Most folks have a love/hate relationship with the Van Michael Trail at Blankets Creek. It’s a trail where you have to pay to play - lots of suffering climbs for the simple reward of pointing the bike downhill to carve. When we set out to build VMT, we had big dreams of lots of space for open flowing trail with cool features, but the Corp of Engineers reduced our desired acreage. This resulted into a stacked & packed trail design to get 4 miles. While the terrain is phenomenal, the corners are tight and starting to wear. Anyone standing on VMT in silence on any given weekend hears the sliding of tires all over the hillsides. The downhill flow is sweet, right until you have to grab a handful of brake to make the corner. It just wasn’t right. Something had to be done.
Enter the new age of the All Mountain bike. Recent technological advancements in carbon and air suspension have reduced bike weights to the high 20 pound range with the plushness of at least 5 inches of travel. Most shops agree this is the sweet spot right now. Folks can now climb up the mountain with ease with a new desire to point it downhill and let the 5+ inches of travel do the work. They need a new playground.
Over the past decade, the aerial antics of Red Bull Rampage in Virgin, UT have transformed into the Crankworks Festival at Whistler, BC. Fat stanchion, single crown forks along with lighter weight bike frames have given birth to slope style riding. It also gave birth to what is now dubbed by Hans Rey as Flow Country trail and it’s popping up everywhere. From IMBA’s Sandy Ridge Ride Center in Oregon to Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama, it’s the playground the All Mountain bike crowd is looking to find.
When Quehl Holler was built at Blankets Creek less than two years ago, we knew it was going to be a great addition of change. Something the free ride crowd could finally sink their teeth into - but there was a surprising twist. Folks of all ages and riding styles where enjoying the Holler too. Not to sky over jumps, but to experience the excitement of rolling down a flow trail that was gravity assisted. Even the XC crowd was enjoying flow trail.
Then the light bulb went on. What if we turn the sharp, skidded out corners on VMT into wider, better flow trail corners that would let you carry your momentum? Renovations that would solve the braking bumps with wider inslope turns and let the masses enjoy a better, brakeless, flow trail experience. That was the plan. And who better to do the job than the mastermind and dirt architect of Quehl Holler himself – the legendary Ethan Quehl. Ethan’s a Pro Downhill Racer from Grayson, GA and spends his summers working on the trail building crew at Snowshoe Mountain. For those that don’t know, Snowshoe and Whistler are owned by the same company – Intrawest. Snowshoe is an east coast mini version of Whistler. Ethan has the pro riding skills to design and the trail building experience to do it. Want to build an Arnold Palmer designed golf course? Hire Arnold Palmer. That’s what we did.
Ethan will be out working on VMT over the next 4 weeks addressing 27 different corners. Please use caution out there and walk around the corners in progress.
Once it’s done, it’s going to be sick! Get ready for VMT 2.0 – a new addition to the flow ride revolution.