Words: Anna Beck                                                             Photos: Dominic Hook, Colin Levitch
 
Falls Creek has jumped onboard the mountain biking boom, and since the addition of mountain bike trails several years ago Falls Creek has gone from strength to strength. The ski-field-come-summer mountain bike wonderland now boasts 40km of dedicated mountain bike trails, with the management team planning to build even more: including a UCI-rated dedicated Downhill Track!
 
A windy 30km drive above nearby Mt Beauty, Victoria, the drive is worth the effort to experience the Falls Creek trails, as their fast and furious machine-built park style is one that is not as common in Australia as it is in locations that feature big snow seasons, and big elevation.

 

Falls Creek features trails for everyone: from first-time mountain bikers to seasoned gravity warriors. While all the trails could be ridden on an XC bike by an intermediate rider, to get the most bang for your buck a trail bike in the 130-150mm range will allow you to maintain your speed through the rough stuff, and reduce fatigue on the longer runs.
 
The Summit trailhead (at 1780m, breathe deep!) is where the shuttles drop you off, and from this point there are multiple adventures to choose from. For a newer rider, the ‘Green Line’ is a great place to start; a 5km loop comprised of green runs linked together for maximum use of the terrain.

Start by heading down the Summit road, then drop into the fast and flowy ‘Eagle Rock’. Enjoy the big berms and free speed of the trail before a short gravel climb takes you to ‘Turbine’. Hero dirt and alpine granite abound before you turn into ‘Lakeview’ and the surface becomes a little looser, while you head up to ‘Short Circuit’ and the undulating ‘Induction’ trail takes you straight back to the main Falls’ parking lot.

 

For the ultimate all-mountain experience, there is 10km of (mainly) descending to be had if you link up the trails ‘Frying Pan Spur’, ‘High Voltage’, ‘Wishing Well’ and ‘Flowtown’, the top part of these trails are rated black, however are easily achievable by intermediate level riders, followed by blue tracks and the 6km ‘Flowtown' to make your face hurt from smiling, and legs hurt from pumping. To really get the most out of this loop, stop and have a look around at the view from ‘Frying Pan’, and take a snap at the 360-degree panorama of the Trig Point, between ‘Frying Pan’ and ‘High Voltage’ trails.

 

Though these are the two main long runs to link up, there are many other great options including the black runs of ‘Thunderbolt’ and the freshly opened ‘Big Fella’. Both of these trails begin at the Summit and feature prolonged sections of rock gardens, so keeping loose it the key, and ‘Big Fella’ features some jump progressions at the bottom of the track.

Another great option is to head into the top of ‘Big Fella’ and sneak across ‘Graveyard’ instead of heading straight down, which takes you to ‘Lorna’s Link’. Form here you can head down ‘Generator Down’ into ‘Vortex’, two fun and flow blue trails that beautifully showcase the natural alpine environment.

 

Falls creek, if you have the bike, is best ridden with some shuttles in mind (available every weekend in season), but that’s not to say there aren’t some cracker climbs to offer the weekend sadomasochist/anyone with a cross country bike. From the end of Flowtown (at the ticket box, a few km from the main village) the blue rated ‘Packhorse’ is a mainly flowy climb trail with a few technical challenges. Not recommended for less fit or skilled riders, as it may prove to be a bit more challenging than expected when gravity isn’t assisting!

 

From the Slalom Plaza, a few blue trails offer the opportunity to ride to the summit, starting with ‘Jump Start’, to ‘Generator Up’ into ‘Lorna’s Link' and across the gravel Summit road. From the Gully Trailhead, ‘Blackout’ takes you up to the ‘Aqueduct’ trail leading to ‘Wishing Well’, for another way to access the ‘Wishing Well’/‘Flowtown’ run.
 
Updates on trail conditions, weather, upcoming events and general updates can be found at: fallscreek.com.au/mtbreport/


GETTING THERE
Head straight up Bogong High Plains Road from Mt Beauty. It's a little over 4 hours from Melbourne, just over 5 from Canberra and about 7.5 hours from Sydney.


YOU’LL NEED 
It's an alpine area so keep a jacket, suncream and water on hand and carry your regular trail essentials.


LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
Falls Creek is just the launching point for some big adventures in the mountains. If you're handy with a topographic map, dig it out and take a look.


WHILE IN THE AREA
Take a walk! There is some great hiking and plenty of other activities – check out the Falls Creek website for more details.


LOCAL BIKE SHOPS 
Depending when you're going, your best bet is in the valley at Mt Beauty, although some spares are available when hiring bikes in Falls Creek.


REGULAR EVENTS
Falls Creek puts on a social event the opening weekend of the season called ‘Ignition’, which is as much a festival of gravity as it is a social event. The ‘MTB de Femme’ is a women’s version, happening in February. Falls Creek also hosts various mountain bike race events, keep your eyes on the calendar for upcoming XCO and gravity races at Falls!

 
 
Facilities 
Toilets: Yes, at the village
Drinking Water: Yes, at the village
Parking: Yes, lots at the villahe
Trails Signposted: Yes
Mobile Reception: Telstra – Yes, Optus - Yes
Shelter: Mostly at the village but also near the lifts.
Accommodation: Lots! Fallscreek.com.au
 
Ratings
Technicality x3/5
Fitness level x1/5 (for shuttles. 5/5 if you’re breathing that thin alpine air on the climb up)
X-country x5/5 
Trail x5/5 
All/mtn x3.5/5
Downhill x2/5