Welch Village Ski & Snowboard Area has made the decision to no longer offer downhill mountain biking operations going forward.
In an effort to be fully transparent in our decision, we have laid out three of the main factors that went into our decision below:
After three summers of operation, we have determined that the mountain bike operation is not sustainable for us to compete with the ever-increasing amount of government funded trail systems and publicly funded downhill bike parks in the state of Minnesota. As you may know, many of the other trail systems and downhill bike parks in the state of Minnesota are able to receive public funding/grant money from the Legacy Amendment and other tax supported revenue streams, which allow these trails to have a significant competitive advantage when building and expanding new trail networks. The vast majority of these trails are free to use, which makes it very challenging for Welch Village to charge our mountain bike guests to ride our trails. We do understand that the mountain bike trails at Welch Village were very different and much more interesting than many of the other free trail networks in the state, including a chairlift ride to the top, however, we have not been able to build a customer base large enough to support the opinion that there is enough demand out there to justify investing more capital.
Welch Village has been a winter ski and snowboard area for over 50 years. In order to ensure the future of Welch Village’s ski and snowboard operation is sustained for future generations, we have decided to allocate what capital resources we do have into protecting and improving the ski and snowboard operation of our business. The mountain bike trails that we constructed at Welch Village were funded entirely through charging for daily lift tickets and summer season passes, however, the combination of these two revenue streams does not provide the necessary capital needed to expand the mountain bike park to the size that would be required to become self-sustaining long-term. After careful analysis, we feel that the best use of the capital generated from all of our guests at Welch Village would be invested in our ski and snowboard operation.
The legal landscape has changed in recent years in the state of Minnesota, and it has created a situation of undue hardship for Welch Village, a privately-owned small business, to operate a downhill mountain bike park.As you may know, all other downhill mountain bike parks in Minnesota are either a municipal or a non-profit entity in conjunction with a municipal entity.As a privately held small business, Welch Village is at much more risk when it comes to litigation outcomes, and accordingly, this factor weighed heavy on our decision.
We would like to thank all of those who have supported the Welch Village Mountain Bike Park over the past three seasons.We would like to especially thank our pass holders, loyal riders, and our mountain bike park patrol and our employees. We would also like to thank our business partners that we worked with: Adam Buck (Pathfinder); Tim Wegner (Trail Source); Jeff Millbauer (Valley Bike & Ski).
Thank you for understanding this difficult decision. Stay safe & stay healthy.