Mountain Rider’s Alliance (MRA) has formed a partnership with Brendle Group, a Colorado-based engineering firm focused on sustainability that has worked for over a decade with the ski industry on climate change, energy, and other sustainability issues. MRA, a grassroots organization, is committed to transforming ski mountains into sustainable, eco-friendly playgrounds that benefit local economies and promote accessible outdoor recreation. Together, the two organizations will have a major influence in forging a new model for sustainability in the ski industry, focused on alternative business models for small and medium-sized resorts.
On the heels of MRA’s announcement of their partnership to convert Maine’s Mt. Abram—a recipient of a 2012 Golden Eagle Award from the National Ski Areas Association for its environmental stewardship—into its first sustainable Mountain Playground, Brendle Group and MRA will work together to develop and test a model for sustainability at Mt. Abram that can be replicated elsewhere. This will include comprehensive assessments of energy use, land use, procurement, and community sustainability to identify options for net zero carbon, energy, and water operations as well as integrating sustainability and local economic development.
Brendle Group will complete several other projects in support of MRA’s mission, including analyzing how sustainable practices can make small and medium-sized ski areas more economically viable. Furthermore, the firm will develop a screening tool for MRA’s future mountain conversion projects that includes environmental, financial, and community/social sustainability factors of the ski area and its local economy. MRA and Brendle Group will be working closely to coordinate their expertise and materialize their vision.
Jamie Schectman, CEO of MRA, has expressed his confidence in the collaboration: "We are extremely excited to be partnering with such an outstanding organization that has been a longstanding leader in ski industry sustainability. We look forward to implementing Brendle Group’s roadmap to sustainability at our first partner ski area, Mt. Abram. Our partnership will help MRA achieve its goal of creating sustainable Mountain Playgrounds around the world".
"By partnering with MRA, we have the exciting opportunity to help advance MRA’s Mountain Playground vision while bringing our newest services in net zero water, ecosystems services, and sustainable economic development to the ski industry. We believe Mountain Playgrounds will create a valuable new offering to the mix of skier experiences today", says Judy Dorsey, President of Brendle Group.
Mountain Rider’s Alliance is a group of like-minded people dedicated to making a positive change in the ski area industry, as well as supporting the environment and surrounding communities. We believe riding is more than a sport, but rather a way of life.
MRA is an ongoing global collaboration, with over 50 active team members from 6 different countries contributing to our grassroots organization.
MRA signed an agreement to partner with the Mt. Abram ski area in Maine to try out a new ownership and management model aimed at boosting regional visitation, increasing awareness of sustainability issues, and focusing on the core values of skiing.
Mt. Abram, with 560 skiable acres and 1,150 feet of vertical, is located about 90 miles from Portland. In 2012 Mt. Abram have won the Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence in the small ski resort category. The award is given annually by the National Ski Area Association (NSAA) to three ski industry leaders for their environmental excellence. Mt. Abram is owned and operated by Maine businessman and recent Maine Sports Hall of Fame inductee Matt Hancock.