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22 August 2018 - Lake Arrowhead, CA

Explore New Grounds: SkyPark at Santa's Village

Team Shimano heads to Lake Arrowhead, California with STEPS ambassador Hans Rey to explore the e-MTB friendly bike park SkyPark at Santa’s Village. SkyPark is a family-style bike park, designed for all levels of riding, centered around creating a full experience for the entire family around outdoor thrill and good old fashion camaraderie.

Located 80 miles east of Los Angeles, nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Arrowhead is known for vacation cabin resorts and bed and breakfasts. With four distinct seasons, the town supports an array of year-round outdoor recreational activity including skiing, hiking, fishing and more.

 

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Santa’s Village was a popular theme park in Southern California that first opened in 1955, a month before Disneyland first opened its gates not too far away in Anaheim. The theme park was a popular destination with winter-themed amusement year-round for over 40 years until it was ultimately closed in 1998. In December of 2016, the park was reopened to include the SkyPark Bike Park as well as an array of family-friendly activities centered around Santa’s Village including hiking, fishing, archery, ziplines, skating and rock climbing.

 

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The Christmas-themed park automatically makes you feel full of joy and holiday spirit

 

The trails at SkyPark were designed with influence from the world’s most popular bike park resorts, with the goal of building a bike park that supported all levels of riding. The park features a network of well-groomed, well-marked, directional mountain bike trails for beginners to advanced riders. There are exciting features, berms and jumps for those looking to add a little excitement to their ride, but each one is also met with a B-line that allows riders to stay within their comfort zone.

 

The Trials Legend was Wheelie excited to check out SkyPark!

 

SkyPark is not a lift-serviced bike park, making it a great option for e-mountain biking. Category 1 Pedal Assist mountain bikes are allowed at SkyPark Bike Park. The addition of e-mountain bikes opens the door to more riders to enjoy mountain biking – whether it’s a new rider joining their more experienced friends, an entire family enjoying the trails, or simply enjoying a longer day on the bike.

 

Lake Arrowhead, California

The Adventure Begins

When STEPS Ambassador and Mountain Biking Legend Hans Rey invited Shimano to join him for some e-mtb riding in SkyPark, we couldn’t say no. Megan and Laura loaded up the STEPS e-MTB bikes in the early morning and departed from Shimano’s Irvine headquarters to make the hour and a half drive up to Lake Arrowhead.

 

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Arriving in the Village loaded up with our STEPS E8000 e-MTB

 

The first stop before any good day on the bike always involves coffee. Although SkyPark is located just a couple miles outside of Lake Arrowhead, we headed into the village first for some early morning caffeine. We ended up finding the Tea and Coffee Exchange inside Arrowhead Village. It’s located right in the center of the town and is a nice place to stop to fuel up before your day.

 

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A nice pit stop for caffeine in the form of cold brew coffee

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Quiet, lakefront views and clear skies

After our coffee we headed to SkyPark to meet up with Hans and Bill and Michelle from SkyPark. Bill and Michelle are owners and developers of the park, and told us the story and inspirations behind SkyPark. Both avid mountain bikers, Bill and Michelle opened the park with the sole purpose of creating a family style bike park. After traveling to bike parks for most of their lives, they felt that many of parks were lacking a full experience for their whole family. SkyPark set out to provide fun and enjoyment for all – even non-cyclists who can enjoy many of their other outdoor activities or simply sit outside and enjoy nature at St. Nick’s Patio and Grill or the Pedal Pub for example.

 

Riding the Park

The day of fun begins with a short, but never steep, climb to the top of the trailhead. From there, you can spit out onto your choice of trails. On the way to the top of the trailhead, there's a small Skills Park where you can work on your bridge crosses, teeter totter skills and more.  The SkyPark Mountain Bike Trail System features an extensive network of professionally designed trails through the dense Alpine forest featuring natural jumps, wall rides, ladder bridges and obstacles. 

The trails are designed to build you up and prepare you for the next, slightly more challenging trail, meant to help you gain confidence and improve your ability as a rider. 

Thanks to the additional support from the STEPS E8000 bikes, we were able to explore all corners of the park without feeling overly exhausted. 

 

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The trail map helps clearly identifies the routes – providing options for all levels of riders

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Megan checking out some of the features in the Skills Park

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The Shimano STEPS e-MTB provided the extra boost to help explore all corners of SkyPark

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Lush green forest almost makes you think you aren’t in Southern California anymore

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Miles and miles of groomed and maintained trails nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains

The features around the park were like a playground for Hans

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Hans was quick to take on the challenge when we stumbled across this teeter-totter

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Although the trails at SkyPark do include a number of unique features, there is always a B-Line option for those who prefer to keep two wheels on the ground

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Well-built ladder bridges are a nice and exciting touch around the park

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On top of that, the well-groomed corners are a great place for those to practice their skills.

Or a great place for people like Hans to find their flow

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It’s hard to not smile on trails like these

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Sometimes you just need to stop and take it all in

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A day well-spent on the bike - Hans and Megan stop to enjoy the views

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The Pedal Pub is a cool bike-themed bar to grab a drink after a day of fun on the trails

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When exploring the Village, Megan wanted to stop and see if Mr. and Mrs. Claus were home

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Meanwhile, Hans hung out at the Gingerbread house

Wrapping up the Day:

After a fun morning of riding, we headed back into Lake Arrowhead to grab a bite before heading back home to Orange County. We ended up at the Lake Front Taproom Bar and Kitchen to enjoy some burgers and sandwiches with a nice view. They have tasty menu options with a great drink menu making it a great place to wind down and talk about your fun stories and memories made on the trail.

 

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I’m already craving the Chipotle Chicken Sandwich with Sweet Potato tots after my next ride at SkyPark