Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Committee Chair(s)

Sean E. Michael


Sean E. Michael


David L. Bell


Ryan C. Bosworth


In the last decade ski resorts worldwide have developed mountain bike specific recreational facilities in an effort to increase summer revenues. Their success has been mixed, with some becoming quite profitable, but others closing summer operations after only a few low revenue

years. With minimal information regarding bike park design currently available, the planning and design of these facilities remains largely a grassroots effort. This thesis project develops a methodology that approaches the creation of mountain bike resorts on ski mountain terrain based on landscape architectural best practices, sustainable trail

construction techniques, and site-specific requirements. For this project, the terrain of Powder Mountain, a privately owned ski resort above Eden, UT, was selected due to the management’s interest in the study’s relevance to expanding recreational summer offerings, and the proximity to Utah State University.

This research analyzes the Powder Mountain landscape and infrastructure to develop a Master plan, outlining trail corridors, feature placement, and terrain suitability for future trail

development. The basis for these design decisions were analyses from site visits, case studies, and GIS analyses. In addition, a worldwide survey of mountain bike park user experiences was conducted to further understanding of the elements of an ideal mountain bike resort. Throughout the process, these findings were augmented by consultation with professional mountain bike park designers and refined through an iterative design process to create a Master plan based on landscape architectural best practices that will guide the development of summer mountain bike recreation facilities on Powder Mountain.