Kashmir Bike Trail
By MATT BALDWIN
This Week Whitefish
Whitefish Mountain Resort’s flagship mountain bike flow trail has garnered worldwide recognition. The Kashmir trail was named a 2014 Model Trail by the International Mountain Bicycling Association.
The honor puts Kashmir on the map alongside some of the great downhill trails in the world. The three other flow trails earning the recognition this year are in Austria, Czech Republic and Sun Valley, Idaho.
A flow trail is a relatively new concept in mountain biking. Flow trails feature big berms on switchbacks, jumps and other dirt features that challenge riders. Experts can sometimes ride a flow trail without ever using their brakes.
“A good flow trail uses gravity to your advantage,” explained Whitefish resident and avid freerider Pete Costain. Costain and his company Terraflow Trail Systems helped build many of the freeride trails at Whitefish Mountain Resort’s bike park — including Kashmir. Costain also helped design and build portions of the Whitefish Trail.
Kashmir delivers the all-around experience of a great flow trail, Costain said, with a diverse appeal for intermediate riders to experts.
“It’s smooth, every corner has a berm, and it’s kind of effortless to ride,” he said. “It counters the image of downhilling — it’s a fun experience, not a risk-your-life experience.”
The trail cuts across the top of Ptarmigan Bowl to Upper Good Medicine, then cuts down Swift Creek near Chair 2.
Costain says the vision for the trail was a cooperative effort over many years. Resort recreation manager Josh Knight worked tirelessly with the Forest Service to map out the route, while Costain and Greg Franson used excavators with the help of the resort trail crew to carve out the trail.
“Josh put in some serious walking time with the Forest Service,” Costain said.
Work began in the winter of 2012 and Kashmir opened last July. It quickly became a favorite for freeriders at the resort.
“It’s essentially dirt art,” Costain said. “I’m super psyched to have built a trail like that in our backyard.”
Knight said the award will help Whitefish continue to build on its reputation as a cycling destination.
“Everyone involved in building the trail from our trail crew to Terraflow Trails was very proud of its creation,” Knight said.