Mountain Rider’s Alliance (MRA) has launched its latest initiative, the Mountain Playground Group, designed to assist community and independent ski areas to be more viable. This entrepreneurial and collaborative approach will allow stand alone ski areas a better chance of survival by working together, including participating in a joint marketing campaign. For the 2015-16 season, 6 ski areas in the US and Canada are banding together to reduce expenses while increasing efficiencies and profits.
Located in the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska, this Mountain Playground will be a model of MRA’s vision to create a destination that has minimal focus on infrastructure and more emphasis on community integration, environmental respect, and riders’ opportunity. Three surface lifts will offer skiing for all abilities and provide access to 10,000 acres of world class terrain.
KTVA, Channel 11 covers the story…
Dave Scanlan, Manitoba Mountain Project Manager, discusses project in interview with NASJA President, Jerry Hoffman…
MRA has been working with Maine’s Mt. Abram since 2010-11. In 2013, MRA began managing the ski area operations. Mt Abram is Maine’s Authentic Skiing and Riding Experience, in operation since 1960, offering 51 trails and 1,150 vertical feet over 560 acres.
Mt Abram won the 2012 Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence by the National Ski Areas Association. In 2012, it was the second ski area in North America to install E/V Chargers. In 2013, Mt. Abram received a USDA REAP Grant to install a large solar array. In October, 2014 the ski area installed 803 solar panels, and will be creating approximately 70% of their annual energy consumption on-site. MRA Co-founder Dave Scanlan serves as Mt Abram’s General Manager.
Mt. Ashland contracted MRA as a consultant after the dismal 2013-14 season, where the ski area never opened. The non-profit owned ski area has 220 acres, 1,150 vertical feet and 4 lifts, with mostly advanced terrain, which is unique to community ski areas.
During MRA’s tenure working with Mt. Ashalnd, the ski area was successfully rebranded and repositioned, a regional transportation program was established, a live music series inaugurated and community engagement was greatly enhanced.
MRA has been collaborating with the Antelope Butte Foundation, a volunteer effort to reopen the Antelope Butte Ski and Recreation Area, since 2012. Located in the Big Horn Mountains of northern Wyoming, ABF is working to reopen as a ski and recreation area. In March, 2015, MRA CEO was hired as interim Executive Director. Antelope Butte was last in operation during the 2004-2005 season.