Matt Hancock, owner, Mt. Abram

A joint effort “to promote a cooperative business model” has been announced by Mt. Abram, near Bethel, Maine, and the Mountain Rider’s Alliance (MRA). Goal for the model project is to boost regional visitation and increase sustainability awareness.


The plan is for Mt. Abram to become the first MRA Mountain Playground. This conversion project means the ski area will remain open to the public without significant changes to its operating plan.


The new angle is that membership shares will be available via MRA offering “a variety of benefits and privileges,” as well as reciprocation with other Mountain Playgrounds as they are developed. The deal allows for elections to represent members as they dialog with the area’s management.


MRA co-founder Jamie Schectman said the organization was founded in 2009. He added that Mt. Abram “couldn’t be a better partner.” The 560-acre ski area is privately owned and operated by Matt Hancock, a businessman who was recently inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame. The ski opened in 1960. Mt. Abram won the 2012 Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence from the National Ski Areas Association. 


“Mt. Abram’s greatness doesn’t have to be restricted to Maine,” Hancock said. “There are a number of other independent ski areas that would fit into this model. Mt. Abram’s collaboration with MRA is about skiing, plain and simple; a thriving business model away from the commercialized, overpriced, factory outdoor experience at the mega resorts.”


On another front, MRA has entered into a permitting process to restore Manitoba Mountain on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Manitoba, with access to 10,000 acres of terrain, last operated in 1960.


MRA is currently operating an online crowdfunding campaign. 


Photo: Matt Hancock, owner (Mt. Abram)