Down­hill Sum­mer at Coronet Peak

FOL­LOW­ING ITS DE­BUT LAST SUM­MER, MOUN­TAIN BIK­ING AT CORONET PEAK IS GEAR­ING UP FOR A LONGER SEA­SON WITH A BRAND NEW TRACK AND IN­CREASED FA­CIL­I­TIES FOR THE 2006/07 SEA­SON.

Adventure - - Downhill Mtb - Pho­tos by Ben Raf­ferty and David Oven­dale

The new track, due to open on Jan­uary 3, is a 4.2 kilo­me­tre down­hill cross coun­try track de­signed to pro­vide thrills, fun and chal­lenges for all lev­els of moun­tain bik­ers. And it’s down­hill all the way with the up­hill slog pro­vided by the Coronet Ex­press Quad chair­lift.

Ear­lier this year, Coronet Peak Bike Park un­veiled its 1.6 kilo­me­tre down­hill sin­gle track in time for the 2006 New Zealand Com­mu­nity Trust MTB Na­tional Se­ries. The track re­ceived high ac­co­lades from some of New Zealand’s top rid­ers in­clud­ing Scar­lett O’Ha­gan, and was hailed as the start of what should be­come a world class moun­tain bik­ing fa­cil­ity. Coronet Peak sales and mar­ket­ing man­ager David Oven­dale says the com­pany was de­lighted with the suc­cess of last year’s sea­son and was com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing an ex­ten­sive fa­cil­ity that would at­tract rid­ers from around the world.

“Coronet Peak is a des­ig­nated re­cre­ation re­serve which un­til now has mostly been used only dur­ing win­ter. Moun­tain bik­ing has been part of the com­pany’s plan­ning for some time and we have been work­ing closely with the De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion to­wards pro­vid­ing a fa­cil­ity that will al­low peo­ple to en­joy the re­serve through­out the sum­mer sea­son as well.

“Last sum­mer we opened the down­hill track which of­fers a com­pe­ti­tion level, chal­leng­ing ride for se­ri­ous moun­tain bik­ers. But moun­tain bik­ers are a pretty di­verse bunch of peo­ple and the new trail means that fun and chal­leng­ing moun­tain bik­ing is now on of­fer for all level of rid­ers – young and old,” he says.

“Peo­ple can get their wheels off the ground or not and ei­ther way the ex­pe­ri­ence will be ex­cit­ing and ex­hil­a­rat­ing rid­ing in a stun­ning scenic en­vi­ron­ment. It’s per­fect for a day­long fam­ily ex­cur­sion. ” Un­der the guid­ance of ex­pe­ri­enced de­signer Nathan Green­wood and in­cor­po­rat­ing the su­perb earth-shap­ing tech­niques of dig­ger driver Graeme Morgan, the new track was cre­ated as more of an ad­ven­ture trail rather than a grav­ity ori­en­tated one. Lumps, bumps and con­tours, the course ducks and weaves around on it­self across the tus­sock cov­ered moun­tain.

The pair is well known for its moun­tain bike course cre­ation skills – Nathan and Graeme have worked to­gether for 10 years con­struct­ing and de­sign­ing moun­tain bike cour­ses for movies, com­mer­cials, pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties for Coun­cils and tracks for the Queen­stown moun­tain bik­ing club.

Nathan de­scribes the track as beau­ti­ful and

scenic fea­tur­ing a huge amount of plant­ing and land­scap­ing. “The av­er­age per­son will re­ally en­joy and have fun on this track.”

The Coronet Bike Park is to see plenty of com­pet­i­tive moun­tain bik­ing ac­tion dur­ing the sea­son with ex­cite­ment for both rid­ers and spectators. The 2007 New Zealand Com­mu­nity Trust MTB Na­tional Se­ries is to be held from 12th – 14th Jan­uary and is again ex­pected to at­tract rid­ers from around the world. An­other high­light will be the 6-hour adrenalin packed Su­per D En­durance Race on Satur­day 3rd Fe­bru­ary. For more info on both of th­ese events see – www.bikenz.org.nz and www.ad­ven­ture­sourced.co.nz Tracks will be closed to the rid­ing pub­lic through­out the du­ra­tion of ma­jor events but lift served spec­ta­tor ac­cess will be avail­able and on course ex­cite­ment is ex­pected to be high. “The down­hill track was put to the test last sum­mer and the feed­back was uni­ver­sally ex­cel­lent. The sport is con­tin­u­ing to gain mo­men­tum in New Zealand and around the world. Strong crowds and healthy fields last sea­son in­di­cated Coronet Peak’s po­ten­tial as a sum­mer des­ti­na­tion and we ex­pect to build on that this sea­son,” says Mr Oven­dale.

Mark An­gus at the bot­tom sec­tion of the 2005 Na­tional Se­ries event held at Coronet Peak

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