I took by wife and 3 daughters on our green downhill trail "Joy Ride" on the 4th of July. I was hoping to do this a couple weeks ago but the trail was too soft and not enough of the trail was completed in order to provide a good experience for them. I learned a lot from this little family outing. Bottom line is this, our new MTB Park comes with a new sense of reality. This is really important to understand and we at Welch Village want to be completely honest and transparent.
A green downhill MTB trail is not a "beginner" MTB trail. A green downhill MTB trail is not the mountain bike version of a ski area's bunny hill. My two youngest daughters (age 7 and almost 9) were able to ride about the first 1/3 of the trail. That part of the trail is mostly flat with several rollers, decent, and berms throughout. They loved the sections they were able to ride. My 10 year old and my wife were able to ride the entire Joy Ride trail but had to walk their bikes in a couple of sections where the berms/corners were a little too steep and tight for their current ability and comfort level.
Now...my family just started mountain biking last summer so they are still considered beginners. They can all ride Lebanon's green loop and my wife has ridden the blue loop as well as Memorial in Red Wing and Carver in Woodbury. All three of the girls are ski racers so hills and speed doesn't bother them too much. However, this family testing session validated the fact to me that in order to ride our MTB trails this summer, some cross-country MTB experience is highly recommended/required.
We are adding more and more information to our website in order to explain this to our guests including adding some rules, age minimums, proper MTB bike requirements etc. We will offer some limited lesson sessions this year and whole lot more next summer. We are also starting work on a small beginner skills park right in front of our main chalet. In the future, we will continue to add progressive type skills parks and trails for ALL ability levels so a lot more novice MTB amenities are on the way next year and beyond. This is just the first year of MTB operations at Welch Village so all of the beginners out there will have to be patient for a little while. Thank you for your understanding.
Also, a couple of us were able to ride the chairlift (our bikes too) today as we have started chairlift testing. We have two trails done now from top-to-bottom and work on the third trail will begin Monday of next week. Work on the Black trail will begin soon after.
Stay tuned...a lot more MTB information will be coming your way as we approach opening day (TBD still).