International Mountain Biking Association World Summit headed to Steamboat in 2014
November 13, 2013
Steamboat Springs — Routt County Riders Vice President Eric Meyer said there's been a flood of calls and inquiries since Steamboat Springs passed Amendment 2A, which will help fund area trail building with millions of dollars throughout the next decade.
Rather than ask, "How'd they do that?" one organization plans to come to find out.
The International Mountain Biking Association announced this week that Steamboat Springs will play host in August to the 2014 IMBA World Summit, an event that is expected to bring more than 400 mountain bike riders to town from around the world.
"It's a pretty big deal," Meyer said. "We've just been having success after success this summer, and now I don't think they could say ‘no.’"
Steamboat was one of 16 locations to apply to the Boulder-based organization and beat out fellow Colorado biking hubs Breckenridge and Crested Butte in the finals. This is the first time the biennial event has taken place in Colorado. The most recent edition, in 2012, was in Santa Fe, N.M. Previously, hosts have included many of the very best cycling hot spots: Whistler, British Columbia; Moab, Utah; and Park City, Utah.
Steamboat applied in the spring after Routt County Riders joined as an IMBA chapter a year ago.
"There was a bunch of criteria. Certainly, some of it was the usual stuff, like lodging and meeting space availability, but beyond that, we were looking for a destination worthy of attracting mountain bikers from across the world," said Terry Breheny, IMBA events manager and conference director. "Then we were looking for community involvement. With a super strong chapter in Steamboat with Routt County Riders and all the momentum Steamboat has had lately with all things cycling, it made it very appealing, as well."
The date is set for Aug. 20 to 24, but many of the particulars still are being decided. If it's anything like previous conferences, it will appeal to leaders of cycling efforts in a variety of communities as well as include plenty of riding, a few cold beers and a lot of fun.
The conference cost about $350 for each attendee in 2012.
"It was way cool," said Steamboat's Gretchen Sehler, who attended the Park City version in 2008.
She said the event turns into an idea bazaar with enthusiasts from all corners swapping stories about how they launched and finished trail projects and leaders from many of those projects lecturing at the convention.
The 2012 agenda included many speakers focused on drawing mountain biking tourism and working with other organizations for sessions including “Build It and They Will Come: MTB Tourism,” “Maximizing MTB Opportunities at Ski Areas,” “Driving Community Success with Trails” and “Recruiting and Keeping Great Volunteers.”
"The more you're willing to share your knowledge and how you've done things and what worked for you, the more people can take it home and tweak it to their areas," Sehler said. "The more mountain biking throughout the country, the better."
Meyer said it was a community effort to land the conference with help coming from organizations like the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association as well as private-sector lodging companies and sports operations like Honey Stinger and Moots.
It will take another effort to get Steamboat ready, he said.
"It would be ideal to have another 8 to 10 miles of new trail ready for this," he said.
He pointed to projects like the Morning Gloria trail on Emerald Mountain and a Sunshine trail reroute at Steamboat Ski Area.
"When the 2A vote was announced, it just exploded through venues like IMBA and for a number of other clubs, clubs that have been doing it better than us in recent years, it blew their minds and got a lot of attention," Meyer said. "We'll need to work real hard next summer to be ready, to get trails approved and built and polished, looking good, so they all go home and spread the good word."