Best Ski Areas for Mountain Biking

Get ready for ski season by riding a bike.

Pre-season training for skiing doesn’t have to be just boring weights and running on treadmills. That’s why most of the SKI office spend late summer, autumn, and even early winter on two wheels riding dirt trails. Mountain biking can improve cardio, strengthen leg muscles, and hone quick-thinking maneuvers in tight spaces, all of which translates nicely into skiing. Best of all, ski areas are catching on to how much skiers love mountain biking and are building extensive trail networks for both cross country and downhill riding. These are some of our favorites, and definitely some of the best spots to spend time waiting for winter.

Deer Valley, Utah

Deer Valley Resort mountain biking
File photo

The ski area that’s known for its impeccable grooming is also known for incredibly well-manicured mountain bike trails. With discounted evening hours on Wednesdays and weekend lift service expected to continue until mid-September, Deer Valley is a downhill mountain biking paradise. When lift service stops, get up the mountain under your own power and ride the resort’s 70 miles of trails, or link up with Park City’s dirt for even more options. 

Read more about Summer at Deer Valley here.

Killington, Vt.

Killington Resort

The Beast of the East brought in the renown trail designers at Gravity Logic a few years ago, and together they have built one of the finest trail networks in New England. Killington offers over 30 miles of trails and offers lift service to the summit via the K1 Gondola plus additional trails off Ramshead until mid-October. When the lifts stop spinning, you can keep riding on the nearby Green Mountain Trails to keep your rear in gear for ski season and enjoy the fall colors at the same time. Want to test your skills against other riders? Then register for the MAXXIS Eastern States Cup East Coast Box Showdown downhill and enduro race August 3-4th and see what you’re made of. 


Read more about Summer in Killington here.

Big Bear, Calif.

Big Bear Mountain Resort
Courtesy of Big Bear Mountain Resort

Not many ski areas in California can boast that their mountain bike system matches their skiing experience, but Big Bear might an exception. The Snow Summit Bike Park offers a plentiful amount of downhill trails for every ability, but riders can really test their mettle on the 60+ miles of cross country trails that spider-web the mountain. With a season that’s likely to carry on through September, there’s still plenty of time to get up a mountain on your bike to prep for ski season.

Read more about Big Bear in the summer here.

Winter Park, Colo.

Winter Park Resort, Colo.
Courtesy of Winter Park Resort

Over the last ten years, Colorado’s Winter Park has gone from a sleeper biking town to a mountain bike mecca that rivals Crested Butte for an unofficial “Best Mountain Bike Town in Colorado” status. Trestle Bike Park in particular has seen an unreal amount of trail building for downhill and slopestyle riding, and it remains a weekend hotspot well into the autumn. When the lifts close for the season in early October, or if you just want to avoid “the scene” at the bike park, there are trails scattered throughout forested valley between Winter Park and Granby that would take years to ride. You might as well start now.

Check out all there is to do at Winter Park in the summer here.