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  1. #1
    Uphill? What's that
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    Need your input on 7 Springs Bike Park

    I have been asked to join a meeting with the people who run the bike park along with the new CEO of 7 springs.
    They want input on what they could do next year to improve the park.
    So, if anyone has ridden there this year and has some ideas on what would make the park more rider friendly or what different types of trails and obstacles you would like to see next year please let me know and i will be sure to mention all reasonable ideas to them. also, if there is anything you think they should get rid of or if there is something they should stop doing please let me know.
    It sounds like they are very interested in improving the park and they want to attract more riders next year.
    a couple ideas i had were to create at least one long technical trail for the DH racers and maybe create a skills area where the people who are new to the sport could learn basic skills before charging into the trails.
    This is a great chance to be heard by the staff at 7 springs so if you have an idea please let me know, post it here or you can PM me.

  2. #2
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    simple trails trails trails.

    They need to get some more trails up and running on both sides of the mountain. They need to use the other side of the hill b/c of the terrain and i have to say a few more trails in the woods with rocks and tech riding like the freeride side of snowshoe would be great. They need to add some non machine built trails off that other side and they will be golden. They should have at least 4 or 5 more trails next year on the back slope that are all freeride-ish.

    I think they could squeeze one more machine built trail to the right (from the top) of 007. Make it an entirely different trail that goes in and out of the woods and utilizes the open slope. Sol Vista in CO did this pretty nice and it worked with the woods to open slope design. There seems to be plenty of room between the coaster and 007 to get another machine built trail in there with the continued theme of big tables and maybe some bigger berms or a wall ride or two. They dont even have to machine build the slope if they dont want to destroy it, rip some grass out, put the berms in, and let there be a bit of off camber stuff (or just narrow single track it doesnt have to be 20 feet wide) between the wall rides and tables.

    Also, Winter Park in CO had some nice Dirt jump lines that were really easy to hit over and over. This was a better play area than a few ladders in a skills area. They would get more people out that enjoy DJ'ing and they wont even need to use the lift unless it was on the top of the mountain. It only needs a relatively small piece of land to put in a nice jump park that you can walk back up and hit the lines over and over again.

    I have to drive 1:45 minutes and would be happy to do so for more runs. I would stay over and ride weekends too. Their trail crew from this year built really good stuff, but i am a bit biased since they are friends. They need to keep EC and crew designing the trails b/c they did an excellent job and it showed in the difference between WISP and 7SPRINGs.
    Chance favors the prepared mind

  3. #3
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    -I would echo your comment about a longer, more technical trail.
    -Skip the pump track. They aren't built for downhill/freeride bikes, so they're useless for 95% of the bike traffic. Spend the time/resources building new trails or improving old ones.
    -More wood features. See Snowshoe Bike Park's integration of technical terrain and teeters, skinnies, drops, etc.
    -Probably 90% of mountain bikers are beer drinkers, but there's none to be had unless you hike up to the lodge. There's a huge missed opportunity with the Foggy Goggle deck in terms of creating a scene/culture...a place to hang out and watch other bikers come off the mountain, hit the table tops, etc. (an obvious parallel is the hot spot this area becomes on sunny winter days for skiiers and boarders). If the resort doesn't want to open up the Goggle bar, hell, set up an Igloo cooler and pay a "beer girl" $10/hour to sell bottles. They would probably draw a lot of onlookers, as well.

  4. #4
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    I've had the pleasure to make it to Seven Springs a few times this season, with the latest being on Saturday.

    First, I think the resort is doing a phenomenal job so far at creating and maintaining trails, making proper signage, branding the park, providing rentals and service, etc. It seems that all of this is moving in the right direction, and hopefully we will see more trails next season.

    However, there are a few issues that I believe need to be attended to in order to not only bring in new customers, but keep the existing ones coming back.

    Most importantly, a method needs to be devised for carrying the bikes up the lift in a safe and sensible manner. Currently, riders must either hold the bike on their lap or let it hang from the knees, both of which are not only unsafe but extremely uncomfortable. A couple of the times I was there, you could have your bike tied on to the chair with the rider either sitting next to it, or on another chair with other riders. This works ok, but it is slow. This past weekend, I know many of us were quite upset with the manner in which mountain bikers were being treated in regards to loading. The park was allowing only one in every four chairs to hold bikes, due to Autumnfest attendees riding the lift for scenic views. This created a bit of a bottleneck for us riders waiting in line, as we were bypassed by spectators. Essentially, our $29 paid for the lift ticket was secondary to the dollar paid by those for scenic rides.

    Furthermore, we were required to pay three dollars to park due to the Autumnfest. Though we told the attendant we were there to mountain bike only, he told us we were basically there for Autumnfest and had to pay. Imagine going skiing/snowboarding this winter and having to pay to park in the resort's own lot!

    I think the resort can only improve on what it has developed so far, and already has an amazing start. But in order to become a top notch facility that increasingly and continually attracts the mountain biking community, these issues need to be addressed.

    Thanks,
    Rick

  5. #5
    poormtnbkr
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    New question here. No side rack on the lifts?!!!!

    I am planning on coming down from Erie on the 18th but I have to admit that hearing that they dont have racks on the chairs is a little discouraging. It won't turn me away but It really makes me consider the trip a little more. When I rode at Plattekill almost three years ago they had a fairly simple padded double L rack on the side of each chair and a lifty top and bottom doing the loading and unloading. This does require some work to achieve and two lifties to be paid but I thought that this was the standard practice for lift access mountain biking.

    I remember the racks were not permanent and they were not fancy either. Im really surprised that the consulting crew for trail design didn't address this issue.

    I agree with all of the other ideas already posted as well. BEER (maybe available only near the close of the lift and after), DJ park, no pump track, Steep Technical Trails under the trees. I've never seen the terrain, but there are huge cost implications if developing another face means running another lift. If a sensible return road or the current face could host the new trails it would make the most sense for the resort.

    Maybe you could hole punch lift tickets to limit beer consumption. Liability People, this is
    America.

    It is truly awesome that 7 has dove into this and I want to see it be succesfull.
    Keep Your Scene Tight!
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  6. #6
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    yes the festivals at 7-springs do seem to bring a damper on all the riders considering we are the ones who go their all summer when no one else is around to spend but i guess as riders we also have to understand they need the festivals to keep the resort going they do bring in a lot of revenue for this and the other good thing is it attracts other riders the more good attention we get the better as for 3.00 the bike shop says you do not have to pay it you are only there to ride and two more good things we finally get to have food and beer when these things are going on

  7. #7
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    I have ridden the DH trails twice, both times the same weekend as the 24 Hour XC race because a bunch of us drove out there together from Philly. I must say I am very impressed with what they have so far, and the amount of progress they made from 2007 to 2008. Personally I love the smoother machine built trails with lots of jumps and features. That, to me, is the closest similarity to Whistler's awesome trails: A Line and Dirt Merchant (obviously Dirt Merchant is my favorite ever ) I have been to Whistler 4 times and I think those type trails are the best and I think they will keep many people coming back. I do also love the knarly rocky trials, but I prefer the jump lines, probably because I used to race motocross. Anyway, if they build some more trails period this will improve the situation. Also as was mentioned, a better, consistently used method of getting the bikes up to the top is needed. This of course will cost money but it will keep people coming back and handle the increased crowds, which will no doubt happen when word gets around on the major improvements made this year and the commitment to keep improving the trails. Definitely get some more wood features like Diablo. (I rode there yesterday!) They have some real nice drops off wood structures and some are really big! Tell them to keep up the great work and more of us will be driving from Philly, for sure. More and more guys here are getting DH bikes. The market is growing. Thanks!
    bike = good

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainbckt
    -I would echo your comment about a longer, more technical trail.
    -Skip the pump track. They aren't built for downhill/freeride bikes, so they're useless for 95% of the bike traffic. Spend the time/resources building new trails or improving old ones.
    -More wood features. See Snowshoe Bike Park's integration of technical terrain and teeters, skinnies, drops, etc.
    -Probably 90% of mountain bikers are beer drinkers, but there's none to be had unless you hike up to the lodge. There's a huge missed opportunity with the Foggy Goggle deck in terms of creating a scene/culture...a place to hang out and watch other bikers come off the mountain, hit the table tops, etc. (an obvious parallel is the hot spot this area becomes on sunny winter days for skiiers and boarders). If the resort doesn't want to open up the Goggle bar, hell, set up an Igloo cooler and pay a "beer girl" $10/hour to sell bottles. They would probably draw a lot of onlookers, as well.
    Agree with everything said here 100%

    Really foolish to not take advantage of the foggy goggle deck. I ride 7springs by myself most of the time, and it would be nice to have a place to unwind, have a few beers and talk with other riders at the end of the day seeing what other riders can do on those table tops. I'm 100% sure this would turn a profit.

    Also, its very minor but make sure there is the proper planning, and staff training to deal with mt bikers RESPECTFULLY(capitalized to show emphasis) when there are other events going on. Its not a big issue, but when riding up there the same time as a festival the staff really treated cyclists like 2nd class citizens

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poormtnbkr
    I am planning on coming down from Erie on the 18th but I have to admit that hearing that they dont have racks on the chairs is a little discouraging. It won't turn me away but It really makes me consider the trip a little more. When I rode at Plattekill almost three years ago they had a fairly simple padded double L rack on the side of each chair and a lifty top and bottom doing the loading and unloading. This does require some work to achieve and two lifties to be paid but I thought that this was the standard practice for lift access mountain biking.

    I remember the racks were not permanent and they were not fancy either. Im really surprised that the consulting crew for trail design didn't address this issue.

    I agree with all of the other ideas already posted as well. BEER (maybe available only near the close of the lift and after), DJ park, no pump track, Steep Technical Trails under the trees. I've never seen the terrain, but there are huge cost implications if developing another face means running another lift. If a sensible return road or the current face could host the new trails it would make the most sense for the resort.

    Maybe you could hole punch lift tickets to limit beer consumption. Liability People, this is
    America.

    It is truly awesome that 7 has dove into this and I want to see it be succesfull.
    every other lift chair at 7 springs has a hook on the front of it so that your bike can be sent to the top in the lift chair after you, so you don't have to carry your bike up if you don't want to. it usually is not an issue, but when they have festivals going on they don't want the seats of the lifts to get muddy so that is why they are limiting the bikes to every 4th chair.
    developing the North Face of the mountain is something I know they would really like to do, but i think they would like to see a better turn out before they go into the expense. When i talked to Judd ( the trail builder) earlier this month , he said they could have the college trail ( a trail they used to use for college DH races) open in less than a week. Its just a matter of convincing the owners of 7 springs that if there are more technical and advanced trails available to ride then more of the true DH community will start coming to their resort on a regular basis. This is something i will mention when i speak to them.

  10. #10
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    I'll be there this weekend to check it out. I'll be sure to post some suggestions afterward.
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  11. #11
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    "it usually is not an issue, but when they have festivals going on they don't want the seats of the lifts to get muddy so that is why they are limiting the bikes to every 4th chair."

    Understandable, however I think even every third chair would have been a lot better. On Saturday at least, there just never seemed to be any wait for those who were just riding the lift. At certain times, us riders had to line up and stand aside while the non riders just walked up and loaded. The only reason why it didn't become a bigger issue was because of the small rider turnout.

    Besides, if they work on getting a better rack system together for next season, "muddy seats" won't be an issue!

    Again, it's matters like this and those stressed by others in this topic that when addressed properly, will bring forth the rider turnout and consistent clientele necessary to support the park and further expansion.

  12. #12
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    More trails, I would like to see a long rocky twisty mess of a trail not just the fast stuff with all the air time

    I admit I am not a great jumper, but from the 4 times I was up there at least half there clientele was not either... It just seems like a technical trail could be ridden fast or slow and appeal to more people (read more $$$) I guess to give it a label more "all-mountain heavy" or "freeride light".....I love trees, huge rocks, drops, roots.....the stuff you think your way through some will do it faster than others but it would be fun for all mountain bikers not just hard core down hillers.

    I do think 7 Springs made a great choice for the first trails, but its time for some variety, I dont want easy...think Rock and Roll section but on crack & steroids x10

    Ray

  13. #13
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    developing the North Face of the mountain is something I know they would really like to do, but i think they would like to see a better turn out before they go into the expense.

    I guess this is the classic chicken or the egg argument. They need more terrain to attract more riders, but they can't attract more riders without more terrain. At some point, if they're serious about this, they're going to have to bite the bullet and make the investment. In a 2007 economic study on the Whistler Mountain Bike park, it was found that mountain bikers pumped $16 million into the local economy ($28 million if you count CrankWorx). Obviously 7Springs won't achieve anywhere near these kind of numbers, but it's illustrative that Whistler made the investment, did it right, now they're reaping the benefits. Arguably with Winter seasons here getting shorter and shorter, making this sort of strategic investment makes sense.

  14. #14
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    Muffed that second sentence above. They want more riders before they will build terrain, but need terrain to attract more riders is what I meant to say.

  15. #15
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    I know exactly what you mean.
    They might just have to jump in with both feet in order to get things really moving.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for asking

    Rob-Bob, Thanks for asking.

    I agree that the springs needs more trails, but that is a subset of what they really need in my opinion. What is really needed is somebody to nurture a bike culture at and around the resort. I am homeowner, a Bike Park season passholder and a XC rider. I would venture to say I spend as much time and money as anyone at the springs. They are certainly on the right track, but need to keep flowing in three specific areas:

    1) terrain- there are limitless options for incredible trails all over that mountain. The alpine crew has walked the north slope and is chomping at the bit to start building. Get the trails in and let us ride a shuttle for a season or two unitl its profitable to run the big lifts. Ill ride a shuttle if I get 1000 feet of vertical per run, hell, i'd climb for it if the trails were in.

    2) atmosphere- others eluded to it, but the general atmosphere at the springs in the summer is uncomfortable and disjointed. The non-biking emoployees treat Mtn bikers like cattle. Most Mtn bikers I know (200 or so) like good coffee, healthy food and are total beer snobs. open a little slopeside cafe that plays good music (no polka), and employs people not born in the 50's. create a young, fun vibe and people will congregate there to tell stories and meet new and old friends.

    3) Events- Wisp has multiple DH races, Snowshoe has a huge national series, Timberline has the double down. any major Bike park needs events, races and festival where the top riders can show off their skills and newer riders can get more involved in the sport. I won't race because I suck at DH, but I'll spectate and volunteer. The free ride weekend was great, but it was not enough to sustain a marketing effort for a season. I live in the marketing world and would love to offer my thoughts in a more formal manner.

    Just a few ideas. I hope your meeting goes well. Please offer many thanks to the resort on my behalf for their excellent early efforts and for all they continue to do to make 7 springs a great mountain bike destination.

  17. #17
    Mmmm Rocks Good
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    I loved all the new DH trails but don't consider myself as a DH guy or a jomper. We rode the XC course 1st and then did DH runs all day. We went up on the Free weekend. I would not pay $29.00 for a day of DH jumping but would consider a $15.00 half day ticket. Ride XC and then do DH runs for the last half of the day. If there were more trails in the woods w/wooden stunts and rock technical features in addition to the DH stuff I would be more inclined to pay full ticket price. Also, get a better way to finish up the XC course instead of that miserable open faced climb!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainbckt

    I guess this is the classic chicken or the egg argument. They need more terrain to attract more riders, but they can't attract more riders without more terrain. At some point, if they're serious about this, they're going to have to bite the bullet and make the investment. In a 2007 economic study on the Whistler Mountain Bike park, it was found that mountain bikers pumped $16 million into the local economy ($28 million if you count CrankWorx). Obviously 7Springs won't achieve anywhere near these kind of numbers, but it's illustrative that Whistler made the investment, did it right, now they're reaping the benefits. Arguably with Winter seasons here getting shorter and shorter, making this sort of strategic investment makes sense.
    Again agreeing 100%

    I'm a long time rider but new to DH and I was very impressed with 7spring this year. But once again I'm starting to think it is either going to be short lived or remain "small potatoes". It seems like they are very hesitant to make any real commitment to the DH resort. I was thrilled with it this spring, early summer and could hardly wait for the next chance to go, even making the hr and 1/2 trip on friday and saturday sometimes. Unfortunatly, as my skills progressed the trails got boring or stale. If you really break it down, there is only 1 of each trail type there 1. FR, 1. DH and 1 SS-type and 1 beginner. Plus they overlap heavily.

    That will not bring in big money. Its mostly a beginner park serving to get people hooked leading them to drive to a bigger more dedicated resort. Maybe I'll change my mind over the winter but I can't see myself going there regularly next year. Perhaps I'll make the longer trip to a more serious resort once a month or so rather than to 7 springs weekly.

    So when you are speaking to those in charge at 7 springs the point you have to make is they either need to $hit or get off the pot. They need to attract "regulars" and right now they don't have the variety to do so.

    I don't have anything to back this up, but IMO skiing at 7springs has been getting weaker every year. Winters are getting warmer for whatever reason and they just don't have the vertical drop to keep those entertained who have skied and the big resorts in New England and the West. I think they could compete with the big resorts in the east for DH mt biking. Just make the freaking commitment.

    One more point. I have my own bike so it doesn't matter but the rental rate 7springs charges is 79$ a day for a DH bike. A mile or so outside the park speedgoat charges 39$ to rent a DH bike for a day(and you can take it out of the park). Drop the prices to compete!

  19. #19
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    good to see good ideas on here. everybody seems too be on the same page.


    i second the shuttle idea. makes total sense for a while.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian A
    Rob-Bob, Thanks for asking.

    I agree that the springs needs more trails, but that is a subset of what they really need in my opinion. What is really needed is somebody to nurture a bike culture at and around the resort. I am homeowner, a Bike Park season passholder and a XC rider. I would venture to say I spend as much time and money as anyone at the springs. They are certainly on the right track, but need to keep flowing in three specific areas:

    1) terrain- there are limitless options for incredible trails all over that mountain. The alpine crew has walked the north slope and is chomping at the bit to start building. Get the trails in and let us ride a shuttle for a season or two unitl its profitable to run the big lifts. Ill ride a shuttle if I get 1000 feet of vertical per run, hell, i'd climb for it if the trails were in.

    2) atmosphere- others eluded to it, but the general atmosphere at the springs in the summer is uncomfortable and disjointed. The non-biking emoployees treat Mtn bikers like cattle. Most Mtn bikers I know (200 or so) like good coffee, healthy food and are total beer snobs. open a little slopeside cafe that plays good music (no polka), and employs people not born in the 50's. create a young, fun vibe and people will congregate there to tell stories and meet new and old friends.

    3) Events- Wisp has multiple DH races, Snowshoe has a huge national series, Timberline has the double down. any major Bike park needs events, races and festival where the top riders can show off their skills and newer riders can get more involved in the sport. I won't race because I suck at DH, but I'll spectate and volunteer. The free ride weekend was great, but it was not enough to sustain a marketing effort for a season. I live in the marketing world and would love to offer my thoughts in a more formal manner.

    Just a few ideas. I hope your meeting goes well. Please offer many thanks to the resort on my behalf for their excellent early efforts and for all they continue to do to make 7 springs a great mountain bike destination.
    These are many of the things I originally put in my proposal that got this whole thing started.

  21. #21
    rd3
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    They need trails on the other side of the mountain, technical trails that use the natural terrain, lots of rocks, switchbacks, log jumps. I wouldn't build wooden features on the trails unless they are need because of an area that is wet or to bridge between rocks, etc. Wooden features just to have them aren't that cool, but when you use them to make an area rideable they are appreciated. Don't really need any man made jumps like the current trails have, but lots of drops with good backside would be nice.
    The lift price this year $29 was too expensive for the limited amount of trails, but $15 would have gotten me on the trails many more times.

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    I agree with the last post on the 29$ lift ticket. It was a bit steep for the limited trails compared to most parks.... mention that we have friends that would have went more often but found it cost preventive. And also as said above, a bike carrying system is definitely needed on the lift.

  23. #23
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    What type of bike carrying system do other parks use.
    The only other park I have been to is Wisp and their system doesn't seem any better than 7 springs

  24. #24
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    I'll have to disagree with rd3's comment that "wooden features just to have them aren't that cool." Wooden features like teeters, skinnies, etc. are integral to freeriding.

    Rob-bob, in answer to your question, I can offer Whistler and Snowshoe as a reference. The Whistler solution would be too expensive - they actually have a roll-in bike attachment to the chairs. However, they also have hooks on each side of the chair, on which the bike is hung by the front tire. This is probably a workable/cost-effective solution for 7Springs. Snowshoe has flip-up seats and the lifties load one bike per seat. Riders are sent up first so that they can lift the bike off the chair when it gets to the top. The lift chairs are numbered and the riders are always sent up on odd number seats (i.e., every other one) so that the even number seats are kept clean for the tourists.

  25. #25
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    . Snowshoe has flip-up seats and the lifties load one bike per seat. Riders are sent up first so that they can lift the bike off the chair when it gets to the top. The lift chairs are numbered and the riders are always sent up on odd number seats (i.e., every other one) so that the even number seats are kept clean for the tourists.[/QUOTE]

    believe it or not 7 springs chairs are set up to do exactly what you described. They did it last year during the autumn fest, i don't know why they aren't doing it now.

  26. #26
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    Wasn't sure if the seats were flip-up or not. I usually "carry" my bike at 7Springs, as it gets me on the trail faster, but this doesn't seem to be an optimal solution from a resort perspective, as the seats are getting dirty and ripped. Funny, I was there a couple of weeks ago while the Chocolate festival was going on and they were loading sightseers onto muddy chairs. There doesn't seem to be much consistency in approach.

  27. #27
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    A world class XC course that could draw in a UCI World Cup event would be nice.

  28. #28
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    XC riding was never a money maker for 7 springs, so i don't think they are going to invest much money into it.

  29. #29
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    I want to thank all of the riders who posted their suggestions. My meeting with 7 springs is scheduled for tomorrow night. I am making a list of all of the suggestions posted along with a list of what other bike parks ( Wisp. Snowshoe, Diablo) in the area have to offer. I will be sure to post a summary of how the meeting goes in a day or 2. I hope to have some good news for you.

    Thanks again,
    Rob

  30. #30
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    This year was my first experience at Seven Springs and I must say I am very pleased to have an up and coming bike park within a couple hours from home! Since July I have made three trips to Seven Springs and I have had more fun with each trip. I would have to say that my biggest immediate concerns would be 1.) the need to implement a more efficient, effective and safe way of transporting bikes on the lift and 2.) the cost of the lift ticket.

    Ideally, I'd like to see the lift system be able to accommodate transporting up to 4 riders and bikes per chair where the bikes are kept separate from the riders possibly through an external quick-release-type rack setup? I don't know if this is possible or exceeding capacity in any form but I'd think something could be done to help expedite more riders using fewer chairs while negating any dirty seats, etc. This possibly would require larger platforms for loading and unloading?

    Secondly, I understand the need to raise capital but $29 for a lift ticket is a little steep seeing that there aren't that many trails yet as compared to places like Diablo where an all day lift ticket is $36 with a lot more trails, etc. For the time being, I wouldn't mind seeing lift tickets run maybe $15 -$19 with increases contingent on trail build out, etc.

    On a side note, I felt that it was crazy to pay for parking when I was coming to ride and was not attending Autumn Fest. It wasn't the cost, just the point of the matter. I was paying for an event that I wasn't even attending! Frustrating!

    Thanks for taking the time to listen and relay any pertinent info.

    Ray

  31. #31
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    How the meeting went

    I had the meeting i told you about last night.
    The 3 people i met with from the resort were Micheal ( oversees all activities at the resort) Joel ( has recently been put in charge of the bike park) and Steve ( bike mechanic and all around good guy).
    Below is a list of ideas and comments i presented them with and their reactions.

    The first issue is the way we are treated by some of the staff at the resort especially during the festivals. I was assured that this is something that they will correct. They want the staff to understand that all of the riders should be treated like guests and not just like customers. Some of the employees at 7 springs have already been reprimanded for some of the comments they have made towards riders and been warned not to do it again. The new CEO wants any employees that treat any of their guests with disrespect to be handed their walking papers. I was also told that no bikers will have to pay to park during the festivals.

    Second - I expressed how important it is to add more trails to the park, especially to the North Face of the mountain.I also told them that a shuttle on the north face of the mountain could be an option if they needed to save money. Both Joel and Mike realise that their needs to be more trails with varying difficulties. Joel told me that 7 springs just opened a weld shop so they will be able to manufacture more ladder bridges and stunts for next year as they need them. Building new trails is high on their priority list but they have to show the board of directors that there is a genuine interest in the bike park before they will allow the North Face to be opened. They also take the blame for what they call a lack luster year as far as attendance goes because of the lack of marketing they did before and during this season. Marketing is something they really plan on concentrating on this winter and spring. They feel if they can get a good turnout during the first couple of weekends next year they might be able to get a substantial amount of money released to construct new trails. They also liked the idea of a shuttle as opposed to the lift on the North Face of the mountain ( at least in the beginning).

    Third - Was the lack of food and beverages including beer that is available to the riders at the resort. I suggested that they could open a bike shop / cafe. Mike told me that he is pushing for a bike park specific building that could also serve beverages and snacks. But again he has to show the owners that this would not be a waste of money.

    Fourth - The need to have races at the resort so they can attract new riders. Mike told me that someone had advised him this year that the trails they had could not support a race, and he asked me what I thought of that. I told him that Wisp has a number of races during the season and that their trails were no longer or any more difficult than their trails, so I don't see any reason why they couldn't. So next year they are going to host a race early in the year to see if that helps attract more riders early in the season.

    Fifth - Give the option of half day lift passes and bike rentals, offer 2 day discounted passes, and offer discount packages for passes with hotel rooms.
    Mike said these are all things they will consider doing for next season.

    Sixth - I let them know as kindly as i could that the pump track was a big waste of time and money on their part. I suggested on putting in a small skills area in that area. Mike and Joel told me they both realize that the pump track was a waste and they will try to do something different with that area next year.

    Seventh - I told them that it might be a good idea to have clinics for beginner and intermediate riders. Mike thought this was a good idea and thinks they might be able to get Randy Spangler to host a clinic. They also liked the idea of getting a pro female rider to host a clinic just for women.

    These are just some of the topics we spoke about during our meeting. There were many other ideas and suggestions offered by everyone at the meeting ( too many to list).
    Overall i came away with the impression that they ( 7 springs ) want to make their bike park into a major attraction over the next couple of years, and they will be willing to put the time and money into it as long as they start seeing a descent turnout.
    Thanks again for all of your input. If any of you are going to the park before the end of this season don't be a stranger. I am the tall guy in white armor riding a big hit.

    Hope to see you there,

    Rob

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob-Bob
    I had the meeting i told you about last night.
    The 3 people i met with from the resort were Micheal ( oversees all activities at the resort) Joel ( has recently been put in charge of the bike park) and Steve ( bike mechanic and all around good guy).
    Below is a list of ideas and comments i presented them with and their reactions.

    The first issue is the way we are treated by some of the staff at the resort especially during the festivals. I was assured that this is something that they will correct. They want the staff to understand that all of the riders should be treated like guests and not just like customers. Some of the employees at 7 springs have already been reprimanded for some of the comments they have made towards riders and been warned not to do it again. The new CEO wants any employees that treat any of their guests with disrespect to be handed their walking papers. I was also told that no bikers will have to pay to park during the festivals.

    Second - I expressed how important it is to add more trails to the park, especially to the North Face of the mountain.I also told them that a shuttle on the north face of the mountain could be an option if they needed to save money. Both Joel and Mike realise that their needs to be more trails with varying difficulties. Joel told me that 7 springs just opened a weld shop so they will be able to manufacture more ladder bridges and stunts for next year as they need them. Building new trails is high on their priority list but they have to show the board of directors that there is a genuine interest in the bike park before they will allow the North Face to be opened. They also take the blame for what they call a lack luster year as far as attendance goes because of the lack of marketing they did before and during this season. Marketing is something they really plan on concentrating on this winter and spring. They feel if they can get a good turnout during the first couple of weekends next year they might be able to get a substantial amount of money released to construct new trails. They also liked the idea of a shuttle as opposed to the lift on the North Face of the mountain ( at least in the beginning).

    Third - Was the lack of food and beverages including beer that is available to the riders at the resort. I suggested that they could open a bike shop / cafe. Mike told me that he is pushing for a bike park specific building that could also serve beverages and snacks. But again he has to show the owners that this would not be a waste of money.

    Fourth - The need to have races at the resort so they can attract new riders. Mike told me that someone had advised him this year that the trails they had could not support a race, and he asked me what I thought of that. I told him that Wisp has a number of races during the season and that their trails were no longer or any more difficult than their trails, so I don't see any reason why they couldn't. So next year they are going to host a race early in the year to see if that helps attract more riders early in the season.

    Fifth - Give the option of half day lift passes and bike rentals, offer 2 day discounted passes, and offer discount packages for passes with hotel rooms.
    Mike said these are all things they will consider doing for next season.

    Sixth - I let them know as kindly as i could that the pump track was a big waste of time and money on their part. I suggested on putting in a small skills area in that area. Mike and Joel told me they both realize that the pump track was a waste and they will try to do something different with that area next year.

    Seventh - I told them that it might be a good idea to have clinics for beginner and intermediate riders. Mike thought this was a good idea and thinks they might be able to get Randy Spangler to host a clinic. They also liked the idea of getting a pro female rider to host a clinic just for women.

    These are just some of the topics we spoke about during our meeting. There were many other ideas and suggestions offered by everyone at the meeting ( too many to list).
    Overall i came away with the impression that they ( 7 springs ) want to make their bike park into a major attraction over the next couple of years, and they will be willing to put the time and money into it as long as they start seeing a descent turnout.
    Thanks again for all of your input. If any of you are going to the park before the end of this season don't be a stranger. I am the tall guy in white armor riding a big hit.

    Hope to see you there,

    Rob
    Wow, I just got a serious case of Deja Vu.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by rd3
    They need trails on the other side of the mountain, technical trails that use the natural terrain, lots of rocks, switchbacks, log jumps. I wouldn't build wooden features on the trails unless they are need because of an area that is wet or to bridge between rocks, etc. Wooden features just to have them aren't that cool, but when you use them to make an area rideable they are appreciated. Don't really need any man made jumps like the current trails have, but lots of drops with good backside would be nice.
    The lift price this year $29 was too expensive for the limited amount of trails, but $15 would have gotten me on the trails many more times.

    I second the first half of what rd3 said.
    I'd be WAY more into the natural terrain and the occasional man made feature where it's needed. Something to be said about navigating slightly tighter, NATURAL terrain at speed. There's nothing like it!

    That, and the "atmosphere" comment above. The coffe/beer snob/cool vibe/hang out/trade stories/ kind of place for in between and after riding. There's a lot of riders, including myself, who wish that they could/would go bigger than they can/do yet are still bike addicts, want to ride what they are able, and enjoy the environment of other riders and hang out after. Not posers by any means. I can't clean 12 ft doubles but I JONES for something trail wise going downhill that is MORE than what most of my local stuff can give me above riding what I'll term (just for the sake of the post....no comments...please) aggressive XC or AM!

    I'm older, but I'm SURE that I'll progress my skills just by being there more and by having the above mentioned stuff....will want to make me be there more and more and more!

    That said, I haven't been there yet and am putting myself out there by posting based on the replies already and from two close riding friends that have been there.

    BUT, I'm sure that you're also interested in what WILL BRING folks like myself there as well.

    From what my riding buddies say...you're off to a great start!
    EWR-HE-148-11-4-97
    Microbeer's Better!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob-Bob

    The first issue is the way we are treated by some of the staff at the resort especially during the festivals. I was assured that this is something that they will correct. They want the staff to understand that all of the riders should be treated like guests and not just like customers. Some of the employees at 7 springs have already been reprimanded for some of the comments they have made towards riders and been warned not to do it again. The new CEO wants any employees that treat any of their guests with disrespect to be handed their walking papers. I was also told that no bikers will have to pay to park during the festivals.
    Give them the pickle! They all all know it, but doesn't mean they do it. (7 Springs and Pirates employees will know what I'm talking about )

    And, with Hidden Valley ramping up to open their park next year, they will definitely need to add some more stuff. From the pics on the HV website, it looks pretty cool.

    I rode the park a few times so far this year and loved it! Even went out and bought new pads, full-face helmet, etc. because I know I'll be doing it more and more each year.

    I agree with the comment that they need a longer, more technical run like Rock and Roll. I actually like Rock and Roll for a change of pace, but my riding buds keep wanting to hit 007 or Super Connector (with a little EC1 here and there). The lines also started getting pretty clapped out toward the beginning of fall, but I'm not sure that can be avoided.

    The pump track was OK (my kids liked it), but they could probably use that area to make a skills park with different levels of obstacles.

    The resort industry is shifting (particularly in the mid-Atlantic region) and they are going to have to embrace the idea of the bike park, water park, etc. if they want to gain an advantage as a 4-season resort. Conferences are good, but you need activities to bring people, and revenue, into the resort. Hopefully they will have more marketing next year and try to engage the Pittsburgh area shops to promote the park. I told my LBS to embrace the future and start stocking more FR/DH stuff. Now that it's in our back yard, you need to incent people to get the bikes and get to the park.

    I, for one, hope it grows and also hope that the competition that Hidden Valley provides will make both resorts better.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Too Rass Goat
    Wow, I just got a serious case of Deja Vu.
    Well if they keep hearing the same things from the mountainbike community, maybe they will start to listen.

  36. #36
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    Rob, thanks for the report. Sounds encouraging. Hopefully the resort will follow through with a few of these items.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob-Bob
    Overall i came away with the impression that they ( 7 springs ) want to make their bike park into a major attraction over the next couple of years, and they will be willing to put the time and money into it as long as they start seeing a descent turnout.
    A buddy and took a trip back to the Springs this past weekend, our first in a couple of months. Aside from being a little rusty, I had blast as usual. There were a few good things and a few not-so-good.

    The good:
    • They were selling beer at the bottom and top of the mountain!
    • The trails are fun as hell. I love 007, and can ride it all day...and usually do. Even "Rock and Roll" is super fun, even better than I remembered it.
    • The jumps and berms are well built and for the most part have perfect lips.
    • I actually like the method of carrying my bike right on the lift with me (I carry it half on the chair/half on my lap) that way I can step of the lift and hop right on the bike. I don't see what advantage a rack/carrying system would have over the current one...other than no wear/dirt on the chair seats and making loading easier for little kids or weaker riders.
    • Autumnfest was going on so there was food (and beer) readily available, as opposed to having to wrestle the Alpine Sliders for hotdogs at that single concession stand that usually open on the weekend.
    • My buddy brought his nephew ("almost" 12 years old) out for his first DH experience on a Big Hit Grom. He spent the first few runs on Rock and Roller, then we convinced him to try 007...and he spent the rest of the day on that. I was so cool to see a kid get stoked on riding.
    • Did I mention they had beer for sale?


    The bad:
    • It was an Autumnfest weekend, so it was PACKED with clueless punters who were there to do who knows what...buy crafts, eat kettlecorn and kielbasa, etc.
    • We had to park most of the way up the mountain way out of the way. We realized after the fact that we could've just kept driving up the mountain and parked all the way at the top. Next time.
    • The lift lines were HUGE. At least they did have a separate line for the bikers...although we were only on every 5th chair. That made for long waits for the chair at the bottom, and long waits for your buddies behind you at the top. It's not good when the wait for the lift plus the lift ride itself takes three times as long as a single DH run down the mountain.
    • IMO some jump lips need to be re-worked a little to keep from kicking the rear wheel up too much. Specifically, the second small table-top at the very top of "007" and the very last table-top on the "easier way down" section right in front of the lift. I hit that jump with a little speed and got tossed past the transition with my ass up in the air. I think it could be a mellower take-off with a longer top and be more fun.
    • The non-bikers had a really bad staring problem. It was strange to see so many people acting so oddly (and rudely). Literally every time we got on the lift line the entire line of non-bikers just stared at us like we were fish in an aquarium. Then while we rode the lift up people were taking pictures of us, "oh, look at the bikers, take a picture." Like we were some rare species being showcased at Sea World. And only one old woman actually took the time to ask us what we were doing...and how much our bikes cost. When I told her how much there were I think she almost shorted her pacemaker.
    • The trails were the same...in that there aren't any additional ones. A five trail bike park is not going to do well in the long run, even if they are fun. The advanced riders in particular (not me) need more of a challenge. I would like to see a skills area with some progressive drops, skinnies...maybe a small jump line? The pump track is cool and all, and I meant to head over there to ride it at some point, but forgot. Probably not huge fun on an 8" DH bike anyway.

    All in all, a good time. If there is someone to contact at 7 Springs regarding the bike park, can someone share that info? I'd like to email my support for the park and reinforce the suggestions that have been put forth in this thread (and in the meeting, it seems). I promise to be more succinct than I was in this thread in my communications with the resort.

  38. #38
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    I am happy to see they are considering a learning clinic. I really would like to learn from an expert as opposed to the current option of teaching myself (probably incorrectly) how to ride DH. My skills are getting better but I'm still by no means someone who keeps a fast pace.

    Being new to the sport, it is discouraging when more highly skilled riders are always behind you looking to pass. It's not their fault. I really wish the 'beginner' trail didn't overlap the other trails at all so that the higher skilled riders did not get stuck behind novices or beginners.

  39. #39
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    PCinSC, I've experienced the same thing with people staring, but I find it more amusing than annoying. With the full armor on, I've been alternately referred to by gawkers as Batman, Spiderman and Darth Vader.

  40. #40
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    I got out to ride on Sunday for the first time. I was there with my wife for our anniversary so we brought the bikes. I enjoyed the resort for the most part. The leaves were at peak colors and the weather was great.
    I was the guy with the green Transition Bottlerocket. I got to talk/ride with RobBob. And hear a lot of stuff about the park I didn't know. Also rode with Rob (on the Judge), I always enjoy riding with fast riders. It's nice to not have to constantly brake check to keep from rear-ending other riders. Unfortunately, my legs were hammered by the end of the day and I couldn't pedal/pump stuff like I normally would.

    Likes:

    For the most part the trails were very well designed and executed. I liked all the rollers, berms and jumps. All the trails flowed very well.

    The trails are super fast and because of that you can hit a trail like rock-and-roll and make it fun. The amount of speed you can generate on all the rollers really adds something that most places don't have.

    Dislikes:

    Some of the lips were not at the right angle. Some of the longer jumps could have used a little steeper lip to help you get to the landing without having to boost.

    obviously need more trails

    the bike on lift situtation needs to be addressed. My wife ended up not riding because she was affraid of not being able to get her bike on. that is a loss of revenue. she would have been able to ride pretty much everything there.

    every 4th chair, wouldn't have been so bad, but the festival people were not filling the chairs. More than half of the chairs only had 2 people on them (6person chairs).

    Need more real DH! I know there are plans in motion, but it is a major drawback right now.

    Opening the lift at 11am is ridiculous. mountain bikers are usually early risers. $30 for 5hrs is a lot compared to $36 to ride diablo from 9-4.

    (resort not bikepark)The food at the resort is so so. No, healthy items on the menu. The quality of the ingredients is sub par. For the price of the food I really expect more quality, the food wasn't great, it wasn't even good.

    (resort not bikepark)The resort staff is very lax. not much organization as a whole. for an example the alpine slide is supposed to open at 10 but they didn't open till almost 11 on sunday. the staff should be out prepping at least 1/2 hr before opening (drying the slide etc...), not showing up at 10 and just doing it then.

    Suggestions:

    Make the last three big doubles have slightly steeper lips and landings.

    come up with some hooks for the lift (one on each side) or something similar.

    Open the North side. I know the cost of running the lift is alot so you could just do shuttles with a van.

    Need more natural DH

    Need some Real drops

    Race series (3 minimum)

    Advertise

    offer some sort of stay and ride/race package

    Seven springs is gonna need to step it up in terms of trail expansion and all the other items listed. There is a ton of potential there, and you obviously have some very talented builders. To keep people coming out you will need to keep building and adding new stuff all the time. It's very fast and quick to add natural DH trails, and the require less material and maintainance.
    My point of view right now is.... I like seven springs but it's 4hrs away on the turnpike. I'm not gonna drive 8hrs to ride for 5hrs on 5-6 trails. Especially when I am 2.5hrs from Diablo, is much cheaper for me to go there instead.

    If 7 does some races with race/stay packages I could definitely make a couple trips next season. Don't take any of this negatively, it's all meant to be constructive. I only want to help our sport and riding destinations to grow.

    casey
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  41. #41
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    oh, yeah I just remembered something

    bulldoze that pumptrack and build some DJ's
    you can't ride a pumptrack on a dh bike.

    once they are built allow everyone to ride them, and encourage the locals kids to maintain them/build new lines within some set guidelines. (that's what the town of Whistler does ad they are some of the best legal dj's I've ridden.)
    Team _________

  42. #42
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    I was there last sat. Toaster were you there on sat. too? Thought I might have seen you. I was riding a green Knolly.

    I hear ya, the place could be much better organized. A 3 race series could really help draw a croud. They could even make a DS coarse as well. Look at what Wisp did...

    And you can't ride a pump track on dh bike either.

  43. #43
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    Ah, I saw your bike but I didn't realize that was you.
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    Toaster, you going to Ted's up coming event? I'll be there on my Knolly, as long as it doesn't rain...

  45. #45
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    just how bad exactly were the lines last weekend? going out this weekend with a group of 5other guys.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob-Bob
    Well if they keep hearing the same things from the mountainbike community, maybe they will start to listen.
    Hey, R-B (from another R-B) - I'm a Seven Springs homeowner and MTBer (XC and a season pass holder for the bike park), so let me know what I can do to help you with the cause. I will be meeting executive management at some point in the next month or so. Keep me in the loop on goings on, either directly or via private message.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd@gretnabikes
    Toaster, you going to Ted's up coming event? I'll be there on my Knolly, as long as it doesn't rain...
    I'll be there. On my Double this year. I think I'm going over to dig this Sat to help finalize some of the new additions. He's got a pump track too now.

    If you're going this year make sure you swap out your tires for some hollyrollers or smallblock 8's. No knobbies this year they tear the jumps up too bad.
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  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by dagmz6s
    just how bad exactly were the lines last weekend? going out this weekend with a group of 5other guys.
    Based on what he said you can guesstimate how long the lines will be. Figure a minimal number of bikers in front of you so you might be going on every 10th or 15th chair. Pretty long wait IMO. I was planning on going this weekend for the last time this season but based on what others are reporting, I'll probably go ride Laurel mountain. There is too much good riding nearby in this beautiful season to spend the time waiting in line and being treated poorly by resort staff.

    As of late my enthusiasm for 7springs has been dropping now to the point of cynicism. At this point, i can't see myself taking my saturday driving about 3 hrs and spending the money to spend most of the time waiting in line for the same few courses i've been riding since june. When there are events like autumnfest they need to drop the prices. Its not fair to pay the same money to ride less(due to lines) as I paid to ride during the weekdays this summer when I had the trails practically to myself. I really hope the resort steps up and opens their eyes already.

    Also, why can't they open at 9am or earlier, at least in the peak season. I really think it would only require the money to operate the life plus the 4 or so employees running it. Seems bizarre to me.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainbckt
    PCinSC, I've experienced the same thing with people staring, but I find it more amusing than annoying. With the full armor on, I've been alternately referred to by gawkers as Batman, Spiderman and Darth Vader.
    Oh, I was definitely more amused than annoyed, although in my post I did make it sound like I was totally annoyed. I was mostly just surprised at how people reacted. I realize that most people are not familiar with DH mountain biking, but they all have seen bicycles, helmets and body pads/armor before in their lives...I guess just not all at the same time on the same person.

    The other thing that did play a role was that although we took the lift up a bunch of times, each time we got on line there was a whole new line of non-riders that were just getting their first look at us stormtroopers.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by rollertoaster
    Opening the lift at 11am is ridiculous. mountain bikers are usually early risers. $30 for 5hrs is a lot compared to $36 to ride diablo from 9-4.

    Offer some sort of stay and ride/race package.
    +1 on these two points.

    More hours in the riding day will be necessary to stay competitive. A ride and stay package would be great, and would entice me to bring the wife and maybe some friends to make a day of riding/evening of socializing (and not having to drive home)/ followed by another day of riding.

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