NAMTBA & the Future of Mountain Biking in Niseko
Niseko is quickly transforming from an incredible winter destination into a true 4 season resort. The area is home to family friendly rafting, to nearby surf spots, to streams & rivers waiting to be fished… and, with the help of NAMTBA, Niseko may soon be the home to some of Asia’s best mountain biking trails!
The Niseko Area Mountain Bike Association (NAMTBA) is a local nonprofit organization founded with the mission of, “...creating, enhancing, maintaining, and protecting great places to ride in Niseko and the surrounding area.” The organization’s masterplan envisages Niseko as an interconnected community with a web of mountain bike and mixed use trails linking townships and ski resorts throughout the Niseko area.
NAMTBA’s first project is the Twin Peaks Bike Park; this proposed network of trails will be a public & free-to-use trail center bringing the area 20 - 30kms of trails for riders of all skill levels. Notably, Twin Peaks will feature a skills park, a place for everyone from kiddos to beginners to seasoned riders to develop confidence and polish skills.
“A trail center like this would be great for our community.”, said NAMTBA co-founder Andy Meadows, “I’ve lived in Niseko for 13 years and have started to build a family here. I would love to have a place for children like mine to get outside to enjoy nature and the sport of mountain biking.”
Twin Peaks is set to be in a prime location giving travelers and locals alike easy access to the trails. The bike park will play a key role in the masterplan both as a development pipeline for future riders and as a trail link between the Grand Hirafu and Hanazono ski resorts.
Though NAMTBA is building excitement and support, mountain biking has not always had the best image to some Niseko locals and it is not uncommon for local hiking trails to have signage posted prohibiting mountain biking. One longtime local has witnessed this first hand. Ross Carty, owner of NOASC and vice president/co-founder of NAMTBA, is a Niseko business pioneer who has called Niseko home for over 30 years. “We are very thankful to have the downhill trails at Grand Hirafu right here at our doorstep,” said Carty, “but they haven’t always been there. Before Hirafu, people have had very few sanctioned trails to ride.” This & Hirafu’s limited operating season has pushed some mountain bikers to ride unsanctioned trails.
NAMTBA, says Carty, aims to change this by providing accessible trails like those of Twin Peaks Bike Park & by educating local riders on the rights and wrongs of trail riding. “We are working to build a lasting community – trails for current and future generations of riders. It is our duty to serve as educators, advocates and stewards for mountain biking.”
Niseko may be famous for its pow, but the summer season is truly special. If scenic hikes, tasty BBQs, family friendly rafting, and refreshing beach trips sound nice to you… reach out and book your stay with us today!