The following blog and photography has been provided by Colin Field.
Sometimes all it takes is the right person for the job. The person passionate enough, dedicated enough and hard-working enough to make a plan come to fruition. If Matt Konings isn’t the man for the job at Horseshoe Resort’s downhill mountain bike trails, then no one is. One look at Koning’s history will show you why he’s the man with the grit to get ‘er done.
Konings grew up in Brampton, where he raced BMX until the age of 15, racking up numerous #1 titles for his age group in Ontario. But racing soon gave way to freestyle BMX. It was the jumping that Konings was interested in. So as skateparks and dirt jump parks began to pop up, Koning’s interest in racing waned. His interest in freestyle never did; he’s been building skateparks, dirt jumps and everything in between for going on 20 years now.
But four years ago, while working as the head trail builder at Blue Mountain, Konings finally picked up a mountain bike.
“I was just looking for a different perspective on riding a bike,” he says. “I just wanted to have fun and see the different aspects of riding a bike. It was fun. It was just like a bigger BMX, and ripping through the trails was a blast.”
Today, that passion for riding is manifesting itself into incredibly fun, rolling trails with enough opportunity for air time to make any BMX rider happy. Konings has been given the green light to change trails, and basically put his signature on the downhill laps at Horseshoe Resort. And it’s awesome. Trail #1 starts with a rolling sidecut right off the chairlift, then a left-handed step down. That trail then throws you into a left hand berm, down a steep section, into a couple fast chicane turns, then down a super fun, and super accessible step down. It’s the thrilling kind of trail every one that has ever jumped a bike is looking for.
For the newbies, there are trails like #10; a winding, smooth trail that descends through the pines, taking riders from the top of the Zip Line to the bottom near the newly-built Lake Horseshoe. There are rock gardens and bermed corners that will help build skills for the more difficult trails in here too.
Konings’ alterations to the trails have been small but essential; using the existing trail system he has lengthened a few trails, rerouted some features and made the trails more fun and enjoyable for all skills and ages.
But it’s when you watch Konings ride trail #4, that it’s really obvious what’s going on here. As he drops in, he speeds down and hits the lip, dumping his bars to the side and throwing a beautiful euro table over the hip. He maintains his momentum upon landing and prepares to hit the wall ride at the bottom. It is somewhere during that fluid motion that it is all perfectly clear; Matt Konings is building trails he wants to ride. And with nearly two decades of experience, there is little doubt, he is the perfect man for the job.
Oh, and did you know Konings is one of Ontario’s top snowboarders too? You should see what he can do with a pile of snow and a groomer…
To learn more about the Horseshoe mountain bike trails, visit the Horseshoe Resort website.