IMBA Announces 2014 Epics, Ride Centers and Other Model Trails
For Immediate Release 08-06-2014
markeller [at] imba [dot] com (Contact: Mark Eller)
IMBA Communications Director
303-545-9011 ext. 115
Once a year, IMBA recognizes outstanding mountain bike trails and locations with the IMBA Model Trail awards. The goal of this program—which encompasses Epics, Ride Centers, Flow Trails and, new this year, Community Bike Parks—is to inspire and inform so that we can all have more great places to ride. We announced the winners a bit early this year in order to recognize them publicly at the 2014 IMBA World Summit.
This year, we have one of our largest classes with 10 new Ride Centers, six Epics, four Flow Trails and two Community Bike Parks, in locations ranging from Australia to Canada, and from Arkansas to Wyoming. IMBA received a record number of applications, all of which were painstakingly evaluated over the course of several months by the IMBA Trail Solutions team and IMBA’s region directors.
We are confident that these awardees should go on your short list of riding destinations.These are the trails worth traveling to, the best places to introduce someone to the sport we all love and are the facilities builders and advocates should look to for inspiration. They vary from gorgeous adventures in the backcountry to innovative trail systems located near large population centers.
The Ride Center designation represents IMBA's recognition of large-scale mountain bike destinations that offer a wide range of great trails for every riding style. Ride Centers not only invite you to plan a multi-day trip with your full quiver of mountain bikes and the whole family, they take care of you both on and off the trail by being places where mountain bikers are welcomed.
- Bentonville, AR; Silver-level
- Santa Fe, NM; Silver-level
- Silver Star Resort, B.C., Canada; Silver-level
- Teton Region: Jackson, WY, to Driggs, ID; Silver-level
- Tucson, AZ; Silver-level
- Chequamegon, WI; Bronze-level
- Fayetteville, AR; Bronze-level
- Marquette, MI; Bronze-level
- Roaring Fork/Aspen Snowmass, CO; Bronze-level
- Valley of the Sun: Phoenix-Scottsdale, AZ; Bronze-level
IMBA has used the Epic® designation for more than a decade. With the addition of new Model Trail classifications in recent years, IMBA has returned the Epics to the original intent of the designation—demanding, singletrack adventures in a natural setting. The current Epics celebrate true backcountry riding experiences that are technically and physically challenging, more than 80 percent singletrack and at least 20 miles in length. All of theses Epics offer amazing opportunities to interact with the natural world.
- Australian Alpine Epic Trail, Australia — Built by the resort team at Mt. Buller, the country's only Ride Center, this half- to full-day, 35-mile ride delivers a stunning journey through backcountry wild lands.
- Cannell Trail, Sherman Pass, CA — This 26-mile ride in the Sierra Mountains is remote and can take anywhere from three hours to a full day to complete. Highlights include “The Plunge,” a near-continuous descent of 5,000 feet.
- Goodwater Trail, Lake Georgetown, TX — This 26-mile loop circumnavigates Lake Georgetown (near Austin), offering sweeping views of the lake as it weaves through cedar stands and cactus-strewn fields of limestone. The hills are minimal but the trail is very technical.
- Grand Targhee Loop, WY — This 25-mile ride is on 100 percent singletrack and begins and ends conveniently at the Grand Targhee Resort. It offers alpine meadows blanketed in wildflowers, forests of pine and aspen trees, and jaw-dropping views of the Tetons.
- Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, AR — This trail offers 45 miles of singletrack along the southern shore of Lake Ouachita in west-central Arkansas. Prepare for a deep woods experience that includes panoramic views of the lake and its emerald islands.
- Upper Buffalo Trail, AR — The Upper Buffalo Mountain Bike Trail offers about 40 miles of singletrack surrounding the highest point in the Ozark Mountains. This gem of Midwest riding laces around the headwaters of the Buffalo National River on a mixture of narrow, hand-built singletrack and machine-cut flow trails.
As the sport of mountain biking has evolved over the past decades, it has driven the development of a new style of trail with features and concepts that push the limits of traditional singletrack. Flow trails are what you make them: leisurely rides with your kids where beginners can roll over dirt features and bypass technical ones, or an exploration of skills and airtime for fast, talented riders.
- Flow Country Trail Petzen, Karnten, Austria
- Kashmir Trail, Whitefish Mountain Resort, MT
- Saddle Up Trail, Sun Valley, ID
- Superflow Trail, Czech Republic
IMBA added recognition of Community Bike Parks to its Model Trail awards to recognize an important and emerging category of trail design. Well-designed bike parks accommodate a variety of skill levels, with progressive features and flow-based designs that encourage cyclists of all abilities, on all kinds of bikes, to ride together and learn from one another in the same space, at the same time. Don’t miss IMBA’s forthcoming book, Bike Parks: IMBA’s Guide to New School Trails, to be released this fall.
- Rockburn Branch Skills Park, Elkridge, MD
- Valmont Bike Park, Boulder, CO
IMBA’s dream is to have a trail worthy of a "model" designation in every mountain biker’s backyard. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our advocates around the world, IMBA’s U.S. Regional Director program, seeds sown by the Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew and the thousands of trail miles designed and built by mountain bike groups and IMBA Trail Solutions nationwide, we’re all on our way to realizing that dream together.