Thoughts turn to summer as Nevis Range launches two new mountain bike trails
When the snow leaves the five Scottish ski resorts, the cable cars, railway, chairlifts and runs become the domain of the mountain bikers. Like so many resorts across Europe, our ski centres now offer double the fun, with skiing in winter and biking in summer.
At Nevis Range two â€œeasierâ€ riding trails have been launched, a green (beginner) and a blue (intermediate). These trails can be found in the neighbouring Leanachan Forest, which is generally open all year round but is vastly more popular in the spring and summer.
The Nevis Range trail centre also boasts the UCI World Cup Downhill track and the Nevis Red, as well as 48km of cross-country trails including the World Championships loop, but most of the tracks are more suited to the committed mountain biker.
The downhill mountain bike trails at Nevis Range are due to open in May.
Boost for beginners
The green and blue trails are part of a larger Â£229,363 project, funded by sportscotland, Highland and Islands Enterprise, Nevis Range and West Highland Wheelers, to enhance the biking opportunities at Nevis Range.
They are aimed at younger riders and beginner mountain bikers. A further phase of the project will see the addition of two more jump lines (graded orange) built alongside the World Cup Downhill dirt jumps and an easy â€œupâ€ trail to allow mountain bikers an interesting ascent to the beginning of all the new trails.
The Cats Eyes green-graded cross-country descent has wide berms and rollover features.
The Blue Adder blue-graded cross-country descent is a mix of 80m of wide boardwalk, with chicken wire and gentle berms, followed by a series of flowing twists and turns, at least 1m wide.
Both new tracks are accessed by a 2km climb up a forestry road and finish by the Pinemarten cafe bar. They are welcome additions to the other cross-country Witch’s trails.
Marian Austin, managing director of Nevis Range, said: â€œNevis Range is well known for the Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup, which takes place here every year, but what many people donâ€™t realise is that there are fantastic cross-country trails here too, including the mini skills loops.
â€œOver the last few years funding has concentrated on retaining the World Cup events and building our unique Red Giant cross-country trail accessed by gondola.Â It is now recognised that we need to encourage more people to develop the skills to be able to ride these world class trails and they have to start on easier trails with achievable challenges.”
The centre has bike hire, coaching and a host of events throughout the summer.
See Nevis Range at Torlundy, Fort William, Inverness-shire
Summer at four more ski resorts
Location: Kingshouse, Glencoe, Argyll
This spectacular mountain boasts downhill and cross-country trails and for all levels of rider. The downhill routes include a steep and technical black route and a â€œmore manageableâ€ red route, opened last year, with lots of features.
The XC routes include a section of the West Highland Way and the Plateau Trails, accessed via the chairlift. These trails offer superb views from above the valley.
Glencoe offers bike hire and coaching.
See Glencoe Mountain
Location:Â Cairnwell, Braemar, Aberdeenshire
The Glenshee Mountain Bike Track is around 3.2 kilometres long and is accessed by the Cairnwell chairlift. This is a cross-country style trail and perfect for intermediate riders.
Location:Â Strathdon, Aberdeenshire
Take a three-man chairlift to ride one of two bike trails, each boasting a wide range of great features. Choose between the Red Fox Trail, which is graded red and has a run descent of 1600 metres, or the Blue Hare Trail which is easier going and stretches to 1900 metres.
There is also a skills park and the added attraction of Deval karts.
See The Lecht
Mountain biking is superb at CairnGorm Mountain but you need to join a guided outing because of the way that the resort protects the landscape. The funicular railway is used for mountain biker (and walker) uplift.
Thereâ€™s a guided ridge-to-river bike descent, which takes mountain bikers on a thrilling descent of 3,000ft from the Ptarmigan Top Station down the hill track and then off-road down into Aviemore passing Loch Morlich on the way.
The guided hill track bike descent is a little shorter and includes two descents of almost 1,500ft from the Ptarmigan Top Station to the Base Station.