Blue Knob has abandoned it's Mt. Biking program!
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Mountain Masher
July 14, 2006
Member since 03/13/2004 🔗
541 posts
Apparently BK has decided to drop it's mountain biking program. There's no longer bike shuttle service from the bottom of the mountain (from the pick-up point along South Poplar Run) to the summit. And, the lifts no longer run on the weekends (to provide up-hill transport for mountain bikers). Also, I don't think that any mountain bike races are scheduled. I'm thinking that a possible reason for this development is that BK doesn't want to put some of the logging devastation on display since many of the (eroded) bike routes pass through those areas.

I drove through BK Resort the other day and I have never seen things look more empty. And, the road from the lodge (located at the summit) down to the condo complex was in a total state of disrepair as it was covered with huge pot-holes and eroded areas. At this point, I have to wonder just how serious the owners of BK are about continuing ski operations.
Scott - DCSki Editor
July 14, 2006
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,134 posts
I doubt that's the reason. Whitetail also shut down its mountain biking operation a few years ago. The reason is economics. There just isn't a huge market for it in this area, and the market is already served by resorts such as Snowshoe that have a strong mountain biking program. Most of the mountain bikers I know are more than happy to ride local (free) trails, and don't want to drive to a ski resort and pay money to use their trails. Higher-profile events (such as Norba races, etc.) are better served by places like Snowshoe, which have invested a lot of money in their programs and offer better facilities to host large events. A growth area has also been mountain bike parks and freeriding. That's been a draw for bikers but it takes significantly more investment on the part of a resort.
Mountain Masher
July 14, 2006
Member since 03/13/2004 🔗
541 posts
The Blue Knob mountain biking program didn't cost hardly anything to operate. They had a single pick-up truck to run (and a driver to pay) to provide shuttle service on the weekends. And sometimes they ran one of their chairlifts on the weekends. If BK is worried about the cost of that, then they really are short on cash!!!!!
Scott - DCSki Editor
July 14, 2006
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,134 posts
Have you seen their balance sheet, or run your own summer mountain biking operation to know the actual costs? You're neglecting many non-trivial expenses. Or are you suggesting that resorts continue an unprofitable business "just for the sake of it" or to make you happy?

The same thing played out at Whitetail, and they were in better position to make the endeavor profitable (newer facilities, closer to a larger population, etc.) At the end of the day, when they added up all the costs of running the operation, it was not a break-even proposition for them. They tried it for several years and I'm not sure they made money a single year (it really came down to attracting races; without those, there was little chance of breaking even.) Running mountain biking is certainly cheaper than ski season operations, but when less than a dozen people show up on a day (which was very common), you lose money. And don't forget that a mountain bike lift ticket is much, much cheaper than a ski lift ticket.

I'd be willing to bet Snowshoe only makes money on the activity because it draws visitors to their lodging and restaurants, and is able to attract some big-name events.

Mountain Masher: I'll ask one final question. Have you even called Blue Knob to confirm that they have discontinued mountain biking operations, and if so, asked them why? That would take far less time than posting your unfounded conjectures here.
jimmy
July 14, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Quote:

........... At this point, I have to wonder just how serious the owners of BK are about continuing ski operations.




Just an unsubstantiated rumor that they are going to fill that new snowmaking pond at the top of the mountain and stock it with Pahrump Poolfish , establishing a fish for a fee program and replace the revenue for their possible discontinuation of mountain biking with the money they'll make from Pahrum Poolfishermen and fisherwomen .
Mountain Masher
July 14, 2006
Member since 03/13/2004 🔗
541 posts
Scott, I have NOT made any "unfounded conjectures" and I don't appreciate you accusing me of having done so. To answer your question, I first noticed that there was no longer a recorded "mountain bike report" available on BK's 800 number. I then checked with BK and was told that the mountain biking program had been discontinued. A reason was not given since I was probably talking to a low level employee. So, I'm still not sure why the program was cancelled since the program cost very little to run and included a number of races that attracted plenty of bikers.

Since you seem to know so much about the costs of running a mountain biking program, I have a question for you. You said that I'm "neglecting many non-trivial expenses", so please tell me about the "many" non-trivial expenses that I've neglected [as such expenses were probably applicable to the mountain biking program at BK]. I'm always happy to learn something new!
Scott - DCSki Editor
July 14, 2006
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,134 posts
Mountain Masher, you've made many, MANY unfounded conjectures about your "favorite" resort and I've called you on it several times in the past.

Let's just take this current thread. First you say Blue Knob has "apparently" discontinued its mountain biking program (if an employee told you this, why did you say "apparently"?)

Then you conjecture that Blue Knob's management might not be "serious" about running ski operations.

Then you conjecture that Blue Knob's mountain biking program "didn't cost hardly anything to operate." Clearly you don't know how much it costs to operate. Neither do I. I don't have access to their balance sheet. But in reporting on the mid-Atlantic ski region for over a decade, and having many candid discussions (on the record and off) with the folks who actually *run* the resorts, I have an appreciation for the costs that are actually involved.

There are certain costs to running any business. You must pay staff salaries (whether or not many people show up on any given day to mountain bike), including support personnel (e.g., folks in accounting to cut the checks), and if you're running a lift, you have additional expenses of maintaining the lift throughout the summer. Liability and insurance costs are huge, especially when you have customers participating in a dangerous activity on your property (possibly on your rented bikes). Resorts don't like to talk about their insurance costs, but a big chunk of each lift ticket goes straight to that line item. Many resorts must stock, maintain, and rent a fleet of bike equipment. When less than a dozen people show up on a day to mountain bike (as was often the case at Whitetail, and I would assume, Blue Knob as well), paying a very small amount for a trail pass (less than $15? Less than $10?), it's awfully hard to make any kind of money. Consider ski operations. At most ski resorts, the highest profit margin items are food services and lodging; without that, it would be hard to turn a profit. Mountain biking draws far fewer visitors than skiing, so it's usually not cost effective to staff and run food operations, removing a traditional source of profit.

Then you conjecture that if Blue Knob is worried about the costs of running their mountain biking program, "then they are really short on cash!"

This really makes little sense. If Blue Knob is worried about the costs of running their mountain biking operation because they're unable to make a profit, then what are you suggesting? That they plow money into an unprofitable adventure, otherwise they're "short on cash"? Gosh, that's a great business model! (Wait a second, I guess that business model worked for awhile for all those dot-coms in the heady 90's.) On the other hand, if the venture has been profitable for them, it's unlikely they would have discontinued it. (Econ 101 and all.)

And one last unfounded conjecture. You started the thread by suggesting that Blue Knob discontinued its mountain bike program because they didn't "want to put some of the logging devastation on display."

So please don't express shock (shock!) of being accused of spreading unfounded conjecture. That's your favorite pasttime, and I think your passion for the subject sometimes blinds you. If you wish to discuss this further, please contact me via a private message, or reference our discussion from July 22, 2005.

P.S. I think jimmy might be on to something!
warren
July 17, 2006
Member since 07/31/2003 🔗
485 posts
Jimmy,
Hey, this could be fun. Get a cooler of your favorite summer beverage , some good comfy chairs (I assume fishing from shore) and we're good to go!

We gotta pass the un-season and heat some how

-Warren-
Mountain Masher
July 17, 2006
Member since 03/13/2004 🔗
541 posts
Sorry, but there's very little water in the new snowmaking lake at BK, just a black ruberized liner that's cracking and spliting in the sun. Don't believe me? Please go see for yourself!
therusty
July 17, 2006
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
422 posts
With respect to the demise of Whitetail's bike program, a little bird told me that the books under the old owners showed a profit. When Snowtime took over, they noted that there were no wear and tear expenses booked for operation of the high speed chair. When that was factored in, it made no sense to continue. HSQ's are expensive to maintain.

Although I don't bike, I was up at Whitetail on several weekends while the program was running. On the non-event weekends it appeared that there were approximately 30-70 people there. There appeared to be about 500 people at a normal sized event. I believe there were usually 4-6 events per season. With those kinds of numbers, any potential profit is microscopic compared to winter operations.
SCWVA
July 17, 2006
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
Whitetail just sponsored a DH Race in June. I did however see that the upcoming race scheduled for BK has been moved to Wisp.

City Bikes
therusty
July 18, 2006
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
422 posts
That makes sense. The Mountain Bike "operation" has been shut down, but it costs virtually nothing to crank things up for an event. At >300 people, an event would be profitable.
gatkinso
July 26, 2006
Member since 01/25/2002 🔗
316 posts
Sounds like BK's program was sort of lame anyway, and that there was no point in continuing it.
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