30 September 2019

DIRTT Project – The path to sustainable mountain bike trails in Europe

Europe’s population of active mountain bikers is in rapid growth, and the need for purpose-built or bike-optimized trails is increasing at the same rate.

The DIRTT project springs from the core of Europe’s mountain bike enthusiasts, volunteers and professionals centered around the European branch of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA Europe). The aim is to develop trail building guidelines with an educational framework addressing the needs of professionals and volunteers in the sectors of trail planning, design, construction, maintenance and management.

The partners in the project are from a number of backgrounds including; advocacy organisations, sports associations, governmental- and educational institutions, tourism, as well as private enterprises in the sector. The countries involved are Switzerland, Portugal, Scotland, Netherlands, Denmark and Norway.

The three year project is coordinated by Fagskolen Tinius Olsen, a college of higher vocational education in Norway. “The DIRTT project is an important initiative for the mountain biking community, and we are very happy that we received the funding and can go on with it. We have identified  the need for a certification regime for the trail building profession, the DIRTT project will allow us to create a solid  base for future development in this sector”  says Thomas Larsen Schmidt, President of the board of IMBA Europe.

Graeme McLean, Head of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland, explains how this project fits in with the overall strategy for growing the sport. “We know that amazing trails at all levels are the fundamental factor in getting more people enjoying the sport, helping our riders become champions, testing new products and growing tourism. By developing guidelines, and improving education, from trail designers to volunteers, will help us develop better and more sustainable trails into the future. We believe that by working together with partners across Europe we can share resources, knowledge and ideas and help mountain biking continue to grow both in Scotland, and across Europe.”


  • DIRTT - Developing Inter-european Resources for Trail builder Training
  • The DIRTT  project aims to develop a professional training regime for trail planning, design, construction, maintenance  and management.
  • The countries involved are Switzerland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Denmark and Norway.

Partner organisations are:

  • Fagskolen Tinius Olsen - Norway
  • International Mountain Bike Association Europe – Netherlands
  • Scottish Cyclists Union / DMBinS - Scotland
  • BikePlan - Switzerland
  • DGI - Denmark
  • Município de Águeda - Portugal
  • Opplysningskontoret for Terrengsykling - Norway

The project has been granted €387,731 through the European Union’s ERASMUS+ programme. The project will be coordinated by Fagskolen Tinius Olsen, a college of higher vocational education in Norway. The three year project aims to develop an educational framework and a professional training program for mountain bike trail builders.