Ladies clad in full face helmets and body armour and streaked with mud and dirt, doesn’t generally spring to mind when you’re thinking about an all girls club. But then again, Whistler isn’t your average town and Whistler girls aren’t your average ladies.
Women’s Night in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park is where dirty girls come to play – and get their fix of drops and jumps and beer.
Women’s Nights run every Monday and Wednesday night and act as a gathering ground for female downhill mountain bikers of all ability levels. You’ll find women of all age groups and interests in this group: from moms with groms to twenty-somethings to tourists to locals.
The guides divide everyone up by ability level and area of interest. The tickets are varied in price, depending on whether you have your own equipment and pass. At the end of the evening, everyone gathers at the GLC for a beer and prize draw, featuring some sweet schwag, including brakes, armour, tires and other bike equipment.
One of these Wednesday evening sessions back in 2007 was my first introduction to the bike park and I was instantly hooked on the adrenaline rush. While I still like to keep things fairly tame and am only just getting into drops, I honestly have this program to thank for even giving me the courage to get into the sport. I genuinely believe it’s women’s programs like these that are contributing to the influx of ladies in downhill mountain biking. That and passionate female riders like Katrina Strand, who is one of the forces behind WomenzWorx, an all-girl competition that falls under the Crankworx umbrella of events.
The bike park’s Women’s Night has blossomed over recent years. Kokanee Crankworx 2007 was the turning point for the program when “Women’s Wednesdays” finally gained traction. It was then that an adrenaline-fueled Crankworx inspired 100+ ladies to sign up one Wednesday – and they kept returning every Wednesday after that. I’d like to say I was one of the pioneering ladies, but alas, I merely jumped on the bandwagon – quite literally.
Since then, Women’s Wednesdays have transitioned into two nights each week to accommodate the growing demand.
Staring up into the infamous Boneyard Slopestyle course doesn’t exactly inspire the everyday woman to hop on a tank-like full suspension bike and ride off into the sunset. But behind all those wall rides, slalom courses and massive drops lies a variety of trails that will NOT terrify the average person. And don’t worry, they take it easy on you the first time.
Ninja Cougar is my new favourite; a flowy intermediate trail designed with the cross country rider in mind. B Line and Crank It Up are also good fun for intermediate riders. Karate Monkey and Devil’s Club offer their fair share of bridges and other assorted obstacles. And there are plenty more trails to advance to after that.
Before I moved to Whistler, I had no idea the bike park even existed. Now, I find myself actually craving the adrenaline rush. If you’re a lady with a bit of an adventurous side and you haven’t tried downhill biking, you should. Don’t be intimidated by all the ar aggressive-looking macho dudes riding their mega-expensive bikes. There’s a place in the bike park for us ladies too and it’s muddy, dirty, wild and fun.