With the Canadian season still a couple months out due to a particularly snow heavy winter, IMBA Canada Trail Solutions took the opportunity to participate in two trail specific gatherings in the south eastern US. First the spring IMBA Trail Solutions Guru Gathering and then the Professional Trail Builders Association Conference.

Traveling along side the Canadian Trail Care Crew, Daniel Scott met up with his American counterparts in central Alabama for a week of discussion and design. Trail Solutions US has a new 32km (22 mile) trail network project that they needed corridor flagged so we all set out in five teams to field proof the conceptual plan with rapid success – It is amazing what eleven skilled trail specialists can accomplish with a restrictive timeline and temperamental weather system. When the weather turned foul we headed for shelter and over the course of three days conducted round table discussions on topics such as what constitutes a “bike park”, trail design nomenclature and a new “standardized of trail difficulty rating system”. While some of the topics discussed are far from ready for public consumption, it was rewarding to see that many of the topics from previous gatherings were being prepared for press sometime in the near future… stay tuned for more on this!

With a successful week in Alabama over, both the Canadian and US teams headed to the Professional Trail Builders Association’s bi-annual conference. Throughout this week long conference, the Trail Solutions crew upgraded or renewed their training certifications, attended various lectures and mingled with colleagues and friends. While IMBA Canada has attended multiple conferences in the past, this one marked a new milestone as we were applying for separate membership Canadian-specific Trail Solutions membership. The PTBA is the leading organization for trail-related professionals within North America and membership would provide IMBA Canada with more opportunities to participate in trail projects throughout the country. Daniel Scott presented our credentials during the appointed new applicant session and was unanimously voted into the PTBA by the attending membership.

All in all it was a fantastic way to commence the 2011 season and one which provided both Trail Solutions and the Trail Care Crew with new knowledge to put to practice, new friends and colleagues to share and collaborate with and even a few fun riding memories to boot!

Lastly, a huge thank you to Glenn Cross, manager of “Braun’s is… BICYCLES” bike shop in Guelph Ontario, for lending his custom Rocky Mountain Slayer to one of our staff under last minute circumstances. The bike proved invaluable and his help was unprecedented.