Mountain bike skills / orientation park
Safety should be the number one priority in any bike park, which is why resorts should do the best they can to increase safety awareness and educate their visitors about possible threats they face when riding in a park. Apart from proper signage and trails divided according to difficulty level, riders should get the opportunity to get familiar with obstacles that they face on trails in a safer environment. Consequently, when they face such objects on trails they are prepared and know how to overcome them
A place where riders can get familiar with various obstacles that they can meet on trails is usually called a skills park. Skills park enables visitors to evaluate their abilities so that they can choose the right trail according to their skill level. Such parks usually include different manmade features like jumps, ladder bridges, drops, etc. in different sizes, so that riders can spot the difference between easier and advanced obstacles and can master adequate skills to overcome them.
Optionally you can also include a pump track in your skills park. Pump track is continuous loop with rollers and berms where, if ridden properly, the rider can gain speed even without pedaling – just by pumping. Pump tracks provide a great training ground for overall fitness and development of different bike skills. A single object can provide fun and challenge for all levels of skills in a safe environment, which is why their popularity among mountain bikers is increasing at a fast rate. Size of pump tracks can vary from the smallest, round 6×10 m for example, to a few times bigger and can be made out of dirt or even other materials such as wood for example. Artificial pump tracks are easier to maintain and do not require development of extensive drainage systems. Apart from that, most artificial pump tracks are build modularly so that they can be easily upgraded or adapted to the new terrain.
Skills parks are usually build on a flat terrain, to provide easier conditions to develop bike skills, however depending on the type of obstacles (for example drops), skills parks can also be built on steeper terrain. Skills parks which are poorly developed or unmaintained do not attract many visitors, which is why you should take special care to develop good drainage, quality obstacles and ensure that they are be regularly maintained. Apart from that make sure that you divide and mark obstacles according to their difficulty.
Skill parks can be placed on different parts of resort, before the entrance to trails for example, so that riders can get familiar with obstacles just before entering the trails, or in the finish of the bike park which enables easy access for these who do not yet plan to go in the real park (kids for example). Placement in the finish of the park also enables the use of skills park for numerous activities and events after the operation hours of bike park. Skills parks can be divided into smaller units with different difficulty levels.
Skills park are easy to build, do not require a lot of space and will, apart from increased safety and faster progression of riders, also provide a place for your guides and instructors to teach their client to master bike skills in one place, which is why you should think of building one if you do not already have one in your park.