Queenstown is a step closer to becoming the “Whistler of the South” with the opening of a new mountain bike adventure trail this week.
The improved and extended track on Bob’s Peak replaces a steep, narrow trail built and used by Vertigo Bikes. It snakes underneath an under-construction flying fox tourist attraction, being built by Ziptrek Eco-Tours.
Opening in time for the beginning of the mountain biking season, the intermediate-level trail bolsters the amount of local terrain available that attracts both national and international riders.
It’s also some consolation to those fuming about NZSki’s decision last month to no longer operate chairlifts during summer for recreational and competitive riding at Coronet Peak.
The 4km-long track re-build was sparked by Ziptrek, which took over sections of it during the construction of its wooden “zipline” platforms.
The company, due to start operating its flying fox venture before Christmas, paid a “substantial amount of money” toward the track becoming a “world-class facility”, Ziptrek director Trent Yeo says.
And Yeo reckons already having a successful track record in Whistler, Canada, will be an advantage.
“We’re very used to dealing with mountain biking as an activity, given that we have experienced doing so in the largest mountain bike park in the world, in Whistler.
“We’ve donated an amount of money [towards the Bob’s Peak track] in the spirit of what we’re trying to achieve.
“Whistler Bike Park attracts 14,000 people a day. A lot of [what Whistler’s got to offer] could be replicated to a degree here in Queenstown.”
Vertigo, Queenstown Mountain Bike Club and Queenstown Lakes District Council also helped pay for the job – costing about $10,000.
Renowned local trail maker Nathan Greenwood constructed it in just three weeks using mainly diggers. The old, 3.5km-long track was built by hand.
“Bob’s Peak’s been a huge hill just covered in goat tracks. My concept is this is the first time we’ve been able to ‘tame the mountain’ for the punter,” Greenwood says.
“There are no big jumps or anything, there’s just a lot of rolling contours, berms and little humps and bumps.”
Vertigo, which uses the track for commercial bike trips, will control and maintain the track.
“I think it will be positive for the hill,” Vertigo owner Tim Ceci says.
“People seeing the track from above might be tempted to come and do a bike ride and vice versa – people on bikes might go and book a Ziptrek trip. It’s a great cross-over for everybody’s business.
“It’s Vertigo’s 10th birthday this summer so it’s an awesome birthday present.”