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Boulder, CO, July 30, 2001-When the skis are lovingly stored for the summer and the last traces of snow have melted, millions of skiers take to the slopes in a different way: on bikes. Mountain biking at ski areas continues to develop and expand, with almost 175 North American ski resorts promoting mountain biking on their mountains. About half of these resorts operate a lift (or lifts) to enable bikers to start their rides high on the slopes.

The better biking operations offer an extensive trail system with terrain for riders of all abilities as well as an accurate map of the trails. It's helpful if the maps and the signs on the mountain rate the trail by difficulty and denote the amount of time it will take to ride one circuit so you know exactly what you're getting yourself into. A base area bike shop is also important. It provides all the necessities for a well-prepared ride, such as maintained rental bikes, spare tubes, water bottles, and energy bars and drinks.

Some resorts offer beginner and intermediate mountain bike lessons. Others feature guided half-day tours for exploration of the mountain. For the more extreme, NASTAR-style slalom race courses and technical terrain parks are popping up across the country.

Mountain bike festivals or races occur at ski areas all over the country and offer a fun way to see more experienced riders in their element. Or get in on the action yourself. Check out these races at a mountain near you:

American Mountain Bike Challenge

Schweitzer Dirt and Rock Tour
Spokane, WA
August 25-26, 2001

Showdown at Sugar
Banner Elk, NC
August 25-26, 2001

Ski Platekill Screamin' Extreme
Roxbury, NY
October 6-7, 2001

Chevy Trucks NORBA National Championship Series:

Mount Snow, VT
August 16-19

24 Hours of Adrenaline:

Winter Park, CO
August 4-5

If you know of any other upcoming mountain bike races/events or have some sweet riding stories you want to share, please email editor@skinet.com.

Here's a link to other resorts that offer biking on their mountains:http://www.travelbase.com/skiareas/mountain1.html

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