Welcome to The Base, a website dedicated to mountain biking and snowboarding youth camps. Here you can find information on private and semi-private coaching, trips, tours, weekend programs and team building workshops – some call ‘em downhill racing or racing training; others call ‘em improvement programs. We’ll also talk a little about the organizations that contribute to a Base-ic lifestyle centered on trail biking, folks like those of the Moose Mountain Bike Trail Society (MMBTS) and the Professional Mountain Bike Instructors Association (PMBIA).
The popularity of trail biking and snowboarding
Beginning in 2008, wide-ranging polls taken by various groups on both sides of the United States/Canada border have consistently put trail biking and snowboarding, along with skateboarding, in the top three among “extreme sports” in participation. Although the numbers for extreme sports as regular recreational activity are down somewhat over the past 10 years or so, the unfortunate truth is that numbers in virtually all participatory sports – except for hockey in Canada – are down in this time frame.
Moose Mountain: Mecca of hikers, bikers and snowboarders in winter
One of Canada’s most popular nature trail spots – and undoubtedly Alberta’s topper – is Moose Mountain. Thousands annually make the trip to the 8000-foot peak by bike or foot and new trails open virtually every year. The mid-2000’s saw construction of the first bike trail on the Moose and soon thereafter came the Moose Mountain Bike Trail Society (MMBTS); more on this group below.
In the 2010’s, Moose Mountain has slowly become a jewel in the crown of Alberta tourist attractions and international competitions. At least seven multi-stage hiking events are now run regularly on the mountain, while 2017 saw the introduction of the MMBTS’s four-stage trail race.
The MMBTS and the PMBIA
Formed in 2009, the Moose Mountain Bike Trail Society (MMBTS) is a recognized non-profit association which is pledged to maintain the Moose Mountain bike trails ecologically. They also do a fine job in popularizing Moose Mountain as a national trail biking location and hosted the 2017 “MooseDuro” race mentioned above.
The Professional Mountain Bike Instructors Association’s title speaks for itself. This North American group began offering standardized courses in 2006 and have since grown to represent over 80% of all mountain biking courses offered in the U.S. and Canada. Thanks in part to their association with Moose Mountain, PMBIA enjoys a virtual monopoly in Alberta. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors: CasinoCanada.com, the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and Northface.
Mountain Bike Tourism: Wave of the Future?
The combination of mountain biking’s popularity and ever-increasing personalization in the world of commerce, a new niche market has risen in the 21st century: Extreme sports-themed tourism. Within this niche we may find the sub-niche of Mountain Bike Tourism, and the Pacific Northwest in particular would seem to be a natural breeding ground for such specialization after the province’s success in extreme sports tourism in general.
The Mountain Bike Tourism Association (MBTA) is proof of the popularity of mountain biking in British Columbia and throughout Western Canada, promoting as it does the sport throughout Canada’s westerly half. In three provinces, the MBTA holds/sponsors classes, training and even seminars on all aspects of offering attractive tourist attractions.
As the MBTA mission statement reads in part “we work collaboratively with a network of businesses, bike clubs, communities, resorts, and government agencies to achieve our goal: to have Western Canada recognized for its world-class sustainable trails and abundant mountain biking experiences that are supported by enthusiastic communities and resort operators offering high-quality services.”
The Base thinks the future is in decent hands.