The bike center that was at SF was a world apart from what was at Acres, in so much that down hill and free ride were just starting to evolve and were changing at a rapid pace, along with the bike technology. Hell, half the bikes in my garage that I pedal to the top of hyak have better suspension technology and more travel than purpose built DH rigs of the era. The World Cup race that came to the pass did a lot to usher this in. After that there was no looking back for most gravity riders. While some people did ride the trails to the East at that point, it wasn't really what lift served riding was evolving into. Riders just looking for an easy way up to ride XC trails is a pretty limited audience. The majority demographic that wants to ride a lift with a heavy bike, armored to the gills and they want to ride direct, technical lines that have features like chutes, drops, etc.