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Is this the longest downhill track in the UK?

The new Fort William Red run opens at the Nevis Range, Fort William today, Wednesday 24th June 09.

The helmet cam video below is nearly 9 minutes long and only includes part of the track, the full run is nearly 6km in length.

Check out the full info below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GShyWn5RYoo

Mountain gondola opens up new route

Nevis Range ventures into another market when its new mountain bike trail opens on Wednesday 24 June 2009. Sharing gondola uplift with the famous World Cup downhill track, the new trail will bring the Aonach Mor downhill experience to a much wider range of cross country mountain bike enthusiasts.

The new trail, known as the Nevis Red route, is accessed by bikers and their bikes on specially adapted carriers fitted to the UK’s only mountain gondola. The trip takes riders from the Nevis Range car park to 650m up the mountain. The start of the new track is beside the base of the Snowgoose chair, which transports skiers and boarders further up the snowy slopes during winter.

The new trail is more than 5.5km in length, and descends 543m to 100m. A classic cross country style route, it is single track and graded ‘red’ under the Forestry commissions grading structure; this means that riders will find some ‘black’ (more difficult) sections. There is a wide variety of surface types including metre wide boardwalk, natural rock, and gravel. The trail gives way to a sweeping highland mountainscape and previously hidden panoramas across Lochaber.

The track has taken over a year to build and tons of material had to be transported using a helicopter. The snowy winter prevented construction during the winter months and delayed the opening of the track by several weeks!

Gondola access is shared by over 200,000 sight seers, skiers and bikers to the Nevis Range. This includes downhill mountain bikers using the world famous World Cup downhill track. The recent Mountain Bike World Cup in June 2009 held at Nevis Range attracted 18,500 visitors to the area.

Marian Austin, MD of Nevis Range said ‘this new trail is an integral part of our plan to grow the business. Opened almost 20 years ago, initially as a winter snowsports resort, Nevis Range has visitors all year round who use the mountain gondola to access the slopes of Aonach Mor not only for skiing, snowboarding and climbing but to enjoy the stunning highland scenery and gentle walks.

She continued “As part of the diversification of the business into an all year round resort, we opened our first downhill mountain bike track in 2000, and this has led to the Mountain Bike World Cup being held in Fort William every year since 2002. The existing downhill track is a very tough track and although thousands of riders come to Fort William each year to ride it, many bike riders can only aspire to this feat. This new trail will open up the hill to competent cross country mountain bikers, and give more riders the thrill of riding downhill without the need to pedal up. It’s a good fit with the already popular Witch’s Trails cross country tracks in Leanachan forest at the foot of Aonach Mor.”

She concluded “As a business located in the Outdoor Capital of the UK (OCUK) we are continually working to provide outstanding outdoor experiences for our visitors. A ride on the Nevis Route will not disappoint!”

Anna Trafford, Project Director of the OCUK added “We are delighted that the new trail will open on Wednesday. We have worked hard with Nevis Range and the other partners and funders to make this new trail a reality. It is unique in the UK as it is the only red graded XC trail accessed by gondola and we know it will attract thousands of additional mountain bikers to the area. Fort William is already world famous on the mountain bike map and this new trail development offers a completely unrivalled mountain biking experience.”

Mark Hedderwick of Hytrack, the trail builder said “This trail was one of the most challenging to build. The weather has held us back a lot. We were knee deep in snow walking up to work in November – that is what made us stop for he winter! It’s certainly not an easy red to ride, but it’s the kind of track you will just want to ride, ride again, and then ride again.”

Check out Nevis Range for more info.

Nevis Red opening Wed 24 June 09 at Nevis Range, Fort William

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