Thunder Mountain Development Program
Program Dates: 9/11, 9/18, 9/25, 10/2, 10/9 (Rain date 10/10).
The Devo program meets for five consecutive Sundays and is for young mountain bikers—ages 8-14—looking to progress their skills in a fun, non-competitive environment. The goal of the Development program is to inspire the next generation of riders to build a love for all disciplines of mountain biking. Sunday sessions will include a mix of coached skills progressions, occasional short XC (cross country) rides on the Deerfield River Trails and plenty of supervised DH (downhill) laps! Have your kids join us for a memorable season of riding at Thunder!
Each day will run from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM with a lunch break supervised by our instructors. At the first session kids will be matched up into smaller groups based on age and ability. For continuity, your child will ride with this group and the same coach throughout the program. Instructors will teach basic skills such as body positioning, cornering and braking on easier terrain, before practicing up on the hill. More advanced groups will progress into skills such as line choice in technical terrain, pumping, jumping and drop technique.
*Participants must know how to ride a mountain bike prior to joining the Devo program and be comfortable riding a green trail such as Sugar Line.
- Participants must provide their own bike with working disc brakes. We strongly encourage parents to get their child’s bike tuned before the Spring session.
- Full suspension bikes are strongly encouraged but not required.
- Helmets are always required. Please send your child with a full face helmet for lift accessed riding and a half shell for cross country.
- At a minimum, knee pads are required for DH.
- Mountain bike-specific flat pedals are required for safety and learning proper technique.
- An extremely limited supply of kids bikes will be available for rent through the online reservation system. There are no guarantees that a bike will be available each week. Parents are responsible for walking their child through the rental process and must arrive at 9 AM to pick up their reserved bike.
- Pads and helmets will not be available for rent, unless renting a bike.
- Fox and Thunder are teaming up to offer families 25% off pads and helmets. Once you sign up, an email will be sent out with a link to order protective equipment. *Inventory may be limited due to supply chain issues.
- Lift tickets are not included in the program cost. Families may choose one of the following options:
- Purchase a Junior Midweek Season Pass and Devo Sundays will be added on for free. *Ages 14 and under. $175 after May 1st.
- Purchase a full Junior Season Pass (no blackout dates). *Ages 14 and under. $369 after May 1st.
- Purchase individual lift tickets for each day of the program. *Pre-purchase online for best pricing.
- Lunch is not included. Please send your children with a bag lunch or money for the snack shack.
9:30am Drop off
~Noon - 1:00pm Lunch
4:00 Pick up
- We understand there are significant financial barriers of entry into mountain biking and want it to be accessible to as many local kids as possible. We are limited in what we can offer, however, we want to help where we can. If you are struggling to afford gear or the cost of the program, please email Luke@thundermountainbikepark.com.
- If one chooses to cancel up to two weeks from the program start date, they will receive a full refund. If one cancels within the two week window, Thunder Mountain Bike Park has the right to retain the full program cost.
- Why is the program called Devo?
The Thunder Mountain Development program is designed to give young riders a strong foundation of the fundamentals of mountain biking. Many will take these skills and go on to race XC, Enduro or Downhill, while others will continue on as recreational riders.
- What if my child wants to race?
Please inquire about our youth ESC travel race team. This program is separate from Devo.
- My child is already riding Hawleywood and Fort Hill. Is this the right program for them?
Congrats on raising the next phenom, however, Devo is probably not the right fit for your family. Most groups will max out their jumping progression on Gronk, our blue jump trail. A handful of kids may advance to Hawleywood. Devo exists to grow the general mountain bike community in Western Massachusetts, not to coach elite-level athletes.
- What is the maximum group size?
Seven students to one instructor. The average is five to one.
- How much cross country riding will my child be doing?
10-15% of the program will be focused on XC biking. Rides will range from one to four miles depending on the strength of the group.
- Can we request that my child be placed in the same group as their friend?
Yes, we will do our best to accommodate these requests when possible. Please remember that learning is more conducive when kids are with peers of a similar ability. If friends request to be together, the stronger rider will be placed in a group that is the best fit for the weaker rider. Ultimately, we will put the students' safety and learning potential before requests to be with friends.
- As a parent can I ride along with my child's group?
We ask that you please give our coaches and your child space. This is a great opportunity for parents to explore the bike park and the Deerfield River Trails free of kids.
- Does the program need parent volunteers?
Yes. We need a couple of volunteers to tail guide each week. This does not guarantee you will be with your child's group. Those interested in volunteering, please email Luke@thundermountainbikepark.com
- Should I tip my child's instructor?
If you feel like your child's instructor did an exceptional job, it is appropriate to tip them at the end of the season.