Mountain bikers have descended upon Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and will soon flock to Whitefish, Montana—and it's all thanks to the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). The organization's annual summit is happening right now, and it's just given kudos to Whitefish Resort's new Kashmir Trail, calling it a model flow trail.
That's a sign of positive developments for two reasons. Kashmir's success just a year after its completion signals a shift for resorts in the western United States, which are increasingly offering better options for summer sports. What makes Kashmir so good? "It's smooth, every corner has a berm, and it's kind of effortless to ride," Whitefish resident Pete Costain told the Whitefish Pilot. "It's essentially dirt art."
Flow trails are also relative newcomers to mountain biking. "Flow trails take mountain bikers on a terrain-induced roller-coaster experience," according to IMBA. For an experienced rider, braking and pedaling might not even be necessary. The trails provide "an exploration of skills and airtime for fast, talented riders who want to turn the trail into the ultimate playground," though they can also be very family friendly. Sounds like the ideal setup for a lift-serviced resort trail.
It's great developments like Kashmir that will be the focus of IMBA's World Summit, taking place now through August 24. The summit gets everyone from mountain bike enthusiasts to trail builders and land managers into the same room. On the table this year: improving long-distance trails, rapidly building up world-class bike park facilities in the United States, and daily bike time, of course, like night riding on Emerald Mountain. If you wish you could be there too, follow the weekend's developements on IMBA's Twitter feed.