If you like gravity fed sports like skiing and snowboarding, then you will love downhill mountain biking. What is the difference between downhill mountain biking and mountain biking? Just like in skiing, there are multiple skis for given conditions: powder skis, downhill skis, and cross country skis. Downhill mountain bikes are heavier, but you can use the lift to "push" your bike up the hill.
There are a couple things that you should know before you downhill mountain bike. Many people think, "How hard can it be? I just take the bike up to the top and I'll figure it out on the way down." Wrong! This is why many people leave the sport after their initial trial. The other myth is that it looks "scary". The consequences of falling on dirt and rocks are higher than snow. However, there is some great protection gear out there like knee/shin pads, elbow pads, spine protectors, and full face helmets.
If your resort has downhill mountain biking trails and offers lessons, take them! You will be amazed at all the little tricks you will learn. For example, Bike Snowmass at Snowmass (one of Aspen/Snowmass's four resorts) has a downhill mountain biking program. Here guests learn the ABCs of downhill mountain biking.
The "A" stands for action stance. Basically, you get your butt of the saddle of the bike, keep your pedals level, and your elbows out. This way you can move your bike underneath you or adjust your body position. You are ready for action and there is a lot of it coming at you.
"B" is for braking. Many people have the unfortunate experience of grabbing the front brake and flying head over heels over the handlebars. This is commonly known as an "endo". When downhill mountain biking, you want to use both brakes. At Snowmass, they will teach you a "braking position". Here riders shift their hips back, drop their heels down, and point their toes toward the sky. As a result, weight is taken off the front wheel, allowing you to apply both brakes without flipping over the handlebars.
Next, comes the "C" for cornering. Cornering is very similar to edging skis or a board. You want to tip the frame of your bike and allow it to touch your inside leg. You do this before you go into a corner and that enables you to engage the side knobs of your tires. These side knobs are called "cornering knobs" exactly for that reason.
Once you get the hang of it, you will easily become addicted and it is another way to enjoy your favorite ski trails in the summer! Get out there and give it a try!