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National Ski Area Association and IMBA Continue Partnership

The National Ski Area Association (NSAA) and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) have formed a partnership aimed at increasing visitation and improving mountain bike experiences during the summer season at ski areas.  NSAA and IMBA inked a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last week to coincide with the passage of the summer activities bill in Congress that was pushed by both parties.

IMBA’s Trail Solutions program has worked extensively in the industry with Vail, Park City, Seven Springs, Arapahoe Basin, Sun Valley, Timberline, and Winter Park.  Trail Solutions provide resorts with mountain biking expertise and resources including design, construction, and guidance on risk management for mountain bike operations. From beginner flow trails to expert-only jumps lines, IMBA Trail Solutions provides an array of resources for ski area development.

IMBA can also help ski areas market their mountain bike programs. NSAA members are invited to join the IMBA Destinations marketing program.  To celebrate the new partnership, when NSAA members join IMBA as a Destinations Member they will receive a complimentary copy of IMBA's award-winning books, Trail Solutions and Managing Mountain Biking.

IMBA and NSAA's interests are often aligned in Washington, D.C., and IMBA supported the NSAA’s summer activity bill and assisted NSAA with advocacy on the bill. IMBA is widely recognized as the leading authority on sustainable mountain bike trail and bike park design and a leading force behind the popularity of the sport through their work with land managers, ski areas, U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and local bike clubs.

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The Eastern Sierra boasts of a long standing Mountain Bike Park. Mammoth Mountain's Bike Park is one of the oldest in the country. It has proved an excellent shoulder season builder. MMSA faced considerable challenges in implementing the program as they had to change their use permit to allow for this seasonal activity. This bill takes what works and applies it as a broad rule. It should quickly open doors for more Bike Parks.
Ski areas are in a particularly good position to offer downhill/ extreme courses not readily compatible with multiple use trails. The lift access is also a major amenity for such downhill/ technical courses with the 50 pound bikes used. It is almost manditory to have such challenge courses be closed courses, just as race courses for skier/boarders must be segregated from the majority on the slopes.
MMSA has a model program, an experiment largely successful. There is always some trade off, as a great ski season limits the bike use, or a dry year means a better bike season. But the addition of summer activities should consistently add economic viability to these resorts.