10 Riders | 4 Days | 1 MTB mecca
The rise of women’s mountain biking has been meteoric over the past year. While we celebrate that more women are riding than ever before, it is hard to ignore the elephant in the room. The absence of female riders at the top of freeride and freestyle disciplines globally is glaring. Other action sports are successfully bridging that gap between talented amateur to professional for women, so what was the missing ingredient for women’s progression in mountain biking?
Is it opportunity or environment? Or both?
If we drill down in how men have made that leap, self-coaching and peer support are integral in most riders' journey to the top. But it takes a critical mass to do that and is that what is missing for women? Does progression happen when you create an environment, harness the energy, and provide an opportunity for a like-minded crew of riders to get together, to get better?
Robin Goomes, Queenstown NZ
Mons Royale is on a mission to give women a platform for progression in freeriding. The light-bulb moment came when Queenstown-based Mons athlete Louise Ferguson landed her first backflip to mulch, much to the delight of the male-dominated crew at an evening session at Wynyard Jump Park. The energy and stoke in that 30 second iPhone video sparked an idea, and the Mons Royale Future Ground Progression Camp was born.
Ten New Zealand-based female riders have been shoulder tapped for a four-day camp in New Zealand’s Mountain Bike mecca, Queenstown. From self-taught up and comers through to rising stars, the riders will be provided an opportunity to learn from the best kiwi coaches and mentors. Vinny Armstrong, a kiwi rider killing it on the world stage, winning the Crankworx Whip-off three times and scoring herself an invite to Red Bull Formation, has been selected for Future Ground and is stoked by the possibility of growing alongside these other awesome women, “This camp is just what the world needs at the moment, to see women progressing and pushing the limits of freeride.”
The newly re-shaped Wynyard Jump Park will be the base of the camp, with the airbag and mulch jump playing a big part in the rider’s progression, and the freshly modified mini-dream and the legendary Dream Track are right there for the taking. SITE Trampoline in Frankton will provide the morning coaching sessions on how to move in the air, right through to performing tricks to airbag on a purpose-built ramp. The riders will have access to specialist coaches and mentors throughout the camp and beyond to help build their confidence and progression.
Mons Royale also got in touch with Katie Holden, Event Director of the trailblazing women’s event, Red Bull Formation to gain some insights from Formation and the gap in freeride. “Representation is key. Red Bull Formation has shown the world that by giving women Freeriders more opportunities to grow, they flourish. Bring on 2021, I see big things happening as there is such strong momentum right now. I’m amped to see what comes out of the Mons Royale Future Ground.” Riders:
Louise Ferguson – Queenstown based (Scotland) – @louise_anna__ – She/Her
Vinny Armstrong – Queenstown based (Auckland) – @vinnysarmstrong – She/Her
Robin Goomes – Rotorua – @robin_riding_hood – She/Her
Kalani Muirhead – Wānaka – @kalani_muirhead – She/Her
Ellie Chew – Kapiti Coast – @ellie_chew – She/Her
Charlie Lester-Rosson – Rotorua – @charlie_lesterrosson – She/Her
Kathy Morris – Queenstown – @kathy4654 – She/Her
Kelsey Timpany – Queenstown – @3kels – She/Her
Emma Olofsson – Queenstown – @mmurmaider – She/Her
Jess Blewitt – Queenstown / Christchurch – @Jessblewitt_ – She/Her
Robin Goomes and Lousie Fergusen fired up for what's to come.