The Dirt Series Women’s Traveling Mountain Bike Camp Turns 10.

Aug 11, 2010
by Adrienne Schofhauser  
The brand manager of a major bike component company recently told me, “What every mountain biker guy wants is a girl who rides.” Which is probably true. Pursuing the trails you love with the one you love really is a dream materialized into reality and pedaling right there along beside you.

But—that’s not why we were here.

“We” were 65 gals donned in armor and full face helmets or Spandex and XC lids ready to get our schralp on. And “here” was Whistler Mountain Bike Park (and the valley) - the perfect training grounds for freeride, downhill and cross country progression. We were attending a session of The Dirt Series — the renowned traveling women’s mountain bike skills camp, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Whole story inside,Pause for a moment and reflect: That’s 10 years of teaching women all over Western Canada and the U.S. the fundamental skills and technique for shredding all types of terrain on a burly squishy bike. It’s impressive that a women’s mtb camp claims such legacy and growing success given that the sport as we know it was just figuring itself out a decade ago.

The year The Dirt Series sprouted, it catered to a mere 100 skill-hungry mtb gals attending a few Whistler-based sessions. The program was created to encourage women’s participation in the sport. It’s more than achieved that goal.

Today, the camp boasts 16 annual stops throughout B.C., Alberta, Washington, Oregon, Utah and Colorado. Nearly 6,000 lady riders - from beginners to advanced - claim more confidence on a big bike and more stoke out there on the trails thanks to The Dirt Series.

This year Trek jumped on board as title sponsor and the camp is charging toward its second decade of learning the ladies on handling, style and even bike maintenance. Still, you should know, this is hardly the softer side of mountain biking.

The Dirt Series’ success lies in a camp agenda that’s dialed. The two-day weekend sessions consist of morning skills clinics and afternoon trail riding. The coaches - who are all infused electric personalities - represent some of the sport’s finest female rippers. And they’re stoked to drop some detailed knowledge about movement technique and on-bike thought-processes for taking control of your riding in any type of the terrain.

Our Whistler session proved both challenging and rewarding. Whether we wanted to learn dirt jumping, descending, skinnies or climbing we received individual attention to dial in those proficiencies. Some ladies had never felt the squishy sensation of full-suspension before. (Consider that addict born.) For many camps, the coaches haul in their own structures and stunts - logs, drops, skinnies, ladders - to teach with.

If you come lacking the proper gear (protection, hydration packs…a bike, maybe?), no worries, rentals abound. The Dirt Series sponsor list reads like an mtb army. Race Face is on board with ladies-specific armor; Bell’s got your brainbuckets and Dakine, your hydration packs. And then of course there’s Trek’s burly 8-inch beasts corralled and waiting to be taken out and let loose on those trails.

But backing like that for The Dirt Series isn’t a surprise. Candace Shadley, The Dirt Series founder and director explains: “It seems that there are always more women wanting to get into mountain biking, and always more shops, more resorts, and more towns wanting to give those women what they want,” she says. “Every year we get requests for more camps, so we'll keep working with those, and doing everything we can to keep running a super pro program.”

It is a good time to be a woman mountain biker. And the reality is that the female riding community is huge. Much larger than most of us in Whistler realized - until we were standing among ourselves, storm trooper-to-storm trooper, pony tails draping down our backs. What we did know was that we were all in it to win it, to shred some gnar - the rocky sections, the steep roll-downs, garnering our first feet of fresh air under the tires. And we were stoked when our new friends triumphed, too. The smack of high-fives echoed through the alpine peaks and down through the cloud-blanketed valley. Even in the misty mornings our smiles shone brightly. Over the course of the weekend, our muscles grew weary but our confidence grew hardy.

Toward the end of camp, I approached Courtney Nash, one of our inspiring instructors and a trail builder in her hometown of Bellingham, Wash. I asked her what she observes in us campers throughout the session, from her side of the teaching model.

“Progession and transformation,” she responded quickly. Then with a wry smile, she added: “Exultation.”

Yeah...she gets why we’re here.

To attend The Trek Dirt Series yourself visit for the more details, photos and registration. Pst - guys, there are a few co-ed camps, too.

By Adrienne Schofhauser


  • 4 1
 yeah, that's awesome, I like that. Really great to see, that there is motivation to do some more camps for the girls!!!!

GO FOR IT!!!!!! Smile
  • 2 1
 I did Dirt Series in Calgary this summer, and it kicks ass. The coaches are absolute rock stars, the supporting bike shops are amazing, and the stoke is unreal. You learn so much in two days, it's hard to remember it all. If you're a female rider, it's probably the best $300 you'll ever spend. Go do it, you'll love it.

I'll be going to another camp next year for sure. Just trying to decide between Fruita or Whistler ... or maybe I'll do both :-)
  • 2 1
 "The brand manager of a major bike component company recently told me, “What every mountain biker guy wants is a girl who rides.

Truer words have never been spoken. Biking is a sausage fest - thank the Dirt Series for changing that one woman at a time.
  • 1 0
 My (hot) wife rides as well as most of the guys that I know, so from an educated point of view I can say it is awesome having a girl that rides. 2 downsides though - It really sucks when you see her get hurt, and sometimes you just want some man time but don't want to tell her she can't come ride with you.
The worst though is friends I have who have girls that like to ride, but really can't keep up. I would rather she didn't ride at all if that was the case.
  • 1 0
 That's why it's important for girls to form riding groups too. Most girls simply can't keep up with a group of guys. That's just a fact - you're bigger, stronger and braver than us. Trust me, we're very aware that we're holding you up, and it makes us stressed and unhappy too - it goes both ways! But having said that, all the guys I ride with are awesome. They can't wait to pass on what they know, and they're as stoked as you are when you nail something new. 3
  • 1 0
 Well said. Via my experience, I agree with both of your points! And via The Dirt Series, I met many other girls who would echo your thoughts.
  • 1 0
 Us lucky few who have spouse/girlfriends who ride ..... and charge aren't that much in the minority then? That's good to know.
  • 1 0
 My ex GF wanted to come up and ride DH on our Nationals tracks with me.... she hasn't sat on a bike in years Frown

Feels bad saying no man, like your heart gets ripped out and stomped on. Shit sucked Blank Stare
  • 2 1
 be careful what you wish for, I will probably catch some slack but a girl who bikes can seriously blur the lines between riding with your buddies, and hangin with the gf... not that its always a bad thing... girls who ride do tend to be super rad though!!!!
  • 1 0
 I don't see what's wrong with that...
  • 1 0
 a, sorry that was a language misuse, having a GIRLFRIEND or significant other who rides could potentially blur the lines between pals and gf time, which is not always a bad thing! The girls i Ride with in Ashland are super duper rad girls, and they can shred!
  • 1 0
 As one of the women who rides, I would like to say that Trek has built a great course that allows women to progress so that we can keep up with the boys... or at least have the balls and the skills in our back pocket to try.
  • 1 0
 Haha I hope you don't have the balls! Razz
  • 3 1
 right on! great to see the Women out there giving it a go.
  • 2 1
 It warms my heart to know that more and more women ride, and understand why we ride.. Props and Kudos
  • 3 0
 women that ride are hot!
  • 1 0
 Lovely ladies on bikes Smile
  • 2 1
  • 19 1
 if men tried to start a mens only camp, would they be called sexist?

I'm goddam tired of being hit on by pesky hot babes, I wan't riding time! Mad

I demand a man-camp! Equal rights for all!

(Anyone taking this seriously might want to think about their future as a human)
  • 3 2
 Shred-NZ....your my HERO!!!!!!! thats so frickin funny!!! lol
  • 7 0
 i bet 90% of lads reading this didn't read the article.
  • 4 1
 Man-Camp! Man-Camp! No but seriously, I'm proud that our sport has such a supportive community for women. Companies like Ray's Indoor and Trek deserve a lot of praise for their female-only events.
  • 3 1
 yeah i only was looking for cute girls on bikes
  • 1 0
 so was i...trek gravity girls are sexy...
  • 2 0
 Trek Gravity Girls on fb
  • 1 0
 added. Big Grin
  • 1 0
 More Photo...!! Big Grin
  • 1 0
 they look pro

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