Resort riders jumping for joy

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Thrills: Ryley Topliff, 12, on McNearly Gnarly PICTURE: JAMES ALLAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Mountain bikers are getting good use out of the new jump trail at Fernhill, where they’ve clocked up thousands of laps in just a few months.

The ‘McNearly Gnarly’ – which starts at the power station on Wynyard Crescent and connects to the Fernhill loop track – opened just before Easter. Riders racked up 650 laps in the first three days of it opening.

The trail’s name has connections to Queenstown Mountain Bike Club committee member Pete McInally and pro mountain biker and X Games athlete Kelly McGarry, who died from a heart arrhythmia while riding his bike to the top of the Fernhill loop track in 2016.

The two-part project involved building both a climbing and jump trail. It cost more than $80,000 and was made possible thanks to funding grants from Southern Trust, and fundraising efforts by Queenstown’s Atlas Beer Cafe and other local groups.

McInally says the jump trail is about 1.8km long and includes 65 features bikers can “get air off”.

The trail isn’t a pro line, and is aimed more at families and children wanting to learn to do jumps.

“We’ve been missing that style of trail in Queenstown.

“We wanted something smaller and safer for the kids because we’ve already got really big professional pro lines.”

McInally’s hoping to keep the trail open throughout winter, but will have to wait and see how it fares in the snowy weather.

The club will hold an official opening event and BBQ at the start of spring.