Mountain bikers, get ready to take flight. Whisper Ridge Backcountry Resort, located one hour north of Salt Lake City, announced via an Instagram post on May 31 that the Utah operator will open some its 70,000 acres of backcountry terrain to helicopter-served mountain biking.
The opening of its helicopter tour operations during the summer season adds a new layer of exploration to the docket for advanced-level mountain bikers. While backcountry-specific ski resorts offering helicopter-served access is nothing new (Silverton Mountain in Colorado also does this, and numerous operators throughout the United States and Canada have offered heli-skiing tours for years), Whisper Ridge is the first such resort in the continental US to extend the offer to mountain bikers.
The chopper will pick up riders up at the top of the Powder Mountain bike trail system and drop them at the top of the Limber Pine Trail. The rider then drops into the downhill track and rides 5.5 miles and 2,300 feet down to the meeting point with the Whisper Pines singletrack trail. From there, single-drop riders have two options — either pedal eight additional miles (gaining 1,300 feet) back to the pick-up point, or have the chopper take them back. Day pass riders can pedal back or have the chopper return them to the drop point at the top of the trail in what’s known as a “heli-bump,” saving any uphill pedaling. The trail passes through old-growth forest and is labeled as a moderate trail, though options for more extreme (but short) lines present themselves throughout. The resort is also in the process of adding an additional trail to be served from the helicopter drop point.
One individual drop costs $200, with a full-day pass going for $475. You’ll have to act fast in order to book a trip, however. The resort is only making 60 day passes and 10 six-pack passes (good for six days in the chopper) available for this inaugural season. Grab your spot before they fill up.