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  1. #1
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    Beech or Sugar?

    Going to spend a day in the high country next month with the wife and want to hit a park but not sure which one. Looks like both have done good work with their trails for this season.

    I am good with black runs and my wife is more intermediate/blue but also likes groomed smooth stuff as well.

    Which park has more variety and runs, etc? I watched some vids of both parks, but want to here from those who have ridden both this year.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    I like beech, theyve done a lot of good new builds there over last couple years

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by pryde1 View Post
    Going to spend a day in the high country next month with the wife and want to hit a park but not sure which one. Looks like both have done good work with their trails for this season.

    I am good with black runs and my wife is more intermediate/blue but also likes groomed smooth stuff as well.

    Which park has more variety and runs, etc? I watched some vids of both parks, but want to here from those who have ridden both this year.

    Thanks
    Honestly you can't go wrong at either resort. Both parks have invested in infrastructure including new trails and bike carriers. It really depends on what you are looking for. Sugar has a little more vertical feet (Sugar-1000ft, Beech 845), but Beech has more things to do in addition to Mtn Biking. Both parks have Green and Blue terrain. That being said, they are still gravity parks. I see a lot of people that come to both parks expecting the Green trails to be paved greenways. You would be comfortable and safe on at least 150mm travel trail bikes. Both parks have steep parts that videos don't really do justice conveying. Both parks offer lessons and guided rides as well. I work at both resorts so I'm not biased either way, they are both a lot of fun to ride. Both parks will be open the entire week of fourth of July as well.

    -Sugar-
    -1000 ft of vert
    -10-12 min lift ride
    -Trails for all skill levels
    -National level Black DH track
    -You might want to bring your lunch if you don't want to drive to Banner Elk for dining
    -Bike rentals and limited service shop on site through Magic cycles
    -Close to a full service shop (they can service most things if you have a problem) at the base of Sugar (Headquarters Bike and Outdoors, I would got there over Magic)

    Beech-
    -840 ft of vert
    -13.5 min lift ride
    -Trails for all skill levels
    -National level Black DH track
    -Neighboring XC trail system if the wife isn't feeling the park
    -Summer tubing and roller skating if you need something for kids to do
    -Food and beverage on site
    -Brewery at base and Skybar at the summit
    -Live music every Saturday at the Skybar at 2:30
    -Full service shop on site
    -Yoga every Saturday at 10:00am at the Skybar if the lady isn't feeling riding all day.

  4. #4
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    Yoga and being able to mix in some XC trails are a bonus for non-ladies (like me) too...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown View Post
    Yoga and being able to mix in some XC trails are a bonus for non-ladies (like me) too...
    Very true, we have been getting more bros interested in Yoga for sure.

  6. #6
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    Yeah, I started doing yoga at home pretty regularly 10-11 years ago, it's really helped my riding- I control my breath better, especially while descending, it's amazing how much looser you can hit the hard stuff when you aren't subconsciously holding your breath. It's also upper body training and stretching I actually enjoy.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sugar_Brad View Post
    Honestly you can't go wrong at either resort. Both parks have invested in infrastructure including new trails and bike carriers. It really depends on what you are looking for. Sugar has a little more vertical feet (Sugar-1000ft, Beech 845), but Beech has more things to do in addition to Mtn Biking. Both parks have Green and Blue terrain. That being said, they are still gravity parks. I see a lot of people that come to both parks expecting the Green trails to be paved greenways. You would be comfortable and safe on at least 150mm travel trail bikes. Both parks have steep parts that videos don't really do justice conveying. Both parks offer lessons and guided rides as well. I work at both resorts so I'm not biased either way, they are both a lot of fun to ride. Both parks will be open the entire week of fourth of July as well.

    -Sugar-
    -1000 ft of vert
    -10-12 min lift ride
    -Trails for all skill levels
    -National level Black DH track
    -You might want to bring your lunch if you don't want to drive to Banner Elk for dining
    -Bike rentals and limited service shop on site through Magic cycles
    -Close to a full service shop (they can service most things if you have a problem) at the base of Sugar (Headquarters Bike and Outdoors, I would got there over Magic)

    Beech-
    -840 ft of vert
    -13.5 min lift ride
    -Trails for all skill levels
    -National level Black DH track
    -Neighboring XC trail system if the wife isn't feeling the park
    -Summer tubing and roller skating if you need something for kids to do
    -Food and beverage on site
    -Brewery at base and Skybar at the summit
    -Live music every Saturday at the Skybar at 2:30
    -Full service shop on site
    -Yoga every Saturday at 10:00am at the Skybar if the lady isn't feeling riding all day.
    Thanks for the breakdown of the parks Brad. We have ridden several out west so we are comfortable with park riding in general.

    I think we will give Beech a go this round (food and brewery onsite=win). When we get back up that way next we can try out Sugar.

    We may try to ride Rocky Knob for some trail/xc Sunday morning before heading back down here to Brevard. Should be a hoot!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown View Post
    Yeah, I started doing yoga at home pretty regularly 10-11 years ago, it's really helped my riding- I control my breath better, especially while descending, it's amazing how much looser you can hit the hard stuff when you aren't subconsciously holding your breath. It's also upper body training and stretching I actually enjoy.
    That's one of the first things I teach beginner riders. They hold their breath, arms get pumped out after 1 run, then they immediately sit down and drop a foot. Yoga is definitely great for breathing and core strength. I learned skip breathing when I was a firefighter. It helped me when I was still racing a little.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pryde1 View Post
    Thanks for the breakdown of the parks Brad. We have ridden several out west so we are comfortable with park riding in general.

    I think we will give Beech a go this round (food and brewery onsite=win). When we get back up that way next we can try out Sugar.

    We may try to ride Rocky Knob for some trail/xc Sunday morning before heading back down here to Brevard. Should be a hoot!
    Rocky Knob is awesome and I'm sure you will enjoy it. If you aren't staying in Boone it's in the opposite direction of Brevard so definitely have Emerald Outback on your radar. If you are staying on Beech (which I highly recommend), Emerald is easily accessible from anywhere on the Town Hall side (cheap air b&bs are plentiful. Check the Pinnacle and Holiday Villas). If you are coming up during 4th of July week I would plan to drive as little as possible. Hwy 105, 184, and 194 can be parking lots around the 4th.

  10. #10
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    Thought I'd offer some feedback since we finally rode Sugar this weekend.

    I found Sugar a lot more approachable for different riders. My wife has a bit of riding experience, but she's been on and off the bike for long periods of time, she found herself a lot more confident at Sugar than at Beech. I think the width of the trails was part of it, but also that the green felt a bit better laid out than the green at Beech, in addition to being longer. I think the green at Sugar is more wide open, with more line choices, and is generally faster than the green at Beech is, but the berms and rollers are really well spaced out and there are a ton of them.

    I rode all of the blues also and I think they were a bit more approachable than the blues at Beech, the main difference being the width. The blues at Sugar were a bit narrower and tighter, but smoother and slower than the blues at Beech. In particular, the tech blues at Sugar were easier to ride blind and more approachable than the former Blue Ridge Rocks (Copperhead now, IIRC?), which strikes me as being closer to black. I'm always up for a challenge, but I was able to take my wife down the blues at Sugar and, while she walked a fair bit, none of it was over the top and it felt like a nice progression from the green and between what I saw of the blacks there. The alt lines give you things to work up to, but for folks transitioning from the green, there were other lines to push yourself on too without being overly committed. It feels to me, in comparison, that the blues at Beech are a fairly considerable step up from the green in terms of difficulty and commitment. To be clear, my wife being able to ride everything isn't the standard, rather that you can take someone from a trail and move up in difficulty, with it feeling like a challenge and an incremental change in difficulty, but not so much so that it feels like a drastic step up in skills required or confidence. I felt this progression is a bit more gradual at Sugar than at Beech.

    I didn't get to spend a ton of time on the blacks thanks to a cracked frame. The rock roll looks way scarier in person than the photos I saw, but I don't have a ton of time on slabs, otherwise I think I'd have been fine on it.

    In all, I think the trails at Sugar were lower commitment unless you took alternate lines and I think that the progression from green up through black is fairly consistent for people to work up towards. The progression at Beech from green through black is fairly considerable, IMO, even going from green to blue is a pretty big leap.

    On the other areas, the lift at Sugar is much faster and more accessible than the one at Beech. It really moves quick! It's nice that it's two speeds, as well, so it slows near the bottom. That said, no food on the mountain is a really bizarre decision, as is the lack of a brewery or other amenities like at Beech. It also seems to me that Beech would drain better, it was a dry day and there were a few pretty persistent wet spots at Sugar, along with some low laying roots that look like they'd get real slippery.

    Personally, I think people less familiar with park riding would find themselves more confident and enjoy Sugar more. Advanced riders would probably be fine at either and the enjoyment level is probably the same. I'd definitely go to Beech if rain was in the forecast, both because of the trails and because there is more to do on the mountain than Sugar when you aren't riding.

    I will add that, if anyone from Sugar is listening, they really need to get some better footage of the trails. I talked to a few other folks who passed on riding at Sugar because the available footage looked 'dull' and 'boring'. I think having someone do some professional editing of chest cam or follow cam footage would go a long way in dispelling that. I guess they were working on it, because ski patrol was out with cameras, although I regret my one potential moment of glory was wrecked by my confusion as to what was going on and the placement of a hip jump that, I'll be honest, I'd probably send into a tree.

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