Camp designed to help female riders reach new heights

The future of women’s mountain biking in New Zealand is looking bright if results from the inaugural Mons Royale Future Ground Progression Camp are anything to go by.

Ten female freeriders from across New Zealand, including two international riders who have been in the country since before last year’s lockdown, were hand picked to take part in the four-day camp this week, which included sessions at SITE trampoline, sports psychology, and plenty of time on their bikes at Fernhill’s Wynyard Jump Park.

The camp was the brainchild of Mons Royale founder and chief executive Hamish Acland, who was inspired by watching a video on social media of Scottish rider Louise Ferguson, living in Queenstown, land a backflip.

Queenstown-based mountain biker Vinny Armstrong in action during the Mons Royale Future Ground...
Queenstown-based mountain biker Vinny Armstrong in action during the Mons Royale Future Ground camp. PHOTO: MONS ROYALE/PAUL FOLEY
With the help of mountain bike instructor Ashley Peters, mountain biker Claire Dooney and the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club the camp was formed, in part, to foster skills and confidence for female freeriders and, in part, to foster friendships and support networks for the women.

"There’s not that many events that are really built for [women], because of that, they’re kind of riding, not on their own, but not together.

"They ride with guys because, essentially, that’s the environment around them.

"The idea is to help them progress ... and create a pathway."

Mr Acland said the goal was to grow the event and get more riders involved and, in time, get the women leading the field in NZ and overseas and inspiring the next generation of freeriders.

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