GIRDWOOD, Alaska—Girdwood’s Mount Alyeska is known for skiing, but Alaskans didn't need winter gear to experience its terrain Sunday. For the first time, Alyeska Resort opened up its tram to mountain bikers for a one-day downhill adrenaline rush.
Tickets to utilize the tram were limited to 200 mountain bikers, and the resort says they went fast. Bike enthusiasts stood in line 45 minutes to take the tram, their excitement undiminished by the delay.
“I got my heart going,” said mountain biker Sebastian Landry.
“It's got some steep -- just switchbacks, loose technical sections,” said biker Ticia Slusher.
Thirteen-year-old Conner Truskowski made several trips up and down the mountain Sunday.
“It feels like the bike flows and you’re a part of the bike, it's amazing -- you're happy, and it's just this other world,” Truskowski said.
The steps along the upper mountain trail can be challenging, but the bikers call it the “Stairway to Heaven.” The Silvertip Trail gives riders just as much of a rush.
“You can do a three-mile run in one run, which is almost all downhill,” said biker Karl Mittelstadt.
The day’s thrills also included a few spills, but for most of these extreme bikers it was just a little wear and tear.
“They come here for the fear factor, for the rush -- it's another high-adrenaline junkie sport,” Mittelstadt said.
“I think it's something people have been waiting for up here; Alyeska has some downhill terain and finally opened it up, and I think people are excited,” said biker Jeff Carlson.
If you're not ready for the rocky terrain, you don’t need a bike to appreciate the panoramic view -- but on Sunday, bikers were soaking it all in.
“The views are pretty cool and there's jumps, and the trails are extremely challenging, I would say,” Landry said.
Alyeska says there are between 10 and 12 biking trails on the mountain, which it hopes to open on weekends next year.
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