Clubhouse Chronicles: Getting more girls on the mountain bike trails with AVSC | AspenTimes.com
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Clubhouse Chronicles: Getting more girls on the mountain bike trails with AVSC

Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club sought to close the gap and break barriers for girls in sports. To achieve that goal, AVSC launched free all-female bike clinics.

Meredith Elwell
Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club
In June, AVSC launched a series of free, all-female bike clinics based out of Willits and Carbondale. Twice a week throughout the summer, 65 local girls were able to learn from and ride with the club's dedicated and enthusiastic coaching staff.
Courtesy of AVSC

On the slopes, trails and at Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, girls and boys are equal. We are proud of the fact that our ski and snowboard program last season served roughly half male, half female (54% to 46%, respectively).

As an organization, we are always eager to find ways to close the gap and break barriers for girls in sports. 

Which is why, in planning our mountain bike programming this summer, we decided to ramp up our efforts to engage with — and maybe even inspire — a larger network of lady rippers in the Roaring Fork Valley.  



AVSC launched its mountain bike program in 2016 to provide a fun summer outlet for athletes while also keeping them engaged, challenged and supported throughout the season. Although our roots are embedded in the snow, our mission to coach and inspire kids while promoting a community of passion, culture and mountain grit is a year-round endeavor.

Since starting our mountain bike series six years ago, the program has since grown to serve nearly 500 local youth during the summer months. 




Until recently, however, the vast majority of these athletes were male — a common theme that is reflected across the mountain bike industry.

In fact, recent data from the Outdoor Participation Survey reveals that 83% of mountain bikers surveyed are male. The gender ratio among our mountain bike program told a similar story, with roughly 10% female participants — until this summer. 

In June, AVSC launched a series of free, all-female bike clinics based out of Willits and Carbondale. Twice a week throughout the summer, 65 local girls were able to learn from and ride with our dedicated and enthusiastic coaching staff. 

We designed the program specifically to accommodate all levels of skill: From beginners learning the basics and how to feel comfortable on a mountain bike, to our fearless females improving each week on some of the most challenging, thrilling trails in the valley.

Anyone who has experienced the pleasure and thrill of learning to mountain bike knows it can be quite intimidating, and even scary — especially for a young girl or woman in a lesson predominantly consisting of men. 

In June, AVSC launched a series of free, all-female bike clinics based out of Willits and Carbondale. Twice a week throughout the summer, 65 local girls were able to learn from and ride with the club’s dedicated and enthusiastic coaching staff.
Courtesy of AVSC

While this dynamic often enables a positive sense of camaraderie and encouragement, we wanted to also offer our female riders another outlet to practice their skills. 

Listening to our female riders, our mission became clear: Expose local girls and young women to a fun, safe and encouraging environment to hone their skills.

When we launched the program sign-up this spring, enthusiasm within the AVSC community was palpable. 

Program spots filled up immediately and parents expressed overwhelming gratitude for providing an optimal training environment and space for their girls to learn and thrive.  

AVSC is proud to have attracted, coached and encouraged more local girls to experience the thrill of riding and the reward of progression through our debut all-female clinics. 

From the flowy tracks of Crown Mountain Park to the trails of Prince Creek, we can’t wait to do it again next summer.

Clubhouse Chronicles is a behind-the-scenes column written by the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club that runs periodically in the Aspen Times sports section.


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