How Did the COVID-19 Pandemic Affect Bike Parks in 2020?

Jan 13, 2021
by Alicia Leggett  
High alpine riding in Val di Sole. Photo: Samantha Saskia Dugon

If we’ve learned anything in the past year, it’s that people want to leave their houses no matter what, and once restaurants and movie theaters shut down, people go outside. Despite massive decreases in global travel in 2020, new and seasoned mountain bikers alike spent plenty of time at their local bike parks.

Val di Sole reported a surprising record-breaking year in 2020 against significant odds, as Northern Italy was one of the virus epicenters in the spring. The resort town operates two bike parks: Pontedilegno-Tonale and Val di Sole. The latter, more well-known of the two, was closed for most of the summer for maintenance, only operating for three weeks, and still the two bike parks combined sold more than 7,000 tickets. Ticket sales for Pontedilegno-Tonale rose a startling 43% compared to 2019 with Val di Sole out of action for most of the season. Pontedilegno-Tonale saw a 50% increase in day pass sales, a 69% increase in weekly pass sales and a 40% increase in season pass sales, suggesting that the biggest jump may have been from European vacationers who were staying for a week or less.

Val di Sole offers blue skies and high peaks for Europeans looking to vacation without crossing too many borders. Photo: Samantha Saskia Dugon

Val di Sole wasn't the only bike park to thrive this year. Mammoth Mountain, California, called its season "near record-breaking" in a Pinkbike post about extending its season. Mammoth's communications department couldn't tell me anything too specific, but did say that the bike park was popular this summer and will likely be successful again in 2021: "During the peak of the summer, the Mammoth Bike Park had very strong visitation... We anticipate high demand for organized outdoor activities again next season and expect it to be a busy summer in the bike park."

Aaron Gwin blazes through Mammoth's trails under moody skies. Photo: Mammoth Mountain

Understanding the summer of 2020 seems like an interesting balancing game. How did bike parks implement COVID precautions when the demand for riding opportunities may have been higher than ever? Moreover, how did bike parks decide how many tickets to sell, given that they wanted to keep people safe while also making money? I know personally that there was demand for as many tickets as parks were able to sell – when I visited Winter Park, CO, this summer, I missed out on a day of lift access because I didn’t reserve my ticket in time for the sold-out bike park. The Trestle Bike Park at Winter Park told us:

bigquotesWe don’t publicly disclose specific sales numbers for either our winter or summer operations. I can tell you that we had a successful summer at Trestle Bike Park. Our season pass sales for summer were strong and we had a steady flow of riders all summer. After staying at home all spring, people were excited and eager to get out in the mountains and on our trails. Like skis, mountain bikes naturally create distance from others, and we can normally load only three bikes and three people at a time in our gondola cabins. Most of the time we’d have no more than two people and their bikes in a gondola cabin. The biggest difference is that we required riders to wear masks when in line and while loading and unloading lifts, and everything had to be pre-booked, from bike rentals to day passes (for non-season pass holders). Given the unpredictability of the times, it’s hard to say what the 2021 mountain bike season will look like. We anticipate opening when conditions allow, and we anticipate people will continue to be eager and excited to get back out on the trails.Trestle Bike Park

Some of the decision-making seems straightforward, like making advance reservations mandatory and giving priority access to season pass holders, who are more likely to be local. Some decisions, too, helped pare the resort experiences down to their essential pieces, like closing lodges, trimming away the village attractions, and focusing on what is most important: riding bikes. Still, businesses have to profit, including those that rely on income from lodging and post-ride beers.

The riders approaching the top of the highest peak at Whistler resort. Slight thunderstorms delayed the lift for about 20 minutes however.
Whistler Bike Park, one of the world's mountain biking meccas, saw fewer visitors this year due to travel restrictions.

Not all resorts had such a strong year. In Vail Resorts’ 2020 Fiscal Year Q4 Earnings Release, Vail reported that revenue was down significantly compared to years past, but CEO Rob Katz is quoted as suggesting that the corporation’s U.S. bike parks, including Northstar and a handful of Colorado bike parks, were relatively successful during the early summer. “We believe this speaks to the current preference of travelers for outdoor experiences, locations they are familiar with and, for many, the option to drive to our resorts,” Katz said. My request for specific numbers was declined on the grounds of Vail being a publicly traded company, but I did receive a statement suggesting that the corporation suffered from the loss of its many international visitors.

bigquotesSummer business was instrumental for bringing Vail Resorts back online this year. In order to reopen, we first had to introduce our COVID Safety Protocols, the same protocols we are working with for winter. It was a great way for us to understand how to work with physical distancing in lineups, achieve mask compliance and rethink every aspect of our business, from our restaurants to our retail outlets, to ensure we met the kind of sanitization standards a COVID reality entails. We GIS-mapped our lines to place our maze gates, worked out how to load lifts, and then addressed the timing involved. When we rolled into operation, the crowd were very grateful.

The standout experience managing our bike parks over summer was our dealings with the biking community. With so many people committed to the sport, and its growth, the vibe was positive, friendly and easily compliant, despite the many changes COVID presented. Even in the heat, people readily raised their masks in line and thanked us for our efforts. For our staff, it was a wonderful acknowledgement of many months of hard work over the closure period, and excellent learning for our larger winter operation.

We are a publicly traded company, so we do not speak to our numbers outside of our earnings release, but we can certainly acknowledge we served a smaller community without cross-border, international travel. For the moment, we are focused on winter operations, as we are still early season, and we do not know what COVID will bring; however, we can say our company deeply values its summer business and remains committed to this piece of our operation.
Vail Resorts

“In North America, our U.S. resorts experienced improved demand from leisure travelers throughout the quarter relative to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, but summer visitation remained well below historical levels. At Whistler Blackcomb, demand remained significantly below prior year levels due in part to travel restrictions, with the Canadian border remaining closed the entire quarter to international guests, including guests from the U.S.,” Vail’s 2021 Fiscal Year Q1 Earnings Release noted.

What differentiates a bike park like Mammoth or Val di Sole, which thrived, from a bike park like Whistler, that didn't, seems to be the borders that allow or prevent access. Italy's borders reopened on June 3, allowing the usual visitors from nearby Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia to travel to the Val di Sole area for riding. Mammoth, on the other hand, has traditionally catered mostly to visitors from Los Angeles and the rest of mid- and Southern California so was largely unaffected by closed borders. Unfortunately, the US/Canada border closed on March 24, 2020, and Whistler draws large crowds from just across the U.S. border as well as from other continents. An open border would mean easy access for Seattle and its metropolitan sprawl, but those crowds had to remain stateside this year.

As borders reopen, riders will have new opportunities to travel to bike parks as they progress in their riding. The balancing game - COVID precautions vs. high demand - will (hopefully) be in the past, and the trail riding explosion will likely echo in the bike parks, bringing a bike park boom that could have lasting effects throughout the bike industry in years to come.


227 Comments

  • 152 0
 Vail is the worst.

their handling of Northstar was Looney tunes-esque. reserve tickets in advance as they were "limiting attendance". then they only ran 1 lift at upper mountain and made everyone queue for sometimes 30min to get a chair. then mind you they only ran the park for 4 days a week. also, it was busier than it's ever been so they weren't limiting whatesoever. their reasoning for only running one lift? wait for it........lowered attendance. LMFAO. you cannot make this shit up.
  • 3 10
flag suspended-flesh (Jan 13, 2021 at 12:30) (Below Threshold)
 2 lifts if you count the one to mid-mountain, right?
  • 48 0
 @suspended-flesh: that one is mandatory, and you only ride it up once a day. lol

if they had run both upper lifts, the lines would have been dramatically shorter. never mind the fact that the tickets were still full f*cking price with shortened hours and less lifts. it was a f*cking embarassment.
  • 2 1
 @conoat: True, true, unless you need more beer from the truck. It was a novelty for me to get up the hill at all. It must've sucked for a local or pass-holder. Most of the people I talked to were on bro-deals of some kind.
  • 7 0
 I didn't even go this year because of all that BS. Just rode south lake a bunch of time instead!
  • 18 1
 @bobthestapler: Now here’s a guy who gets it. I love bike park laps as much as the next guy but not long lines. There’s so many good trails in the area why spend half your day waiting in line
  • 1 0
 All this talk of Vail reminds me of a rumour that they were looking in to buying a bike park in the UK.
  • 3 0
 @bobthestapler: it’s funny too because they even ran the chairlift that doesn’t load bikes every other two chairs. But the one with the gondola and all that on it.

If they ran that left side... would have been a whole lot better!

Thank God south shore area has lots of great pirate trails to occupy that DH need
  • 9 2
 Northstar = DustStar
  • 3 5
 @preach: Yes, and.....? It was one of the best EWS races I can remember, right? We're not blessed with your NC weather, sadly, so we make do. We do have mega elevation though.
  • 8 1
 Don’t forget the trails were crappier than normal and the season was much shorter but they still wanted full price for a season pass. Kept my money in my pocket and ran shuttle service for my kid across the street.

Also, in what had to be a first ever, I shuttled a couple down from M peak. Dropped my kid and was flagged down by a 20 something couple who had parked at the bottom, didn't know where they were going and hiked for 4 hours all the way to the top with just a couple of water bottles. They were fortunately in good shape and stayed on the trail, but it could have ended poorly for them. They were happy to find someone that carries extra supplies and snacks.
  • 17 1
 @fatduke: Vail's Slogan: North America First, we will ruin other continents later.
  • 14 0
 They didn’t even open Stevens Pass despite their ability to capture much of the traffic that usually would be crossing the border for Whistler. They claimed to do it for “safety” but apparently safety was only a concern in WA.
  • 4 0
 Absolutely spot on. They claimed covid restrictions we're the issue and not a significant number of guests. They had the same number of bike racks on that lift that they always have and every single rack was full.

I suspect that they sold more tickets per week in four days than they have on a normal week ever before. I'd also guess that that's true for about 75% of the weeks they were open last summer.

And not opening the second chair was thievery. The only plausible reason was a reduction of staff which is a joke. Theyve run that chair in the past with three people. Which probably amounts to the number of people they had on staff to manage that ridiculous line.
  • 3 0
 Interesting... At Vail it seemed like business as usual, you could buy tickets same day and they just had a girl at the start of the lift line making sure people were following the rules. Winter Park made you buy tickets a couple days in advance but otherwise seemed the same, business as usual. With WP it's their trails that are the issue, they started strong ~10 years ago with a bunch of really sweet new trails but that's been degrading and new construction has been simply bad, and then they closed one of the two tech trails in favor of yet another "flow" trail.
  • 3 0
 Kind of a bummer. I’m moving to Carson City and was hoping Northstar was going to run smoothly in 21. Oh well, more pedaling for me!
  • 6 0
 @gafoto: get used to being underwhelmed constantly by NS. The place has gotten worse and worse year after year. Also, get used to making about five mammoth trips over the summer.
  • 1 0
 @Trudeez:
I don’t mind that. Mammoth Lakes is a gorgeous spot, even with all the jabronis.
  • 2 0
 And don’t forget the $440.00 season pass price for ONE CHAIR!!!!! Nothing but endless sorry ass excuses about why they can run only one chairlift and lines that double back on themselves clear back to the gondola entrance!! All I can say is the lift ops were awesome and without them the park could not have operated. Many thanks to the employees who made it happen.
  • 4 0
 @rarrity: You nailed it!!!!!!!!!!!! What a bunch of nonsense!! I asked six different staff members why Vista chair wasn’t operating and got six different answers?? Typical Vail Corp Bullshit. They’re lucky that they’re the only game in town. Tahoe desperately needs another bike park.
  • 5 0
 @strawski: sounds like highland, except it's one chair with 600 vertical that runs super slow with low capacity. lines are out of control now and have been for several seasons on weekends. 45 minutes in line/uplift for a 3 minute lap.

Issue relates more to capability of enduro/trail bikes and easier trails meaning it's much easier to go ride for a day. Unfortunately bike parks are not responding to capacity needs at a sufficient rate. I get that they need to make money, but they've generally lost mine.
  • 3 0
 Just like the shutdowns. When they close most everything, everyone congregates in the same place making those places extremely more crowded. Yet, they are trying prevent crowding, but are sure are doing the opposite.
  • 2 0
 @strawski: Still not sure why more resorts in Tahoe haven't open up for mtb-ing.
  • 3 10
flag RFrogh (Jan 13, 2021 at 21:16) (Below Threshold)
 Oh no did things not go as smoothly as you would have liked during a pandemic?
  • 2 0
 @tacklingdummy: Not enough money to go around to make it worthwhile I'd guess.
  • 3 0
 @pacificnorthwet: hoping Snoqualmie opens up for this season and is half decent.
  • 2 0
 I was there most of this summer, and it was an absolute shit show. The park is already handled horribly in a normal season, and when I thought it couldn't get worse, it did. A lot.
  • 1 0
 @suspended-flesh: Yeah, money is what drives it, but now things are different. A lot more mountain bikers. Kirkwood and Boreal are the only other mtb parks, but not real bike parks. Squaw opened up for a couple years, but shut down. Squaw/Alpine might be able to make something good, but not sure their terrain is suited for a bike park. It might be too steep.
  • 3 0
 @tacklingdummy: north americas first triple black. Can you hit the fingers off kt on a dh bike?!
  • 2 0
 @hatton: The lift lines are great on days when its rainy and tolerable on weekdays
  • 1 0
 @RonanM825: I'm moving from the Portland area. My ability and tolerance to ride in rain has increased exponentially.
  • 2 0
 @tacklingdummy: “Costs to much money” is the one I always hear. Ski areas better start thinking about new ways to generate revenue especially with climate change. Snowmaking is only gonna take you so far. Tahoe resorts are so hell bent on opening on or before Thanksgiving which is an unrealistic endeavor especially at this latitude. Hard to believe Whistler is owned by Vail Corp. There’s absolutely ZERO trail maintenance at DustStar unless there is an event scheduled like an EWS. All it would take is one Tahoe Resort (non Vail Corp) to step up and start building trails and DustStar would be a thing of the past.

“Build it and THEY will come”.........
  • 1 0
 @Muchogusto: I chair lift mountain biked at Snoqualmie a few times in the 90’s. The trails were awesome. I heard rumors they were going to open last summer but that was before the rona. I was really looking forward to that.
  • 4 0
 The one thing the pandemic has shown is that the people in charge can not solve problems in a way that makes any sense.
  • 2 0
 @davec113: Vail was business as usual. Keystone and CB both closed but open for hikers, they claimed they couldnt get those 2 open safely but Vail could? I've ridden over 200 days at Keystone in the last 4 years and for a company that owns Whistler they should be ashamed at the trail maintenance and still having not added a new trail from the top of the Gondola.
Trestle reservations only was great if you made a reservation or have a pass, watched people get turned away constantly. Snowmass was great, Gonzo trail is awesome. Copper mountain is not a bike park, thought i would give it a try, not worth a half price ticket.
2021 come on Vail, build anything new at Keystone this year, are you going to invest in any of your U.S. bike parks?
  • 3 0
 We should boycott these bean counter policies till they get slapped into reality.
  • 4 0
 my favorite was getting a flat... California deemed bike shops an essential service. but Northstar bike shop/rental shop wouldn't sell me a tube or sealant or let me use a pump. Their reasoning? California said they weren't allowed to sell parts. But they could rent bikes? Makes no sense to me...
Normally I would bring tool/tubes/tires with me because Flatstar. The one time I'm not in my car...
When I told them California deemed bike shops an essential service and were allowed to remain open they doubled down and said "all bike shops in Tahoe are closed"
so I left and went to Olympic Bikes which was clearly open and very happy to help.
  • 3 0
 @lhasser: Everyone knows that virus is only transmitted on parts like tubes, sealant, and pumps. Rental bikes and Amazon shipments are immune to the virus. Wink
  • 2 0
 @strawski: Yeah man. I go way back to when Homewood was the only resort on the lake (Boreal was open. but....) that allowed boards. I don''t know anything about their current ownership, but they seem like they might be able to pull it off if they got some investors. Their hill isn't epic but the views are. I remember Terry Kidwell and Mini-shred (Shaun Palmer) snowboarding there......ancient times. My first board was a used Kemper.
  • 1 0
 Vail owns Stevens Pass resort in Washington.... they didn’t even bother opening the park...
  • 2 0
 @lhasser: A lot of the people who work at Vail resorts are Cast Members and not paid to think. Not ALL - some are my friends....well, now that I think about it.....
  • 1 0
 @psullivan65: But all of that wonderful Keystone chunder keeps the large flow crowd over at Trestle. The lines at Keystone are never too bad. If they had a long rainmaker or even French press style trail that would all change.
  • 71 2
 Crested Butte sucks thanks to Vail. Rad mountain but Vail sucks.
They even opened to hikers on the mountain but wouldn’t open for bikers.
  • 45 0
 Stevens Pass sucks thanks to Vail
  • 42 0
 Vail just gave up on bike parks. RIP Keystone.
  • 9 1
 @mchenrya: Rode over the holidays when a storm came in, backside opened more than an hour late with the crowd no smaller than years past. Only thing Vail has adjusted is staffing (lower) and ticket prices (higher).

Would have rode the bike park this year, but I'll happily shuttle with buddies if that's the value that Vail brings to their guests.Here's to hoping the Snoqualmie bike park opens up in the next few years.
  • 1 0
 Shuttled the CB bike park this summer with my kids. While it sucked that lifts were closed, at least you could ride the mountain. Its a beautiful location, and ripping through aspen groves is a hell of a drug. Definitely planning to go back!
  • 20 0
 As an employee of Vail Resorts, I agree 100% with you
  • 21 0
 Canyons/Park City MTB park closed a few years ago thanks to Vail. Vail sucks.
  • 7 0
 @forrestnelson: Just a shout out for you. You are a good guy that works hard with little by the way of staff or support from the company you work for. We do appreciate what you do (even though you did yell at me for taking a shortcut).

The old fat due on the green monster.
  • 2 0
 It was weird that the bike park at Vail proper was open this year, but Keystone was closed. Oh well, still a fun season.
  • 2 0
 @dthomp325: I know, right? Biz as usual at Vail but no Keystone? Just weird. I've been liking Vail though, it's also fun to hit 2 Elk, Game Creek, etc. into Minturn for a change of pace. WP dropped the ball with the closure of Mt Goat for more flow trail.
  • 6 1
 And Crusted Butte used to be one of the last true party mountains... Vail has been buying up east coast too, it's very sad.... McMountain experience
  • 1 0
 Yeah it sucked the lifts weren’t running, the base area was DEAD this summer. But, my new Spec Levo was awesome on the trails that were open, I really only had an issue with one group of hikers all summer and that was due to a fricking dog off leash.
  • 1 0
 @carym: Damn, that was deep
  • 1 0
 (duplicate)
  • 1 0
 @rockcypher: I think I saw you twice while I was pedaling up the service road at CB. Not many people out and was envious of the levo!
  • 1 0
 @TylerJamesHall: double black diamond descents at Alpental, I'm in!
  • 1 0
 @davec113: Mountain goat was closed by the forest service, wp hands were tied on that decision
  • 35 0
 Wtf I thought Stevens pass didn't even open the bike park this summer. Successful with hikers or something?
  • 24 0
 Each passing year it really seems like Stevens doesn't care about bikers. There's less than 10 trails and the newest one is 4 years old. Snoqualmie needs to open.
  • 4 0
 @Electrin: Agreed. Stevens sucks. I was talking to someone who was able to check out a few of the trails being built at Snoqualmie and was told they're gnarly as heck. I'm looking forward to them opening up.
  • 1 0
 @WalrusRider: still on track for this summer?
  • 1 0
 @Muchogusto: Unfortunately, I asked about this the other day and was told Snoqualmie bike park won’t open until 2022.
  • 1 0
 @WalrusRider: bummer. any word on Stevens?
  • 1 0
 @Muchogusto: I haven't heard anything official but I do know Stevens doesn't really care about their bike park. A lot of people don't think the Stevens bike park is going to be around much longer. When Snoqualmie opens I doubt many people are going to be willing to make the drive there. Especially if the trails are as good as they say at Snoqualmie. The trails at Snoqualmie are being built by some respected Evergreen trail builders who know how to make good trails.
  • 1 0
 @WalrusRider: fingers crossed. As much as I enjoy going to Silver, it would be nice to have something closer for one day trips.
  • 28 1
 Blue Mountain in Ontario didn't open at all, in fact they made that decision in March, way too damn early. They sent Toronto Tourists up the lifts by the thousands all summer long though, such Bullshit.
  • 2 0
 april 27th. still too early though
  • 2 1
 @mxnate: Right!! Very disappointing for sure. Not even certain whether they will open this year. Wouldn't be surprised. They’d rather gouge tourists for gondola rides to the top. Riders are bottom of the rung there.
  • 2 0
 you can stay at the hotel and XC local free trails...just wow
  • 5 0
 Yup for sure. Horseshoe didn't mind taking their business. Even managed to have a race series.
  • 2 0
 @ashfuel: I actually thought Horseshoe was excellent and they worked on the trails through the season. Would be a pity if Blue did not start again though as it would just further limit options. Guess that’s what you get being owned by a big company
  • 2 1
 Blue is done. If they open this year to bikes, I will eat an inner tube and post it on you tube
  • 21 0
 I thought Big Sky in Montana did the best job this year. Nothing was shut because of Covid. Everyone wore there mask which brought ease of mind to others and you had the choice of loading by yourself or with people. Everything flowed smoothly and it was very similar to a normal year. Was quite rad!
  • 22 0
 I like how Vail writes about Whistler as if it's an afterthought.
  • 13 0
 Along with that, if Whistler wasn't so expensive for Canadians, there'd be a lot more in the park. With so many options like Vedder, the North Shore, Squamish and others on the sunshine coast, Pemberton, etc. Vail resorts needs to catch a wake up to be competitive and attract riders from within Canada. Yes it is THE bike park for all of us but there are alternatives ,so time for them to become more attractive to locals
  • 5 0
 @MMOF: Seriously, I couldn't believe that the prices were even higher again than the year before.
  • 1 0
 @MMOF: some amazing alternatives that it seems nobody knows about! I had no lift line waits for the 27 days at my bike park but whistler and silver star were 30min+.
  • 2 6
flag bok-CZ (Jan 13, 2021 at 14:37) (Below Threshold)
 @MMOF: oh come on, if you wanna ride it you can get a job a spend a season there, for a local Canadian it's way more easier than for the rest of the people from whole the world spending their adult's years in the kid's village making beds
  • 5 0
 @bok-CZ: lol if you get the average entry level job in Whis and also live there you aren't going to be able to afford the bike park
  • 6 0
 @bok-CZ: You don't know much do you? I don't have financial issues but for the majority, it is an issue. So, speaking from a business sense, they need to cater to the locals in times of Covid.
  • 3 0
 @MMOF: Wouldn't they need to maximize profit in times of Covid? Along with all other times? If I managed it for Vail resorts and didn't do that I'm sure I would be fired. If I alienate the locals it may backfire, or if I raise the prices too much it may end up in a highly inelastic economy with no customers. Nowhere does 'catering to the locals' be first priority - even when they are the only available customers. That simply becomes the means to accomplishing the #1 task, maximize profit. And I guarantee they accomplished that task - lift lines were full and prices were as high as ever.
  • 4 0
 @Jvisscher: This. Seems like whistler has their pricing pretty dialled. Demand is there and its not like they are struggling for visits with prices as they are. Drop the price and it would be even more overrun and probably get shut down by the gov. They are a business, why would they choose to take a hit in revenue if people are willing to pay that price just to give the warm fuzzies? Half these comments are people talking about how busy it was. Add in lost auxiliary revenue from restaurants seeing less customers and hotels running at reduced rooms and they need to continue to make money somehow, especially as they are a public company. Vote with your dollar. if you think the price is too high, dont go.
  • 4 0
 @j-t-g: Kinda funny Cause I started a job with 0 experience in whistler at 25$ an hour this summer.. Bike park wasn't exactly a stretch.
  • 3 0
 @j-t-g: spent there a year on 22cad per hour, having summer and winter pass And riding a lot
  • 12 1
 Whistler seemed busier this year. There wasn't a shred of 6 feet apart in the lift lines, yet It was like average an hour wait to get on the Fitz lift nearly every day I went, even mid week.
  • 7 0
 exactly, and near the end of the season, there was a 20-30 min wait for the Garbo chair which I've never seen happen
  • 5 0
 @elemon58: yea, I waited an hour one day in the Garbo line. Never seen that even during Crankworx.
  • 2 0
 @chwk: an hour for Garbo? Wtf? Haha

Been practically empty whenever i go
  • 6 0
 Yeah - I would think that they factored in the late opening but maybe not...?

One consideration re wait lines is that there was no singles line and ability to jump on with a random group to fill each chair with 4 riders.
  • 8 8
 Whistler is a joke. Anyone who knows proper biking knows that there are way better queue-to-epic_riding_time choices in BC
  • 3 0
 @djyosh: plus no gondola running for bikes either. Also not being open until 8pm meant everyone was riding until close
  • 1 0
 Agreed I make a fall trip out there every year and fall 2020 was swamped. Instead of lift I road the local trails.Will do the same this year as waiting in line for more than 30 mins is too long imho. That is if we are allowed to leave our homes still.
  • 7 1
 @notphaedrus: I wouldn’t say whistlers a joke... lots of good pros come from that area.
Also name a better jump line then A-line...

...Don’t worry I’ll wait.

Oh yeah and I’m from BC.
  • 1 0
 I would guess many people rediscovered biking. Here in Europe the popular Parks were packed like never seen before
  • 2 0
 You can ride to the top in one hour. Why take a shuttle?
  • 4 0
 @notphaedrus: no there isn’t. Bc sucks. Don’t come.
  • 2 0
 @tomich1: don't disagree with you and love Whistler, but Dirt Merchant.
  • 1 0
 @tomich1: Dyfi bike park jump line. Proper sized jumps
  • 12 2
 Highland was awesome this year and made huge strides in upgrading the mountain to accommodate COVID restrictions. The problem was the lines stacking for more than 40 mins almost every day. 40 mins in line, 15 mins up, 5 mins down - repeat.
  • 3 0
 You're 100% right! I've been riding at Highland mountain since it opened back in 2006. And I mostly ride there on Thursdays in the early days of Highland and mostly Mondays-Thrusdays when they started to open full weeks in the summer just so that the park has less traffic and no lines. But the last time I was up was during this COVID restrictions on a Tuesday. I had to pre-order a pass ahead of time to keep there rider volumes under control. That Tuesday was the MOST PACKED I'VE EVER SEEN AT HIGHLAND. A normal day there I usually get in 15 to 20 runs. On this COVID restriction mid-week day. I think I got in 7 runs. And most of the day was standing in the lift line. Highland did a great job running at this high volume. And I do want everyone to get into this amazing sport and enjoy it to it's fullest. But, WE NEED MORE BIKE PARKS! I have a hard time justifying taking a day off from work, spend $60 for a lift pass and waiting in long lines for 40-50 mintues most of the day for 3-5 minute runs. Long story short, I spend most of my season riding my local trails.
  • 2 0
 Highland is a wonderful place. My whole family loves it there. Agree. Weekends were busy, but weekdays were pretty reasonable overall. We tended to ride the dirt jumps on the weekends which were not busy at all and have everything from green to sizeable. A faster lift would definitely help though.
  • 2 0
 The lift lines were so bad I ended up doing their wednesduro a few times just to not have to deal with the massive line. It might take longer but climbing is more fun then sitting in a lift line.
  • 10 0
 Mountain Creek killed it this season. larger than normal crowds, but not that bad considering the lift up only takes 7 minutes and gets you 1000ft of vert. Park crew did an amazing job despite a restricted budget. Place is always fun. Thunder and Killington also did great this season too. Definitely larger crowds at both places. Biking is slowly trending towards the popularity of skiing where lift lines are going from 0 to 10 minutes to now more like 10 to 30 minutes.. Great growth for the sport and hopefully more places jump on the bike park train, but id hate for it to get to the level that skiing is at. 1 hour lift lines suck....
  • 4 0
 Thunder pass holder here. Yea, things were booming and they had the lift spacing and mask wearing pretty dialed. Went more this year than in all the years prior. Killy was pretty great too. But the secret haven was Suicide Six. They closed the lift entirely and just opened the place to the public, with a dedicated chill climbing trail. Man, that place was so much fun and you actually got to earn your turns without killing yourself. Local trail crew did a great job at maintenance.
  • 4 0
 @Chuckolicious: I wanted to check out Suicide Six this year but never made it. Ive heard nothing but great riding there(aside from the usual whiny i had to work to ride stuff)

I rode Killy, Creek, Highland, and Thunder last year. Never a line at Killy, Thunder wasnt terrible, but Highland and Creek-the disrespectful riders in the lift lines drove me nuts. Nearly every time i moved forward the person behind me seemed to think my derailleur was their personnel tire stop Madder
  • 3 0
 @Chuckolicious: even lines mid week at Thunder, crazy! Creek lines were nuts, almost to the bridge over the road! Guess I need to check out Sui 6 this coming season...
  • 3 0
 @Pitcrew: I saw this T shirt on a guy at Highland. Epic.

teechip.com/samuel-l-jackson-6-feet-motherf*cker-shirt
  • 1 0
 @Pitcrew: Ha! Being a native New Yorker, I’ve just stayed away from Creek. Much rather drive North than South. S6 let’s you park/camp overnight too. I was so happy for that place that I volunteered to leaf blow in the fall. They drove me up in a side by side with my backpack blower and I walked down, polishing it real nice. They are going to build another couple trails this season. And Woodstock is pretty nice. Total NYC richies, almost Hamptons North. But good food and infrastructure without being a full Stowe.
  • 2 0
 @DHhack: Yea, my normal pattern of mid week line avoidance didn’t quite work as expected. But then I’d remember that means they stay open years to come. And more new trails! You get in Cat&Mouse at the very end? Like an old school alpine slide in the woods.
  • 2 0
 @Chuckolicious: yeah I on Cat & Mouse the day they opened it, it was super slow running from being soft, but it’s got potential. Definitely on the list for when my oldest kiddo is ready for some park.
  • 2 0
 @Chuckolicious: twist my arm for riding S6 a little more why dont you.
  • 1 0
 Agreed. I only got to go Mountain Creek mid-week three times this past season but it was super chill. Apparently weekends were a little worse than normal (except for the end-of-season madness).
  • 2 0
 @Pitcrew: Hey, did I mention Suicide 6 is great? ;-)
  • 15 4
 Covid killed common sense in 2020. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen again this year!
  • 21 20
 In the US, there was also this orange clown who seems to have hypnotized 1/3rd of Americans, seemingly reducing their IQ by half and completely eliminating their common sense and ability to think for themselves.
  • 16 4
 @davec113: I’ve always wanted more politics in the Pb comments... thanks for that
  • 4 22
flag davec113 (Jan 13, 2021 at 17:58) (Below Threshold)
 @MillerReid: HTFU Princess
  • 9 1
 lets be real, duplicitous politicians and hypocritical COVID safety standards are what fucked up so many industries. The outbreak wouldn't have been as bad if we didn't have half the country thinking that eating at a restaurant is dangerous but joining a mob of hundreds of people is totally acceptable. Our inability to critically evaluate information on our own is why elections are now easily manipulated and lockdown states are becoming more prevalent. Look up seroprevalence rates for COVID then look at our reaction, straight stupidity.
  • 12 1
 Trestle always rocks....
  • 4 16
flag fullendurbro (Jan 13, 2021 at 13:21) (Below Threshold)
 Trestle is great if you're a jerry.
  • 9 0
 So you exactly @fullendurbro:
  • 3 1
 @fullendurbro: wouldn't use the term Jerry, but they are indeed focused on intermediate riders
  • 2 0
 I had an awesome season at Trestle. Seemed less crowded = more laps, more fun.
  • 3 0
 Send video of you doing bangers on banana peel. Waiting @fullendurbro:
  • 2 1
 @freeridejerk888: I can't get a clear run because the Commencal crew is always hogging it up practicing their sick ass t-bawgs.
  • 3 1
 @catweasel: Trestle DH, Search And Seizure, Bear Arms, and Mountain Goat (RIP) are the only good trails there. Everything else is machine made and smoothed out so that the texans can get a safe run while wearing jeans and full body armor.
  • 2 1
 @fullendurbro: Haha for real! Way too many single crown dweebs there.
  • 1 0
 @fullendurbro: Jerry trails, right “bro”....
  • 2 0
 Word. Sounds like you don’t clear rainmaker @fullendurbro:
  • 2 0
 @fullendurbro: wish trestle was better I'd love to spend more time and money there. Just get bored with every trail feeling the same. Wish they would build stuff like lower Bear Arms, great feeling trail, not hard to ride, but much harder to ride flat out.
  • 1 1
 @catweasel: Yep. I had high hopes for them, but they seem to be on pace to build one new (machine) trail per year, which means that it will be about three quarters of a century before it's on par with Whistler, and nowhere near as fun. Just not my style of riding.
  • 2 2
 @freeridejerk888: My dude, you are way too concerned with my abilities as a rider. Spend less time worrying about other people and more time honing in your own skills and then you too can speak freely on the internet without having to worry about needing to impress people.
  • 2 0
 I might not make it through the night without impressing you. Will you wear your Fanny pack for me @fullendurbro:
  • 8 0
 Biggest bummer about Mammoth was the fires. They closed down due to the fires and never opened back up. I still have 2 days left on a 4 day pass. Not their fault though.
  • 2 0
 Yeah dude it sucked for a solid 6 weeks up here
  • 10 0
 Just came here to say F@#k Ikon Pass.
  • 5 0
 F@#k Epic Pass
  • 2 0
 @jb2mntbike: ah really Epic too? I was almost eyeing them as potential replacements...
  • 4 0
 Epic pass marketing team has done a wonderful job of pissing me off.
  • 4 0
 @EricHarger: Ikon is the same. Sending me emails "Hey TotalAmateur, renew your pass from last season for just $499!" then come to find out that $499 is the price for a 3 day pass. Not only that but their "renewal hookup" for last year pass holders looking to get a new 2021 pass was $100, and couldn't be combined with their "early bird" discount. So essentially there was no hookup, they just raised the price then discounted it again and expected us to be psyched that there was some savings, in theory. f*ck Ikon.
  • 2 0
 @TotalAmateur: Whoops! I meant Ikon. So worked up I can’t even keep my resort overlords straight. I miss the days when season passes were expensive but day tickets affordable.
  • 5 0
 Mt Washington on Vancouver Island was a gong show this year. Went from the year before having not a single person waiting to get a chair, to this year each time I went had a minimum 30 minute wait for a chair. One day I stayed right until close and luckily got 5 laps in the last hour to atleast make a little of my moneys worth of the pass. Opening weekend was 60+ minutes to get a chair...
  • 2 0
 Depends when you went I guess. Went 4 times this year... waits were no more than 10mins every time.
  • 2 0
 Ya, but aside from opening weekend, and maybe a few other busy weekends, there was hardly ever a line. I was just annoyed with their backwards reasoning about loading every second chair. These guys are citing social distancing, but between the an occupied chair, a bike loader, an empty chair, another bike loader then another occupied chair was at least 75ft distance, yet at the bottom, the line was so backed up cheek to jowl that a 30 min wait would sometimes be conservative on busy days. Like, if social distancing was actually the intent, then their strategy made it far worse than if they had just maintained the chair as usual.
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: always on a weekend of course, just like everyone else! Hahaha
  • 4 0
 Bromont in Quebec had the best season in is history. But on the rider side, we had the biggest line-ups I have ever seen! The previous year the waiting line was 0 to 15 minutes and this summer we often had more than 40 minutes waiting lines, even 65 minutes on weekends
  • 30 0
 Shame Canada is such a compact country. Packed in there like sardines.
  • 4 2
 @BenPea: hahhaha nice one!

Canada's population density in 2020 was 3.78 people per square kilometer.

We need realy big sardines can!!
  • 3 1
 @jpjpj: and they make you even huger on world maps, which must make you all feel great. When half the world has melted, Canada will be like Florida. Happy days!
  • 4 0
 Silverstar did a great job! They had a tough opening weekend selling way too many tickets and caught a ton of flack for it. Got it sorted out quick though and lift lines were between 20-30 minutes the 3 times I was able to visit. Must be tough turning paying customers away but they did a great job of finding a reasonable middle ground!
  • 3 0
 It didn't seem as though they limited ticket sales at all. We were up in late August, and in my 20+ years riding there it was the busiest i've ever seen that hill! 30+ minute waits, with the line all the way into the last berm! No 6 foot distance in the line, but if you weren't from the same "family" there was sometimes only 1 person on a chair, even though you just stood within 6 feet of them for 30 minutes in a line. weird weird year at the bike park.
  • 1 0
 @cstishenko: Opening weekend the line was all the way to the very end of that gravel road. IMO especially given the lift loading restrictions having a 30 minute wait was pretty reasonable. If they hadn't limited tickets it would have been over an hour. The lines are longer everywhere this year because of not being able to load the lifts at anywhere close to full capacity, so you have to accept the wait will be longer than past years.
  • 2 0
 @cstishenko: Opening day they had waits of over an hour. Had it sorted for next weekend
  • 6 0
 Skipped the 'star this year in favour of Sun Peaks. Silverstar is a cool park but isn't nearly tall enough for a 30 minute wait!
  • 4 0
 At Mont Ste-Anne, it was a total freak show. The main gondola is broken since last winter. You had to walk your bike up a 1/4 of the mountain (10-15 minutes) before waiting for an hour or so at the quad chair (with only-1-hook per 2 chairs)... No WCDH in 2021, ask yourself why ?!?
  • 2 0
 That walk up was riDIculous! Why didn't they open the other quad chair on the right to at least let riders ride down to that other quad?

Also, the Squamish gondola gets literally cut in half and is back up and running in weeks. Ste-Anne gondola's been broken for what, 10 months now?
  • 3 0
 Was fortunate enough to spend a week in Mammoth this year (cabin isolation FTW). I was super impressed by the consistency of mask wearing and distancing enforcement on the mountain. It really wasn't a big deal. Definitely not the case at Snow Summit, which is owned by the same group.
  • 4 0
 7 Springs kept their bike park closed this summer "because of COVID", but every other part of the resort was magically able to remain open despite COVID (alpine slides, pools, dining, golf course, hotel rooms, ect).
  • 2 0
 Was looking for this. Just another reason for me to hate Bob Nutting.
  • 5 1
 So sad to hear vail complaining about losing money haha what a joke. Meanwhile Silver Mountain Idaho not mentioned here and independently owned was crushing it all year since no one could go to Whistler.
  • 5 0
 ZA 2020 here.. Illegal to go to a bike park but you can go to the mall and airports. Now surfing is illegal for no concrete reason.
  • 2 0
 I wonder what Northstar's (now owned by Vail and was open most of the season I believe) numbers were like for the season? I went on the next-to-last day only. Can't wait to hit Northstar and Mammoth when the snow melts this year. If anything, I'll be riding resorts more than in the past as I appreciate them more. I appreciate everything we can still do more...
  • 6 0
 Steven’s never opened. Glad Vail did “ok”.
  • 2 0
 It took me an hour and a half to get to the top of Northstar via 2 lifts on my first trip up. I won't ride lift access again until they figure out a way to increase throughput or COVID distancing is over with.
Paying $60 for 1/2 the normal amount of runs ain't worth it by a long shot.
  • 2 0
 1st time. We did season passes for 2020 Thunder MT, Birkshire East, Charlemont MA. No logging in computer to reserve spot. Which was a, Pain In The Ass Id say everybody made out great. Mountain at capacity every day and we rode 28 times at Thunder. Already have 2021 pass.
  • 2 0
 In the UK (particularly in Wales) we have been in and out of lockdowns and Tier restrictions all year. Had several uplifts booked and cancelled due to lockdowns - one uplift was booked for 20th Dec and the welsh Gov announced a lockdown at 17.00 21st Dec affective at 00.00 that day.

Only managed to get on 1 uplift this year which was at Dyfi Bike Park - they were really on the ball with social distancing, wearing masks on the uplift and their Landies the windows taken out and limited persons in the vehicles.
I think they did a great job of following guidelines.

One positive - local trail have had a bit of TLC and are running well.
  • 2 0
 We got to Antur at the end of August and both Dyfi and Revs, both just before Christmas. Still got uplifts in the bag for Revs and Antur - can't wait for them to open again. Antur was postcard blue skies, no wind and damp trails - perfect conditions and the best day I've ever had on a bike. Although both Dyfi and Revs had December weather, they were running well. Lucky to have them all within a couple of hours travel. My young lad was lucky enough to get to Morzine in the Summer with his mates.
  • 1 0
 @Niseach1: Awesome mate! Antur is class when its like that - defo on the cards when the country opens up again. I did Dyfi in Nov and it was prime conditions.
Yes! I missed Morzine 2020 - hopefully this year I can get over there.
If you head out there this year have a look at Pila Bike Park couple of hours from Morzine and if you like EWS tracks look at la Thuile - both just over the boarder in Italy.
  • 2 0
 @adzrees: Was looking at driving over to Europe this Summer to have more flexibility, but it is all in limbo at the moment. Got the new Blue Steel trail pencilled in at Fort William as soon as it opens this Summer. 6.5km long and gondola accessed. The trail centres are getting so much better over here, but it's a shame local councils by us are putting so many restrictions on riding locally and digging trails.
  • 1 0
 @Niseach1: I got my fingers crossed for you mate - bunch of us are hoping we get our euro riding trip in this year too!
Yeah local councils are doing the same our way too - blocking off the trail car parks, closing off mountain roads to hikers and local green spaces are getting closed. It doesnt really make much sense because the best place for everyone is to be outside exercising, getting fresh air, getting Vit D and is the place youre least likely to catch anything....but there we go mate.

Ill be coming up fort william this summer 100%

I have a privately owned woods 5min cycle from my house and I have the landowners permission to build so I literally go up there with the dogs and craft away!
  • 2 0
 Poley Mountain , located outside of Sussex, New Brunswick got its lift spinning and some trails added to the hill to become the second lift accessed bike part in the Maritimes!
  • 1 0
 This was the first year since 2013 that I haven't gotten a seasons pass at Whistler (and I'm glad I chose not to). I thought maybe I would later on in the season, but after hearing all the horror stories about absurdly long lines and hardly any black/jump trails open in June, the only reason I got a 5 day pass was to go riding with my girlfriend. The lineups weren't insanely bad, but they took FOREVER to get through because singles and doubles had to ride the lift by themselves. The whole vibe seemed to be off as well (Got yelled at multiple times for just sitting on my bike, not moving in the lineup-apparently someone fell over while doing a wheelie and landed on someone so now we have to all stand beside our bikes), it seemed a lot of people were on edge/not as friendly. The trails were decent, however, I think they've had some change up in the trail crew because all the lips of the jumps were super kicky. All in all, we're extremely lucky to still be able to ride our bikes these days, and that the bike park even opened at all. Unless things change next year, I'll stick to riding outside the bike park. No lineups, no paying for parking, and no tourists with their ipads out taking pictures of everything. Now that's the kind of mountain biking I like.
  • 2 0
 Bathrooms closed in Whistler. Such a joke. If you've been to Whistler you know how long the descents are. It really sucks holding in a poo until you can make it into the village to use the bathroom.
  • 1 0
 What is effected? The woods...more n more people come in ride damn ebikes trails up, which were ridding down 4 over 20 years.......why do mtb beginners always think to ride the hard stuff, more n more accidents. I mean, while skiing, do you u go on a black diamond track as a beginner. Hell no....
  • 12 12
 There was an 84% increase in a*sholes from out of town traveling from cities to small communities to ride in the midst of a pandemic. 10% of them even bothered to have a face covering handy. 6% of them used one. And 95% of hikers still think standing within face slapping distance as they wave me by, is somehow maintaining 6' of space.
  • 10 13
 Relax buddy. It’s not that serious @hansonimages
  • 2 3
 Pretty much sums up CO mtn towns this year. I'm not too worried about it spreading outdoors but many bars and restaurants seemed really packed, I'd agree many just seem to not care at all.
  • 10 5
 @ricochetrabbit: You're right. Who needs lungs to ride a bike? Go volunteer in a Covid ward for a week and then we'll talk about how serious things are.
  • 2 1
 @ricochetrabbit: this is why you guys can’t come to Canada. Thankfully
  • 1 5
flag ricochetrabbit (Jan 15, 2021 at 12:41) (Below Threshold)
 Not missing out. Sheep @PeterT:
  • 1 4
 We don’t. @davec113:
  • 1 4
 My wife works on the Covid floor as a nurse. She’s been twiddling her thumbs watching YouTube since April. @hansonimages:
  • 1 0
 I rode Whitefish and Schweitzer mid-week this summer. The trails just don’t compare to Whistler but damn was it great to be hotlapping the trails until my arms started cramping.
  • 2 1
 Angelfire seemed pretty busy the trips we made this year... and it was awesome. I don't know that it was as busy as previous years, but it seemed pretty good.
  • 1 0
 It was definitely the busiest I've seen it, apart from opening/closing weekend and the Summer holidays. Those lines ran all the way up the hill.
  • 1 0
 @steveczech: really busy. Not 25% capacity (except the lodge) but now that its ski season for whatever reason, they are limiting the number of people on the mountain
  • 1 0
 You know who no one is talking about? Montana Snowbowl. You know why? Because no one has ever been there. Missoulians, you know why.
  • 2 0
 How did Silver Mountain in Idaho do? Seemed like it was getting all the Washington folk who would normally go north.
  • 1 3
 I think it was relatively smooth considering the absurd setup they have for lifts there. The trails kinda suck, but it’s still lift access.
  • 1 0
 As a local that rides 20-50 days a year at Silver.. This year was definitely the hardest that silver has been hit.. Every time I was in the parking lot on a weekend, I heard people that were from greater Seattle area that couldn't go to whistler and Silver was the next option.. Trails were blown out as usual, but was still nice that lift lines were not stupid most of the summer.
  • 2 0
 Was my 4th season living and riding in whistler and 100% the busiest bike park season yet. Also, fu*k vail
  • 1 1
 Whis was a shit show . They over sold all the time ,Unless they let 4 People on the chair this year the lines will be ridiculous again . Sad thing is they didn’t even try and distance the line but only let 2 on the chair .
  • 1 1
 I got my best year at my parks, most days but also the busiest as less people per chair and lots of newbies on Walmart bike killing the flow but was an awesome season.
  • 11 10
 Big Sky was busier than EVER. Open the border, Trudeau...cheeto is on the way out!
  • 2 0
 Went to Big Sky 3 times from Sun Valley, since SV didn't even open, and there were hardly any lines there. It is also the best damn resort riding I am aware of in the US!
  • 7 5
 Was a shitty year for uplifts. Was a superb year to own an ebike.
  • 12 0
 Sounds like a COVID conspiracy by the bike industry to sell more ebikes.
  • 5 0
 Everytime I see a comment from mcozzy, it reminds me of the Southpark prius episode where they're all smelling their own farts
  • 5 18
flag DoubleCrownAddict (Jan 13, 2021 at 14:08) (Below Threshold)
 @nordland071285: I'll take an e bike over a bike park pass any day. Just looking at all the spoiled, whiny. entitled park rats in these comments confirms that Bike Parks are not where I want to ride. Exactly like rich A hole skiers except dirtier.
  • 5 1
 Clearly your not a dual corn addict then. Change ya name @DoubleCrownAddict:
  • 3 1
 @freeridejerk888: probably the same guy I saw at killington, waiting in the lift line with a...you guessed it...ebike
  • 2 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: you'll find those same types of kids on ebikes soon enough
  • 1 1
 Always DH. I’ll always be on one at parks! @ahauck:
  • 2 0
 @freeridejerk888: Don't have to be a lazy park rat to have a downhill fork. Especially on an e bike.
  • 1 1
 Imagine being called double coven addict and having an e bike @DoubleCrownAddict:
  • 1 0
 Panorama was amazing this year. Discount early bird passes made it affordable.
  • 1 0
 This is a important topic
  • 1 0
 Fires.. heh, who would have guessed .... SoCal here
  • 2 1
 Pajarito didn't open.. stupid eff'ing virus and garbage state governor
  • 1 2
 They shut! As is was covid RELATED!
  • 1 0
 LMFAO your first
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