What was your initial reaction when you found out you had won?
Complete disbelief. Really. I am guessing it took Andy from Pinkbike ten minutes to convince me that he wasn't a scammer. I don't think it felt real until we were standing on a dusty berm at Joyride. The super cool part is that in a really small town like ours, everyone else was stoked for us, too.
What were you most excited about?
Hands down, riding on the West Coast. We're East Coast riders. Our home resort is Mount Snow, Vermont with Killington, Vermont and Thunder Mountain, Massachussets within easy driving distance. We have some super fun parks and great trail systems, but getting to ride some of the best parks in the US and Canada?! The stoke factor was high!
Who did you take with you and why?
One of the first questions I asked Andy was, "How old does my plus one need to be?" and when he confirmed that it didn't really matter since I qualified as the adult, there was only one person to take: my 13 year old son, Cooper. He has been riding park since he was 5 or 6 and easily spends three days a week on a downhill bike at our home resort of Mount Snow, in Vermont. His passion for riding runs deep and even though there is a huge gap between our ability levels, I knew he was going and we could easily manage the skills gap by getting local guides (which worked out great).
How did you prepare for the trip?
Well, Cooper rode his bike three or four days a week, and was able to spend some time at Killington, Vermont and Thunder Mountain, Massachusetts. We own a tree nursery and garden center, so our regular work days give us a pretty solid workout. I also broke my collarbone badly on June 22... Genius, I know... I broke it and displaced it more than 2-inches. On June 27, my amazing surgeon installed a new, blue, titanium plate and 9 titanium screws. By day 4, I was walking 2 miles a day and kept increasing from there, hiking up something most days all summer in the hopes of staying strong. We started traveling on Saturday, August 4. On Friday, August 3 (5 weeks post-op), my surgeon told me not to ride. So I got back on a bike at Snow Summit on August 6th. I made smart terrain choices, was good about staying on smoother terrain and am amazed that I was able to ride everywhere except Whistler - which I opted out only due to the rider traffic. I called the surgeon to come clean and see if she wanted another x-ray - she was not surprised. She is a hockey player. She gets it.
How much riding did you do on the trip?
We rode every "scheduled" day except for one - day 1 at Silver Star was wet and super foggy and we were a little weary - so I pulled the mom-card and we took a recovery day to sleep in, have an amazing lunch at Bugaboo's, do some merch shopping, drool over bikes and enjoy the private hot tub on our deck. Cooper rode most days from opening to 4:00. I rode as long as my broken collarbone would let me - which varied - but most days, I was able to ride from open until 2pm.
What was your favourite trail?
Cooper's favorite was "Dirt Merchant" at Whistler. But I have to say, as a parent, the coolest text I have ever gotten was when this popped up: "Just rode A-Line". My favourite was Shazam" at Silver Star. Those berms were perfection and the dirt was so sticky! It was giggle-inducing.... A close second would be "Off the top" to "Beach Cruiser" to "White Bark" to "Kamikaze" at Mammoth.
What was the highlight of the trip?
Only one?! You are killing me here. The entire trip was, quite honestly, epic. The terrain was insanely fun. We got to demo a ton of great bikes. All of our accommodations were amazing. My nephew lives at Mammoth, so he was our bike guide and took us to the hot springs. Crankworx was insane. Joyride was mindblowing, even with the smoke. We got to ride so much amazing terrain! And we met so many amazing people. Selecting a single highlight is actually impossible. Every damn stop was a highlight. Maybe the real highlight was all the brownie points this mom got with her 13 year old son?
How did this compare to other mountain biking trips you've done?
This is our first ever big bike trip!! So I'm not really sure how we can go up from here... Maybe we should just keep winning the Trip of a Lifetime contests?
Thanks again to all destinations involved @SnowSummitBikePark @SilverStarBikePark @MammothMountain @SunPeaksResort