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B.C. named ‘ultimate global mountain biking location’

The International Mountain Bicycling Association’s annual report card has declared B.C. as the "ultimate global mountain biking location" and Whistler as the "benchmark for lift-accessed mountain biking."

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The IMBA report surveys the state of mountain biking in various countries around the world, including the British Isles, Italy, Israel, Australia and Mexico. The survey also includes a state-by-state analysis in the U.S. and evaluations of six provinces in Canada. And for the second consecutive year B.C. was judged the best location for mountain biking in the world.

"Whistler ski area’s freeride park is the benchmark for lift-accessed mountain biking," IMBA’s press release states.

"B.C. advocates are taking a lead role on improving access by hosting the World Mountain Bike Conference in Vancouver. Finally, B.C. clubs do more than anyone to ensure the future of our sport by getting kids – sometimes by the thousands – on mountain bikes."

The report is another huge vote of confidence for Whistler-Blackcomb, in particular Bike Park Director Rob McSkimming, and the crews that maintain the trails on the mountain.

It is also an enormous endorsement for community clubs such as WORCA, SORCA and the Pemberton Valley Trails Association.

"Over all it’s great to get that kind of compliment or recognition from people who are close to things in the industry," said McSkimming.

British Columbia received an A on the IMBA report card. In searching for a downside the report card stated: "Not much… perhaps getting too popular?"

"When you look at it from our stand point, too popular is a good thing," said McSkimming. "But as it has become more popular we’ve tried to offer more experiences like the Garbanzo expansion."

Overall, Canada received an A-, as did the Yukon and Ontario. Alberta was awarded a B+, Saskatchewan a C+ and Quebec a C.

Internationally, Italy, Scotland and Wales all received A- grades. Scotland also received the People’s Choice Award, determined by the highest grades in an online poll of IMBA members.

In the U.S., West Virginia was the only state to receive an A. "The Mountain State has everything a mountain biker could want: endless miles of backcountry singletrack, stunning Appalachian Mountain scenery and a community of avid riders," the IMBA press release states.

Indiana, which received the lowest grade last year, bumped up a full letter grade – to a C+ – in 2004 to win the Most Improved award.

The IMBA report card is a tool to let IMBA members and mountain bikers know where things are going well and where energy needs to be focused. This year’s report card is the sixth edition.

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