Welcome to the land of no liability lawyers! The trouble wasn’t just people getting hurt — tThe gravity scene wasn’t growing, because the reputation was that it was all gnar and no fun.
Whistler had a totally different recipe: Build every jump, double, g-out, steep, wall ride, ladder bridge, and gap with A, B, and C bailout lines. If you couldn’t handle the pucker factor, there was always an easier way down. The idea was progression, as in progress, so that after a week at Whistler you were sending stuff that on day one freaked you. It made Whistler blow up, because the place is Disneyland for riders. There’s something there anyone can ride, even if you’ve never shuttled in your life.
Now, at long last, American mountain biking is edging toward Whistler-style parks. Now online are lift-served operations at Stevens Pass, Washington; Aspen and Snowmass; and in Park City, Utah. In the East there’s New Hampshire’s Highland Mountain Bike Park, a model for taking a defunct ski hill, forgetting the ski biz entirely, and just focusing on lift-served mountain biking.
What took so long?