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December 20/05 6:38 am - Capilano College Mountain Bike Program

Posted by Editor on 12/20/05

Capilano College Mountain Bike Program

Caroline Dépatie, Program Developer & Program Consultant at Sunshine Coast Capilano College sent us information on the new Mountain Bike Operations program they are starting next year.

Here is some more information on our Mountain Bike Operations (MtBO) Certificate Program. I am not too certain what type of information your require, hopefully this is a good start:

What makes the MtBO unique?
- 1st program of its kind in North America and in the world (as far as my research goes)
- Location: British Columbia and Sunshine Coast (located in between North Vancouver and Squamish and Whistler)
- Quick: 8 months program
- Potantial to continue studies in Capilano College Tourism Diploma afterwards
- Highly supported by industry experts
- Developed based on feedback from industry experts
- Support of the Sunshine Coast Community
- Industry growing so lots of employment opportunities for graduates (especially in the mountain resort market)

Where did the idea come for such a program come from?
- Originated from me attending a mountain bike event last May and thinking this would be a good idea to explore. I presented the idea to Capilano College and it went from there.
- We surveyed delegates at the 2005 International Mountain Bike Conference in North Vancouver in May 2005 and 90% of respondents highly supported the idea of such a program. The 4 main issues that seemed important for the delagates to included in our program were, in order:

1) Environmnental issues
2) Trail and Park design and building
3) Community relations
4) Risk management

Delegates seems to agree that there were a future for employment in the industry especially on the mountain resort side. I also completed semi-stuctured interviews with industry experts such as Doug Detwiller (Sprockids), Tom Prochazka (Whistler Mounatin Bike Park), Lora Woolner (IMBA Canada) and Jay Hoots (Trail Builder) about the idea. All were very supportive and added information which was considered in the design of the program

Why run the program on Sunshine Coast?
- The Sunshine Coast has a very strong Mountain Bike Culture - our trail system is well developed and we have amazing terrain
- We are located a ferry away (40 minutes) from Horseshoe Bay.
- The Sunshine Coast is the birth place of the Sprockids program (youth cycling development program) which has been adopted by the Canadian Cycling Association.
- Potential for partnership with clubs and municipalities to keep on developing exceptional mountain bike opportunities.
- It is really important for us to work with the community with this program.

What will the certificate program entail?
- 9 courses (26 credits) in Trail/Park Design and Building, environmental sustainabiliy, risk managment, event management, mountain bike leadership, first aid, communication and tourism.
- Starting in September 2006 (September to April program)
- One of the requirements is the ability to ride a mountain bike at a advanced beginner to intermediate level. We will be going out on trails. You will require a mountain bike in this program
- Program includes fields trips around the area (eg. Whistler) to expose students to the industry

Response so far?
- With minimum marketing (mostly word of mouth) we have received an unexpected amount of interest about the program (more than we anticipated). We are recommending that students register early and we will have limited enrollment in the first year. Our registration systems will hopefully be in place by the end of January.

Other information:
- One of the important things for me through this program is to represent the Mountain Bike community as a whole and support the development of Moutain Biking on the Sunshine Coast. It will also be important for our students to realize that trails are not only developed for mountain bikers but have a multi-purpose function (ie: hikers, families, etc.).


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