Every now and again it pays to pause and take note of your progress, learnings and achievements.
2020 has been a year to say the least but we are stoked to celebrate our 4th birthday this December 16th and we would like to take a moment and reflect on just how far we have come and what we have achieved in our four years of operation.
The support from the local community has been immense and it has really shown just how much we all want to see the Park succeed, so we thank all of you for your support, dedication and passion.
On 16th December 2016, the red tape was cut marking a significant build project. In the 7 weeks we were open, riders flocked to the Park every day to lap out one of our thirteen trails. It was therefore gutting to then have to close our gates on February 13th due to the devastating Port Hills Fire that burnt through over 1600 hectares of land.
The few staff that remained went out into the community to take on projects such as coaching primary school kids mountain bike skills, filling the freezer for Ronald McDonald House, as well as spending our time rebuilding the hillside. We reopened on 6th December 2017 with two trails - the green top to bottom and one of our all-time favourites, Loess Rider. Although we had reopened for business the struggle was real, with our time spent rebuilding tracks and opening new trails for riders to come and enjoy.
2018 was spent refining our day-to-day operations, dealing with an open slope, sediment control and trying to open new trails. We hosted our first race series, the Winter Gravity Series, soon followed by our first Rogaine event. The year finished on a high with us confirming The Phoenix Enduro, an internationally recognised mountain bike race that was to be hosted early 2019. By the start of summer '19, we were able to offer guests a network of 22 different tracks.
The Phoenix Enduro came at the end of Summer, and while Nelson suffered its own devastating fires which led to the cancellation of their Asia Pacific race, we offered racers who had entered the series a free entry into The Phoenix Enduro. The race went off and everyone was absolutely fizzing about the Park, the trails and the event.
During the middle of the year, we had the first stage of GodZone come through the Park and had over 200 competitors sleeping on every available piece of flat ground that night!
While trail crew were building Captain Torpedo, the boys dug up an unexploded ordnance (Bomb)! This made for an exciting day, with Police and bomb technicians descending on the valley to take the bomb away and safely dispose of it. That spring we delivered 4 intermediate blue trails which changed the riding dynamic in the park overnight.
Soon after that ordeal, we had the first of our fairies fly into the Park and set up their fairy doors for young ones to seek out, as well as introducing Electric Car Chargers in the car park. Zipline business continued to grow and we changed up our Cafe menu to appeal to a wider customer base.
2020 came with our new sustainable riding tops made from old fishing nets and we really started to find our feet...but if we've learned anything during our time in business, it is to expect the unexpected, and sure enough we were about to face another major challenge as Coronavirus entered our vocabulary and began to play havoc around the world.
We closed our doors in March and participated in the lockdown with the rest of the country. Then mid-May we re-opened the Park, for what was its third official opening in four years.
We came out of the gates firing, with several projects underway. The creation of our free kids loop and the finalisation of the Valley Walking Loop and we were able to finally allow E-Bikes on the lift.
In Spring, with the help of Meridian and the Christchurch Foundation we planted over 5,000 native plants as the start of the Tui Corridor project, bringing the iconic Tui back to Christchurch.
Lockdown provided us with the opportunity to review our pricing and operational hours and we were excited to reduce the cost of the Annual pass for locals and to introduce Under 10's riding for free!
We also had our grand opening of our new entrance road ... only 4 years in the making. October saw CAP host The Phoenix Enduro for its second time with over 150 riders competing.
Finally we finish 2020 achieving GOLD standard Qualmark accreditation. The award "recognises the best sustainable tourism businesses in New Zealand, with the delivery of exceptional customer experiences an integrated part of everything they do” and “identifies those businesses leading the way in making the New Zealand tourism industry and world class sustainable visitor destination. We couldn't be more thrilled.
Now, in December 2020, we are still here, alive and kicking. As we head into our fifth summer, we can offer riders 33 different bike trails with something for every skill level.
There is no doubt that we have faced our share of challenges in the first four years of our life, but with the support of our local community we have made it through and grown from each experience. It is you, the community, who make the park what it is today so thank you! We still have a long way to go however and so much more we want to do but we could not be more stoked to continue to provide great experiences to all who come through our gates and we look forward to the next four years being equally exciting (but perhaps a little less challenging...)!
From 16 December 2016 to 15 December 2020 we have:
- We have officially opened the Park 3 times in 4 years.
- Made and sold over 91,000 coffees in our Café;
- Sold over 34 tonnes of fries (the weight of 9 fully grown Hippos!!);
- The individual with the most number of uplifts has spent 322 hours (13.5 days) sitting on the lift and has done 911,625 metres of descending.
- The oldest person who has flown the zipline is 95 years old.
- June 2020 was our wettest month with 256mm of rain fall.
- August 2020 was the only month in which we haven't had our operation affected by wind hold on the chair.
- This year over 100,000 riders visit the park .. despite being closed for COVID. That's huge!
- 18,000 people have taken on our ziplines.
Trail maps through the years!
(Yes we really did open with just 2 trails initially post fire!?)