IMBA Trail school worth it?-
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  1. #1
    ride like you stole it
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    IMBA Trail school worth it?

    So later this summer there will be an IMBA trail school coming into my area for a few days but is going to be like a 45 minute dive from me. Its free and everything but I do need to rsvp and I was wondering if it would be worth the drive for both days ( a total of 3 hours drive time for both days) or if most of the stuff they go over is just common sense.

    Some of my back ground.
    I have never done any real trail building but I do a lot of trail maintenance (raking and the like), and I have done some rebuilding of some of the "stunts" on the local trails.
    I lubed my disc brakes because they squeaked.
    Man was that fun to work out

  2. #2
    Single(Pivot)and Happy
    Reputation: Boulder Pilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Yes it would be worth it. Usually, a 3-4 hour classroom instruction about what makes a trail sustainable, and more important, how to build it. Then after lunch, actual, hands on applying of your new found knowlege on a section of local trail that needs work, re-routing, etc.

    This is not trail maintenance. This is learning about grade, slope, contour, bench cuts, EROSION, drainage, etc. I can only speak for myself, but after learning about trail construction, everywhere I go and see a trail, I can see what went into,or what was left out, during construction of the trail. I can spot ways that would make the trail more sustainable, or see design features where the builder knew what they were doing when they built the trail.

    Plus, you have the added benefit of expanding your network of meeting other riders that share your passion = Priceless.
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

  3. #3
    JmZ is offline
    Reformed Lurker
    Reputation: JmZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    The trail schools are really a great place to learn about what works, about new techniques, what other locals have tried and why it has or has not worked.

    Then for a chance to get out in the dirt and see it first-hand.

    Been to a couple of 'em and got to learn how to build bench trail and at another how to sight and layout trail. I had an idea before and used common sense, but it helped greatly.

    And it payed off when it came time to start a new trail build - that influence was something that I can still see in build.

    Also +1 about getting in touch with other locals (and not so locals). It can prove valuable if/when help is needed for any number of reasons... from the simple how to get more volunteers, to prepping a presentation, to putting a proposal in front of the right people... and more, but those three have been ones I've seen directly.

    Good luck,


    From one flat land to another.

    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  4. #4
    The Voice of Reason
    Reputation: Megashnauzer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    it looks good on your resume if you have the chance to build trails on someone else's land.
    I'm never gonna be a Rock Star

  5. #5
    Ride Responsibly
    Reputation: LWright's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    I will say yes. That's about the same drive I did at the time and we had a much longer drive for the FSTA certification but the two gave practical knowledge and not much more time lead to enough rank and experience to manage projects, gain the ears and eyes of officials and get results in terms of building trail, sponsors and volunteers.

    The down side is there are times when doing things right are not what everybody wants to do and more work, but you will know how to build things that will last.


  7. #7
    Don't worry, be happy!
    Reputation: formica's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    another yes. Maybe contact the sponsoring club and see if someone has a sofa you can surf for the night?

  8. #8
    Builder of Trails
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Yes, definitely.

    Even if you bought the book "Trail Solutions" from IMBA and read it thoroughly, being in the class where they show you how to apply the knowledge furthers that education. Trail building is a science and an art in which one continually learns....about design, construction methods, armoring techniques, tools, etc.


  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mtb777's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    I've been to 3 so far and have met some really great people, fixed and learned some neat stuff on different and varied trails and have learned alot. Common sense is required with anything. Go there to learn with a good a sponge! Make friends and contacts. Watch, listen, and learn. Read as much as you can before you go....IMBA books and trail building websites.

    I have been blessed with people who have taught me their secrets and passion to build.I have learned from the best....3 different Trail Care Crews of which 2 members of my Mtb Club were TCC members (Kristen and Ryan), Scott Linnenberger, Woody, and others!


    Think like's your trail's enemy!

  10. #10
    featherweight clydesdale
    Reputation: Fattirewilly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Another yes.

    The course is definately worth it, particularly if terms like: half rule, 10% rule, clinometer, grade reversal, grade dip, knick, and fall line are foreign concepts.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Hell Yes.

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