Europe’s first professional trail builder managers graduating in Norway

3 July 2023

Europe’s first professional trail builder managers graduating in Norway

Earlier this month the students in Europe’s first formal education in Mountain Bike Trail Planning, Construction and Maintenance graduated from Viken School of Higher Vocational Education in Norway (FIV). Following up on a successful first year, the school has announced that they will continue the program for 2023/24. 

An international study program

Mountain biking and the construction of sustainable mountain bike trails is growing rapidly on a global level. – What we see is that interest in high-quality mountain bike trails is increasing in many countries, says Mark McClure, who is the teacher responsible for the study programme. – More and more tourism destinations see mountain biking as an attractive activity and are willing to invest in sustainable, high-quality trails. 

The international interest is clearly reflected in the profile of the trail building students: A total of 17 students from 11 European countries took part in the final exam, from the Norwegian Lofoten islands in the north to Greece in the south. 

– There is great interest from several parts of the world in the experiences we have made in the European trail building study, says McClure enthusiastically.

Combining work and study

Mountain Bike Trail Planning, Construction and Maintenance is a year long part time study aimed at trail building managers. The teaching sessions have been organised around online evening classes and scheduled online tutorials, allowing students to combine the study with their daytime jobs. During the wintertime, where most European trail builders are in their off-season, the students gather for two residential weeks in Portugal, doing practical training. 

The final exam in Norway includes both a written test as well as a number of practical assignments, where the students need to display their ability to assess, analyse, plan and organise trail work.

Professionalising the industry

Mark McClure has over 15 years of experience in planning and building mountain bike trails and has completed projects in many countries on five continents. He sees a strong demand for professionalising the trail building sector. – In the past, the contracts often went to local contractors without special expertise, but now quality is in demand, both in terms of user experience and sustainability of the trails.

Application deadline August 1st

These days, students are being admitted to next year’s study program of “Mountain Bike Trail Planning, Construction and Maintenance”. Final deadline is August 1st.

More information can be found at  Questions about the study program can be directed to Anette Vigdal Eriksten

Background information:

The Mountain Bike Trail Planning, Construction and Maintenance study program is a result of the international DIRTT project, co-funded by the European Commission. DIRTT stands for “Developing Inter-european Resources for Trail builder Training”, and the initiative was started in 2019 by IMBA Europe and an international project group representing both volunteer and professional trail builders, education providers, municipalities and tourist destinations. 

The DIRTT partners are dedicated to providing a Europe wide framework for trail building teaching, training and certification.

More info about DIRTT: