Summer 2016 In Review
The Mountain Bike Park at Mount Washington Alpine Resort was a resounding success for the summer of 2016.
“We ended up the season with better than expected ridership and better than expected Season’s Pass sales,” said Don Sharpe, Resort Director of Business Services and Marketing. “We’re pretty excited with bikes as a way of going into the future.”
The Park opened July 15 after a three-year absence and closed daily operations on September 5. Good weather meant the Park was open for three more weekends in September. “Our whole goal this year was to have trails developed with the mantra, ‘fast, flowy and fun’.” Mountain Bike Supervisor Mike Manara set up the Park this year, hiring local riders to develop the trails.
The Green Trail was the most popular, Sharpe said. “Our Green Trail was well ridden and became almost iconic." A second trail, called Highway 19, opened shortly after Green Trail. Manara and bike park staff just kept adding trails as they were able to. “We followed Mother Nature up the mountain,” Sharpe said.
With the hard work of the trail builders, though, they were only four days off their projection for opening. “It was a lot of hard work. We started on the trails the first week of June and we made it into a seven-day-a-week operation.”
Mountain bikers had access to the summit as the hangers were still installed on the Hawk Chairlift. “That helped a lot,” he said.
They worked with Rocky Mountain Bikes to bring rental bikes to the Resort, giving people the opportunity to ride a high-end bike if they didn’t have one.
The demographic using the Bike Park was interesting, too. “We had a lot more families than we expected,” Sharpe said. “It was awesome seeing moms coming with their kids. It was quite a mix of people. It wasn’t just guys going out that were full on adrenaline junkies.”
While the Bike Park was a major focus for the summer, the Resort also bought a new bungee trampoline - this one a quad jumper - to replace the previous bungee.
The Eurobungy Trampoline Quad Jump allows up to four people to jump about 10 metres in the air and perform acrobatic tumbles and tricks, all the while safely attached to the trampoline.
Summertime Events like Tapped and the Alpine Wine Festival were as popular as ever, selling out early, Sharpe said. The Wine Festival has brought hundreds of wine-lovers to the Resort for more than 10 years.
Chairlift rides were strong as people chose to hike around the Resort’s mile-high summit. It’s an area that has potential for development, and is one area Sharpe said could figure in increased summer activities in the future.
The Resort’s new owners are committed to creating a solid multi-season entity at Mount Washington, developing summer “as an enhanced experience for people,” he said.