Formal cooperation could lead to expanded cycling opportunities at ski areas the next few years
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Developed mountain bike activities at ski resorts around the country could get a boost from a new partnership between the National Ski Areas Association and the International Mountain Bicycling Association aiming to increase visitation and improve summer mountain biking experiences at U.S. ski areas.
The two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding about the same time Congress passed a ski area summer use bill that could ease permitting for more extensive mountain bike facilities than currently exist. The mountain bike organization helped the ski industry lobby for passage of the summer use bill.
“Formalizing our partnership with IMBA is a logical progression, and we look forward to strengthening our symbiotic relationship further and leveraging the resources of both of our organizations toward the end benefit of our valued members,” NSAA president Michael Berry said in a press release.
As part of the agreement, IMBA will provide mountain biking expertise and resources for ski areas seeking to expand on-mountain cycling opportunities. That could include help with trail design and consulting, signage, and even risk management.
IMBA will also help participating ski areas market mountain bike programs through the destinations program, a web-based mountain bike travel planning resource. Cyclists use the site to to locate mountain bike opportunities at ski areas, bike parks, bike-friendly accommodations, tour operators and bike shops through an online directory and locator map.
A number of ski areas have already joined IMBA. For example, Kirkwood Mountain Resort in California, a long-standing IMBA member, helped pilot the IMBA Sustainable Trails program in 2010, which enables cyclists to make an optional $2 donation to IMBA’s Sustainable Trails Fund.
“Even though Kirkwood builds and maintains all our own trails, without IMBA advocacy work and pioneering sustainable trail technology, we would have far fewer riders interested in our resort,” said Ricky Newberry, Kirkwood’s mountain Bbike park manager. “We are excited to continue to grow our support for IMBA and the sport, while leveraging the new Destinations program.”
IMBA has worked extensively with other ski areas including Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin, Vail Mountain, and Winter Park Resort, Utah’s Park City Mountain Resort, Idaho’s Sun Valley Resort, and Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania.