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  1. #1
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    Burke Mt. VT -What to expect? My first time with lift service and full suspension

    In a couple weeks I'm heading out on vacation, stopping in Vermont for a a week on our way to Maine for a week. I plan to do two days riding the kingdom trails in Vermont. One day on the Darling trails with my girlfriend and one day solo at Mount Burke.

    I've never ridden on lift serviced runs before and I'll be renting a bike while I'm there. I've been thinking about getting a full suspension bike (right now I only have a rigid SS 29er) so I'm really excited to try one out on these trails.

    So what should I expect from this experience? I've been snowboarding for years, so I'm no stranger to a chair lift but still I've never done this before so I'm not sure how to prepare. Extra pads? Do I need to bring a lock? Ride with a backpack? Can the girlfriend amuse herself at Burke while I ride?

    I should say that I've been riding for many years, I can handle a bike and I have a BMX background. I'm not much of a dirt jumper anymore these days but definitely looking forward to some features I don't have on my Michigan/Indiana trails.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    It depends... if your riding the bike park which is the only trails the lift serves, you will be riding mostly machine built trails with huge berms and table tops etc... to get up to the other stuff the more DH oriented you have your girlfriend drive you up the campground toll road and drop you off at the top and do that a couple times so you can hit the different trails from the top. I haven't ridden the free ride trail so I can't chime in as to difficulty but I've read they don't like you to ride it alone... J-bar is pretty passable just take it easy your first time a couple of the steeps jump out at you the first time...
    determined to put the "mountain" back in "MOUNTAIN BIKING!!!" "HIT IT!"
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  3. #3
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    I would say if you are renting a bike anyway, rent a full suspension. You don't necessarily need full suspension for the Darling hill trails, but I guarantee you'll have a big grin on your face after riding one there. I think Burke advises at least 5" of travel for the lift served stuff, but that may actually only apply to the upper mountain trails, which are gnarlier. Either way, you are going to have an amazing time. Pads are personal preference, but I always ride better when I don't hold myself back, and sometimes pads help with that. Nice to have when you eat it too. Since you already have a girlfriend, you don't have as much to prove, so no harm padding up!

  4. #4
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    Like others said, you can ride it on most anything. BUT especially for your GF, keep in mind there are a LOT of roots on most trails...on an HT you're going to take a lot more 'feedback' from the trail and probably more 'oops' moments. Riding a DH rig and an 6" AM bike with the wife I can say neither of us had a single slip on a root in a week of riding every day. We did see lots of HT's bouncing around and generally not cope as well as the full squishies.
    2011 Canfield ONE 200mm DH 35 pounds
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by crossup View Post
    ...on an HT you're going to take a lot more 'feedback' from the trail and probably more 'oops' moments.
    Since the OP rides a rigid SS 29er, this probably is his idea of a good time! Some day I'll man up enough to try one...

  6. #6
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    You're probably right, but he wouldnt be the first one to succumb to the dark side
    I've gone from 4" to 6" to 8" and its been nothing but goodness, even for trail riding

    Quote Originally Posted by VtVolk View Post
    Since the OP rides a rigid SS 29er, this probably is his idea of a good time! Some day I'll man up enough to try one...
    2011 Canfield ONE 200mm DH 35 pounds
    2010 Specialized Pitch 100% non stock 29 lbs
    Wife: 2009 Canfield ONE also 29 lbs

  7. #7
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    I ride the Bike Park on both a 9" travel DH bike and a dirtjump hardtail. Either one is fine. I'd say at least wear some knee pads. The trails are pretty loose because it's been so dry. You are bound to drop the bike once or twice.

  8. #8
    stoneblender
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    Check out the Burke Gravity School for the best experience. Gravity School : Kingdom Trails Association

    With the Gravity 101 package, you get the bike, lift ticket, pads, full-face helmet and an hour and half of coaching. Disclaimer: I am one of the coaches. That said, the evidence of increased fun, skills and success is easily seen in folks who get the coaching. Good xc riders are often amazed at the bad habits they have been developing, and at the progress they can make in a very short period of time.

    If you don't take the lesson, a good way to start is to ride each trail slowly to check out every feature before you hit it with speed. Look before you leap.

    John

  9. #9
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    Not to hijack your thread but, where is the closest airport to Burk Mt? Looks like Montreal, but just want to make sure I wasn't missing one.
    Live fast, Die young, Leave a good looking corpse!

  10. #10
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    BTV would be closer as would Manchester, NH. Manchester is not closer by much but will save you a border crossing. You might not even do that bad coming from Maine.

  11. #11
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    Sorry to Jump Post, I am doing a trip from Ontario Canada with my wife aug 30-Sept 5 to do some NY and VT biking. We are XC/all mountain riders, not full gear downhill but want to hit up some resorts as well as possibly Kingdom trails. We need help choosing. Here are our options

    Plattekill (this is most out of way for driving)
    Mount Snow (brewers fest is happening)
    Whiteface
    Killington
    Sugar Bush
    Kingdom Trails

    Looking to do 3-4 of these, which should we drop? Thanks

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by crossup View Post
    ... keep in mind there are a LOT of roots on most trails....
    That's pretty funny, considering Darling Hill is one the most buff networks in New England.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    That's pretty funny, considering Darling Hill is one the most buff networks in New England.
    heh, ya. rte 108 from newmarket to durham is less buff. the road bike handles it perfectly

    hi rob

    rog

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emberley View Post
    Sorry to Jump Post, I am doing a trip from Ontario Canada with my wife aug 30-Sept 5 to do some NY and VT biking. We are XC/all mountain riders, not full gear downhill but want to hit up some resorts as well as possibly Kingdom trails. We need help choosing. Here are our options

    Plattekill (this is most out of way for driving)
    Mount Snow (brewers fest is happening)
    Whiteface
    Killington
    Sugar Bush
    Kingdom Trails

    Looking to do 3-4 of these, which should we drop? Thanks
    I'd drop all of them except for KTA. Then I'd add Bromont and Highland and a stay in Waterbury or Stowe from which you could hit the trails in Stowe, Waterbury and Waitsfield as well as Millstone Hill.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezyrydr View Post
    So what should I expect from this experience? I've been snowboarding for years, so I'm no stranger to a chair lift but still I've never done this before so I'm not sure how to prepare. Extra pads? Do I need to bring a lock? Ride with a backpack? Can the girlfriend amuse herself at Burke while I ride?
    What to expect: It's a lot of fun for beginners and experienced riders. It's not overly technical nor challenging but it is a lot of fun. There are 5 trails from the top of the lift. One is a gravel path through the condo area. Another is 50% uphill (somehow) way to the rider's left. One is a nice loamy singletrack trail that cuts down the center. Two are jump/berm trails, and they are extremely well made and fun. It's likely that you'll spend all your time on Jester, as it's fun and easy and very well made.
    Pads- Knee/shins and a full face are really important. I ride elbows as well. You don't need a full suit but it won't hurt. You don't need a lock unless you plan on leaving the bike unattended for a long time. It's usually not really crowded and the restaurant has views of the lift, so you can watch your bike. Skip the backpack and throw a gallon jug (with your name on it) at the bottom of the lift. Sip when you get down. Tools are typically available at the shop location, and the parking lot isn't far. The GF can hike to the top of Burke, if she wants, which is not terribly challenging but is ultra steep and about a 6.5mi round trip. Coming down is worse than up.



    Quote Originally Posted by Emberley View Post
    Plattekill (this is most out of way for driving)
    Mount Snow (brewers fest is happening)
    Whiteface
    Killington
    Sugar Bush
    Kingdom Trails

    Looking to do 3-4 of these, which should we drop? Thanks
    of those, for XC/AM riders, Killington, KT/Burke, and maybe snow are your best bets. Plattekill is not very beginner friendly unless you have a guide, Whiteface is really burly from the top but you have to shuttle from the bottom. I haven't been to sugarbush. Attitash is another good option that's northerly and not horribly technical. Highland would be a good option if you can make it that far.

  16. #16
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    Thanks
    I hear there are no trail Maps in Stowe, is it hard to find your way around and are there any lift (downhill riding)?

  17. #17
    stoneblender
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    There are maps of Stowe, check smbc.org. The Mad River Riders have one too, madriverriders.com.

    As for the trails at Burke, the beginner trail is no longer a gravel road for much of it. The Lodge Trail has been getting progressively more built up throughout the season and has some really cool sections now.

    John

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emberley View Post
    Thanks
    I hear there are no trail Maps in Stowe, is it hard to find your way around and are there any lift (downhill riding)?
    No lift (yet). We do finally have a map as John said. You can buy one in any of the bike shops.

  19. #19
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    We do want to check out resorts as well as we do snowboard and like to do trips in the winter as well. We do like beginner and intermediate downhill biking as well and ride 6 inch (150mm) suspension bikes. But its nice if the resorts we choose have a nice mixture of downhill and XC. I see a lot of the mountains shut down after sept 3 for a week? We may even just stop at a couple just to look around at the facilities. We will spend a night in Lake Placid whether we bike it or not, i know that a shuttle bus only takes you up half of the mountain for the mellower stuff. We are just not sure about snow mountain right now as many of the accomodations want 2 nights as there is a huge brewers fest that weekend, and that may tie us up for the more northern VT riding. Out of killington and SugarBush, which should we choose?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezyrydr View Post
    Can the girlfriend amuse herself at Burke while I ride?
    OP - on behalf of the VTNHME board I'd like to apologize rudeness over here. I was sure Rog or Vt Dave or one of the guys would jump in and offer to help, but I guess not. I would be happy to amuse your girlfriend while you bike. Just leave us some cash and maybe a few bottles of wine and we'll be fine.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emberley View Post
    We do want to check out resorts as well as we do snowboard and like to do trips in the winter as well. We do like beginner and intermediate downhill biking as well and ride 6 inch (150mm) suspension bikes. But its nice if the resorts we choose have a nice mixture of downhill and XC. I see a lot of the mountains shut down after sept 3 for a week? We may even just stop at a couple just to look around at the facilities. We will spend a night in Lake Placid whether we bike it or not, i know that a shuttle bus only takes you up half of the mountain for the mellower stuff. We are just not sure about snow mountain right now as many of the accomodations want 2 nights as there is a huge brewers fest that weekend, and that may tie us up for the more northern VT riding. Out of killington and SugarBush, which should we choose?
    As far as winter goes for VT any resort south of sugarbush IMHO is a waste of time. Killington can be fun but Stowe and the bush get way more snow! I would choose the bush to bike at plus I would do a day at millstone quarry before any of these resorts ( besides burke and kt)

    Darling Hill is perfect for a HT you could even ride one at Burke ( I have ) but if your gonna rent get some travel and huck that thing! I agree with others KT is about as buff as New England gets.

  22. #22
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    Thanks everyone, I'm getting pretty excited. I'm going to try to find out a little more about the "toll road?" to the top of the mountain and maybe give some of those trails a try too. I'm going to take my single speed along for the Darling Hill days so I don't spend all my money renting a bike but I still plan to rent for the day I'll be playing on Burke Mountain.

    Is the single speed a good idea on the darling hill trails?
    Any pointers on how to get to the upper trails? Do I still need a lift ticket for those?
    Can I rent a full face and some pads?

    I'm sure the bike shop and the trail office can answer all of this for me but I'm just trying to prepared ahead of time.

  23. #23
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    If you are not using a lift, you don't need a lift ticket. Whatever you do, you need a trail pass.

  24. #24
    stoneblender
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    The toll road costs money to drive up and is the easiest access to the upper mountain trails. You can pedal up, but the top sections are pretty gnarly and you'll want a solid bike, skills and energy. Mid-elevation down is really flowy and less rocky tech. The lift currently goes to mid-mountain.

    A single speed should be fine on Darling Hill, just pick your climbing routes. It's mainly middle ring terrain.

    You can rent pads, full-face helmet, dh bikes and more at the mountain. Enjoy!

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