At the fundraiser on April 15, SWMMBA received their largest donation from the Hungry Moose, $5,000. PHOTO COURTESY OF SHANNON STEELE/BOARD VERSION BY RICHARD HAYES

Pump track, coming soon

SWMMBA ushers in mountain biking season

Easter weekend brought the sunshine and Copper City outside of Three Forks was packed. The Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association (SWMMBA) had a booth out in the desert of southwest Montana Easter Sunday.

SWMMBA promotes mountain bike access and trail maintence across southwest Montana and has a chapter in Big Sky. Last Thursday, the group put on a fundraiser outside the Wilson Hotel to raise money for a pump track.

“It actually went really well,” Shannon Steele, SWMMBA development director, said. “I was surprised to see that many people.” She guessed over the three-hour event, around 80 people stopped by. New folks were introduced to SWMMBA and Steele got to meet other members of the mountain biking community she had heard of before, but not met in person.

The pump track will go next to the skate park in the Big Sky Community Park and comprise of about 4,000 square feet. The goal with the fundraiser was to remind people that SWMMBA is ready to jump into the spring season and ideally raise $18,000 to kickstart the pump track.  That 18K would help pay for construction, dirt or clay to supplement the track and any equipment needed. The goal is to start the project in June.

“The biggest thing we wanted to focus on was just getting the word out that SWMMBA Big Sky exists and getting people excited about mountain biking,” Steele said.

Richard Hayes with Integrated Trail Lab is designing the course. It will consist of a bunch of ‘woops,’ Steele said, or little hills and burms—big, wide, dug in turns. The goal is that once on the course, a mountain biker does not have to pedal—they use their body to absorb the features and just ‘pump’ through, flowing over the obstacles.

“No matter if you’re a cross country rider or a downhill rider, you’re going to benefit from using the pump track. It’s going to be a huge hit for kids getting into mountain biking,” Steele said. She has seen some striders, bikes for munchkins without wheels that they just push with their legs, on different pump tracks. Overall, the track can be used for those wanting to get into biking, or those that want to work on their technique.

The first phase of the project is to build the track, laying out the features in dirt or clay. Once this is completed, bikers can start playing with it. It will be similar to the pump track available at Copper City at this point.

Phase two involves paving the pump track, making it usable in the early part of mountain biking season, and expanding. Steele said the plan is to double in size, moving the volleyball courts to do so.

Those who could not make the fundraiser last week can still donate to support this project by scanning the QR code. If mountain biking enthusiasts want to stay involved, they can become a member of SWMMBA and receive emails about trail maintence days, group rides and other volunteer efforts by visiting https://www.southwestmontanamba.org/join.

“We just want to get people involved,” Steele said.

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