Fernie hosts all-female MTB camp

Fernie hosts all-female MTB camp

Fifty-women travel from across Canada, the U.S. to take part in Trek Dirt Series event in Fernie

Fifty-five women joined the Fernie mountain biking sisterhood over the weekend during an all-female camp.

They travelled from across Canada and the U.S. to take part in the event hosted by The Guides Hut as part of the Trek Dirt Series.

The group was supported by nine coaching staff with the help of about 10 volunteers and learned a wide range of skills, which they honed on Fernie’s vast network of mountain bike trails.

“We go from the basic skills – the foundations – with all the groups on stance and balance, breaking, descending, cornering and then we’ve been working on more advanced skills like high speed cornering, switchbacks, drops, jumps (and) pumping. Then we put all those into practice,” said Fernie camp manager Kat Robinson on Sunday.

Pascale Moreau travelled all the way from Quebec City for the Fernie camp, which was the first of three she planned to attend over a three-week holiday.

She is new to mountain biking and hoped to gain new skills, while building confidence in an all-female setting.

“I used to be a road biker but not anymore I think,” she said.

“I just need more challenging stuff, be in the woods… girls are different from boys, not pushing my limits out of what I can do.”

For Calgary woman Michelle McTimoney, the Fernie event was her third Dirt Series camp since she started mountain biking in 2014.

“It’s a super fun weekend, it’s a great time to spend with some girlfriends, learning new skills, perfecting old skills and it’s a huge confidence builder,” she said.

“Everyone is awesome, it’s super well organized.”

The Dirt Series started 17 years ago as way for mountain bikers to develop their skills.

This year, the program will host 24 mountain bike camps around Western Canada and the U.S., the majority of which are women only.

Robinson said women often feel more comfortable learning from female coaches and riding with others of the same standard.

“It’s just super fun and it’s nice for them to be with their peers and not feel intimidated,” she said.

Camps have been held in downtown Fernie for the past four years and are always very popular, with the weekend’s event selling out.

“We had a waitlist as well,” said Robinson.

“It always fills up in Fernie because people want to come and see what cross country is all about.”

The next camp is in Canmore, Alta., this weekend. Visit Dirtseries.com for more information.


Michelle McTimoney of Calgary.  Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Michelle McTimoney of Calgary. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press