feel as if they are going to fall off is when I quit.

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    It's pretty darn good assuming you enjoy our lower elevation stuff. We can usually ride on the Shoreline through early/mid November and then start again in March/April depending on snow. So really the riding season can be 8-9 months here if you're relatively cold tolerant.

    Keep in mind that due to the lake effect, an early storm can just end things for the year (or a late one can push things back a month). Alternately some years you can ride in January. I would say the average is 8 months plus or minus a month, but there's a lot of variability.

    As you go up in elevation the season gets shorter. Crest is snowed in now (and has been for a week or two) and probably won't open until July next year. So at 12k feet - your season drops down to a couple of months. In between elevations will be... in between!

    The winter stuff here is awesome enough that I don't mind not riding, which is to say it is really awesome (and there are more and more opportunities to ride fatbikes on groomed trails, too, if you insist on pedaling). Just watch out for the inversions.

    -Walt
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    Is Moab considered "around" SLC? Because that's only 3-4 hrs away (depending on how fast you drive). St. George is also 4 hrs away as well. So if you're really itching for a ride, you have some of the best terrain available year-round.

    I usually just road bike during the winter months. Except for the red air quality alert days.

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    I wouldn't consider Moab "around," but I'm definitely up for a trip.

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    Yeah, definitely not close, but I have done one-day trips out there, where we start off early morning, get 2-3 rides in, then home by evening. I wouldn't consider it "far" either--just a good option to have that's relatively close enough for a day or weekend's trip when you got this going on:


  32. #32
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    Yeah, we'll just leave for all of January and maybe a bit more depending on air quality. Not worth shortening your life living in the valley in inversion season. Especially with kids. Of all the places on earth that need some non combustion-based transportation/energy tech breakthroughs, SLC has to be near the top of the list. It blows my mind that people still burn wood (and occasionally, no joke, COAL) in the valley in the winter.

    -Walt
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  33. #33
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    This whole "air quality" thing is new to me. I'm glad everyone brought that up, because it is definitely something to think about.

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    It's pretty awful.

    It is very, very bad (as in, no outdoor exercise) for about 1 month in the winter, typically (last winter was more like 2 months) and a couple of months in the summer from noon-sundown due to ozone. So I guess that is something of a riding season issue if you typically ride in the afternoons.

    In the winter, you have to go up to PC or high in the canyons (or out of town) to be out of the smog. Time of day does not matter. If you can leave, leave. If you can't, get yourself a mask with a HEPA filter for getting around town (I wore a full welding regulator some of the time last winter) and exercise inside.

    In the summer, if you exercise during the late evening or morning you're good, if you get out of the valley, you're good. Otherwise, ozone levels tend to be high enough that you really don't want to do anything strenuous.

    The awful thing is that because "the environment" is for some reason a political issue, even acknowledging that it's a problem is a non-starter for a lot of people due to the politics of Utah. This is one of the few states where you can still do things like incinerate medical waste in a heavily populated area. Sad.

    -Walt
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    Well thanks for all of the info on this. One month out of the year isn't bad. I can always work on school stuff or do some indoor weightlifting.

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    I remember doing a road ride up to Suncrest above Draper last year, which peaks at just over 6k ft. Looking down, I could not see the city at all. It was just a blanket of black smog. Took a picture of it, but can't find it now. But it was pretty disturbing. Especially thinking about the mouthfuls of it I was inhaling on the ride to it.

    Good thing is, there are plenty of places to escape, if you want to get some good outdoor time in. Skiing is fantasic, which makes up the majority of my winter exercise.

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    Re: Best Bike question for SLC and Park City Canyons Bike Park Riders

    Quote Originally Posted by foxphotog View Post
    Well thanks for all of the info on this. One month out of the year isn't bad. I can always work on school stuff or do some indoor weightlifting.
    you could also maybe sample some of the most incredible snow and terrain in the lower 48? if I lived in SLC it would be for the winters, not the biking

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by donkeykong0 View Post
    you could also maybe sample some of the most incredible snow and terrain in the lower 48? if I lived in SLC it would be for the winters, not the biking
    I fully plan on doing some snowboarding. Just worried about having the funds. Right now I estimate I have about $7,000 tied up in biking when you consider Mountain Bikes, DJ bike, Road Bike, and commuter bike, plus all the gear. I'm sure the snowboarding stuff is expensive too.

  39. #39
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    As a U student, you can rent all kinds of great stuff (complete skate ski package: $7 for the day!) at the outdoor recreation office (a little hard to find but it's up past Ft. Douglas near Red Butte). They have snowboards, they have alpine/nordic/touring, they have kayaks, paddleboards, mountain bikes, etc. Good stuff if you want to try a sport without buying a zillion dollars worth of gear.

    Equipment Rental | Campus Recreation Services

    Now just get accepted and come ride with us...

    -Walt
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    Yep, tons to do here in the winter, maybe even moreso than during the summer. Snow shoeing, cross country, etc are great, cheap winter activities that will get you up and out in the mountains all year round. Not to mention the ski resorts, which are some of the best in the country. Best part is all of these options are 30 min from the U campus, which just can't be beat. Students have incredible deals on seasons passes at the resorts, too. When I was a student (2001 U of U grad), $399 season passes at Snowbird were the way to go!

    Re: year round riding, like some have said, it depends on the year. We had a very low snow year during the winter of '11-12, and I rode w/in 30 miles of SLC every month of the winter, including a memorable day riding in short sleeves, 50 degrees on Jan. 2nd on dry trails. Other years, most of the trails will have snow cover for a couple months of the winter, but as mentioned, there is easy access to world-class riding in Moab and St. George all year round. Sure, it is too far for an after work ride, but when I was in school, we headed south 2-3 weekends a month to play on the red rocks to the south (ski resorts get very crowded on Saturdays, so we usually didn't ski on the weekends).

    Utah's weather is unique -- Utah is the 2nd driest state, and only a small pocket of the mountains directly East of the Great Salt Lake gets much snow at all. If you get out of the snow shadow of the big lake, you can often find dry, snow-free conditions in the lower elevations. Trail systems like Eagle Mountain and Lambert usually aren't snow bound all year -- the snow will melt off w/in a few days of falling, and they become dry.

    Temperatures are great, too. If you aren't used to the dry cold, it really isn't bad. I'm originally from Oregon, and 40* there seems cold, particularly because it is damp, cloudy, and probably raining! Here in SLC, I can be out exercising in 22* quite comfortably -- the sun is out, the sky is blue, and after a 5 min warmup, I'm usually feeling very good in not as many clothes as you'd think.
    '11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
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