DOVER -- Riding down the side of a mountain atop a metal frame and wheels often conjures up images of broken bones, blood, bruises and mud.
But those who have worked for the past two years on Mount Snow’s new downhill mountain bike trail say that’s not the case anymore.
On Friday, Mount Snow held a grand opening for its three-mile-long introductory trail, which they hope will open up the sport of mountain biking to everyone.
After researching what lift-service trails were available throughout the country, Mountain Bike Manager Justin "J Knox" Hongell said there wasn’t anything that offered people a chance to sample the sport.
"When we designed this course we wanted it to be just challenging enough that it gave people a taste of what downhill mountain biking is like without scaring them off," Hongell said. "We tried to design it as user-friendly as possible so that anyone who can pedal and operate brakes on a bicycle could make their way down the trail with some ease."
Earlier this month, Hongell took a 5-year-old child, riding a 16-inch bicycle with no suspension, onto the trails.
"He had a blast the entire way down the mountain," Hongell said. Riders can traverse the trail with or without a guide. The entire trail’s incline is never more than 10 percent, with more than 25 berms, or curves with high walls, that allow riders to maneuver it with ease at any speed they feel comfortable with.
Experienced riders can get down the trail in about five minutes and those who want a more leisurely or scenic trip can spend more than 20 minutes guiding their bikes over rocks and hills and stopping at pull outs to take photos.
To construct the wide 180-degree turns and switchbacks in and out of the mountain’s various wooded areas, Hongell said materials were salvaged from the resort’s recent construction of the new bubble chair lift, which kept costs to build the trail down tremendously.
This weekend, the resort will offer two-for-one lift tickets and bike rentals at $50 a day. Lift service will be available from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day.
On Saturday and Sunday, Jamis Bicycles, the company that supplies all the rental bikes, will be on hand to demo their new lines of mountain, road, hybrid and downhill equipment.
Hongell said the resort chose Jamis because the company offered so many different styles and its downhill bikes feature full-suspension with eight inches of shock absorption in the front and back, along with hydraulic disk brakes, just like those found in most cars.
Mount Snow’s communication manager, David Meeker, said he hadn’t been on a bicycle in nearly a decade before agreeing to ride the trail.
"I was nervous at first, but after the first turn I got the hang of it," Meeker said. "This course really is for anyone."
Depending on the rider and how hard they want to push themselves, Hongell said the ride can get the heart pumping.
"It’s quite a workout, and not just for your legs but for your whole body," Hongell said. "With the eight inches of travel, every time the bike compresses toward the ground to absorb the shock, your body is doing the equivalent of an eight inch push-up."
Meeker said with the addition of the introductory trail, he expects the mountain to have even more business during the summer months as families get out and ride.
Mount Snow currently has 10 trails, varying in difficulty, open on site at the resort. Each can be accessed through lift service from the Canyon Express chair lift.
For more information, visit www.mountsnow.com.