Mountain biking put on pause as Powder Mountain preps for semi-privatization

No lift-served biking plus cross-country trail interruptions are due to installation of four new ski lifts for the 2024-25 season.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ian Matteson launches off one of the table top jumps at Powder Mountain on Monday, July 11, 2022. Powder Mountain announced it is pausing lift-served mountain biking operations this summer while four lifts are installed for the 2024-25 ski season.

Not even two years after it began offering lift-served downhill mountain biking, Powder Mountain is pressing pause on the operation.

The Eden-area resort announced in a letter to pass holders Tuesday that lift-served mountain biking would not be available this summer and that rolling closures will affect cross-country biking on the mountain.

“Mountain Biking is a big part of the summer experience at Powder,” the letter said. “We felt and shared your enthusiasm for the lift serviced offering over the last two summers, and we understand this news will disappoint some.”

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Reed Hastings, the recently retired CEO of Netflix talks about improvements that are planned for Powder Mountain ski resort, on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023.

The disruption comes as former Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who took over as Powder Mountain’s majority shareholder last summer, embarks on his plan to transition the ski area to a public-private resort for the 2024-25 season. Part of that entails installing four new lifts on the mountain. The Timberline and Paradise lifts — among the oldest in the state — will be replaced. Another lift will be installed over a new route to the top of Lightning Ridge. All of those lifts will be publicly accessible.

Additionally, a private lift, Raintree, will be built to access black diamond runs in Cobabe Canyon. Both the Mary’s Lift and the Village Lift on the resort’s eastern flank will also be available only to Powder Mountain homeowners and their guests starting next ski season.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Mountain bikers take in the scenery at Powder Mountain on Monday, July 11, 2022, as the resort renamed itself "Dirt Mountain" for the summers after installing its first three downhill mountain biking courses that year. The resort is pausing downhill mountain biking in summer 2024.

Parking for cross-country riding will be available at the Brim trail at the end of Summit Pass Road. According to the letter, updates on trail closures will be posted on Powder’s website once construction begins.

The El Doce mountain bike race, which has become a favorite of masochists since it was first held on Powder Mountain’s trails in 2017, has also been canceled. During the 12-hour race, individuals or teams complete roughly 15-mile laps featuring about 1,900 feet of elevation gain.

“We appreciate all of the planning and hard work that has gone into making lift-serviced mountain biking at Powder possible for the past two summers,” the letter said, “however after evaluating all options, this is a necessary step in order to complete our ambitious plans of installing four new lifts.”