2017 Australian Mountain Bike Summit at Buller

Mt Buller will host the fourth Australian Mountain Bike Summit on 4 – 5 December 2017, the only conference in Australia dedicated solely to the mountain bike industry. Presented by Mt Buller Bike Park, this year’s program has been curated by Flow Mountain Bike and features the theme of Collaborate, Educate, Proliferate.

Group Marketing Manager for Mt Buller Resort Management, Gillian Dobson, said the Summit is a must-attend industry event. “The Australian Mountain Bike Summit was developed after we recognised a gap in the market for such an event and has become a fixture on the calendar for the industry. We have dedicated ourselves to bringing together key players to educate, share and deliberate the key challenges and emerging opportunities currently impacting the Australian and international mountain bike markets.

“Building on the success of previous years, we are excited to be launching a new-look Australian Mountain Bike Summit for 2017, with a program developed in conjunction with industry gurus Flow Mountain Bike. Flow are renowned as passionate advocates in the MTB industry; in their own words, they exist to inspire and educate, making them the perfect fit for the Summit.”

“The Australian Mountain Bike Summit is a unique chance for as diverse range of people from across the spectrum of mountain biking to get together and learn. This year we’ve been working with Mt Buller to help expand the scope of the Summit to include a more diverse range of viewpoints, and to change up the format to encourage more sharing of knowledge between experts from different areas of the sport.

“We believe the path to a flourishing mountain bike scene in Australia is through building stronger connections between all areas of the sport – from clubs, racers, retailers, events and wholesalers, to trail builders, advocates, coaches and more – hence our theme of collaborate, educate, proliferate. If mountain biking is to continue growing here in Australia, both in terms of participation and local industry strength, we need to begin pooling our knowledge and learning from each other’s experiences.”

This year’s Summit will again be hosted by renowned cycling commentator and journalist Matt Keenan, and will feature a number of local and international mountain biking experts. Speakers, including Russel Garlick of TrailFundNZ, Jen and Michael Geale from Mountain Bikes Direct, Jeff Moore and Fanie Kok from Specialized and Jason English, MTB educator and 24 hour champion will deliver a range of keynote addresses and workshops that allow participants to hear from specialists, share ideas and ask questions in a collaborative environment.

“Importantly, the program also includes a range of networking functions, where delegates are given great opportunities to get out on Mt Buller’s trails, enjoy the hospitality and expand their networks.  Industry leaders come together with business operators, clubs, land managers and retailers to informally discuss topics of interests, make business connections and most importantly enjoy riding” said Dobson.

The Australian Mountain Bike Summit is preceded by the official launch of Mt Buller’s summer season on Saturday 2 December, which includes the full opening of Mt Buller’s trail network.  Delegates are encouraged to arrive early make the most of the freshly opened trails, and get a weekend’s riding under their belt ahead of the Summit.

Registration for the Australian Mountain Bike Summit is now open. Registration costs $499 per person plus booking fee, which covers the two-day conference, all conference catering and networking functions including the official Summit Dinner, and three guided rides. An early bird discount of 10% applies until Friday 20 October 2017.

For further information about the Australian Mountain Bike Summit, visit bike.mtbuller.com.au or email [email protected]

Australian Mountain Bike Summit Presenter Profiles

The second annual Australian Mountain Bike Summit will take place at Mount Buller on 7-8 December 2015, and some of the Australian cycling industry’s key figures will be there for two days of presentations, workshops, discussion and a little bit of riding too. It’s all about pooling knowledge and experience to get a clear idea of how mountain biking looks now, and will look in the future, from various perspectives: trail access, retailing, technology, women in mountain biking, racing, media and more.

Ahead of the Summit, we grabbed four of the key presenters to ask them a few questions about their personal experiences, opportunities and challenges. For more information about the Australian Mountain Bike Summit, or to register, head to http://bike.mtbuller.com.au/summit.php

[divider]Dave Donaldson[/divider]

Buller Summit Profiles-5

All visitors who respect the environment are warmly welcomed.

Dave Donaldson is the Deputy Mayor of Rotorua, New Zealand and has been one of the driving forces behind the rise of Rotorua to international mountain bike prominence. When it comes to developing and promoting a world class mountain bike destination, he knows it all. 

With so many riders from around the globe flocking to Rotorua, has ‘localism’ ever been an issue with the trails, and if so, how is it handled?

The only issue of ‘possessiveness’ with the trails has been the occasional flare up on social media between user groups – MTB’ers, joggers, and equestrian. There is low tolerance for hoof marks on MTB trails, but this is well managed by the cool heads on committees of the various user groups and event organisers. I have never heard of ‘localism’ being an issue in fact I’d suggest quite the reverse applies. Manaakitanga [hospitality] is a powerful concept in Rotorua and in the forest community in particular. All visitors who respect the environment are warmly welcomed.

Buller Summit Profiles-1

What do you see as Rotorua’s biggest opportunities for future growth as a mountain bike destination?

Two things. A scenic ride that would rival the Heaphy which is ‘on the radar’ of the Trails Trust. The other is a chairlift to facilitate rapid access to gravity and enduro trails in Whakarewarewa Forest.

Is it true that there’s a taniwha in the forest that eats lost Australians?

If you go by the trail names it’s a very spiritual place. The ghosts of a Taniwha [Lizard Monster]- Kataore , a Tohunga [Medicine Man] – Tuhoto Ariki, Kurungaituku [a legendary bird woman whocaptured the warrior Hatupatu] are all in there, but I’ve never heard of any lost Aussie falling prey. Quite honestly, at some times of the day and in the right weather conditions, it can be a spooky place if you’re alone. Also there can be some savage magpies in there this time of year [nesting] but Australians probably have an acquired immunity?

If you could pick one trail in Rotorua to ride before putting away the bike for good, which one would it be?

I will turn 65 two weeks before arriving in Mt Buller so I’ll officially be a Superannuitant and Gold Card holder. Right now that trail would be Tihi o Tawa. If, God willing, I’m still spinning the cranks in another decade, it would likely be Eagle vs Shark.

[divider]Scot Nicol[/divider]

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Incremental change rather than monumental change is how innovation happens in our industry.

Scot Nicol founded iconic brand Ibis Cycles way back in 1981 and since then he has steered the brand to global prominence. He’s seen it all – the trends, the technology changes, the shifts in the market, the rise of Asian manufacturing, the opportunities of global internet based retailing and much more. 

Who has been the bike industry’s great innovator of all time?

The answer is no one and everyone. Incremental change rather than monumental change is how innovation happens in our industry. Charles Goodyear invented vulcanization, which gave us pneumatic tires. Ignatz Schwinn gave us fat tires. Kestrel made some of the frames out of carbon. Paul Turner put front suspension on the bikes. Dave Weagle is on a lifetime pursuit to perfect rear suspension. Stan Koziatek pioneered tubeless on our mountain bikes. Ibis made them wide and in carbon.

What is the greatest area of opportunity for the mountain bike industry today?

Advocacy and trail building.

Has the evolution of wheels sizes been a push, or a pull development?

Both 29 and then 27.5 started with a tiny bit of push from small industry people. The insufferable 29er evangelicals tried to get the industry to take notice for many years. The pan simmered on a low boil for a number of years and then critical mass hit and 26″ died. In the rush to jump on the 29er bandwagon, a lot of manufacturers made really crappy 29ers. Although 650b had been around for decades, the 27.5″ movement started with some tires by Kirk Pacenti. All of a sudden the switch flipped, 29er sales plummeted and you couldn’t keep 27.5″ bikes in stock. Fortunately, 29ers are way better now, the zombie like attraction to 27.5″ has waned, and we’re going to see both 27.5 and 29″ peacefully coexist, as they should.

[divider]Kate Leeming[/divider]


Travelling by bike gives a great sense of place – a unique perspective of how the world fits together.

Kate Leeming is one of the those people we all wish we’d become. A person who has been brave enough to make her life an adventure on two wheels, she has ridden across Africa, Russia, Australia and countless other expeditions raising awareness for a variety of issues. She’s currently training to ride across Antartica. Yes. Antarctica.  

You’ve ridden around the world twice, literally, what is it that motivates you to keep pedalling?

My intrinsic love of travelling by bike was developed when I first cycled through Europe (15,000km in total). I found that I made a very close connection with the people and the land, I loved bringing a line on a map to life, and travelling by bike gives a great sense of place – a unique perspective of how the world fits together. Each major expedition (13,400km across Russia, 25,000km through Australia and 22,000km west to east across Africa and next November, across the Antarctic continent) has a clear mission; I always define my physical objectives, I believe in the causes I am supporting and the story I aim to create. These motivations keep me going through the difficult times and on to the finish, and are the reason why I plan to do more.

What is it about a bike that makes it the right vehicle to raise awareness of the causes you champion?

Virtually everyone can relate to riding a bike at some level, so when people follow my journeys and read stories of my adventures, I am inviting them to ‘come along for the ride’ with me. My expeditions have subsequently become a platform to inspire, motivate and create understanding about cultures, geographies, environmental sustainability and in the case of the Breaking the Cycle in Africa Expedition, the causes and effects of extreme poverty. They are opportunities to develop deeper understanding for all involved. I am able to tell it how it really is. And now that I have established a track record with several successful expeditions under my belt, as well as writing, speaking and filmmaking, I am able to garner support because my expeditions are about far more than just a bike ride, a simple adventure or a world first.

How does one train to ride across the Antarctic?

I first tested myself and the Christini all-wheel drive fat-bike in Spitsbergen, Norway. Here the team was able to determine that my plan to cycle across the Antarctic continent was realistic. Experiencing cycling in true polar conditions I devised a program to prepare for Antarctica which involves a series of shorter expeditions training in Greenland and Iceland, at altitude in the Indian Himalaya and in sand (for strength) in the Simpson Desert. Until I can find the funding to do these trips, I keep the pedals turning on the hills and trails around Melbourne and put some intensive hours in the gym doing interval training and core strength so that I am in good condition to launch my specific plan.

[divider]Simon French[/divider]


 I think sometimes we need to just relax and be thankful that we’re on a trail enjoying the outdoors.

As the founder of Dirt Art, one of Australia’s most-progressive and prolific professional trail building companies, Simon French has literally shaped the way we ride in Australia. His understanding of mountain bike tourism, trail building and the industry’s direction as a whole is a deep as the berms he creates. 

What is the next frontier for mountain bike trail building?

I think the next big thing for mountain bike trail building in Australia will be the rise of the commercial bike park and an increasing interest in private/public development partnerships. Developers and investors are beginning to see the potential for mountain bike tourism but they don’t always have the land required, whereas governments have the land but do not often have the funding and/or expertise to develop a successful facility. Our company are breaking new ground in this area with our Maydena project in Tasmania, but we are also working with a number of other commercial clients in Australia as they move through the early stages of their developments.

You can’t make a trail that will suit every rider. Discuss.

While as trail designers and builders we acknowledge that we will never please everyone, I think there is lots that we can do to make trails appeal to a broader range of riders. Building in optional technical sections, and creating a diverse experience in each trail definitely goes a long way to making trails more broadly appealing. At the end of the day though, a good rider can have fun riding pretty much anything, so I think sometimes we need to just relax and be thankful that we’re on a trail enjoying the outdoors.

Which trail/location are you most proud of and why?

We will always be proud of our project at Hollybank in Tasmania. We had an incredibly challenging site and only a relatively small volume of trail budgeted for, yet we were charged with developing something that would attract the visiting rider. The Juggernaut Trail at Hollybank embraced the shuttle-accessed gravity cross country concept and continues to attract massive attention from visiting riders. The trail is often referred to as Australia’s best mountain bike trail, which is something that we are really proud of.

Mt Buller Announces International Speakers for Second Annual Australian MTB Summit

Following a successful inaugural event in 2014, Mt Buller will host the second annual Australian Mountain Bike Summit on 7-8 December, with an impressive line-up of keynote speakers confirmed to deliver invaluable insights vital to the growth of mountain biking in Australia.

Australian MTB Summit 1

The two-day Summit program has been designed purely to meet the needs of those in the mountain biking space, and features a range of Australian and international industry experts, including:

  • Scot Nichol, Ibis Cycles (USA): MTB evolution: Fat bikes, e-bikes and changing wheel sizes – fads or the future?  
  • Troy Rarick, Over the Edge Sports (USA): How to remain on top in the competitive MTB tourism landscape
  • Dave Donaldson, Rotorua Lakes Council (NZ): Rotorua – building a world-class MTB destination
  • Nicole Orriss and Phil Currie, RDV and Clayton Neil, Indigo Shire Council (Panel):  Show me the money – how to secure funds for new MTB developments.
  • Kate Leeming, Adventurer and Author: Breaking the Cycle – The story of the expedition.
  • Simon French, Dirt Art: The Australian MTB market profile.

Further topics to be covered include advocacy leadership, emerging trail developments, marketing to mountain bikers, professional trail building standards and certification, what’s going down in the gravity space, great trails 101, the future of MTB events in Australia, building MTB trails on a limited budget and regional collaboration for optimal outcomes.

Amber Gardner, Marketing Director for Mt Buller Resort Management, said the 2015 Summit will appeal to a broad range of delegates. “We were thrilled with the success of the inaugural Summit in 2014, and are really looking forward to this year’s event which looks set to be even bigger and better. We’ve designed this year’s Summit program with a whole new line-up of topics and speakers, so delegates that attended in 2014 will see a completely new and different program that will bring further insight and knowledge for the industry.

“This year’s Summit will immediately follow the mountain bike season opening weekend, giving delegates the ideal opportunity to experience Mt Buller’s world-class trails before, during and after the event. We’ve allowed further time in the program for networking, socialising and riding on top of the comprehensive program of keynote addresses and interactive workshops – it’s going to be a massive few days!”

The 2015 Australian Mountain Bike Summit will be held at Mt Buller on 7-8 December, at Australia’s only IMBA-accredited Ride Center and home of the Southern Hemisphere’s only IMBA Epic Trail, the Australian Alpine Epic.

Registrations are now open – delegates who register prior to 16 October will receive a 10% discount, taking the $499 registration fee to $449.

For further information and to register, visit bike.mtbuller.com.au or email [email protected].


Registrations Open for Australian MTB Summit at Mt Buller

Mt Buller will host the inaugural Australian Mountain Bike Summit on 4-5 December 2014, a new conference dedicated exclusively to the needs of the mountain bike industry. Presented by Bike Buller, the Summit will cover issues, emerging trends and opportunities that are relevant to individuals, groups and organisations who are either active in or looking to become more involved in mountain biking, so is set to become a critical industry event.

Over 20 speakers will deliver a range of keynote addresses, workshops and breakout sessions that will allow participants to hear from the specialists, share ideas and ask questions in a collaborative environment.

The two-day Australian Mountain Bike Summit will feature a range of local and international mountain bike experts, including Joey Klein, Trail Specialist from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), Joel Martinez, VP of Operations at Stevens Pass Bike Park (US), Glen Jacobs, Director at World Trail, and Shane Coppin, CEO at Mountain Bike Australia. In all, over 20 speakers will deliver a range of keynote addresses, workshops and breakout sessions that will allow participants to hear from the specialists, share ideas and ask questions in a collaborative environment.

“While there are a number of bike conferences available in the market at the moment, they tend to focus on road cycling, with only a small component dedicated to mountain biking,” said Amber Gardner, Director of Marketing at Mt Buller Resort Management. “Recognising the gap in the market, we’ve developed the Australian Mountain Bike Summit to bring together key industry players, as well as those looking to become active in this space, to learn about and discuss the key challenges and emerging opportunities currently impacting the mountain bike market.”

The Australian Mountain Bike Summit coincides with the 6 December launch of the Australian Alpine Epic trail at Mt Buller – the first IMBA accredited Epic trail in the Southern Hemisphere, recognised as an iconic, diverse and high-quality backcountry trail that offers a unique wilderness experience. The 40km trail will be launched as part of an Epic Festival weekend, featuring a great program of activities including the Radical Reels Film Festival, an Epic party including a pump track competition under lights, a Poker Ride and plenty more, offering something for all levels of riders.

The Australian Mountain Bike Summit coincides with the 6 December launch of the Australian Alpine Epic trail at Mt Buller – the first IMBA accredited Epic trail in the Southern Hemisphere.

“While the Australian Mountain Bike Summit will provide delegates with a number of platforms through which to learn and network, it will also offer delegates the opportunity to get out onto Mt Buller’s trails, either independently or as part of guided tours, allowing them to sample the world-class trail offering that the Mt Buller Bike Park has become so renowned for,” said Gardner. “Those who stay for the weekend will also be able to make history by being the first riders on the Australian Alpine Epic trail, marking a milestone occasion for Mt Buller as well as the Australian mountain bike industry – it’s one not be missed!”

Registration for the Australian Mountain Bike Summit is now open. Registration costs $499 per person, which covers the 2-day conference, a guided ride and a place at the Official Summit Drinks and Dinner functions.

For further information about the Australian Mountain Bike Summit, visit www.bikebuller.com.au or email [email protected] 

Media contact: Gillian Dobson Marketing & Communications Manager Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management T: 03 5777 6077 M: 0429 776 185 E: [email protected]