What is SORCA nowadays?
The Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association is entering its 30th year.
As the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association enters its 30th year in 2022, it’s hard to imagine that the powerful organization it is today was once a humble group of about 20 mountain biking friends who loved to ride. together and build trails.
âYou know, mountain biking is exploding around the world – not just in Squamish – and SORCA has grown with it,â President Jeff Norman said, adding that an economy has grown alongside biking in Squamish, with many local businesses that thrive and prosper due to the popularity of the sport.
“It is a bit like the center of the mountain biking universe in Canada [now], which is fantastic. And, I mean, the trail system itself has grown tremendously and we’re certainly very happy to be a part of it. “
Currently, SORCA has nearly 2,700 members who walk our more than 300 trails.
Norman told the Squamish Chief it was the most membership the club has ever had. The 2020 pandemic was the first and only year that memberships declined – and even then, it was only a hundred memberships, Norman said.
âWe are delighted that people are signing up again,â he said. âWe are thrilled and really lucky here in Squamish because it is not the same in all communities. “
Typically, SORCA organizes around 30 events per year for its members. With the pandemic, they were ten in 2021.
âI think we did three or four social outings, one run, three or four youth events as well. It’s great. Once things calm down in the middle of summer and the comfort level was there for those, âNorman said.
“That was great news … SORCA – more than a lot of trail organizations – is about these events that just build community and bring people together … It’s also a lot more fun for our volunteers, for tell you the truth., when we host events rather than just host Zoom meetings. “
With the pandemic continuing, the organization has no concrete plans for a celebration of the 30-year milestone, but hopes to be able to organize a full list of events and an anniversary celebration, with health orders arranged, Norman said.
When the club has its full list of trail days, it can compete for up to 500 volunteers.
Last year, about 250 to 300 volunteers came to take care of, among other things, the maintenance of the trails.
With the riverine atmospheric events this fall, it will take more track days for next season, Norman said.
âWe were certainly luckier than some, obviously in the Fraser Valley they had a lot more rain there,â he noted.
“[But] when the water is flowing along the trails or removing some kind of mineral soil and it just makes them more rocky and therefore needs to be fixed … Nothing we can’t handle, but it’s going to take a long time l effort of the volunteers and the effort of the track team in the spring to put things back in place. “
Change is underway for the new season, with Helen Beynon stepping down after four years as the club’s executive director and Ian Lowe taking over as head of the association in February.
Lowe has 15 years of experience in leadership and management roles and was previously Race Director on the SORCA Board of Directors for several years.
âIan embodies the community spirit that SORCA represents; he has a unique set of skills that will serve our organization and our community very well. We are delighted that he chose to come home to work with us full time, âNorman said in a press release.
Norman added that the organization has been well served and “really lucky” to have Beynon in the paid role for the past four years, working 20 to 30 hours per week. Lowe will work 40 hours per week.
âIt’s an honor to have had this opportunity with an organization that fascinates me so much. I look forward to representing the membership to ensure that mountain biking and trails have a sustainable and prosperous future in our community, âLowe said in the release.
The SORCA volunteer board of directors is looking for new members.
The 2022 director elections will take place at the AGM on January 26. Six administrator positions are up for grabs.
The positions to be filled are as follows: Treasurer / Secretary, Trails, Risk Management, Social Events, Races and Fundraising / Membership.
The positions are for two-year terms.
(Apply by Monday January 10. Email your application to [email protected] More information here.)
Norman said those who might be a little intimidated about getting involved in such an established and tight-knit organization should feel free to reach out and get involved.
“We’re always looking for talented people to join our board. It doesn’t matter if you’re a serious mountain biker, new to town or have been around for a long time. We have a wide range of board members. administration and that’s really, really important in moving the organization forward, âhe said.
In terms of future plans and goals, Norman said SORCA looks forward to strengthening its ties with the Squamish Nation.
âIt’s a great thing,â he said. “The trails are on their land, and that’s their whole land.”
He added that the association was proud to have helped create a growing Squamish Nation Youth Mountain Bike Program in 2020.
âWe kind of want to be a leader on the reconciliation front on the Sea to Sky outdoor stage,â he said.
SORCA is also working on certain infrastructure projects for 2022, such as a new parking lot at the bottom of Pseudo Tsuga.
This is a project the organization has been waiting for provincial government approval for about a year, Norman said.
A plan is also underway to expand the Mikayla Martin Memorial Trail, Miki’s Magic, and rebuild the Brennan Park skill park.
âSo it should be a busy and busy year 2022. For sure,â Norman said.
Discover the SORCA on its website.