Bike Park Safety and Orientation
Welcome to Thunder Mountain Bike Park, New England’s fastest growing bike park. Thunder Mountain Bike Park provides a progression bike trail system to take the first time downhill mountain bike rider and convert them for life.
This guide includes some useful safety and guide information for experts and the first time rider alike.
For the first time rider, the marketing of downhill mountain biking can be intimidating, with all of the gear, jumps, dirt and aggressive imagery, but at Thunder Mountain Bike Park we have partnered with some of the best trail builders in the world to bring you a progression park where you can fall in love with this wonderful sport. T Our team friendly team trail staff, guides, and operators will help give you a wonderful intro to the sport.
Thunder Mountain Bike Park Safety Blog
•Children under 5 yrs are not permitted in the Bike Park
•Children 5-10 are required to be accompanied by a parent/legal guardian (19yrs or older) when riding in the Bike Park
•Children 11-15 are strongly recommended to be accompanied by a parent/legal guardian (19yrs or older) when riding in the Bike Park
The parent or guardian must sign the Bike Park waiver for any Child under 18 years
Ensure that your suspension is tuned properly and is set up for your body weight and riding ability
Full suspension Endure style and Downhill bikes are strongly recommended. If you don’t know what these are you should look into our rentals and lessons.
All bikes riding in the Thunder Mountain Bike Park must have one functioning brake per wheel. This keeps dirt jump bikes, BMX, kids with coaster brakes and beach cruisers off the trails but allows regular mountain bikes to ride on the hill
All riders must sign a waiver. Riders under the age of 18 must have their waiver signed by a parent or guardian
DRUG AND ALCOHOL POLICY
No outside alcohol is permitted on the property of Berkshire East Mountain Resort, including parking lots, lodge, or trail system. Drugs are forbidden from Thunder Mountain Bike Park.
Thunder Mountain Bike Park Trail Map
It is the riders responsibility to ride within there level. Thunder Mountain Bike Park provides trail difficulty designations. A rider can expect any number of challenges on the trail pursuant to the trail designation level.
Know before you go! Understand the trail level you are about to ride and be prepared for it!
Inspect each trail: Preride at a slower speed. Don’t hammer your first run. Take it easy and look for changing conditions.
Get a guide / lesson: First time? No worries? Hire a guide.
BEGINNER: This trail designation includes gentle descents with obstacles such as small rocks, bridges, pot-holes, tree roots, berms, or other natural or built obstacles. The BEGINNER trail is designed for the new Bike Park rider who has previously demonstrated an ability to ride a bike before using these trails.
INTERMEDIATE: This trail designation is more difficult. These trails offer challenging riding with tighter corners, steeper slopes including large natural and built obstacles, loose trail surfaces, roots and rocks, jumps, ramps, elevated features, berms, drops and other terrain variations. The INTERMEDIATE trail designation requires previous off-road riding experience. All riders should be comfortable on our BEGINNER trails prior to attempting to ride our INTERMEDIATE trails.
ADVANCED: This trail designation is most difficult. These trails feature long steep grades with large technical features, including rocks, roots and drops, loose trail sections, numerous natural and manmade obstacles. ADVANCED trails also include jumps, ramps, elevated features, berms, drops, slab rocks, rocks or other terrain variations. Technical handling through tight trees and rough sections is required. ADVANCED trails are suited for riders who have mastered all of the INTERMEDIATE trails.
EXPERT ONLY: This trail designation truly means extreme difficulty. Without exception, expert mountain bikers should be the only riders on these trails. These trails feature the steepest grades with the most technical features, large manmade and natural jumps, wood ramps, elevated narrow trails, berms, drops, rock faces, and other terrain variations. Warming up on INTERMEDIATE and ADVANCED trails is strongly encouraged. EXPERT ONLY trails are suited for the most advanced riders who have comfortably ridden all our ADVANCED trails.
Trail Description Videos
The Schist Walking Tour
Back of the Shack
Know Before You Go: Common FAQ’s
Its going to be my first time, what clothes should I wear?
Answer: Wear comfortable moisture wicking clothing suitable for exercising. This includes athletic shoes and socks but no open toe shoes. We require approved bike helmets and we strongly recommend that you wear a full face helmet.
Additionally, we recommend that you have protective body armor that includes, leg protection, chest protection and elbow pads. This protective equipment can be rented through our rental shop. Gloves, goggles, and other recommended gear is available for purchase at the retail store.
It may rain or drizzle so be prepared to bring a rain jacket. It may also get hot and muggy, so remember to bring water or sports drink when riding. We provide water for our guests at the top and bottom of the lift.
Should I Rent Equipment and/or Take a Lesson?
Answer: Even if you are a skilled cross country mountain biker, you should consider renting protective riding gear, a DH bike and taking a lesson from one of our certified instructors. This will provide you with the knowledge of the proper techniques that are necessary for safely riding in a DH Mountain Bike Park. We provide lessons and guidance for all levels of riders from first timers to guiding professional racers through the Park.
Is Mountain Biking Dangerous?
Question: Is Mountain Biking Dangerous?
Answer: Like any sport or outdoor activity, Downhill Mountain Biking has certain risks. However, these risks can be minimized and you can have a safe, enjoyable and injury free experience by being personally responsible for your own physical well being, making good decisions and by taking the following steps.
A. Rent proper gear or diligently maintain your personal equipment. If you do own your equipment, it is your responsibility to make sure it is proper working order. We strongly advise that you periodically have a competent mechanic inspect your equipment.
- Brakes should function properly
- Tires should be properly inflated
- Wheels should spin freely
- Wheels should be secured
- The headset should move freely and be properly adjusted
B. If you don’t own your own equipment, you can rent gear from our rental shop. We offer top of the line DH bikes.
C. Learn the trail designations. If you have any questions, please ask a Bike Park Employee.
What Lesson Program Should I Start With?
The best way to get started in Downhill Mountain Biking is to take a Thunder Mountain 101 Package. This is the best and easiest way to begin. To reserve a Thunder Mountain 101 Package call our customer service desk at (413) 339-6617. The package includes:
- DH Mountain Bike
- Full Face Helmet
- Protective Body Armor
- Full Day Ticket
- Lesson Time With Our Instructor Staff
For those who own their own equipment, we suggest you consider a 2 hour lesson with one of our Terra Method trained instructors.
What Should I Do When I Arrive at the Thunder Mountain Bike Park?
Answer: After you park your vehicle, go to the ticket window in the Base Lodge. If you’ll need rental equipment and/or lessons, we’ll provide you with your waiver and lift ticket and all the necessary forms for renting equipment or taking a lesson.
If you have your own equipment, you’ll just need to sign the waiver and buy your lift ticket.
After this you’ll head over to the base of the Summit Quad, load your bike and ride up the mountain. When you arrive at the top you should take a warm-up run and perform a pre-ride inspection of all trails to become comfortable with the layout, features, and descent lines of the Park.
A proper warm-up and pre-ride inspection is critical to a great day of riding. If you don’t know what trail to start on, the Sugar Line trail is recommended.
Always do the following:
- Know the riders responsibility code
- Have a trail map
- Know the trail designations
- Ride the right equipment
- Uncertain? Get a lesson or hire a guide!
Is There a Retail Shop at Thunder Mountain Bike Park?
Answer: Thunder Mountain Bike Park has a basic retail shop with the soft goods that you may forget. If you want to buy a bike, please visit your local bike shop.
Do I need a to sign a waiver and where is it?
Yes! Every minor under 18 must have a signed waiver from a parent or guardian.
Thunder Mountain Bike Park uses Waiver Sign, meaning you can fill it out from the digital device of your choosing.
Thunder Mountain Bike Park Digital Waiver
Is uphill riding allowed?
For the safety of all Thunder Mountain Bike Park guests, riding or hiking up Downhill trails is not permitted during operating hours. Riding or hiking uphill is permitted on trails specifically labeled for uphill traffic.
Are Repairs Available at the Thunder Mountain Bike Park?
Answer: Thunder Mountain Bike Park has a bike shop and a rental shop with a technician on hand during operating hours each day. Bring your bike and we will see if we can fix it. Because of the complexity of equipment and the availability of parts we can’t make any promises but we’ll do our best.
What is the Mountain Biker's Responsibility Code?
1. Stay in control at all times. It is your responsibility to avoid other persons and objects around you.
2. Do not stop where you obstruct the trail or are not visible from above.
3. When entering a trail or starting downhill, you should look uphill and yield to other riders.
4. Please assist if you are involved in or witness a collision or accident and identify yourself to the Bike Patrol.
5. Keep off closed areas and obey all signs and warnings.
6. Stay on marked trails. Do not cut switchbacks.
7. Stay off lifts and away from the Bike Park if your ability is impaired through the use of drugs or alcohol.
8. You must have sufficient dexterity, ability and knowledge to safely ride and unload lifts. If in doubt, ask the attendant.
9. Hiking in the Bike Park is not permitted.
10. Do not feed, provoke or approach wildlife.
What are important elements of Bike Park Safety
Bike Park Safety is a shared responsibility. Every guest of every ability plays a part in this balance. Good guest conduct and conduct is essential.
Trail etiquette keeps the bike park safer and more fun for everyone. Remember to always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects. If you are visiting the park for the first time, hire a guide to give you a tour.
People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them. If you are overtaking a rider, notify them verbally of the pass and select an area where you are not braiding/widening the trail. Do not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above. Whenever starting downhill or merging onto a trail, look uphill and yield to others. Finally, keep the bike park fun! You will likely experience riders of varying abilities. Be patient, and give folks the chance to progress to your level in a chill environment.
Respect the rules and etiquette: Know and understand The Biker’s Responsibility Code:
What Types of Personal Protection Should I Wear to Fully Enjoy the Thunder Mountain Bike Park?
Answer: Helmets are required and we strongly recommend full face helmets! Clothing should be moisture wicking and all bikers should utilize protective mountain body armor. Protective mountain body armor and full face helmets are available to rent in our rental shop, or purchase in our bike shop.
Required Equipment to Wear
Helmet (full face strongly recommended)
Shoes (no open toe)
Strongly Suggested Equipment to Wear
Full body protection armor
Goggles or athletically designed protective eyewear
Bike Specific Shorts
Can I Bring My Own Bike?
Yes you can bring your own bike. However, only Mountain Bikes are allowed. We do not allow Road Bikes, BMX Bikes, Hybrid Bikes, Cyclocross Bikes or Beach Cruisers. Most fat bikes with tires wider than 3.8″ do not fit securely on the lift.
All bikes must have front and rear brakes in proper working condition. No coaster brakes are allowed.
All brakes must be a V-Style or Disc Brake configuration. No single pivot brakes are allowed!
It is highly recommended that all bikes have at least a front suspension system. Your day will be much better if your bike has at least 125mm (5 inches) of front and rear suspension.
It is also highly recommended that all riders drop their seat posts. When in doubt, drop your seat posts! This will give you the range of motion necessary for a safe neutral riding position when negotiating bumpy, undulating terrain. Unlike XC riding, while riding in the park, you’ll almost always be riding hovering above your saddle, pedalling only rarely. Your weight will be on your pedals and bars, you’ll be much more comfortable with the saddle out of your way. While you may feel as though the seat post height on your current XC set-up is proper, a lower seat height is strongly recommended.
If you believe that your current equipment may be not be appropriate, Thunder Mountain Bike Park has a rental fleet of Specialized Demo’s, Enduro EVOs, Giant Glorys and Transition Ripcord 24s available for rental.
Is there a trail map?
Yes! Here it is!