Mountain bikers first took to Falls Creek in 2013, debuting with two XC trails and two descending trails. Three subsequent development stages have seen the network balloon to 40km, all set against an epic alpine background. The team at Falls have just announced a further 11km, set to open for the 2022/2023 riding season, but that is just the beginning.
Stuart Smythe, Falls Creek Resort Management CEO, said, “The Falls Creek Mountain Bike Park is designed to appeal to a wide range of mountain bike riders from beginner to expert.”
“Increasing the number of trails will add a new sense of excitement to (the) park and entice riders near and far to test their lungs and skills in this magnificent alpine terrain,” he said.
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11km of new trails to open next year
Thanks to a Regional Infrastructure Grant totalling $500,000, World Trail will be building 11km of new singletrack, focusing primarily on the northern end of the resort.
Accessed from the Summit Trailhead, the new Frying Pan Descent will shoot off the side of High Voltage and connect, into the lower section of Flowtown. Covering a lot of ground in not a lot of space, the concept for this new Frying Pan Descent has more than a dozen corners, and we expect each of these will be surfy bermy goodness.
World Trail will also be cutting a new trail connecting Wishing Well to the Ticketbox shuttle pickup. The start will be on the Aquaduct Trail where High Voltage ends and Whishing Well begins, contouring across the resort to meet the new Frying Pan Descent for the last few corners.
The final piece of the puzzle is a realignment of the Packhorse trail, converting a nasty bit of climbing into a less leg-breaking set of switchbacks.
The team at Falls Creek tell us that World Trail will start turning dirt just after the new year, and the trails part of the Stage 5 development will be ready in time for the 2022 Ignition MTB festival.
Falls Creek is getting a UCI spec DH course
Once that first lot of trails are complete, Falls Creek will move into the heart of the resort, with a trail linking Thunderbolt to Wishing Well, and adding a full-on DH course. The team at Falls say it will be constructed to UCI specs so the resort can host international level gravity events.
We don’t have the exact stats for the new DH course, but it will start about a third of the way down Wishing Well and descend into the Village Bowl. After crossing the Aqueduct trail, the course follows the Gully chairlift down to the trailhead. Doing a bit of quick Flow MTB cartography, it appears the DH run will be somewhere in the ballpark of 2km long, and offer north of 200m of vertical drop.
Falls are still working out the funding for the Stage 6 trail expansions, so we don’t have a timeline for when they will be completed.
And then 30km of trails and a commitment to adaptive riders
The final piece of this development push is a big one, and will nearly double the rideable singletrack at Falls Creek. On the Agenda are 30km of trails on the south side of the resort, heading up towards Mount McKay. Depending on the exact alignments, the Mountain & Castle and Rocky Knolls trails on the southernmost edge of the network will become the resort’s highest trails.
It appears these trails can be accessed from the top of Lornas Link, or via the Sun Valley Access Road near the lake. With Mount Pleasant Road and Mt McKay road heading up this direction, there is the potential for shuttles here — Falls tells us they will be having discussions with Blue Dirt to find out what’s possible.
There will be a few connecting trails in the mix, and two descents from the Cloud 9 restaurant, one of which will be an adaptive descent — a first for the resort.
According to Falls Creek, “All trails being built now and in the future include the scope of Adaptive Riding. We work closely with Disabled Wintersports Australia and this relationship isn’t only limited to the snow season. The DWA are looking to expand their program into the green season and consultation has taken place when designing the new trails to allow for adaptive mountain bikes to enjoy the trails along with those on two wheels.”
Capping off this expansion into the Southside is the Around the Lake Trail, following the edge of the Rocky Valley Storage Lake. We expect this will be a scenic mellow ride along the water, but the ‘Pontoon Crossing’ has caught our eye, and we can’t think of another trail network that has anything like this — how cool!