Blue Mountain to replace downhill bike park with cross-country trails

·2 min read

The Blue Mountain Resort has confirmed lift access for its downhill mountain biking amenities will be closed permanently, however, the resort is planning to develop new facilities in its Orchard ski area for the upcoming summer months.

“Lift access biking is not part of our summer operation for the foreseeable future,” said Tara Lovell, manager of public relations for Blue Mountain Resort. “We are working on an update to our on-mountain biking and multi-use trail network. More information will be shared in the coming months.”

The resort announced the closure of the bike park and lift access on Monday evening through its website and social media channels. The announcement included a reference to the resort's intentions of developing additional trail amenities.

“We are exploring the development of cross-country trails located primarily in the Orchard ski area,” she said.

“The Grind will continue to be used for uphill access for both hikers and bikers and will feed into designated bike trails after an approximate climb of 360-feet. The team is working on this planning now and we hope to have updates soon,” Lovell added.

The Grind is an uphill only trail at Blue Mountain.

The resort noted that all current pass holders for its downhill bike park will be automatically refunded and refunds should be received by April 30.

When it comes to the reason behind the closure of the bike park, Lovell said the resort is “continuing to evolve the resort experience to help visitors enjoy being outside at the Mountain and to best suit the changing preferences of our guests.”

“As we plan for summer, we are looking at how to maintain our adapted operations while making our Blue Mountain experiences inviting and as barrier-free as possible to our diverse demographic of guests,” she said.

The local downhill mountain biking community voiced its displeasure with the decision earlier today.

“I personally do not understand why lift-accessed mountain biking has been discontinued,” said James Frost, local resident and avid downhill rider. “Unfortunately, Blue Mountain doesn’t understand the sport of mountain biking in general, the community it encompasses, their position within the sport.”

Frost said that it is great the resort will be looking at expanding its on-mountain trails, but it will do very little for the downhill riding community and is geared more toward the tourist crowd.

“These bikes are designed to go downhill at pace, absorbing various man-made or natural terrain features, like rocks, roots, jumps, corners, etc. Obviously, the most crucial part is the lift access,” he explained. “The cross-country trails were an added bonus for perhaps the lighter riding or the one-day tourists that just wanted to get to know biking.”

Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca