New bike track will be ultimate link
The Queenstown Mountain Bike Club's latest trail is aimed at linking existing cross-country tracks to enhance members' riding experience and bolstering the resort's reputation as a mountainbike mecca.
Resource consent for the 1.7km track, from the Greengates Express chairlift on Coronet Peak skifield to a point near the Skippers Saddle - to be known as The Rude Rock Trail - was granted late last month.
Club president Tom Hey said linking the existing trails made sense from a rider's viewpoint but would also attract a wider cross-section of riders.
"We've got some really amazing downhill tracks and now that Queenstown is becoming a really high profile riding destination it would be good to match those downhill tracks with a more cohesive system of cross-country tracks," he said.
Cross-country riding held a more broad spectrum appeal for many riders, because it was less dangerous than downhill riding and got many older and younger riders into wide open spaces.
"Of all the different genres of riding, cross-country is definitely the most popular," Mr Hey said.
In a best case scenario, work on the track would begin over the Christmas break - with club members happy to trade holidays for getting their hands dirty.
Alpine conditions on the track's 1070m elevation meant construction had to be complete before winter kicked in.
The Department of Conservation specified that the track should be constructed to avoid straight lines across the landscape, in a manner capable of avoiding surface erosion, and all care should be taken to minimise damage to the alpine environment, while NZSki happily gave their blessing for construction and added "we hope you enjoy riding the new track" to their consent letter.
It was gratifying to see the cultivation of long-term relationships between the department and NZSki pay off in trust and faith the club would build tracks that were respectful of the environment, Mr Hey said
The club also thanked Aurum Survey Consultants for free track surveying services, Vivian+Espie for preparing the resource consent application gratis and Lakes Environmental for sponsoring the resource consent application fee.
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