Mountain bikers a go on Qtown gondola

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Queenstown gondola access for mountain bikers is a go.

Queenstown mayor Vanessa van Uden cut the ribbon this morning (Sunday) officially allowing riders to lug their bikes on Skyline Enterprises Bob’s Peak cableway for the first time.

“We’re seeing the community and the corporates work together for mutual benefit…typifying what this town in all about,’ Van Uden said during a brief opening ceremony.

“I really hope it’s all downhill from here,” she joked.

Former junior downhill mountain biking world champ Scarlett Hagen was the first to hook her bike on the gondola, ahead of about 250 eager riders queuing to get to the top.

The day gives season pass holders and invited friends a taste of gondola access before Skyline opens to day trippers and short term passes over the four month season from tomorrow until May 29.

Skyline boss Jeff Staniland says gondola access for riders required plenty of work – including modifying the base building, making cabins bike-compatible, re-covering cabin seats, and making changes to the top terminal.

Skyline also funded a new 6km perimeter track recently named Hammy’s – after local tourism pioneer Ian Hamilton – to cater to beginner level riders with tricks along the way to keep advanced bikers entertained.

Staniland says there are loads of “death-defying” tracks for expert riders in Ben Lomond Forest which “95 per cent of the population wouldn’t go near.”

Vertigo Bikes also opened their Bob’s Peak rental store today and co-owner Tim Ceci said they are supplying Van Uden with a bike so she can test the track out.