After a night of heavy rain I knew that it would be mid afternoon before we got on to the trails at the skyline. Up at 9 am there was plenty of time to make breakie and have a couple coffees. On the way to Queenstown my mate tire blew so we went to a local shop to get that fixed. We had a couple hours to kill as the afternoon riding starts at 3pm. See for the lift passes you can buy a morning, afternoon or all day pass. The morning was a washout since it rained so hard lastnight. From what we heard the only track that was open was Hammy’s and we wanted the black runs, so we decided to wait until later to go ride.
By 3pm the sun was out and there was a cool breaze drying the wet tracks. As we went up the gonola Mark kept telling me how much I was going to love these tracks. Steep, rooty, muddy, jumps, drops, northshore they had it all!
First track down we hit up Hammy’s. It’s a green track, so it is fairly easy and wide open. This is the trail that all the beginners and bike rental folk ride and it is heaps of fun. It’s flowy, with huge bermed corners, some wide open spots, cool north shore sections and a couple table tops for jumps. This is a great track to just let it all hang out!
Now that we were warmed up it was time to hit something a little more challenging. On too Vertigo which is a blue rated track that was steep, fast, had some drops and more challenging bits. Great track!!
After that we hit up Ants track which was pretty much all mud! It is rated a black track and it was a little more technical sketchy in spots. There were lots of roots and mud to deal with, plus the steepness of it made it extremely fun to ride.
Then there was Rock Garden, which had some good drops plus of course a rock garden section to cruise through. Another great trail that is rated black.
We would usually tie a bunch of different trails together as we bombed down. Start on Hammy’s, hit up Vertigo, on to Rock Garden and then back on to Vertigo. There were so many ways to tie the trails together that no run was the same. We would just ride one section of one track and then tack it together with another. So much fun!
Im pretty sure we rode another couple tracks but I cant remember which ones. I was just concentrating on staying on the bike and trying to keep up with Mark! After 8 runs my forearms were burning and my hands were cramping. This was definitely some of the best downhill Ive ridden in New Zealand. Some of the tracks had some serious breaking bumps making the arm pump massive. It was like doing 200 pushups while riding down the hills.. intense!
After riding we headed down town to grab a bite to eat. We settled on Indian and then headed off to a mates place for a catch up. By 10pm I was beat and we were back home. I pushed off to bed as the plan was for a full day of downhilling the next day. I wasn’t sure how my body was going to handle that, has a half-day owned me. Day one on the gondola was epic!