Baw Baw Set For Massive Mountain Bike Season

Words by Mt Baw Baw | Images by Mt Baw Baw

The single track season is about to step up a notch in eastern Victoria with Mount Baw Baw launching its mountain biking ‘green season’ on 30 November.

Kicking off the mountain bike action will be a Pin It To Win It downhill event for all comers, plus the Resort’s Seasons of Pain multisport event which features cross country mountain biking.

Since re-focusing its summer activities on single track action back in 2012, including a reinvigoration of its cross-country and downhill biking trails, Mount Baw Baw has earned a reputation as a quality mountain biking destination, something the mountain is out to leverage with more investment due in 2014.

The Resort, located 2.5 hours east of Melbourne, is already home to the ‘DH1’ – dubbed ‘The Beast’ – a national-standard downhill mountain bike course open from December to April.

Rated as “up there with Australia’s best DH trails” by Victorian Downhill Championship Series commentator and local Gippsland mountain bike guru, Nick King, DH1 has drawn high praise from competitor and recreational riders alike.

“On a scale of one to ten, the ‘DH1’ is an eleven,” said King of the ride experience.

A 300 vertical meter drop over a 1.3 kilometre distance ensures that the DH1 is a fast track, descent times only tamed by its highly technical nature, the two factors earning it a double black diamond (very difficult) rating.

Mt Baw Baw

Those attending the season launch on 30 November will vie for a $1000 cash prize pool in the Pin It To Win It competition, which challenges riders to target the most consistent (rather than simply fastest) descent times.

In January 2014, as part of its new Baw Baw Mountain Bike Festival, Mount Baw Baw will host Round 4 of the Victorian Downhill Championship Series (www.vdhs.com.au), with 350 expected to enter across categories to compete for series points, cash and prizes.

The downhill course rests on granitic soil, a foundation common in sub-alpine areas, which also makes for the best riding conditions. The course features wide-open sections with multiple riding lines through twisty alpine heath and snow gums.

Making further use of the stunning snowgum environment, the Mountain Bike Festival, slated for 26-27 January, will also feature a 4-Hour enduro event (www.mountbawbaw.com.au/events/baw-baw-twilight-4hr-mtb-enduro-2/), an 8km cross country loop course challenging entrants to squeeze in as many circuits as possible in four hours.

“We’re gearing up for our biggest season of mountain biking ever,” says Grant Seamer, Mount Baw Baw Marketing and Events Manager. The events are set highlights, but we really want to encourage riders up to Mount Baw Baw for recreational riding – just to experience the awesome single trail at their own pace, no clock to watch. That’s part of the beauty of riding Baw Baw: stopping to smell the roses, or the snowgum in the case of Baw Baw and the big views over the Alpine ranges and back over the Gippsland Valley. It’s a pretty special place to ride.”

In collaboration with the local Gippsland Mountain Bike Club (www.gippslandmtb.com.au/) and specialist trail designers, Resort management has invested in trail building, redesign and added new trails based on old-timer walking tracks. The latter have turned out to be a surprise packet well received by the cross-country crew, with trails now bedded in after a full season of use in 2013.

Mt Baw Baw 3 

“Mountain biking destination tourism is bigger than ever,” says Seamer. “And alpine resorts around the world, not to mention rural locations, are latching onto this growing market by investing in new trails for riding and mountain biking events. We don’t claim to be the first in Victoria to develop our mountain biking product, but we’re definitely the closest mountain-based option for riders in Melbourne looking for both world class downhill and cross country offerings. Plus, we believe the pristine snowgum environment makes for a unique riding experience.”

On the Baw Baw drawing board are plans for a new ‘flow’ style trail which if implemented will create a gigantic loop linking the back country trails on the flanks of the summit, with the village and on down to the bottom of the downhill track to make use of the shuttle bus service.

“We also have thoughts to leveraging access to Baw Baw’s lift lines, perhaps for a new technical trail packed with features to ride. We’re talking big plans that aim to cater to all levels of riders, from beginner up. If we can show the demand this season through recreational visitation and event patronage, we believe we can lift Baw Baw to being a focal centre for mountain biking in Victoria.”

Seamer notes that Mount Baw Baw has also engaged the services of a trail building professional who will work on the sustainability of all the mountain’s trails in the lead up to the opening on 30 November.

“We’re keen to develop our mountain biking proposition with absolute respect to the environment,” says Seamer. “It’s that very environment that makes riding here such a unique experience, so we are keen to develop trails sustainably and sensibly in line with the highest of environmental standards.”

Mount Baw Baw will welcome all riders to its season opening on 30 November, with the Pin It To Win It downhill competition, Season of Pain multisport and plenty more to entertain rider and non-riders alike.

More information at www.mountbawbaw.com.au

Mount Baw Baw MTB roster

30 November

DH1 Season Opening

Pin it 2 Win It ($1000 cash prize pool)

Season of Pain multisport (XC)

26-27 January

Baw Baw Mountain Bike Festival incl:

– Round 4 Victorian Downhill Championship Series

– 4-Hour Twilight Enduro

8 February
Season of Pain multisport (XC)

5-6 April

Kids’ Adventure Festival including junior mountain bike rides and clinics

26-27 April
Baw Baw Super-D

November – end April

  • XC and DH bike hire available
  • DH1 course open to the public seven days a week (excluding major event weekends). $10 trail access fee.
  • DH1 Shuttle bus runs every half hour 10am-4pm on weekends (blockout dates apply)
  • XC trail maps available, 24/7 riding weather pending
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