Andrew “Sully” Sullivan here, Northstar Bike Park trail crew manager and trail designer. In the spring on day 1 I drive around the mountain checking the trails, making a list of the maintenance and new trail builds that have to be done this summer. I take a quick break at the top of Livewire to soak it all in and try not to get overwhelmed. After a minute or two it hits me…we have a lot of work to do for the best possible reason: there are bikes to ride!
The first morning of building always involves a heated discussion among the crew on what jumps need to get bigger, what berms need to get faster and who is shuttling after work. The first thing we tackle are the Lower Mountain trails. We start by bringing back berms and jumps that have faded over the winter while rerouting sections that were a little too steep.
After laying 400 feet of hose into the build, the trail finally gets the water it deserves. The trail crew is all over the place, swarming like ants on an anthill. There is someone raking, a guy shovel-packing a berm, the excavator stacking dirt, hoses spraying water on all of it and me putting my helmet on to test a new jump.
Fast forward to the day before opening. All the same things are happening but now we’re at the bottom of Livewire. We have just spent two weeks setting up the 2.2 mile long irrigation system and resurfacing it from top to bottom. Boondocks is riding amazing as always. Gypsy held up awesome during the winter compared to last year when we had to cut 20 trees off the trail before we could even start dirt work.
Opening day is not the end of the work. Livewire needs constant attention and water throughout the day so we can get it to pack in. The biggest thing that makes our trails work are our riders. We need everybody to help ride a trail in and compact it while we hand water trouble spots. Opening day was one of the best I can remember, because there were so many of you shredding! Livewire packed down faster than I have ever seen it. The whole team worked long dusty hours to get things ready. Thanks to all of you who came out to shred!
Editor’s note: stay tuned for more trail updates from Sully and his team throughout the season.