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Can DH Riding in New England keep growing?

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Apparently the answer is "Yes." I just learned from another post that Loon will start offering lift-assisted DH riding this season. Since 2014, there have been at least 5 resorts to start offering it (Sunapee, Okemo, Thunder Mountain, Suicide 6, and now Loon). That means I'll get to try 2 "new" resorts this season - Suicide 6 and Loon. I wonder if we'll reach a saturation point and if some resorts will start to pull back. The only places I've ridden that have had "long" lift lines are Highland and Thunder.  By long, I mean maybe a 5-10 minute wait. Killington never seems to be that crowded. The same goes for Burke, Sunapee, and Okemo. I have actually been the only person riding the lift and trails at Sunapee before. I'd be curious to find out how many visits it takes to turn a profit. It seems the initial investment would be fairly significant; trail building, bike racks for the lift, rental fleet, etc. But after that, is it a fairly low cost offering? Regardless, the more the better I say. I can't wait to try some new trails this season!

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Sunday River is closing their bike park and will no longer offer lift assisted riding. This was posted over in the MTBR "Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine" forum:

Quote

Second, we will no longer be offering lift service for downhill mountain biking. We re-introduced downhill biking when we joined the Boyne Resorts family and our team has worked hard on improving our trail network, but a number of factors—including challenging topography—have limited our ability to provide the experience we want in a sustainable manner.

 

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Sunday River is closing their bike park and will no longer offer lift assisted riding. This was posted over in the MTBR "Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine" forum:

Second, we will no longer be offering lift service for downhill mountain biking. We re-introduced downhill biking when we joined the Boyne Resorts family and our team has worked hard on improving our trail network, but a number of factors—including challenging topography—have limited our ability to provide the experience we want in a sustainable manner.

 

That's interesting. Within the context of your original question in this thread I don't think this closure means much. I was skiing over at Sunday River a few weeks ago and got into several conversations with locals about summer activities, real estate, etc. They all had the same take (which surprised me), they all said that SR hasn't figured out it's summer identity and that the summers are pretty quiet there. I was surprised because it seems like such an ideal place for summer activities. But then again, I always choose someplace else in the summer so maybe they have a point.

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Meanwhile Loon is building that new DH park. So maybe Boyne is just focusing their efforts at a larger scale.

 

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I think their are a significant amount of people that could pick up the sport if exposed too it, but don't know people who ride. I can think of several people who were confused by the concept, think its something much more extreme, or just never considered it (like the girl I am planning to introduce to the sport).

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16 hours ago, Cannonballer said:

 

That's interesting. Within the context of your original question in this thread I don't think this closure means much. I was skiing over at Sunday River a few weeks ago and got into several conversations with locals about summer activities, real estate, etc. They all had the same take (which surprised me), they all said that SR hasn't figured out it's summer identity and that the summers are pretty quiet there. I was surprised because it seems like such an ideal place for summer activities. But then again, I always choose someplace else in the summer so maybe they have a point.

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Meanwhile Loon is building that new DH park. So maybe Boyne is just focusing their efforts at a larger scale.

 

I think Boyne eastern Summer consolidation to Loon is a big driver in this.  Granted Loon is in the White's which have always had a large attraction as a summer getaway that the Maine mountains do not and is much closer to large population centers.  Yes Loon had DH biking before, but not like what they are planning.  Previous version was off Gondola and just down the wrok roads, there were no DH single tracks or anything of the sort.  The new offering will be machiine formed bike trails, starting off Seven Bros this year and next year (presumably) and on centered off the Kanc Quad.  What I have read did not seem to indicate the biking would extend to the summit.

 

Sunday River outside of its big event happenings in the summer (tough mountain challenge, a few concert series and the off road ralley car races) never drew huge crowds, but the bike park did have somewhat of a draw.  And they did do quite a bit of work to build up machine tailored trails (partially messing up two glades in the process and other woods frequented but not on map).  Very sad they are giving up on it.  They are promising a new summer vision/identity to be revealed over next few summers.  Will be interesting to see.  The odd part in the summer is, the mountain never really has drawn well, but since the 08-09 downturn, the town of Bethel has increased its summer draw.  When we first bought in 2011, summer's the town was almost a ghost town, you could walk in and get a table no problem friday/saturdays at any restaurant in town.  Now, most weekends in the summer, you'd be wise to have a reservation.  Kind of ashame the mountain hasn't been able to build off the town's summer momentum. 

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57 minutes ago, Machski said:

I think Boyne eastern Summer consolidation to Loon is a big driver in this.  Granted Loon is in the White's which have always had a large attraction as a summer getaway that the Maine mountains do not and is much closer to large population centers.  Yes Loon had DH biking before, but not like what they are planning.  Previous version was off Gondola and just down the wrok roads, there were no DH single tracks or anything of the sort.  The new offering will be machiine formed bike trails, starting off Seven Bros this year and next year (presumably) and on centered off the Kanc Quad.  What I have read did not seem to indicate the biking would extend to the summit.

 

Sunday River outside of its big event happenings in the summer (tough mountain challenge, a few concert series and the off road ralley car races) never drew huge crowds, but the bike park did have somewhat of a draw.  And they did do quite a bit of work to build up machine tailored trails (partially messing up two glades in the process and other woods frequented but not on map).  Very sad they are giving up on it.  They are promising a new summer vision/identity to be revealed over next few summers.  Will be interesting to see.  The odd part in the summer is, the mountain never really has drawn well, but since the 08-09 downturn, the town of Bethel has increased its summer draw.  When we first bought in 2011, summer's the town was almost a ghost town, you could walk in and get a table no problem friday/saturdays at any restaurant in town.  Now, most weekends in the summer, you'd be wise to have a reservation.  Kind of ashame the mountain hasn't been able to build off the town's summer momentum. 

Thanks for that insider perspective. It's very consistent with what I heard from other locals. I did a seasonal rental in Bethel in 2004/2005-ish. They were just doing the Jordan expansions/upgrades and seemed very focused on the golf course. I really had the sense that SR was about to blow up into a major summer destination.  Admittedly I haven't paid much attention to the area since then, and especially since 2012 when I bought in Lincoln.  But it was always in the back of my mind that SR was a busy and growing summer destination.  I'm a little surprised to learn that isn't really true.  

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When I DJ’s at loon it was not off the gondola it was off the quad by the other lodge and was down some work roads but also some single track


Sent from my iPhone using Northeast Mountain Sports

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When I DJ’s at loon it was not off the gondola it was off the quad by the other lodge and was down some work roads but also some single track


Sent from my iPhone using Northeast Mountain Sports

Dh’d not dj’s


Sent from my iPhone using Northeast Mountain Sports

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Given the DH MTB loss at SR (though I guess they may be toying with the idea of allowing riding if you get yourself up the hill), it sounds like the long rumored DH MTB park at Mt. Abram may be starting to build.  Haven't heard anything about opening plans but I do know someone who left SR for Mt. Abram last fall and this was one of his reasons to head there.  Felt the topography lent itself much better to DH MTB than SR's.  Something to keep your eye on anyway.

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Given the DH MTB loss at SR (though I guess they may be toying with the idea of allowing riding if you get yourself up the hill), it sounds like the long rumored DH MTB park at Mt. Abram may be starting to build.  Haven't heard anything about opening plans but I do know someone who left SR for Mt. Abram last fall and this was one of his reasons to head there.  Felt the topography lent itself much better to DH MTB than SR's.  Something to keep your eye on anyway.
That's pretty interesting on both counts.
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On the SR side of things, I actually like the idea of more earn-your-turns DH places opening up. I'm definitely more of a backwoods XC oriented rider. But the well maintained XC type places like Kingdom Trails are growing on me too. Adding some Enduro style up and down systems could fill a fun niche for people who like the thrill of DH but also want to climb.
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For Mt Abram a 2 season offering could be a great benefit to their longevity. Especially if they become the dominant summer DH offering in the area. The smaller ski hills can really benefit from finding that extra revenue. I'd be more than happy to check them out.

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