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The New Rockfall DH Trail

Mt. Bachelor Bike Park’s newest trail is also its most technically advanced…

If you’re like me, you’ve been staring longingly at Rockfall since Mt. Bachelor first put in pin-flags marking the route two years ago. Then, this year, you started hooting and hollering at the trail crew while they were working on it (“Looking good! Hurry up!”). Now, all the anticipation is about to pay off when Rockfall officially opens on Friday, August 26th.

Last week I finally got a chance to preview this awesome new trail!

It was raw, rough, and not really ready for the public, so my riding buddy Aaron Ritter and I got a guided tour from trail builder (and DH ripper) Zach Liebowizt — or Lobowitz as you may know him.

These photos don’t really due justice to the steepness of the terrain, but they’ll give you an idea of what to expect the first time you charge this new DH trail at Mt. Bachelor Bike Park.

Qualifier Stunt on Rockfall

Common to most bike parks, expert DH trails are accessed by riding a required “qualifier stunt” which serves to keep beginners off of the trail. Rockfall’s qualifier is a rugged rock garden which is followed by a drop off. Very appropriate since there are a lot of rock gardens and drops ahead!

Rocky DH Trail

Right away, the trail gets chundery and loose. If you didn’t wear your knee pads and full-face helmet, you’re probably starting to wonder if that was a good idea. I couldn’t help noticing that Aaron traded in his XC lid for a full face in the afternoon.

View from Rockfall Trail

There are some amazing views of the Cascades from the top of Rockfall, but you probably won’t notice unless you pull over and put a foot down. In this photo, Zach is more focused on some gnar — which is way more important than the view that he’s missing.

Rocky DH Berm

One of the things that makes Rockfall an “expert” trail is the high price of failure. There are no soft spots to land if you crash — only sharp shards of lava.

Mandatory Rock Drop

From the Pine Marten Chair, you get a great view of this section. Riders have to negotiate three mandatory rock drops. If you’re gonna ride it, ride like Zach: weight back, elbows out, eyes forward. I’m not sure about riding without gloves — that’s a lifestyle choice.

Third Required Rock Drop

Aaron takes the third rock-drop nice and smooth. Next season, once the trail has been ridden-in and the lines are better defined, riders will be able to flow through this section with a lot of speed. It’s going to be incredible.

Pavers below the Rock Drop

My huge grin isn’t visible behind my full-face helmet in this photo — but you know it’s there! Hell yeah!

Fall Line Berms

The forested tree section of Rockfall is full of steep, fall-line berms. They’ll probably become more rooty and rocky as the top layer of dust gets worn away. Like most hand-built trails, this one is going to get better and better as the seasons grind it down.

Fall-line Tree Section

There are some tight tree sections that you can take with speed — once you have an idea what’s coming up next! Zach knows every berm and turn, so he was running the throttle wide-open.

Step Down Jump

After you exit the trees there’s a rad step-up followed by two big step-down jumps that are a ton-o-fun. Here, Zach is airing it out with a huge backpack full of heavy gear. Next, you hit a short road connector and then the trail joins lower Cone Run. In the future, Rockfall will probably continue further down the mountain, but those plans are still in process.

Here’s a quick video preview of Rockfall:

Robert RekwardThis article was contributed by Robert Rekward. Robert is part of the team that created the BendTrails website. During business hours you can find him at Delicious Design, a marketing company here in Bend which he owns with his wife, Valerie. If it’s not business hours, Robert’s probably on his bike. Or in the garage, working on his bike.

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