Jackson Resorts Seeks To Capitalize On ATV Growth | Sports features
With vaccines being distributed at a rapid pace, summer thrill seekers have flocked to resorts in Teton County in unprecedented numbers.
With the mountain biking market having seen significant growth over the past five years, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Snow King Mountain Resort are taking full advantage, with expansions in both cases to accommodate this gradual increase in popularity.
Introducing four new trails for the 2021 summer season, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has provided riders with a healthy mix of beginner, intermediate, and expert trails to satisfy any adventure lover’s desire.
Solitoga, Deer Jumps, Dirty Harry and Deepest Darkest – launched from the top of the Sweetwater gondola – will be available this summer with the lower bike park accessible by Teewinot Lift.
According to resort spokeswoman Anna Olson, mountain biking served by ski lifts, on the rise in recent summers, has only multiplied as tourists seek new leisure opportunities after the lockdown.
“It’s on an upward trajectory, especially over the past five years,” Olson said. “I think the pandemic has only increased people’s interest in being outside and trying out outdoor sports.”
Cole said he saw an increase in visits to the mountain from locals and destination travelers in early summer.
The park’s newest expert-level trail, Dirty Harry, is highlighted by “steep terrain, big boulders, and sharp turns.” While this particular trail is only recommended for experts, mountain representatives believe the variety of difficulties their trails have in the expansion could continue to help develop the biking community even further.
“I think it was well received,” said Tim Mason, vice president of operations for Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. “I know there are some down features that are professional grade. We’ve had groups of kids sitting there over the weekend watching these runners take on some of these features, and it’s probably a dream for them to be able to do that someday in their future.
The resort employs between 15 and 20 summer workers to build and maintain mountain bike paths and hiking trails. With input from a third-party developer in the past, resort staff were able to design and build their own trails as it expanded, which Mason said he was very proud of.
“They give us their recommendations. … They make a good report, but we’ve got the talent internally now, and we’ve got a great department that can take the ball and run with it, ”Mason said. “Our guys have come out with a great product. We take people’s feedback and try to do our best to meet everyone’s needs.
While one resort in the Jackson area is much further along in the process, another is just getting started, with projects that have been going on for years and finally starting to take shape.
Snow King Mountain Resort, downtown Jackson’s hill for downhill skiing and summer recreation, has long planned to seize the opportunity as well.
Snow King does not offer mountain biking serviced by ski lifts, but that could change in the coming summers.
After a 10-year process of working with the US Forest Service, Snow King is finally getting closer to the possibility of starting construction of its first mountain bike trails serviced by ski lifts.
Construction is scheduled to begin next summer at the mountain, according to Ryan Stanley, general manager of Snow King Mountain Resort.
Stanley said the plan is to start with limited trails at the front of the mountain and then, if all goes well, to start developing an adaptive plan to build at the back, being the main biking area. The trails in the back section would interfere very little with summer activities in the rest of the resort and would be perfect for a seamless expansion of its offerings.
While the pandemic may have accelerated the market, Stanley credits the change in the industry to kids participating in programs across the country and parents who are bikers, allowing their kids to join in on the pass. time.
“These children’s programs have really exploded,” Stanley said. “We are seeing that the growth of the industry starts at a younger age, especially when it comes to mountain biking than in the past, where it was more of an anomaly for a young child to get into mountain biking. mountain, 20 years ago. “
With popular youth mountain biking programs such as Sprockids and the National Interscholastic Cycling Association growing in popularity, Snow King trails may end up being practical. According to Stanley, these groups often struggle to get enough days of use on national forest trails, which makes learning much more difficult.
Stanley said he viewed mountain bike clubs the same way he viewed resort ski clubs – a way of providing even more programs for children in the area.
“I think the convenience factor for Snow King will be the one that is the draw,” Stanley said.
With the increase in offerings, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s Tim Mason believes the Jackson area continues to remain a “Mecca” for sports.
“I think we’re established now,” Mason said, referring to the greater Jackson area. “I think we can give any mountain town a run for their money now with what we have here. The vehicles that I see in the two valleys now with bikes on them compared to 10-15 years ago, that’s totally changed.