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From Snow to Spokes

February 25, 2015

Crowd funding has created many successes across the globe. From humble beginnings in 1997 it is now used in almost every facet of business.

One recent application was by ski resort manager, Joel Martinez who also happens to be pretty-switched on about all things mountain biking.

As the Vice President of Operations at Stevens Pass in Washington State, Joel and his good friend, the late Chris Rudolph, were key to turning the ski resort into a mountain bike park. And they got it all going thanks to crowd sourcing.

With the white season becoming increasingly short-lived, Joel knew that Stevens Pass had to look beyond the snow. An IMBA world conference in 2006 sparked their interest – perhaps mountain biking was the answer?

No. No. No.

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At every step of the way Joel and his team encountered road blocks. A feasibility study advised that the incredibly steep, rocky terrain was not conducive to MTB trail building, and the concept shouldn't be progressed. Joel disagreed.

He then brought together the two major key stakeholders who would be crucial to realizing the project – the Forest Services and the Board of Directors. Two bodies with fundamentally different priorities; one focused on sustainability and wildlife; the other on business plans, short and long-term growth, forecasted figures… A tough gig. Joel and his team persevered to win over both bodies, getting them physically out amongst it and experiencing first-hand just what Stevens Pass might have to offer if given the chance.

It wasn't a fast process, but he eventually got them both on side; just in time for the downturn in the economy. The Board pulled in their purse strings and re-negged on their initial commitment to support.

They were back to the beginning.

And this is where things got really interesting. We caught up with Joel at the Mt Buller MTB Summit to find out more…

BikeExchange was a guest at the Mt Buller Chalet during the MTB Summit.

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