With a growing presence and increased visibility of women riding mountain bikes, female riding has progressed to new levels. With this momentum, it is exciting to be on the cusp of a paradigm shift where series like the Women’s Slopestyle Tour (WST) is creating avenues for these riders to compete and build comradery with other skilled athletes.
In 2019, the WST brought together many of the elite slopestyle, freeride and dirt-jumping riders to compete on three courses hat were spread throughout North America. 21 female athletes travelled to Seattle, Washington, Kelowna, British Columbia and Truckee, California to compete in the series and showcase a diverse field of disciplines and abilities.
Sugar Showdown was the first stop on the tour (due to an unseasonal blizzard in Truckee in May). The athletes gathered on Duthie Hill in Issaquah, Washington competing on ‘Flying Squirrel’, where a strong crowd presence tight to the course created a real atmosphere and energy for the competition. The trail features allowed each of the riders to focus on tricks and exhibit their skills as they competed for the first FMB rankings of the series.Sugar Showdown Results - 1st Place: Stephanie Nychka, 2nd Place: Ming Goetz, 3rd Place: Julia Traum
The Big White Freeride Invitational presented some new challenges with a rainy start to training and a true Slopestyle course. It was the first time many of these women had ever experienced a true slope course, but after a couple of practices getting comfortable with the 5 features, the competitors started attacking the jumps, turning out some exciting and unique runs. Ming Goetz stated what many riders were contemplating, "Little Big was a learning experience for me as I'd never competed on a dirt jumper before. Working out how to transfer all my skills to a tiny bike was tricky, but very rewarding." It was an incredible opportunity for the women to ride alongside and learn from both the Bronze and Gold men’s categories.
With some beautiful fall weather, WST concluded the series in September in Truckee, California at the Little Big Bike Festival. The amount of development that the Truckee Bike Park undergoes each year to host these events - through the efforts of Brooks McMullin and Cortney Knudson - is nothing short of amazing. A new slopestyle course greeted the riders this year, allowing the riders to generate an amazing flow and attempt new tricks for the first time in the competition.Little Big Results - 1st Place: Stephanie Nychka, 2nd Place: Ming Goetz, 3rd Place: Lisa MasonJunior Women - 1st Place: Taylor Betonte, 2nd Place: Teagan Heap
With the inaugural season for WST under wraps, it has been exciting to reflect on the different events and the impact of the series on both the athletes and the riding community. It was a year of serious growth and progression for many of the riders as they challenged themselves on bigger terrain and had the opportunity to compete against both veterans and up-and-comers in the sport. It took grit and determination, battling injuries and simply overcoming logistics to travel to the events. It has been amazing to get some feedback on the series from the organizers, spectators, industry icons and most importantly, the athletes:
It has been an amazing year, seeing the evolution of female Slopestyle taking place in real-time as the season progressed and witnessing the development of the athletes and the community forming around the sport.
To view all 2019 Women’s Slopestyle Tour athletes and rankings, please click here