This Friday, mountain bikers will have an opportunity to get a sneak preview of what the Mt. Shasta Ski Park will be offering beginning next summer.

With the help of the International Mountain Bike Association, they have developed flow trails that travel down and across both sides of the Ski Park. Starting at the top of Douglas Butte, bikers can pre-ride the Volcano Downhill course, exploring the new features and course upgrades or ride the roads and trails to the Marmot Ridge side and down to the lodge.

If you ski or snowboard at the park in the winter, some sections of the trails you'll recognize as they journey across familiar ski runs, but other sections will be a new experience. "We have trails for every type of rider," said base operations manger Jason Young.

Saturday, the Volcano Downhill race will begin at the top of Douglas on the new start ramp and descend 1400 vertical feet to the lodge. The top section of the course has been improved making it faster and less technical. Young said they have been listening to riders' comments and have revamped parts of the course for a better flow and faster times. The road gap jump and rainbow bridge are still part of the course, and less experienced riders will be able to bypass the more advanced features. The wavebox is set at the end of the course and is the viewable from the lodge.

Mountain manager Richard Coots and Dave Fredrickson, ski patrol director and former mountain bike racer, along with park employee Bill Weldon have worked hard building ladder crossings and turns, repairing and moving sections of the course, adding features and installing an irrigation system to keep the dust down.

Mountain biking is just the beginning of the park's five-year plan to create a sustainable summer program. Young and owner Chuck Young explained that they are looking at adding a zip line from the top of Douglas, a ropes course, air bag, paint ball, pump track, and a rail coaster as it becomes financially feasible.

Along with the downhill race, the Ski Park is hosting its first Volcano Mud Run on Aug. 4. Ten features have been built over the 3.2-mile course that climbs 1000 vertical feet. Expect to navigate structures, built by the ski park, that challenge balance, strength, and endurance, while running the trail as it winds through the trees, crosses Panther Creek, along a meadow and across ski runs.

Mountain bikers can purchase a $20 lift ticket and ride from noon to 6:00 pm on Friday. Saturday's event, the Volcano Downhill, begins at 8:00 a.m. with on site registration. Practice begins at 9:00 until the competition starts at noon. Riders are judged on their best run of two timed runs. Spectators can purchase a $10 lift ticket or walk up to view the course. For more information visit the Mt. Shasta Ski Park website www.skipark.com or their Facebook page.