Imagine a magical mountain biking playground where dozens of trails weave through the trees with jumps, berms, rollers, and drops that are prime for progression. A place where confidence is boosted by every lap, new session buddies are made, and high fives abound… welcome to Duthie Hill Park in Issaquah, Washington.
The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance has forged a gem within this 120-acre forested park, packing in so much bang for the buck that it’s hard to believe until you put your wheels on the ground to explore it. So we sent Instructor Jeremiah Stone out with the no-fun, very tough task of scoping it out and reporting back on exactly what makes this area a must-ride for every mountain biker.
Trail Hit List
Bootcamp is a flowing green trail that offers a series of corner combos and an easy return to the top. Add a new focus to each lap – bike-body separation, footwork, compression, hip rotation, line choice – and you’ll take your cornering game to a whole new level. (Psst… here are our tips to Corner like a Pro)
Gravy Train is a short and sweet jump trail that features a progressive series of gap jumps that steadily grow larger and more technical towards the end. Like the frog in the pot, it starts off mellow and heats up into some full-on gaps later. I found myself grinning ear to ear and hustling back to the top for more Gravy!
The key skills you’ll utilize will be cornering and jumping with opportunities to work up to drops of all flavors. This park has been built to challenge everyone you can progress no matter where you are in your riding journey. Plan to come and session the trails and features so you can take your time, focus on specific skills, and warm up to new challenges.
Fuel for your Ride
My pre-ride coffee spot was Caffe Ladro. They hit me with a great Americano and had several tasty baked goods and gluten free treats! After the ride, I was struck with a pizza craving and found myself cruising over to MOD Pizza. Although it’s a chain, they consistently serve up a good, quick pizza, and sometimes that’s exactly what you need!
“There’s a breakfast spot in town called The Egg and Us that had Swedish pancakes and a boatload of egg-centric dishes. Levitate gastropub had a huge selection of WA and PNW craft beer and cocktails with awesome burgers and American fusion dishes.” – Instructor Matt Beall
You may spot some local legends such as Simon Lawton and Kat Sweet. Both are accomplished racers and are super-involved in the local scene and events. Other pros swing through from time to time, taking part in the joy that a playground like Duthie Hill can offer!
In the Vicinity
Tiger Mountain is another riding zone with phenomenal trails that pushed my limits and made for an epic great day. Tiger Mountain is also a popular spot for flying sports like paragliding and hang gliding. There are several guides around there that offer tandem flights if that’s a thing you’d enjoy!
I would encourage anyone of any ability to take a class with these guys.
I recently attended one of the Intermediate/Advanced Efficiency and Flow clinics. Even though I have been riding for many years...
I recently attended one of the Intermediate/Advanced Efficiency and Flow clinics. Even though I have been riding for many years I learned a lot from this clinic. The techniques covered ranged from reviewing basic skills such as basic body position to practicing more advanced techniques like switchbacks, bunny hops, and cornering. I was able to recognize, get instruction, and practice some skills where I was weak and instantly improve them. Even skills I thought I was pretty good at I was able to pick up useful tips. I also realized that deliberate skills practice is not something I incorporate into my riding, but now that I understand what I should be doing I will make sure to add this in! After taking the course my comfort on the bike has improved and I am more aware of my body position and movement of the bike. I would encourage anyone of any ability to take a class with these guys. The instructors are knowledgeable and easy to work with. There is a lot of one on one help and they will make sure you understand the skills being taught and are able to perform them successfully. Plus the clinic was lots of fun! I highly recommend and hope to work with these guys again soon. ~ Michelle A.
The course was very fluid, engaging, and I would highly recommend it.
I took the intermediate/advanced course in Balboa Park after having ridden for just over 2 years on my own. It...
I took the intermediate/advanced course in Balboa Park after having ridden for just over 2 years on my own. It covered a wide breadth of skills, some of which I already felt aquatinted with and others I had little to no experience with. I found all of the material useful. I was able to improve skills I already had and was able to learn new skills. I also feel confident leaving the course that the instructors have provided all of the information for me to practice and improve outside of the course setting. The environment of Balboa Park was perfect for learning and sessioning the skills covered. The instructors were friendly, fun, and attentive to all of the participants. They spent more or less time on certain skills based on how the entire group was grasping them. They also gave individualized attention to participants that required more help with technique. The course was very fluid, engaging, and I would highly recommend it. ~Alexandra Rose Brysiewicz
Taken the 3 day Skills Camp out in Mulberry Gap GA. Outstanding weekend. We had a small group of about...
Taken the 3 day Skills Camp out in Mulberry Gap GA. Outstanding weekend. We had a small group of about 8 people with 3 Ninja Pro's. Richard and the instructors were attentive and always helpful. The course had you work on your base fundamentals, advanced skills, along with bike setup,maintenance, nutrition ,This was a very comprehensive course. After learning the skills, we'd hit the trails and the training didn't stop. Instructors would get to a technical portion of a trail and have us all stop and they would show us how to use the skills we just learned. Everyone learned at their own pace. So no one felt pressured to keep up with others. Having fun was always top priority. Arriving back home, I was practicing all the skills i've learned like an excited little kid with a new bike. I hope to take this course again when they come back to this side of the country -- it was well worth it! ~Vic D.
Enrolling in the Intermediate/Advanced clinic was the best thing I’ve ever done to improve my speed and ability on the bike.
Hands down, enrolling in the Intermediate/Advanced clinic was the best thing I've ever done to improve my speed and ability...
Hands down, enrolling in the Intermediate/Advanced clinic was the best thing I've ever done to improve my speed and ability on the bike. I am so much faster on singletrack and through technical sections/jumps that even if people are more fit than me, I still keep up with them (and kind of love watching them do a lot more work than they need to). Richard and Kris are fantastic and break things down in a way that makes sense and is manageable. By the end of my first clinic, I was jumping off ledges and power climbing up sections that I couldn't drive a car up. You could buy a $5,000 carbon bike and do 10,000 ft rides every day, but you will get the best return on any investment you make in your riding by attending a Ninja Skills Clinic. ~ Regina J.
We are a group of passionate, dirt-loving, community oriented, world class mountain bike skills instructors committed to helping you reach your personal riding goals through clinics and camps. We are excited to work with riders of all ability levels and share the joy (STOKE) of mountain biking.