Mountain biking at Woodward is judgment-free and safety-first

PARK CITY, Utah — Park City has approximately 400 miles of non-motorized trails and is one of only six Gold-Level Ride Centers, making it a must-ride destination for mountain bikers. But what if you’re new to mountain biking or want to level up and learn new tricks or hone in technical skills? Woodward Park City’s Director of Sport Programs Max Leabman’s goal is to excel any rider regardless of experience.

“I really want people to understand that we have a lot of awesome beginner stuff,” said Leabman. “[Our coaches] are super passionate. We take them through a lot of training to help them build progressions, logical steps, and make sure that it’s not intimidating [to riders].”

Woodward offers options for all ages and abilities. Photo: Woodward Park City

Woodward, the year-round action sports facility, opened in Summit Park in 2019 for winter sports, tubing, lift-access mountain biking, action sports, parkour, cheer, and parties. The Mountain Park transitions as the snow flies to winter sports-focused, while in the summer, its clay “hero dirt” trails are a mountain bike rider’s dream.

During mountain bike season, there are endless opportunities. Woodward offers summer camps, monthly all-access memberships, daily drop-in access, private and group lessons, progression-based clinics, races, and competitions.

Members get additional perks like discounts on programming, retail store, members-only events and opportunities, free access to the mountain bike race series, and member clinics.

Leabman stresses that you don’t need to be a pro to use the facilities or trails on Woodward’s campus. His four-year-old daughter, Willow, just learned how to ride a bike and is taking full advantage of its Start Park at the base, which is for beginners of all ages.

“The cool thing with our facilities is we create this supportive, forgiving environment,” he said. “So, you can get comfortable in the air or learn your first flip. The same space can be tailored to a lot of different needs. It really is a place for any ability level.”

Its facilities focus on progression from any stage. Ride any trail and take some jumps, side hits, rock and log features. Or don’t. If the weather isn’t cooperating, the indoor sports hub is available to practice in.

Its lift-access trails are labeled like any winter run as green, blue, or black, so each rider can go at their comfort level.

The “hero dirt” is ideal for those just learning to ride. Photo: Woodward Park City

“We’re pretty lucky to have this red clay and perfectly manicured set of trails with creative design. A lot of big, open trails have features that you can choose to hit or you can choose to skip. They aren’t super tight technical trails; they’re open, they’re fun, they’re playful.”

A unique training tool that riders should take advantage of are its airbag jumps, of which Woodward is the only facility with three. The landing portion of the jumps are air-filled structures that enable riders to practice jumps and flips on a forgiving surface. If you land perfectly, you’ll glide off. If you land askew, you’ll fall onto the airbag.

Labor Day weekend Woodward is offering a mountain bike Performance Camp for intermediate to advance riders ages 10 and up and mountain bike Ladies Shred camp open to all females. September 13 is the final race in its summer series.

Come October 1, two new competitions will be unveiled on campus, the Whip Off and Dual Slalom.

“We just built a really cool jump specifically for the Whip Off. And we built our very first Dual Slalom course on the hill. Those are open to the public until we host the events.”

Anyone is able to sign up to compete in the events or test out the new jump and slalom course.

Expert or not, Woodward has the facilities, tools, and instructors to progress any rider to the next level in a judgment-free, safety-first environment.

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