The past few years have been an explosion of growth for our mountain bike community. In 2021 alone, we built more than 50 miles of singletrack, grew to 28 Chapters state-wide, and developed collaborations with outdoor-minded businesses and organizations alike. Our VMBA Trail Grant funding has reached $50,000 (233% increase since 2014), Naming Grants provided $33,500 to Chapters through direct business partnerships, and we count more than 9,300 members (compared to just over 3,300 in 2016). We couldn’t be more thankful for the mountain bike community that exists in Vermont, and we wouldn’t be able to do it without you.
With this incredible growth in trail riding comes a demand for VMBA and our Chapters to keep up. Nearly 90% of VMBA member dollars go to materials and services that directly support our Chapters, who are at the front lines of trail stewardship and community engagement. The remainder helps fund centralized functions like advocacy, communications, and VMBA office operations.
At its core, a VMBA membership supports three critical initiatives:
- Chapter trail building and maintenance
- A backbone of administrative services that every Chapter utilizes
- Critical advocacy needed to protect private landowners and our access to riding
While membership prices have remained flat for the past three seasons, the cost of materials and labor, as well as the volume of riders out on the trail, have continued to rise. Guided by these realities and our Chapters, membership prices for the 2022/23 season will increase by $5 for individuals (to $60) and $10 for families (to $120 for a family of 2-4, $135 for a family of 5, and $150 for a family of 6). Mindful of this increase and to increase accessibility for younger riders – including those who’ve aged out of a Family Membership – we’ve created a new Under-25 Individual Membership ($40) available to those turning 25 on or after April 1st, 2023, which includes all the same great benefits. For the upcoming 2022/23 season, we are excited to again provide over 100 unique Member Benefits, including free DH MTB Tickets to Killington, Sugarbush, Stratton, Burke, and Bolton ($250+ value in lift tickets alone), as well as discounts at local shops, restaurants, and retailers.
Summing it up: why the increase?
- VMBA Chapters have seen a significant increase in trail use over the last few years, which requires a commensurate increase in the amount of trail maintenance
- Material and labor costs have risen substantially in recent years an increase that only accelerated during the pandemic
- Growing demand – and access – have led to many new trail projects in our pipeline that member dollars are critical for making happen
- As mountain biking grows, so too does our need for advocacy, including modernizing how trails are regulated under Act 250, protecting private landowners from undue regulation, building partnerships, and expanding trail access statewide
Lastly, we did not undertake this increase lightly and understand that our sport presents significant economic hurdles for many already. Our hope is that those of you who are current members – as well as those who haven’t (yet!) joined – appreciate what it takes to continue to build and improve trails while preserving access and a sustainable stewardship model.
Many thanks again to all our members. Your support has fueled our success, and we sincerely hope to have you back in 2022/23!