The Ignition Mountain Bike Festival is back to ring in the beginning of riding season in the Victorian Alps from 18-20 November 2022.
Ignition is a little different to a lot of mountain bike events. Instead of timing chips and number plates, they send you off on a group ride, to a skills session, and onto the shuttles, and have a cold beer and burger waiting for you when you get back.
“We’re not about racing. We’re about having fun. So getting people together for beers, bikes, new trails, and it will be the first time everyone will have and seen each other since before winter — that’s the vibe that comes to Ignition,” says Aaron Kopanica from Blue Dirt, which runs Ignition.
Back in December, we brought you the news that Falls Creek was adding trails to the resort, with a new descent shooting off the side of High Voltage and another from Aqueduct that feeds into the bottom of Flowtown.
Both of these were more or less complete before the snow began to pile up and will be running strong by the time November comes around.
“The one that starts after Aqueduct and links into the midpoint of Flowtown is a blue flow trail, but has huge elevation loss, pretty quick. It reminds me of Dambusters at Derby, with big huge scooped-out berms where you drop a couple of metres of elevation in the corner, which is awesome and just super fast,” says Kopanica, who’s test ridden the new trail.
While he hasn’t ridden the other new addition to Falls, by all accounts it’s equally as fun.
“It has enormous elevation loss, and I think people are going to need to have multiple stops to get to the bottom just from hanging on,” he laughs.
Five venue Friday
The first day of the event will look a little different to previous years, as the Ignition team are working with five venues around the village, to put on five different live music acts.
“We’re calling it a kind of rolling entertainment. The starts will be staggered, so you might go to this venue for an acoustic session and some drinks, then onto the next for a rock band and finishing the night with a DJ kind of thing — but across five venues,” says Kopanica.
The event village and expo
One of the reasons we love Ignition is the event village. It’s a gathering place where you can run into old riding buddies you haven’t seen in ages, meet new folks, eat and be merry. Kopanica tells us it will be similar to previous years, except the breweries will be pouring frothys at pop-up bars scattered around the village. So far, Bright Brewery and Bridge Road are in, with a few others still to confirm, including a local gin distillery.
The Ignition village is also home to a gear expo, complete with demos, and the latest and greatest parts and accessories on show.
With bikes still hard to come by around the industry, Kopanica wasn’t able to confirm exactly what brands will have demos on site, however, he did say that Canyon, YT, Rocky Mountain, Commencal Norco, Mondraker, Orbea and Forestal will all be exhibiting, and are planning to have demos if bikes are available.
The rest of the expo will be filled to the brim with brands like Lazer, Fox, Krush, POC, SRAM, Dharco, Reckless Race Concepts and more.
The events program
The beauty of Ignition is that they don’t just set up the village and the bottom of the park and send you on your way. In addition to the expo and the shuttles, they run guided backcountry rides, group rides, skills sessions, group yoga and more.
“The shuttles are always the most popular part and the demo bikes. I don’t think there are many events that have such a big fleet of demo bikes and shuttles right on the doorstep to go and test them out,” says Kopanica.
The skills sessions are always super popular too, and we have our instructors there running sessions all across the weekend. But, there are limited numbers,” he says.
If you want to join in on a skills session or a backcountry ride to the iconic Fainters Gap — be prepared, because this is a tough one — or a cruisy pedal hitting some of the alpine huts, get in because spaces fill up quickly.
And then there are the bands. The acts haven’t been confirmed just yet, but based on past years, whoever is playing will bring the house down. We’ll see you out on the dance floor!
Ignition also has a mechanic on site to fix up those squishy brakes or derailleurs that fell victim to an errant rock. If it’s your tired body that needs a bit of TLC, the Lilli Pilli Spa is open too. Blue Dirt also bring the MTB Paparazzi to town, so smile for the cameras!
How do you get tickets to Ignition MTB festival?
Tickets to the Ignition Mountain Bike Festival are on sale. Kopanica says act now or forever have FOMO, because numbers are capped, and spots are selling fast.
A one-day ticket will set you back $95, two days is $180, and the whole weekend costs $225. Two and three-day tickets, include dinner on Saturday and brekky on Sunday morning.
For more info and to book your spot head over to the Ignition MTB Festival website.