Tag Archives: Manitoba Mountain

The Future of Skiing According to Mountain Riders Alliance


Mountain Riders Alliance is trying to change the sport of skiing. More accurately, they’re trying to return the sport to its roots. They want less emphasis on real estate villages and expensive lift systems and more focus on skiing. Their goal is to provide just enough uphill transportation to keep the sport viable, but not so much that it inundates the environment. I like where they are coming from. I had the pleasure of meeting founders Dave, Jamie and Pete last season when they came to Crystal. We skied, talked about the future of the industry and shared beers at the Elk. These guys get it. They have signed terms sheet to purchase Mt. Abrams and the steep Manitoba Mountain in Alaska is coming on line; these like-minded souls are poised to shine some serious light on the ski industry.

It is, or should be anyways, first and foremost about the skiing. Everything else is gravy. Below is MRA’s plea for support in followers, donations and schwag buyers. Click on the logo below to be taken to their site with more info. These guys deserve a look.

The ski industry has been taken over by Big Business.

Conglomerates and private equity firms with no connection to local communities have bought up ski areas large and small, while many community-based mountains have closed. Lift ticket prices have gone through the roof, making snow sports inaccessible for many. Urban sprawl in our mountain towns is degrading the natural environment while a select few make a large profit.

We want to offer an alternative!

Who We Are

Mountain Rider’s Alliance is a group of passionate snow enthusiasts dedicated to making a positive change in the ski industry by supporting mountain communities and being more sensitive to the environment. We want to bring the triple bottom line of people, planet, then profit to the ski industry. We believe riding is more than a sport, but rather a way of life.

MRA is creating or converting values-based, environmentally friendly, rider-centric Mountain Playgrounds around the world. Our model will help local businesses prosper, create renewable energy and offer an authentic skiing experience.

MRA Triple Bottom Line Business Model

MRA’s Triple Bottom Line Business Model


Why Should You Support MRA?

You love community.

You want ski areas to support their local economies and preserve the individual character of ski towns. You want skiers to have a voice in how their ski areas operates. You want your ski area to partner with non profits to make the world a better place.

You love the environment.

You want ski areas to reduce their fossil fuel dependence, harness renewable energy techniques and lower their footprint. You love snow and the mountains, and want them preserved for future generations.

You love skiing. 

You are not concerned about time-shares, out-of-boot amenities, or overpriced lift tickets. You want affordable uphill transportation with the emphasis on skiing and riding.

Matt Reardon at Manitoba Mountain, Alaska

Matt Reardon on Manitoba Mountain, Alaska

What Do We Need?

Our grassroots organization has been bootstrapping for over two years. We have made an enormous amount of progress without any operating capital. Recently, the first round of seed investors has contributed to support our global vision. Now we are now seeking additional funds to move forward from concept to reality.

Two ski areas are ready to become the world’s first Mountain Playgrounds, with many more to follow. You can make that happen.

How Can You Help?

Donate: Your contributions will have a direct impact on moving our plans forward and, more importantly, support the sustainable future of skiing and riding.

Represent: Wear your MRA attire with pride and spread the good word!

Share: Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Meet the Leadership Team

Director of Finance and Development Pete Blanchard graduated from Duke with honors, worked a stint on Wall Street, and recently received his masters in Sustainable Business from Presidio Graduate School. His ability to speak in “financial talk” is a key piece of the team. As a long-time member of the pro leisure tour, Buddy Pete’s gifted ability to put the team’s ideas on paper makes him our three-time returning MVP.

Project Manager Dave Scanlan is a jack of many trades. Over the years he has been known as Tele Dave, No Poles Dave, Bumping Dave, Hippie Dave, and Tie-Dye Dave. As chairman of his local Land Use Advisory Planning Commission on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, Dave’s ability to eloquently discuss the finer details is top notch. His work ethic and attention to detail are in a league of their own. He would like nothing more than to create more cool places to ski.

CEO Jamie Schectman has been around the block a time or two. He is the guy who keeps everything organized and everyone moving forward. He comes from an entrepreneurial background and isn’t afraid to try new things by challenging the status quo. As a self-proclaimed change agent and global ski bum, “Shecky’s” ultimate goal is to create the job of product tester at MRA Mountain Playgrounds around the world.

MRA has over 50 active team members from 6 different countries contributing to our grassroots organization, and has recruited an imressive group of advisory board members, bringing a diverse wealth of knowledge to our collaboration.

Manitoba Mountain: A new ski area wants to change the world


Mountain Riders Alliance (or MRA) is moving forward on its plan to reopen Manitoba Mountain, a ski area on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula that closed down in 1960. MRA, according to its website, wants to make a “positive change in the ski industry.”

Their plan? To develop rider-owned-and-operated ski areas with minimal carbon footprints. Their website outlines how the business model will work: they will offer memberships to riders, utilize local and regional grants, and create energy and sell it back to the grid, all while keeping the infrastructure costs down. MRA has some pretty interesting goals, including everything from ensuring there’s a clock at every lift station along with free parking and a state-of-the-art website to making the world a better place.

Manitoba with Silvertip in the Background

Their first project? Manitoba. With three surface rope tows and 10,000 acres of terrain, this ski area could have the lowest infrastructure to acreage ratio of any ski area around. They will also create energy with small hydro projects as well as potentially develop wind and solar.

The terrain accessed from the rope tows will cater to beginners and intermediates. Beyond that, thousands of backcountry acres will be available via an access gate. Riders will be required to carry avalanche equipment and take responsibility for themselves. The details about access haven’t been spelled out specifically, so this remains a little to be seen. However, since MRA will soon be offering memberships (once they receive final approval for the project), this gives local owners a chance to set the ground rules for the ski community of Manitoba.

The model MRA is setting for Manitoba as well as other ski areas might not work for everyone. The base facilities will be minimal, and the really worthy terrain will first require up to a two-hour hike. But for a growing percentage of the ski population, this is exactly what they are looking for.

Skiers arriving from Anchorage will drive first by Girdwood, and its patrons, Alyeska Resort and Chugach Powder Guides, before continuing another hour to Manitoba, where few overnight accommodations exist. However, that’s just what might make Manitoba so special. It’s about the skiing. Not real estate, not a big lodge and a roaring fireplace. Maybe not even bored lifties and ski instructors working for tips and a few free runs in between classes. It’s simply about what happens when the lifts are actually turning, the backcountry access gates are open and the customers (or maybe members in this case) are carving, floating and hiking through deep snow.


  • Base elevation: 1,106 feet
  • Top of highest surface lift and backcountry access gate: 3,702 feet
  • Lift served vertical drop 2,596 feet
  • 3 Surface Lifts
  • Inbounds terrain: Approximately 1,000 acres
  • Backcountry and hike to terrain: Approximately 10,000 acres within a 2 hour hike
  • Estimated average annual snowfall: 350 – 550 inches

For more information, check out their website at www.skimanitobamountain.com.