the summit at snoqualmie pass mtb
(Photo/Maciej Kopaniecki via Shutterstock)

Ride the PNW’s Newest Downhill Park: ‘The Summit 2.0!’

Two decades ago, low traffic forced Washington’s Snoqualmie Pass to close its downhill MTB park just 4 years after hosting a World Cup. Sunday, it reopened to the delight of local riders.

The sun set on 20 summers at The Summit at Snoqualmie Pass without a mountain biker ever seeing the slopes. That ended this weekend at the grand opening of the resort’s lift-serviced downhill mountain bike park.

The Seattle Times reported 7 years of work and 8,090 hours of trail work went into the new park, which riders can now access via the Silver Fir chairlift at Summit Central. According to the Times, current progress represents phase one of a two-phase project and amounts to 6 miles of trails evenly split between beginner, intermediate, and expert runs.

The park gives locals and visitors an alternative to nearby Stevens Pass and world-class Whistler, British Columbia. And it’s a concrete nod to the resort’s origins.

Previously, The Summit at Snoqualmie sat in a prominent position in the downhill MTB universe. A reputation for challenging trails drew the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup there in 1998. But just 4 years later, the park closed due to low attendance.

“We’re getting back to our roots,” The Summit at Snoqualmie general manager Guy Lawrence told the Times at the park’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We’re looking at bike park 2.0.”

Current Status and Future Outlook

Lawrence told the outlet that he recalls community pleas to reopen the park as long ago as 2010. Finally, the Times said, the momentum convinced the resort to hammer out a proposal to the U.S. Forest Service in 2015. Much of the bike park’s land is inside the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, which meant the resort had to work with the public and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on approvals.

But the mountain bikers’ opinion won out in the end, and The Summit got to work with help from the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance (EMBA), which designed and built the trails now open under phase one (phase two, per the Times, is still in the planning stage).

The beginner trail is the 2-mile Green Party, and three blue-square trails (Bermy Lomax, Wapiti, and Mid-Mountain Connector) combine for 2 miles of intermediate terrain. Finally, 2 miles of expert-level trails comprise Lost & Found, Slab’ N’ Tickle, and Black Forest.

The Times reported the park proved highly popular on day one: all 300 tickets available for the Grand Opening sold out “within minutes” of going on sale on Aug. 25.

One teenage hill-bomber, 15-year-old Fisher Bailey, dragged himself out of bed at 4 a.m. to capture the first spot in line for Sunday’s opening. How were the trails?

“Wild and crazy,” Bailey told the Times after a burn on Black Forest. “So good.”

The Summit MTB park initially opened only to season pass-holders and EMBA members. The park plans to operate Friday to Sunday weekly through the end of September.

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Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.