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Australian MTB summit

The inaugural Australian Mountain Bike Summit was held on 4th and 5th of December at the Mt Buller ski resort.

Western Australia sent a strong team of 10 delegates to the mtb summit.

Reps from DPaW, DSR, WAMBA, club reps and local govt people were among the mix of reps to represent the driving force of trail advocacy from govt level to grass roots advocacy.

The two-day Summit program featured a range of local and international industry experts including Joey Klein, Trail Specialist from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), Glen Jacobs, Joel Martinez  (Stevens Pass , Washington)Director at World Trail, and Shane Coppin, CEO at Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA).  A large range of speakers represented all aspects of mountain biking  nationally from state to local groups, giving a run down of what is happening at their level and the impact its having on the sport and trail advocacy.

Topics that were covered include:

- Industry best practice trails and emerging trail trends

- Trail advocacy and land management

- The current state of the Australian mountain bike market and future trends

- Industry development

- Developing sustainable trail funding models

- Mountain bikes and the media

- Industry issues and required actions

- Trail building: new products, techniques and supplies

- Securing or developing successful mountain bike events

- The future role and strategy of Mountain Bike Australia


Set at the Mt Buller Resort, the location was a fitting setting as the resort is a also a mtb trails hub with a multitude of trails to explore from beginner, advanced, DH and epic trails for those wishing to do some riding and test their skills.

Rod Annear from DPaW gave a rundown of how advocacy has advanced in WA and Kersten Stender gave a presentation on funding trail maintenance. The response from the other delegates towards WA shows that we are well advanced in comparison to the rest of the nation in regards to top down planning. However we are a little behind in some respects with trails on the ground but this looks to change in the medium term.

Sitting and listening through the different speakers talk of their experiences and where the current industry is at and where it's going was a very thought provoking experience, in that it has been done in many different ways all just to getting riders and trails to fit together.  

Networking between the delegates was the major part of the conference, that's where we mingle freely and talk over dinner or a couple of drinks about our experiences, and discuss any questions we have that are relevant to our own background. This is a powerful way to get to know each other and bring light to any answers we need for our own situation at any level. Being able to freely talk to

keynote speakers, trail builders, Govt people at all levels, advocacy groups and industry groups on a one to one basis bouncing ideas and problem solving was a highlight of the summit.

Behind the scenes there were also talks and meetings to discuss the trail building industry to formalise it to bring some standards and create an alliance of builders in order to bring a better end product to the end user.

At the end of the two day summit, it was felt that it was all positive in bringing stakeholders together for a common cause. This is the 1st time a MTB specific national conference has been held which has been a long time coming. We are all looking forward to next year's national MTB summit.

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