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The RY Outfitters Podcast EP: 23 Mountain Riders Alliance – Creating Sustainable Mountain Playgrounds. Co-founder Jamie Schectman Sharing His Story

Mountain Riders Alliance logo

Mountain Riders Alliance

Help keep mom and pop ski areas alive

Support independent mountains and get deals on lift tickets with the Mountain Playground Card

To find out more behind how Mountain Riders Alliance got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Mountain Riders Alliance co-founder, Jamie Schectman

More about the episode…

Josh sits down with Mountain Riders Alliance co-founder Jamie Schectman. Mountain Riders Alliance (MRA) is an organization that is driven by one thing and one thing only: Keeping the heart and soul of skiing and snowboarding alive. As bigger corporate mountains grow, small mom and pop ski areas continue to wither and struggle in the face of a dominated market. MRA helps these independent mountains by acting as consultants to help make sure they are headed in a positive and sustainable direction. With the birth of MRA’s Mountain Playground Card, a card holder will be supporting these independent mountains while being eligible for an array of deals and discounts on gear and lift tickets. Keep the soul of skiing and snowboarding alive by supporting the Mountain Riders Alliance.

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Show Notes

  • What is Mountain Riders Alliance all about?
    • “In the 80’s and 90’s we started focusing on the ski industry and watching them take a shift away from the ski experience and focus on other things…we as a collective group of skiers and snowboarders said ‘we have to do something’…”
  • Where are you from and how did you get into skiing?
    • “I grew up in Los Angeles and after high school I decided to take a year off and move to Lake Tahoe. Well, that year kind of turned into the rest of my life…”
  • What are you doing that helps these mom and pop ski resorts?
    • “First off we got on the job experience by working with several ski areas in detail. And from that time we learned a lot of about the ski industry; what makes things profitable, what are the dos and the don’ts…”
  • What skis areas are part of Mountain Riders Alliance?
    • Jamie dives into each of the mountains that have joined Mountain Riders Alliance and provides some deeper detail about each mountain
  • What type of organization is Mountain Riders Alliance?
    • “Our revenue comes from consulting gigs with these ski areas and, we sell a mountain playground group card for $29”
    • “We are a for profit entity but we’re not profit driven. We’re doing the right thing, we’re helping these smaller ski areas.”
  • What’s in store for the future of Mountain Riders Alliance?
    • “We have a few things for the future. The First is we’re hosting the inaugural MRA Summer Shredfest at Beartooth Basin which is just outside of Red Lodge Montana”
  • Who is apart of the Mountain Riders Alliance team?
    • “There’s several of us that are active and there’s a whole bunch of us that collaborate from time to time. I would say over the course of the six years that we’ve been in business we’re probably had a hundred people contribute…”
  • What would say has been one of the hardest parts about building Mountain Riders Alliance?
    • “Like a lot of start up businesses, capital. When we carve out jobs and do consulting jobs and get paid it’s one thing. But, when we continue to do work pro bono, it’s sometimes tough to sustain ourselves…”
  • What would you say is one of your biggest fears with Mountain Riders Alliance and how do you manage it?
    • “My biggest fear is for the industry as a whole. That the snow stops falling. That these ski areas that we work with, they’re all old… a lot of their infrastructure is at the end of it’s life.”
  • What are some of the things you have done to help them in order to help save them?
    • “We have put together a think tank of a couple of finance guys and a couple of industry veterans, and started brainstorming and talking through how we can make these ski areas financially sustainable…”
  • How does becoming a coop allow these ski areas to keep going?
    • One of the things that happens when you create a membership entity is you, all of a sudden, get a lot of volunteers because there’s pride of ownership. My colleague over at Mad River Glen, Eric Friedman…told me first they took each member’s buy in, but then they become members for life…”
  • What were you doing before you started Mountain Riders Alliance?
    • “I’ve been a massage therapist, I owned a wine vineyard, I’ve been involved in several startups. I’ve always been very entrepreneurial and have always had jobs that support my ski habit…”
  • What advice would you give someone that wanted to start a business in the outdoor sport industry?
    • “Surround yourself with smart people that aren’t yes people. Surround yourself with devils advocates…Be a sponge, absorb whatever it is you’re going to do and just study it intensely…”
  • What would you say is the best part about running Mountain Riders Alliance?
    • “The best part is staying relevant and, I don’t feel guilty when I go skiing somewhere else besides my home mountain…


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