Hillside – Anchorage mountain biking

With completion of Phase 2 in 2018, Hillside offers one-way up/down trails in addition to a plethora of cross country riding.  The flagship rides are the 4 downhill trails – Jeff’s Whoop-Whoop, Gauer Power, Eh-line, and Dig Deep that offer about 500’ each of flowy fun.  The trails are accessed by the uphill-only Ticket to Ride for laps that take about 30 minutes per lap to complete.  Or, if shuttling is your style, they can easily be car shuttled as well!  

Designed to take advantage of terrain and offer consistent flow, these trails are also designed around progression.  Each trail progresses within itself, in addition to the trails becoming progressively more challenging from Jeff’s Whoop Whoop to Gauer Power to Eh-Line to Dig Deep.  

Jeff’s Whoop Whoop is designed as an intermediate blue flow trail that is smooth and a super fun trail for all levels.  And that it is!  With big banked corners, plenty of jumps with downhill landings that don’t require a clear-or-case, and lots of flow, this trail is sure to leave you smiling!  

Smiles for days on Jeff’s Whoop Whoop (photo: Corey Bellinger)

 

Jeff’s Whoop Whoop (photo: Matt Bonney)

Gauer Power is a bit more black with tabletops and more rocks.  Good super fun bermed section – corner after corner with great jump features mixed in at the start.  lower section had a lot of loose rock initially but now ridden in the rocks are compacting down to firmer trail bed making it less loose and higher speed but still with rocks in trail tread.

Cody Gauer getting shreddy on his namesake Gauer Power (photo: Cheryl Matyas)

Upper Eh-Line builds the progression from Gauer Power with even more jumps and fun banked corners.  Upper Eh-line is seriously a blast!!!  Lower Eh-Line is hand-built and more technical, a perfect progression to Dig Deep.  

Lee Bolling (STA president) making it look easy!

 

Eh Line (photo: Matt Bonney)

 

The boardwalk step-down on Eh-line looks scarier than it is – don’t worry, it rolls! You don’t have to ride it like Lee Bolling!

Affectionately called “The Canadian” by locals, a favorite ride of many is Upper Gauer Power to Eh-Line diving off at mid-section trail junction and cutting north.  It’s just plain fun, and arguably the best combination of jumps and flow for an advanced top-to-bottom ride!  

Dig deep was a total hand-built rooty tech trail – a progression from the lower tech section of Eh-Line.  In the words of Eric Helmbrecht, owner of Powderhound Bike & Ski in Girdwood, “Dig Deep takes us back to our roots of how riding used to be in Alaska (pun intended!).”  The trailbuilders wanted it to be gnarly and not fun for everyone.  At the same time, it’s a trail that riders can progress to that will prepare them for tech trails at Alyeska and around the state, as well as trips outside Alaska.  Because so many volunteers built it, Dig Deep has a change in character throughout that keeps the riding super lively.  Best part: the more it gets ridden in, the better it gets as some parts get worn in and new features emerge.  

Dig Deep for these rooty sections! (photo: Maeve Lavtar)

While the 4 downhill trails are new and oh-so-fun, they’re really the cherry on top of a great trail network.  Between the phase 1 bike trails, the Brown Bear and Black Bear bike trails, and the network of singletrack throughout the hillside, there are a lifetime of rides that can be created.  Between the Phase 1 and 2 purpose-built singletrack, it’s possible to weave loops between the new and old networks rather than top-to-bottom laps on repeat – it’s easy to zip across the whole network and mix classic old school singletrack and dive off for a flow segment.  Then cut off for a tech old school singletrack again.  It’s natural to get in a habit of riding the same thing, but there are so many ways you can weave together a 20-30 mile ride and not touch the same trail.  

Between Hillside and Kincaid, STA has done so much to improve life in Anchorage, the bike community in Alaska, and the smiles seen around town – these trails are so fun!!!  Mountain biking Hillside is definitely one not to miss!  For more info about riding around Alaska, check out the full bike guide at www.alaskaMTB.com!


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