STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (BRAIN) — IMBA’S biennial World Summit kicks off Thursday in this Colorado Rocky Mountain resort with panels ranging from risk management to how best to manage volunteers.
But two sessions on the agenda will be carefully monitored by industry executives — e-mountain bikes and trail access, and management strategies for fat bikes. Fat bikes are a quick growing category for the industry. Both topics raise issues within the advocacy community.
More than 350 volunteers, land managers, and more than a dozen industry sponsors are attending including IMBA representatives from more than a dozen nations, said Mark Eller, IMBA’s communications manager.
While the four-day summit offers a wide variety of panels for attendees, Steamboat has miles of mountain bike trails that IMBA members will also get a chance to ride.
As for e-bike trail access, the Friday afternoon panel includes NICA’s executive director Austin McInerny, who will moderate the discussion. Joining him will be Mike Van Abel, IMBA’s executive director, SRAM’s Randy Neufeld, Larry Pizzi from Currie Technologies and Samuel Benedict from Specialized.
Electric-assist mountain bikes are an emerging category and the panel will discuss evolving management strategies. Currently, IMBA’s policy is to keep all motorized vehicles, including e-bikes, off trails designated as non-motorized.
The fat bike panel includes QBP’s Gary Sjoquist, Andy Williams from Grand Targhee Resort, and Candy Fletcher, recreation marketing director for Marquette, Michigan’s convention and visitors bureau.
Fat-tire cycling, considered a fad just a few years ago, has grown into a significant trend, particularly in the Midwest. Their go-everywhere capability raises issues on how best to manage their use at Nordic facilities, multi-use trails and public beaches.