Press Releases Bikeland

05 giugno 2022 - 10:59

The 10th edition of the IMBA Europe Summit ended in Val di Sole on Saturday 4th June. Three days of exchange of visions at the highest about MTB level, in search of a way to make the sport more compatible with the environment and the territories’ management, and available to an increasing number of people

In just a few years, cycling and mountain biking have revolutionized the reality of destinations in every part of the World, triggering trends that the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated and strengthened. MTB has a bright present, as shown by the impressive growth of practitioners, but at the same time, it feels the urge to discuss the effects and consequences of this expansion, in order to build a sustainable future. These topics were central to the 10th edition of IMBA Europe Summit, held in Val di Sole from 2 to 4 June 2022.

One hundred and fifty participants from all over the World, among destination managers, trail builders, tour operators, market leaders, riders and industry experts gathered at the "Alla Sosta dell'Imperatore" Congress Center in Folgarida for one of the most prestigious think tanks on the World of MTB in whole Europe.

"Reframing Mountain Biking" was the ambitious title of the edition hosted by Val di Sole, the first to be held in presence in three years, and the many different visions have effectively highlighted the trends, challenges and tensions of a discipline whose expansion is crystal clear, both numerically in the areas where it is more established, and geographically, with the development of new products and bike districts.

From the first two days, on Thursday and Friday, June 2nd and 3rd, dedicated to keynotes and round tables, the issues of sustainability and the preservation of the territories emerged as the main challenges on the agenda, right from the opening speech of the former Downhill World Champion Manon Carpenter. In fact, the increase in the number of practitioners in the bike areas leads to the need of limiting the exploitation of natural areas, regulating the expansion of trail networks as well as the afflux of riders, developing new systems to preserve the lines of single tracks, and managing the tension with those who experience the territory and the outdoor from a different point of views.

That’s an increasingly important responsibility for destinations that focus on two wheels, just like Val di Sole and Dolomiti Paganella do in Trentino. Their respective Tourist Board managers, Fabio Sacco and Luca d'Angelo, took the floor at IMBA to tell Val di Sole and Dolomiti Paganella’s diverse journeys as bike destinations, and their interpretation of sustainability in view of future developments. In Val di Sole, in particular, the long way towards becoming an all-round MTB destination has originated from the organization of major international events from 2008, the year of the first UCI MTB World Championships in the area, and is now approaching the state of maturity, with an increasingly organic network of paths and infrastructures ready to welcome bikers of all types and skills.

The IMBA Europe audience also had access to the insightful case history of Lenzerheide, a prestigious location whose fortunes were importantly relaunched by the creation of an ambitious MTB project, as well as to those of emerging new destinations that are looking into the potential of Mountain Biking, opening new frontiers, exploiting historical ways and connections and bringing economic opportunities to undeveloped areas, without forgetting the MTB’s role as a factor of inclusion and redemption for disadvantaged people and categories.

This is the case of the Trash Free Trails project, illustrated Jo Shwe, whose scope is not only to promote environmental respect and protection through the removal of waste on the routes but also inclusion: indeed, the project involves students from disadvantaged areas, providing them otherwise impossible access to the world of MTB.

The speech by Lindita Xhaferi-Salihu, leader of the United Nations Sports for Climate Change project, was also significant, underlining the role of sports clubs and athletes at the highest levels in changing the people’s lifestyle to fight climate change, calling them to an increasingly urgent commitment to be part of the solution.

Before and after the sessions at the conference center, the IMBA Europe participants had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the reality of Val di Sole, with experiences on the different trails in the area, rounding out a very satisfactory experience for everybody involved. The event got to its conclusion on Saturday, June 4th, with a day fully dedicated to outdoor activity, on two wheels and beyond. 

"I think this was a great edition of our summit," said Thomas Larsen Schmidt, President of IMBA Europe. "On the first day, we focused on how MTB can contribute to a better world, on the second we explored the reality of the destinations and how to implement these ideas. I believe that the summit brought up also some very useful indications for Val di Sole concerning the next steps to take: this territory has everything, from natural heritage and beauty and the technical potential, it only needs to expand its offer of entry-level and family trails, as their courses are now generally quite demanding from a skills point of view.”

"The attendants were enthusiastic about the welcoming in Val di Sole, and a great atmosphere could be perceived in a very participated event, the first in presence since three years: bringing back together with people from all over the World, led by passion, in such a passionate area for MTB was a match made in heaven,” Larsen Schmidt concluded.

Val di Sole Tourist Board’s Director Fabio Sacco also expressed his enthusiasm for the IMBA Europe Summit’s outcome. "We were very keen on hosting an MTB event not related to the competitive world, opening up to a different type of stakeholder and to the opportunity of exchanging ideas and proposals at the highest level. I believe that all the participants appreciated the high quality of the content of this tenth edition, and after this experience, they certainly have a better and deeper idea of what Val di Sole can offer to the outdoor lovers.”

"We are doing a great deal to improve and complete our offer for bikers, with the upcoming creation of new entry-level trails and the launch of the innovative Alpine Gravel project," continued Sacco. "Our path in top international events is set to continue, with the MTB and Cyclocross World Cup stages as well as the 2026 UCI MTB World Championships that have already been assigned to Val di Sole. At the same time, we are committed to an increasingly integrated vision of promotion and development, aimed to establish ourselves as a destination of excellence for top international athletes as well as for the bike lovers at any level from all over the World.”



R_Comunità Valle di Sole
E_Casse Rurali Val di Sole
Enterprise SRL
F_Acqua Pejo
G_Ferrari - Lunelli
Tecnopolice SRL
T_BIM dell'Adige
U_Provincia Autonoma Trento