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Already a strong cross-country rider, Ange Mirfield handles the twists and turns of Keystone’s Boy Scouts, a blue run, with ease on her first official day of downhilling.

Image: Andrew Wilz

You can do this. Yes, you. No matter what kind of rider you are—from never-ever to “I ride a Schwinn—brrring brrring” to cross-country legend—you can sink your teeth into your new favorite pastime passion addiction.

Gravity biking is skiing in summer. It’s more like dirt biking than cross-country riding, with gravity as the engine. Several years ago, Keystone literally helped break trail in the sport, cutting new trails, shaping twisting berms, and fabricating tricked-out wooden features to make the thrills thrillier. The result is a flowy roller coaster of your own design. You pick the line, simple or technical, mellow or steep. It’s like riding a waterslide on a skateboard, an alpine slide on roller skates. Like riding a mountain ... on a bike.

Right now, your biggest obstacle may be your own imagination. Riders with knee and elbow pads, full-face helmets, and body armor covering their chests look like aliens. Clearly, you might think, you would get hurt.

Not so. There was a time when these aliens started out, too, and they’ve pioneered equipment so you don’t have to get hurt. That doesn’t mean you can recklessly bomb down the hill—you’ll have some skills to learn. But thanks to protective gear and bikes designed specifically for downhilling, the sport is easier and safer, so touching down with your shin or elbow might not even leave a mark. Now put those fears aside (if you had them), and focus on the fun you’ll have on a bouncy, burly, full-suspension bike.

If the last progress you made on a bike was removing the training wheels—a huge step, by the way—you may want to start your gravity career where there’s a little less gravity to contend with. Keystone’s skills park at the base of the mountain is designed just for practicing the moves you need on the hill (although it’s pretty fun in itself). Lift-served green runs deliver long, mellow single-track interspersed with gravel service roads, all with copious gentle turns. (And if you don’t have a bike or gear, it’s all available to rent.) With fresh air and sweeping mountain views, time in the saddle feeds the soul while netting you experience you can’t get any other way. Look at that: you’re already doing it in your mind—a far cry from what you imagined a few short paragraphs ago.

Trail Blazing

Get your feet wet on Keystone’s service roads: Jackstraw, Jaybird and Cadillac Road can take you all the way to the bottom. Get a taste of the real deal with green runs like Girl Scouts and Suz’s Cruise—long, mellow single-track with copious gentle turns that traverse open meadows and wend through aspen and pine groves. Raise your heart rate a touch with the flowy Let It Ride, where you get a hint of that roller-coaster feel. When you’re ready to challenge yourself, sing the blues with Boy Scouts or River Run for a few extra bumps to check out what your shocks can do. The road’s a little rougher, the turns a little tighter, but they’ll challenge you to step up to the next level.

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