Mountain biking gets back into gear

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 8:15 AM EDT
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BOLTON, Vt. (WCAX) - As the weather gets warmer and more summerlike, more people are looking for outdoor activities to do here in Vermont.

For bikers looking to hit some steeper terrain, local businesses are excited for visitors, hoping to make up some losses from the pandemic-ski season.

“People fell back in love with outdoor recreation,” said Bolton Valley Resort President Lindsay DesLauriers.

Coming out of a solid winter, DesLauriers says it’s time for the summer surge.

“A lot going on up here, a lot of hikers, a lot of runners,” said DesLauriers.

But even their disc golf course and summer camps can’t keep up with their biggest attraction for the summer, mountain biking.

“Mountain biking is becoming more and more central to everything we do up here,” said DesLauriers.

Within the first 36 hours of opening summer passes, 20% of them sold out.

DesLauriers says they are looking forward to pre-pandemic numbers, making up some lost ground and keeping folks outside.

“We are still keeping our outdoor focus as far as food and beverage is concerned,” said DesLauriers.

They hope even regional traffic will begin to fill up their renovated resort.

Lifts open starting July 1.

And they aren’t the only ones excited for something familiar.

“We are really excited, we think it’s going to be a great year,” said Lilias Ide with Kingdom Trails.

Ide says they are back to answering questions and gearing up for summer. She says they are on pace for pre-pandemic numbers already, which for them, is perfect.

“We hope this year brings us back financially and business-wise, for our community, but we also hope to keep it mellow,” said Ide.

They were able to use COVID to complete a capacity study. Kingdom Trails checked in with community partners and private landowners to see how to spread visitors out and keep their trails sustainable.

“So that capacity study is done, and it gave us a whole bunch of recommendations on, well maybe if you create trail access here, direct traffic over here, give this information here, build a welcome center there, so there are a whole bunch of these projects that the community actually gave their input on to help us figure out what are the priorities and what we should do so that was cool that we actually had the community participate in this and help us figure these things out,” said Ide.

She says a big reason she suspects they haven’t gotten that big surge of people just yet is because the Canadian border is still closed.

Ide says regardless of numbers, this year will be special.

“I think the vibe of everything, while it’s exciting to see people and we are excited to have everyone back, it has also brought a calmness to everything,” said Ide.

Kingdom Trails has its trails open already for the summer season. They usually close for the season in early November as conditions allow.

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