~ by Vanessa Knee of Jindy Girl Riders.
It’s pretty typical to hear the locals of any town raving about how good their bike tracks are. No matter where you go you will always hear the positive banter about the local trails. Sometimes the riding is what it is talked up to be and sometimes the talk is a bit hyped up. Of course that all depends on your riding ability and your expectation of “awesome”. Whether you are an advanced rider, or seeking a ride for the whole family or perhaps a crew of gals looking for some flowy intermediate trails, your demographic impacts on your choice of destination and the maximum trail enjoyment for you and the group’s ability. What is good trail for some might not be all it’s cracked up to be for others. So it’s often hard to find the one place that will be suitable for the ripping riders who also want to ride with their family.
So when we as local Snowy Mountains residents rave about our trail network it is of course because it has something for everyone and I mean for all levels and all ages. So when you hear us raving, it really is true! As a long time local who has biked in the area for over 20 years, it is only in the last few years that the Snowy Mountains really has stepped up and onto the bike destination stage. With big money being injected into the area, creating new and sustainable trails across the Jindabyne to Thredbo corridor and beyond, coupled with more access for bikes further into the Kosciuszko National Park, this area is now arguably the best destination in Australia for mountain and road cycling.
This area caters for all level of rider and is enjoyed by tens of thousands of riders in summer not only because of the massive trail network but because of the raw spectacular beauty of the NSW High Country. More and more bike enthusiasts are flocking to the Snowy Mountains over summer to enjoy riding in this unique part of Australia and it is quickly becoming apparent that our so called ‘sleepy summer towns’ are fast becoming bike destinations.
As an advanced to strong intermediate rider you will want to head to the Gravity trails in Thredbo, taking the chairlift and descending down the mountain via Australia’s best Gravity network. Offering three super fun trails, the Cannonball Downhill, the Flow Track and the stunning All Mountain Trail, these will be some of the best fun you can have on two wheels. Perhaps not the best choice for a rider with limited skills, but this is where the area provides our signature dish, the 10 million dollar Thredbo Valley Track. Known as the TVT, rated to a strong beginner to intermediate level, it caters to riders with some basic mountain bike skills winding 17km down the Thredbo River to Lake Crackenback Resort. This track is simply stunning, flowy and enjoyable for all levels and as an advanced rider its reasonably effortless flow with a few punchy uphill bites through beautiful alpine fauna will put a massive smile on your face.
As a family with some riding ability this is the track for a half days adventure, crossing five spectacular bridges and through two stunning campgrounds, which make for a perfect lunch stop and a dip in the river. The TVT also rides really well up to Thredbo and back from Lake Crackenback for the fitter riders. With easy access from the highway, the campgrounds provide a good start and finish point to break the trail into smaller snippets for those wanting a shorter ride. As the track is dual directional and shared by walkers, be sure to ride with caution. Shuttles from Lake Crackenback to Thredbo are available daily in high season.
The lower TVT has been under construction during the last two summers and the first section opened this April. Start by crossing over the Ski Tube Bridge and continue down river approximately 7kms. This brings you along the most stunning parts of the Thredbo River and by far the most picturesque part of the track so far. At the moment this section is an out and back to the Ski Tube, but upon completion the track will continue another 10kms to Gaden Trout Hatchery. The completion date is yet to be confirmed. This section of track is not for the faint hearted and has been built purposefully harder than the upper TVT to a strong intermediate skill level. There will be no exit points on this portion of trail and is quite remote so a good level of fitness and skill is required.
The TVT will finish at the Trout Hatchery making this entire Thredbo Valley track 35kms. But it doesn’t stop there, the trail network continues (if you still have some legs left) to the recently constructed Hatchery Bay Track extending from Hatchery Bay itself winding 5kms into Snowline Caravan Park, joining the shared bike path another into Jindabyne town centre. The Hatchery link is one of the best additions to the Jindabyne network as it is incredibly scenic, hugging the shores of Lake Jindabyne, is the perfect trail for beginners and families and a great place to start on your first single track ride with great line of sight and tons of places to pull over and pass each other on the track. For the better riders the Hatchery link provides perfect terrain for fun rolling and pumping, working on technique and power training. A super fun blast!
Once the final section of the lower TVT is completed, this track will become the jewel in the crown and considered one of the greatest trails not only in Australia but in the Southern Hemisphere. Riders will have the pleasure of riding from the Top of Thredbo, descend down the spectacular All Mountain Trail, connecting to the TVT in Thredbo Village riding all the way to Jindabyne. This will equal approximately 50kms of single track from top to bottom and become an IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association) EPIC Silver status. For example, Mt Buller in Victoria is EPIC Bronze status and Whistler Bike Park is EPIC Gold status. This will rate this incredible track by world standards and have biking through our spectacular Snowy Mountains corridor rated with some of the best trails in the world.
As if that isn’t exciting enough, we have approximately 50km of single track around the Jindabyne area combing the Tyrolean to Jindabyne network which has a host of super techy lines off the main Mill Creek intermediate trail and Bungarra Alpine Centre which is a private bike park very suitable to all levels of riders, including a skills park and a pump track. All of these trails will keep you occupied for days, combining the shared cycle way along the shores of Jindabyne for an easy connection between trail areas. More trails are set to be constructed by local trail builders over the next 18 months which will lead to further development around the lake towards East Jindabyne.
Lake Crackenback also has about 15kms of tracks designed for beginner to intermediates which becomes maximum fun for the advanced riders as the soil is grippy making the tracks flowy and fast, winding down river like a super luge course. This network has been made famous by hosting the World Off Road Triathlon Championships in November 2016. All the networks in the area have been used for local, National and International events, school camps, social rides, kids and women’s clinics so this makes the versatility of the Snowy Mountains network second to none.
With an array independent operators like Jindabyne Girl Riders offering guiding and skills sessions and businesses like Gravity Sports and Lake Crackenback offering top of the line rental bikes, including downhill bikes, all mountain bikes, kids bikes, commuters and pedal assist bikes, there is nothing to stop you experiencing the most magnificent and fun riding our country has to offer no matter what your level of riding. So come on up to the Snowy Mountains and see what all the hype is about, it is everything we rave about and more!