What Should I Wear?
Wear comfortable, moisture wicking clothes, suitable for exercising. This includes athletic shoes and socks, but no open-toe shoes. We require approved bike helmets, and we strongly recommend that you wear a full face helmet. Additionally, we recommend that you have protective body armor that includes: leg protection, chest protection, and elbow pads. This protective equipment can be rented through our rental shop.
Gloves, goggles, and other recommended gear is also available for purchase at the retail store. It may rain or drizzle, so be prepared to bring a rain jacket. It may also get hot and muggy, so remember to bring water or sports drink when riding. We provide water at the top and bottom of the lift.
Should I Rent Equipment and/or Take a Lesson?
Nearly all visitors to the park can benefit from our lesson and guiding programs. Even if you are a skilled cross country mountain biker, you should consider renting protective riding gear, a DH bike, and taking a lesson from one of our trained instructors. This will provide you with the knowledge of the proper techniques that are necessary for safely riding in a DH Mountain Bike Park. We provide lessons and guidance for all levels of riders from first-timers to guiding professional racers through the Park.
What Lesson Program Should I Start With?
The best way to get started in Downhill Mountain Biking is to participate in a Thunder Mountain 101 Package. This is the best and easiest way to begin. To reserve a Thunder Mountain 101 Package, call our customer service desk at 413.339.6617. The package includes:
- DH Mountain Bike
- Full Face Helmet
- Protective Body Armor
- Full-Day Ticket
- Lesson Time With Our Instructor Staff
What Should I Do When I Arrive at the Thunder Mountain Bike Park?
When you arrive at Thunder Mountain, head to our main lodge to sign the waiver and purchase a lift ticket, rentals, and protective gear, as needed. Please remember that our tickets are RFID and can be reloaded online, allowing you to skip the ticket window and head straight to the lift. All bikers must sign a waiver prior to receiving their ticket. All minors (under 18) must have a waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian. If a parent will not be accompanying, please make sure to download and sign a waiver prior to visiting. Bike rentals are located downstairs in the main lodge. Tickets can be purchased with bike rentals, though please know that ticket purchases can only be made at Customer Service or at our ticket window.
For those new to downhill, it is recommended that you take a warm-up run and perform a lower speed inspection tour of trails to become comfortable with the layout, features, and descent lines of the Park. It is strongly recommended that you purchase our Thunder 101 package or a beginner lesson in order to receive instruction on the basics of downhill mountain biking from one of our trained instructors.
Is Mountain Biking Dangerous?
Like any sport or outdoor activity, Downhill Mountain Biking has certain risks. However, these risks can be minimized and you can have a safe, enjoyable, and injury free experience by being personally responsible for your own physical well-being, making good decisions, and by taking the following steps.
A. Rent proper gear or diligently maintain your personal equipment. If you do own your equipment, it is your responsibility to make sure it is in proper working order. We strongly advise that you periodically have a competent mechanic inspect your equipment.
- Brakes should function properly
- Tires should be properly inflated
- Wheels should spin freely
- Wheels should be secured
- The headset should move freely and be properly adjusted
B. If you don’t own your own equipment, you can rent gear from our rental shop. We offer top-of-the-line DH bikes.
C. Learn the trail designations. If you have any questions, please ask a Bike Park Employee.
Is there a Mountain Biker's Responsibility Code?
- Stay in control at all times. It is your responsibility to avoid other persons and objects around you.
- Do not stop where you obstruct the trail or are not visible from above.
- When entering a trail or starting downhill, you should look uphill and yield to other riders.
- Please assist if you are involved in or witness a collision or accident and identify yourself to the Bike Patrol.
- Keep off closed areas and obey all signs and warnings.
- Stay on marked trails. Do not cut switchbacks.
- Stay off lifts and away from the Bike Park if your ability is impaired through the use of drugs or alcohol.
- You must have sufficient dexterity, ability, and knowledge to safely ride and unload lifts. If in doubt, ask the attendant.
- Hiking in the Bike Park is not permitted.
- Do not feed, provoke, or approach wildlife.
Can I Bring My Own Bike?
Yes, you can bring your own bike. However, only Mountain Bikes are allowed. We do not allow Road Bikes, BMX Bikes, Hybrid Bikes, Cyclocross Bikes, or Beach Cruisers. “Fat Bikes” with tires wider than 3.8″ do not fit safely on the Summit Quad lift.
All bikes must have front and rear brakes in proper working condition. No coaster brakes are allowed.
It is highly recommended that all bikes have at least a front suspension system. Your day will be much better if your bike has at least 125mm (5 inches) of front and rear suspension.
It is also highly recommended that all riders drop their seat posts. When in doubt, drop your seat posts! This will give you the range of motion necessary for a safe, neutral riding position when negotiating bumpy, undulating terrain. While you may feel as though the seat post height on your current XC setup is proper, a lower seat height is strongly recommended. Unlike XC riding, while riding in the park, you’ll almost always be riding hovering above your saddle, pedaling only rarely. Your weight will be on your pedals and bars, you’ll be much more comfortable with the saddle out of your way.
If you believe that your current equipment may be not be appropriate, Thunder Mountain Bike Park has a rental fleet of Specialized Demo’s, Specialized Enduro EVOs, Giant Glorys, and Transition Ripcord 24s available for rental.
Are Repairs Available at the Thunder Mountain Bike Park?
We have a Bike Shop, with skilled mechanics, located in our main lodge to get your bike back up and running so you can get back on the hill as quickly as possible. Our focus is getting people riding when their bike goes down, but if you are dealing with a larger issue, our mechanics will take care of it for you whenever they can.
Is There a Retail Shop at Thunder Mountain Bike Park?
Thunder Mountain Bike Park maintains a retail shop in our main lodge. We sell bike gear and apparel, as well as bike parts to get you back on the hill.