Vertical Earth Gravity Park at Pennsylvania’s Blue Mountain ski resort hosts the biggest event of its young life Sept. 25-27 when Gravity East rocks everything from the trails to the jump park to the Neko Mulally-designed dual slalom course.
The weekend’s main event will be Sunday’s Gravity East Downhill, which will be supported by a Gravity East e.thirteen Dual Slalom and a Blue Mountain Cup Super D.
With 1,100 feet of vertical drop to work with, Vertical Earth founder Dan Whitehead designed downhill course based on the “Miles of Smiles” trail that includes three distinct ecosystems, a pipeline through one of the jump parks and the trail’s signature element: the “Bus Stop,” a step-up and drop-off across a school bus.
“Everybody will ride the same course,” says Whitehead, “but we’ll have ‘go-arounds’ at the gnarliest bits so less-experienced riders have the option to skip elements that might be over their heads.”
The downhill trail will start on typical glacier-formed east-coast rocky soil, before going through a benchcut woods section with loamy pine needle black dirt, before finishing on a groomed man-made section covered in clay that Whitehead compares to the dirt found on baseball infields.
Saturday’s e.thirteen dual slalom course has been called “one of the best dual slaloms I’ve ridden in the past two years,” by New York based pro racer and track builder Tom Oakes.
Starting with a full BMX/4X start gate and running about 30 seconds, the dual slalom course is a roller coaster ride of berms, rollers and tabletops. Rounding out the weekend’s events will be Super D down the “Balboa” trail that should take about seven minutes to complete. Though not an official part of the Gravity East, the Super D gives gravity racers another chance to have some fun in the fading days of “Septemberm”.
Whitehead recommends a 6-inch travel, all-mountain bike as the optimum tool for the Super D adventure, though “skinny tools” can use their XC bikes.
Free primitive (no hookups) camping will be allowed on the mountain for Gravity East Weekend, and self-contained RV’s may stay in the resort parking lot for the duration of the weekend. For more information on Gravity East Weekend at the all-new Vertical Earth Gravity Park at Blue Mountain, including links to the park website and registration on BikeReg.com, see www.GravityEastSeries.com.