whitefish montana mountain biking cycling outside international mountain bicyclin flow trail

A flow trail requires little pedaling and braking, according to the International Mountain Bicycling Association. And Whitefish, Montana's new Kashmir Trail provides a great version of that experience.     Photo: stefanschurr/Thinkstock

It's a Good Time to Be a Mountain Biker

IMBA holds summit, praises excellent new resort trail

Mountain bikers have descended upon Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and will soon flock to Whitefish, Montana—and it's all thanks to the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). The organization's annual summit is happening right now, and it's just given kudos to Whitefish Resort's new Kashmir Trail, calling it a model flow trail.

That's a sign of positive developments for two reasons. Kashmir's success just a year after its completion signals a shift for resorts in the western United States, which are increasingly offering better options for summer sports. What makes Kashmir so good? "It's smooth, every corner has a berm, and it's kind of effortless to ride," Whitefish resident Pete Costain told the Whitefish Pilot"It's essentially dirt art." 

Flow trails are also relative newcomers to mountain biking. "Flow trails take mountain bikers on a terrain-induced roller-coaster experience," according to IMBA. For an experienced rider, braking and pedaling might not even be necessary. The trails provide "an exploration of skills and airtime for fast, talented riders who want to turn the trail into the ultimate playground," though they can also be very family friendly. Sounds like the ideal setup for a lift-serviced resort trail.

It's great developments like Kashmir that will be the focus of IMBA's World Summit, taking place now through August 24. The summit gets everyone from mountain bike enthusiasts to trail builders and land managers into the same room. On the table this year: improving long-distance trails, rapidly building up world-class bike park facilities in the United States, and daily bike time, of course, like night riding on Emerald Mountain. If you wish you could be there too, follow the weekend's developements on IMBA's Twitter feed.


Baldock, a lifetime member of the Bondi Swim Club, is no newbie when it comes to the challenges of the English Channel. He had completed the swim once before, at age 41, in 1985. But this time around, he completed the journey to honor his former coach, Des Renford, whose lifetime goal of crossing the channel as the oldest person was halted after he suffered a heart attack. It was his promise to fulfill Renford's dream that kept Baldock going, even when the going got tough.

"There's no way that I'd attempt the English Channel just to swim it a second time. I've done it. I was only the fifth Australian to do it back then, but to be the oldest, it's an enormous challenge. It's something that very few people can ever achieve," he told ABC. "It's helped my fitness. I've got five grandkids, and I'm able to do things with them that a lot of 70-year-olds couldn't do."


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