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New IMBA Ride Centers announced

New IMBA Ride Centers

Riding Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Photo by Sam Dean

The International Mountain Bicycling Association has announced the newest recipients of its IMBA Ride Center designation. The three locations, one in Virginia and two in Colorado, were extensively vetted by IMBA’s trail design professionals and represent the pinnacle of mountain biking communities.

  • Virginia’s Blue Ridge Silver-Level IMBA Ride Center: Roanoke, Virginia, USA
  • Vail Valley Silver-Level IMBA Ride Center: Eagle County, Colorado, USA
  • Steamboat Bike Town Silver-Level IMBA Ride Center: Steamboat Springs, Colorado, USA (Upgraded from previous Bronze-Level Ride Center status)

“These Ride Center status designations solidify the enthusiasm for mountain biking in each of these communities, and recognizes them as some of today’s greatest mountain bike destinations,” said Dave Wiens, IMBA Executive Director. “Trails improve communities, from the local rider to the city’s bottom line. We look forward to the many ways Virginia’s Blue Ridge, Vail Valley and Steamboat Bike Town will thrive with their new Ride Center designations.”

The additions of Roanoke and the Vail Valley bring the total number of IMBA Ride Centers to 39 (six Gold, 15 Silver, 18 Bronze), nine of which are outside of the U.S. Virginia and Colorado now each have three Ride Centers, alongside Arkansas and Minnesota. Idaho leads the U.S. states with four Ride Centers.

IMBA Ride Centers feature extensive trail networks, masterfully designed for mountain bikers of every skill level and built by professional trail builders and local volunteers. From backcountry adventures to shuttle-served gravity trails, and from expert-only trails to family-friendly riding, mountain bikers can expect the best the sport has to offer at an IMBA Ride Center. Trails systems are integrated, well-designed, and embraced by the surrounding communities for the economic, tourism and other benefits they provide.

The next application period for Ride Center designations and category upgrades will open in early June.

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Silver-Level IMBA Ride Center in Roanoke, Virginia

Virginia’s Blue Ridge is centered around the “Star City” of Roanoke, bordered on all sides by forested public lands, scenic parkways, and municipal parks. There seem to be singletrack trails wiggling through every plot of public land, in addition to major attractions like the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway. Mill Mountain features fast, fun trails that crisscross what is considered the big backyard for local mountain bikers. Carvin’s Cove, a lake encircled by almost 13,000 acres of forest, offers a network of singletrack that delivers great riding for every ability level. Venture into George Washington and Jefferson National Forests and the trails turn rugged and rocky. Services are abundant, and the locals point out there are “too many breweries to list.”

“Obtaining an IMBA Silver-Level Ride Center designation is extremely rewarding for Roanoke in Virginia’s Blue Ridge,” said Kristine McCormick, President of Roanoke IMBA. “Our diverse trail offerings and ongoing development of new trails surrounded by the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains creates an inviting Metro-Mountain Adventure for mountain bike enthusiasts. Come see for yourself!”

New IMBA Ride Centers

The stunning Vail Valley. Photo by Jeff Cricco

Vail Valley Silver-Level IMBA Ride Center in Eagle County, Colorado

The Vail Valley has long been one of America’s favorite recreation designations, and has been on a steady drive over the past few decades to create singletrack close to the area’s mountain communities. The valley is unique in that it encompasses the arid landscapes of Eagle, Avon and Edwards, and the lush aspen and evergreen forests of Beaver Creek and Vail. Easier trails in Avon and Eagle are accessible from town and paved bike paths. For a significant adventure: big climbs, challenging descents and incredible alpine landscapes can be found on Vail’s most quintessential rides (both lift-served and not). Regular free bus service, several paved paths and abundant food and lodging options means the Vail Valley is about so much more than winter sports.

“We’re very proud of the county-wide effort behind our IMBA Silver-Level Ride Center designation,” said Rich Carroll, President of Vail Valley Trail Connection (the nonprofit that submitted the application in partnership with the local IMBA chapter). “Our community is making great strides to ensure that our [natural-surface] trail network is world-class and on par with the Vail Valley’s renowned winter recreation experience.”

New IMBA Ride Centers

Into the Aspen in Steamboat. Photo courtesy IMBA

Steamboat Bike Town Silver-Level IMBA Ride Center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Steamboat Springs, aka “Bike Town USA,” initially raised its profile by earning a Bronze Ride Center rating and hosting the IMBA World Summit in 2012. With the passing of a tax referendum, an influx of funding came available to finance a singletrack transformation and the city has run with it. Most rides begin and end in town and feature long climbs, big views, “rugged flow” and incredible fall color. Those seeking gravity will find it at the lift-serviced Steamboat Resort Bike Park. All-day adventures are easy to come by on adjacent Forest Service trails, while family members can relax at local hot springs, pedal paved bike paths or explore the charming shops and restaurants of downtown.

“New trails, such as Buffalo Pass’s 11.3-mile meandering Flash of Gold, advanced BTR and Grouse, and family-friendly Lunch Loops have been a key area of focus for Steamboat. We’re thrilled to have external validation from IMBA that our community efforts have been recognized,” said Amy Charity, Executive Director of Steamboat Bike Town USA.

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