Nelson mountainbike tracks ‘rate very highly’ says US expert

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Nelson could become a global mountainbiking destination, after a representative from the US-based International Mountain Biking Association assessed the region’s trails this week.

The Mountainbike Trails Trust invited IMBA track specialist Jason Wells to Nelson to rate the region’s suitability as an international mountainbiking destination. Jason has been riding Nelson’s trails with trust member Chris Mildon this week and so far he likes what he has seen.

“I’ve ridden about 100km of trails so far, I’m thoroughly impressed,” Jason says. “I’ve ridden trails all over the world and Nelson rates very highly.”

Jason says thousands of mountainbikers around the world use the IMBA website to find the best destinations for riding, and a gold star rating could result in an influx of international tourists to Nelson. He says the variety of trails in Nelson would be one of the biggest attractions for riders coming to the region.

“We have a Disneyland punch-list for mountainbikers to make sure an area has dirt jumps, downhill tracks, cross-country trails and long distance trails, and so far I’m very impressed. You are very, very spoiled here.”

Chris says the trust decided to invite Jason to Nelson because it would benefit the whole region. A gold star rating from IMBA would “give us a real international presence as an attractive mountainbike destination.”

“They have world-wide exposure with everything they promote,” Chris says. “We all know how good the riding is around here but this will give us an international presence.”

Chris says the trust paid for Jason’s visit and although “it’s quite an investment, it will give us regional benefits.”

Jason says he rated the Hackett highly for scenery and “for pucker-factor I enjoyed Lollipop”.

The Coppermine was also a favourite with “a nice climb and amazing descent, that starts with rough, baby-head boulder and gets smoother and faster as you go down”.