Mountain Biking in Vermont

by Casey Hurlburt
Vermont was ranked number one as the healthiest state in the country last year for the third year in a row, according to the 20th annual America’s Health Rankings. It’s no wonder since the state is known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreation. Vermont also has four of the best outdoor towns and three of the best adventure towns.
Among the many outdoor activities, the opportunities for mountain biking in and around Vermont are excellent.
Various mountain biking trails can be found all over the state, from Stowe to Wilmington, and everywhere in between. Some trails are better for the more scenic-driven mountain biker, and some are better for the more aggressive type.
The Kingdom Trails, located in East Burke, Vermont, are known for their hiking, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, and especially mountain biking trails. East Burke is one of those 101 best outdoor towns in the United States.
The Kingdom Trails is a non-profit organization that was created 1994 for non-motor outdoor adventurers to enjoy mapped and maintained trails. To keep the organization running, they charge a Day Member Pass ($10/individual) or a Member Pass ($50/individual, $100/family summer/winter) for use of the trails.
“We do our best to keep prices low so the trails can be enjoyed by everyone, which in turn stimulates the local economy,” said Tim Tierney, executive director of Kingdom Trails. Much of the support for the trails comes from various organizations and volunteers.
“The most unique part is we have over 55 land owners who give us permission to use the land for the trail system, as well as the state of Vermont and the town of East Burke,” Tierney said. Ninety percent of the Kingdom trails land is privately owned. Kingdom Trails brings in about 3-4 million dollars into the local economy each year.
“It’s a true community effort, and in cooperation it really helps everyone; the community, the individual, and it helps maintain the natural environment,” Tierney said.
We talked to Kyle Ebbett, pro mountain biker from Essex, VT, about mountain biking in Vermont. He has been pro for eight years and now works as a coach at Highland Camps in Northfield, NH.
Kyle Ebbett: Pro cyclist
Kyle Ebbett, from Essex, has been a professional cyclist for eight years. He works as a coach at Highland Mountain Bike Park in Northfield, NH.
Where did you go to high school?
Harwich High and Cape Cod Tech in Harwich, MA. Believe it or not I was an auto body student at Cape Tech and went on to work in a body shop for a year. Then mountain biking took over my life and I quit that and got a job at a bike shop.
What were your hobbies in high school?
Biking, skim boarding, golf.
How did you get into mountain biking?
I always rode BMX as a kid and had jumps and tracks in my back yard and all over town. But my buddy got a mountain bike to get around. I was like, “My bro has one of them; we should go for a ride.” Well, to say the least I was hooked!
What is your favorite place to ride in Vermont?
For cross country, Saxton Hill in Essex; jumps, my secret trails or Knight Die's house in the NEK; down hill racing, Mount Snow, which is now home to the sickest DH trail ever built; Burke Mountain.
How did you end up coaching?
My dad was a coach, and I think it rubbed off.
What advice do you have for high school students?
Have fun but not too much, get your work done, and when it comes time to decide what you want to do with your life, do what you lov