The mountains are our playground. While, at times, it is fun to forget about our worries and just enjoy shredding up our wintery playground, we cannot forget about our responsibility to take care of it. This what the Mountain Rider’s Alliance is dedicated to: influencing positive changes in the ski area industry. It is MRA’s priority to develop sustainable “Mountain Playgrounds” that offer an authentic riding experience, help the environment thrive, and promote prosperity in our local ski towns. This group of like-minded people has a mission to develop values-based, environmentally friendly, rider-centric Mountain Playgrounds that encourage alternative energy creation while reducing their carbon footprint. The MRA’s newest and biggest step in this mission is their recent partnership with Maine’s Mt. Abram. The joint effort aims to boost regional visitation, increase sustainability awareness, and create a business model for other community-oriented ski areas worldwide.
Located 90 minutes from Portland, Maine, Mt. Abram is a 560-acre privately owned and operated ski area that recently won the 2012 Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence by the National Ski Areas Association. Mt. Abram offers 1,150 feet of vertical drop, affordable access, and an alternatively laid-back vibe to nearby mega-resorts. Mt. Abram is owned and operated by Maine businessman and recent Maine Sports Hall of Fame inductee Matt Hancock.
“Mt. Abram’s greatness doesn’t have to be restricted to Maine,” stated Hancock. “There are a number of other independent ski areas that would fit well into this model. Mt. Abram’s collaboration with MRA is about skiing, plain and simple: a thriving business model away from the commercialized, overpriced, factory outdoor experience at the mega-resorts. Mt Abram’s niche – soulfulness, great terrain, skier-centricity, and enjoying the outdoors with family and friends – is what attracts people to the sport. MRA was founded to instill and promote these same characteristics in an industry that is moving away from what we love about skiing.”
This partnership with Mt. Abram represents MRA’s first conversion of an existing ski area. Mt. Abram will remain open to the public without significant changes to its operating plan. The only difference is it will be fostering MRA’s plans for a sustainable ski industry, focused on keeping environmental, community and rider concerns ahead of short-sighted decision making.
“We started this movement in 2009,” said MRA co-founder Jamie Schectman. “Since then, we’ve seen thousands of passionate folks around the world support the preservation of our sport. It’s about the local communities, generating our own energy, reducing our carbon footprint, and most importantly sliding downhill on snow. With Mt. Abram’s dedication to the community and environment, we couldn’t ask for a better partner. Supporting this mission is just the beginning. We’re building a replicative model to save what we love about skiing, and offer a new direction for ski areas around the world.”
Teamed up with the MRA, Mt. Abram will not only be giving nature’s gift the respect it deserves, but be providing a better community for their fellow snow-lovers. To “support the future of skiing” or learn more about MRA, go to http://www.indiegogo.com/supportthefutureofskiing.