Aussie mountain bike parks shut down ahead of predicted storms

Cloud MTB Mark Watson

AS unprecedented rain storms moved through Victoria and NSW last weekend, several mountain bike parks took the drastic step of closing down or limitiing access to their sites.

Falls Creek and Mt Buller resorts in Victoria and Thredbo in NSW all posted notices on social media, announcing reduced access to their sites for at least Friday 1 and Saturday 2 December, ahead of rainfalls that are predicted to top 200mm.

Bike Buller postoned planned opening weekend activities, and its Northside Express chairlift was closed. Its Blue Dirt shuttle service is still running, though Bike Buller warns that extreme weather is forecast.

Falls Creek Resort, meanwhile, cancelled its shuttle service all together for the entire weekend, with its shuttle partner Blue Dirt Mountain Biking also cancelling all shuttles operating at Falls Creek ResortMystic Park, Bright and Mt Beauty.

In NSW, Thredbo Alpine Resort has announced that it is closing trail access on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 December ahead of "one of the biggest storms to roll through in years", according to the team. Conditions will be assessed ahead of Sunday 3 - though they admit that it's very unlikely that the park will be operational at all this weekend.

The rainstorm hits the NSW resort just one week out from the Cannonball Festival, which we'll feature in the next issue of MBA. The event went ahead as scheduled, with minimal impact experienced.

"Three day rain totals of 100-200mm are expected acoss most northern and central regions of the State," read a statement from the Bueau of Meteorology. "Elsewhere totals are likely to be between 30 and 100mm. Over the northeast ranges falls may exceed 250mm."

Locations which may be affected include Mildura, Horsham, Warrnambool, Bendigo, Shepparton, Seymour, Maryborough, Ballarat, Geelong, Melbourne, Wodonga, Wangaratta, Traralgon and Bairnsdale.

Meanwhile, other sites in the firing line - like the ACT's Stromlo Forest Park - are asking riders to avoid waterlogged trails to help minimise damage.

TOP RAIN TIPS

1. Don't ride on flooded trails; It might not be the most fun option, but if you want to keep using those trails, it's probably the smartest solution. Moving dirt and making ruts will have ramifications when it dries up, so if your trails are under water, stay away.

2. Don't ride around puddles; If you are out in the weather, the best path through a puddle is straight through the middle. Riding through it helps to disperse the water, while around it only makes the puddle larger.

3. Easy does it; Tread lightly on wet trails. Keep your braking under control, go easy through berms and gently gently over deeper muddy sections. You've got a lot less grip in the mud, so giving yourself a bit more leeway in cornering and braking is a smart idea.

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