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What can I expect from the Thredbo Downhill

amarkie's picture

By amarkie - Posted on 17 October 2012

I'm heading to the Snowy Mountains this summer with the #1 goal of spending a few days on the Thredbo Downhill. I've watched countless youtube vids but its always hard to tell the severity of the terrain.

1. Comparison - Can anyone provide a comparison of Thredbo vs Manly Dam (Allambie Fire Trail and Water Lab). Steepness of trail, size of the steps/drops, radical changes in speed needed to survive etc?

2. Bike - On the first day I will hire gear, but from then on I plan on riding my Giant Reign 1 .... thoughts?

3. Training - Should I be heading to the Oxford Falls DH? From the videos Ive seen Oxford Falls looks far more "Downhill" than Thredbo. Will becoming a master of Manly Dam (at speed) be adequate preparation?

4. Skills - Am I up to it? Being 40+, and an anally retentive 1st born, I like to be prepared as possible. My current CV is 53 mins around Manly Dam about 15 mins faster than this ride Manly Dam Highlights but what I enjoy most is the downhill sections between the Parkway and Water Lab and I push myself hard, while coasting up the southern hill climbs.

Any opinions welcome.

Lenny_GTA's picture

Technically the thredbo DH isn't all that hard. Where it starts to hurt is holding a fast pace for the entire length of the run. I guess to be fair to the trail, if you are going to pin it the whole way, the trail can bite you hard. But if your just riding for fun, the trail is just

There isn't anything in the way of big drops and everything is rollable, but to ride it fast can be very difficult.

I've ridden it on a hardtail (a long time ago) so a reign will do it.

amarkie's picture

Cheers, that's what it looked like to me. Which is exactly the sort of ride I'm looking for.

Simon's picture

Thredbo is very rideable and many people hire bikes and survive with little experience. It's a case of the faster you go the more challenging it is.

I saw a beginner manage to go over the handle bars in the car park on a hire downhill bike after grabbing the brakes then manage to get down the track.

I also saw someone on a 2002 Giant XTC hard tail get down. You just are slower and get shaken around a lot more.

If you wanted to do some training then the DH track at Ourimbah would be good. This is now all rollable on B-lines and roughly similar technically. Just shorter than Thredbo. Ourimbah is fine on a Reign.

amarkie's picture

Thanks for that. All the more reason to head up to Ourimba soon.

I'm really psyched about Thredbo. Last year I was all set to do it, but pulled out at the last minute. I wasn't sure I was up to it and didn't want to spend $300 for the first day and only be capable of a couple of runs.

This year I bought one of their 12 month season tickets and I have a good bike, so even if I only last a few runs on day one I can head up on subsequent days for free with my own gear.

Also looking forward to riding Bungara for the first time and a few of the other routes around Mill Creek.

ALSO - You may also have a post by World Trails (who did Mt Buller) and South East MTB Co yesterday on facebook, that WT have been engaged to do a MTB plan for Thredbo. Thats awesome news!

Matt P's picture

General fitness will serve you well, but particularly leg work, preferably lunges, step ups or even one leg squats. Holding dumbbells to add resistance will also help to improve your grip (keep arm pump at bay).

If you can fit them, add some DH tyres to your bike. The dual casing will help with some of the vibration plus the extra bag will assist.

You will have to take part in the induction session which is a good thing. They take their time down the track and point out the parts that need your attention (albeit few).

Take some spares (mech hanger, tubes of course, maybe even a RD although I ran chainless last time I was there). Also give your bike a good going over with the allen key. The shop there has SOME spares, but its certainly not comprehensive.

This thread at Rotorburn is also a a good place to look:

FlyingTomato's picture

from what i've seen/mates who've been thredbo is reasonably similar in comparison to Ourimbah just longer and easier to get to the top Laughing out loud
Oxy these days is more freeride than downhill.
There's a couple of other more technical/gravity tracks on the northern beaches that if you look around you can find.

how fast do you plan on pinning it down? the only thing i'd be worried about with a reign is the shock, most DH bikes use coil suspension cause you cant blow the seal on a coil Eye-wink

that and if you rent a DH bike on the first day you'll probably have too much fun and not want to ride yours for the next couple Eye-wink big difference with big travel.

bikemad's picture

1 is fine for doing thredbo on.Ive done it on one a number of times.Just be aware that when your really flying your brakes may not work quite as well as youd like......

Flynny's picture

arm pump is what get you are thredbo. Grab yourself a tennis ball now and take it to work with you. when you're not doing anything else alternate hands squeezing the tennis ball 10-20 times each.

Using coils on DH bikes got nothing to do with blowing the seal as most "coil" shocks are oil damped anyway and can most definitely blow the seals.

DH bikes use coil instead of air for a couple of reasons

a) air shocks tend to have a bit more "stickion" ie they are harder to over come friction and get moving at the start of their travel. Great on xc where you want to get rid of pedal bob anyway and where the extra weight of a coil would cancel out the advantage

b)air sprung shocks heat up as they work. not an issue on shorter or lower speed trails where they have time to cool in between hits but on a long high speed run like thredbo where the shock is working it nuts off by the bottom of the run the air in the canister has heated up and expanded enough to make a noticeable differnce to the suspension set up

herzog's picture

Apparently theres a 70something year old German bird in Jindabyne that hits the Thredbo DH on occasion. Has her own Trek Session 88

Matt P's picture

Yup, remember seeing a pic of her in [R]evolution (I think) a few years back.

amarkie's picture

Thanks everyone for the great feedback. I hope I'm still riding at 70.

Tennis ball - Done!

Ourimba - Sorting out the weekend to go

nrthrnben's picture

Yeeeeeeeeeees! That is massive!

From what i have heard there is a second DH trail available this season, flow down type, hidden lines, table tops, fun trail.Can be ridden by anyone.

This will also allow cannonball to be amped up a bit.

bikemad's picture

is her name ,she is Austrian,66 and fit as a fiddle -i trained with her a few times in jindabyne this season,her daughter runs and owns the gym there and is also an exceptional athlete being an ex olympic mogul champ.Ursula also rides better now than i can probably ever hope too-but theres always hope!!
on that note i will be down in thredbo the last week of november and a few days of december if anyone else is interested in a ride around there(east jindy is also under going some good upgrades currently) and will take my 165mm banshee wildcard for a good thrashing!

VTSS350's picture

I have ridden and raced Thredbo 100s of times. I own an Intense M9 and a Giant Reign and would never never consider using the reign even if I didnt own the M9.

While the Thredbo track doesnt have alot of jumps or drops but it is very very rough and very long.
There are alot of secions with concreat in them were braking bumps used to be.

If you havent ridden Thredbo before you will suffer from alot of arm pump and your hands will be very sore.

A downhill bikes forks are far more forgiving on you arms/hands than the forks on a Reign.

The other thing to consider is that Thredbo is a bike killer track. I have broken, wheels, forks, shocks, chains, derailurs and me on that track.
A 6inch travel reign wont last long there!

DudeistPriest's picture

Off topic slightly, what's the XC scene like at Thredbo/around the Snowy Mountains?

BT's picture

I've ridden some really good XC around Lake Crackenback and also some good trails around the East of Lake Jindabyne (starting near the Dam wall), towards Tyrolean Village.

amarkie's picture

Hi Geoff, while I don't know what the "Scene" is like exactly the trails are fun.

Here are some video's I shot

Jindabyne - Mill Creek (Tyrolean Village)

Thredbo River area (Including Lake Crackenback Resort Loop)
(they were also due to open a pump and flow track)

DudeistPriest's picture

Thanks Mate

Pants's picture

As Flynny said. ARM PUMP

Great idea to get your muscles trained up ASAP.

If you can get some better brakes (read hydraulic 8") for your time down there it will greatly help you. My old avid elixr cr 8" brakes used to go soft on the steepest sections.

Here is a full run helmet cam of me doing it a few years back:

bikemad's picture

i did just fine there on my reign,and remember back in the day 150mm travel was more than most downhill bikes sported.Im not saying it is an ideal bike for thredbo but definately doable as ive done numerous runs aboard one. Iim not one to ride with particular finess but at near on 95kgs my bike held up just fine!

amarkie's picture

Great video cheers. I've got some stress balls and tennis balls stashed around the place so I can work on my arms.

bikemad's picture

all look easy though pants-gotta say i crapped myself hitting a few of the gaps up at warrimoo that you cleared and they looked small on video!! i do agree with the arm pump though its abit of a killer!

hawkeye's picture

My hands would be a sweaty slippery mess within a few minutes - I don;t know how you do it without gloves Shocked

Simon's picture

If your reign is running 6" then this is the most effective and cheapest brake upgrade around.

33% more power for a cheap bolt on. Rotor + spacer.

Pants's picture

hawkeye, the OFI ruffian grips get very sticky when your hands heat them up. At the end of the run i had to pull my hands off as they stuck to the grips. Riding without gloves is fine. Until you come off.

A 150mm travel bike would be fine but its the slack head angle and geometry of the downhill bikes that make it much easier.

clairemaree's picture

The trail network around Jindy is growing.
There is a new section of the Mill Creek Trail(which is not officially opened but you can ride it) from Jindabyne town to the dam wall, which is an easy shared trail which continues all the way to Tyrolean Village (approx 7km). There is a plan to continue the trail right around the lake, but is funding dependant.

For singletrack, Tyrolean area is great, with lots of single track feeding off the Mill Creek Trail. They have just cleared some of these for the Snowy Triple Trail event which is this weekend, so the tracks are awesome at the moment. There are quite a few trails but they've been overgrown for a while, hopefully now that the Jindy MTB club is back up and running some trail maintenance days will have them in shape.

There is also over 20km of single track (plus 4 skills areas) at Bungarra, which is private property so you can use the trails if you are staying there or you can join in on Jindy MTB club rides if you are a member of MTBA (for insurance purposes). There may be a trailpass system set up soon to allow other riders to use Bungarra's trails- stay tuned!

There are trails at Lake Crackenback (plus pump track and skills area)which are great- 14km in total.

There are a number of fire trails that are open to mtb riders if you want to explore the national park.

Then Thredbo Valley trail will be opened soon (7km) which will eventually go all along the Thredbo River to Lake Crackenback and eventually- to Lake Jindabyne!
Thredbo is also opening the B line this November, which is more xc, but gravity fed!

Anyway, hope this helps. Check out for trail maps of these areas.
Lots of great xc trails here Smiling

Lach's picture

If you want a bit of variety and scenery and water bars and don't mind a couple of serious climbs, the ride out on the fire trail from Dead Horse Gap (just up the road from Thredbo) out to Cascade Hut is great. You can go further out as well, but make sure you know where you are going.

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