logo

What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?

- Henry David Thoreau

image

Events

Aug 26, 2019

A Tipping Point for Freeride Mountain Biking

Freeride has remained conspicuously male-dominated. Now, a tenacious group of riders are part of a movement to change that, and they’re throwing down at some of mountain biking’s biggest events.

WRITTEN BY

Alicia Leggett

This year we welcomed the inaugural Women’s Slopestyle Tour, which gave women opportunities to compete in dirt jump, freeride and slopestyle events throughout North America and allowed female riders to – for the first time – earn points in the Freeride Mountain Biking Association (FMBA) worldwide ranking system. As part of the tour, Crankworx Whistler, one of the most celebrated mountain biking festivals, included women’s categories in its ‘Speed and Style’ and ‘Best Trick’ competitions, which had previously been open to just men.

Why now? Lisa Mason, organizer of the Women’s Freeride Movement, which hosts riding clinics and competitions, said that women simply haven’t been ready for this level of competition until now. Mountain biking began as a male-dominated sport, which has kept many women from participating. Now, thanks to women’s riding clinics, group rides and competitions, the sport is becoming more inclusive.

“Every year there’s like a third more women out riding,” Mason said. “I think eventually we’ll get away from the ‘ladies only,’ and it’ll be an ‘everybody, let’s party’ kind of thing.”

I caught up with Mason at Crankworx, where she cheered for all the riders and took notes on their Speed and Style runs. The competition integrated elements from racing and slopestyle, with competitors riding a course of fast berms, rollers and two big trick jumps. They rode against the clock, but were also judged and given time deductions based on their tricks.

Chelsea Kimball throws a stylish one-footer over one of the Speed and Style trick jumps to claim 2nd place. Photo by Alicia Leggett

At events that have never before included women, competitors and event organizers alike face a learning curve. The Speed and Style jumps were so big that the women (and even some of the top men) struggled to clear them, making it next to impossible for them to show their best tricks.

Competitor Chelsea Kimball said she wishes the Speed and Style course design had been more realistic. Kimball can backflip her bike on the right jumps, but the difficult course meant that just making it down the hill smoothly became a priority.

“It was a bit harder than it looked,” Kimball said. “It was super fun, but you really had to rail the corners to make it what it should be.”

Kat Sweet, who runs the Sweetlines coaching organization and puts on one of the Women’s Slopestyle Tour events, echoed Kimball’s opinion of the course.

“Between the jumps being a little bit too gnarly and the headwind blowing on them, it didn’t showcase what they really can do,” Sweet said. “The sport has progressed so much, especially in jumping, and the women are really pushing. I would love to be able to showcase that better.”

Kat Sweet: Mountain biker, event organizer and mentor to the next generation of female riders. Photo by Alicia Leggett

Sweet acknowledges that women haven’t been involved in freeride for as long as men have, and can’t be expected to skip the development phase.

“Every year, things get a little bigger, and we haven’t quite caught up yet. If we built a course that would really show off what we’re doing, that would help us elevate both the kids and the ladies,” Sweet said. “That’s what I’m hoping for.”

But despite minor snags like the Crankworx course, 2019 can be considered a milestone year for female freeriders.

Women’s Slopestyle Tour competitors are universally enthusiastic about the increased opportunities for women to test themselves in competition.

“The slopestyle tour has been a blast,” said Kimball, who is ranked fifth in the FMBA rankings. “I never thought I’d be doing anything like this, but I’ve had a really good time with it meeting more women who are trying to do the same thing and just having a good time.”

Sweet’s organization, Sweetlines, ran the Sugar Showdown, which was the first event in the tour. The Sugar Showdown was first held in 2012, but its new partnership with the FMBA, the official international freeride governing body, allowed it to become something bigger than ever before.

“Having it be a FMBA bronze-level event really made people push a little bit harder, so it was really cool to be the first stop in that,” Sweet explained. “It was kind of an honor to be the first.”

As more women pursue freeride, the sport’s image is becoming more inclusive, making it accessible for even more women. And as perceptions of mountain biking shift, Mason, Sweet and Kimball agree that the bike industry needs to keep up with the evolution by investing in female riders.

Mason said that increased support from within the bike world would help grow the scene, which would change the sport’s image, which would involve more women, in turn attracting yet more support.

“It’s an upward spiral,” she said. “We need awareness. Awareness that women are doing these kinds of things and that it’s okay and easy, and not just a ‘guys only’ sport.”

Sweet said she’s excited to see what the next generation of female riders can accomplish. Recruiting and coaching young girls is an important part of what organizations like Sweetlines and the Women’s Freeride Movement do, in addition to giving them competition platforms, especially since women like Sweet and Mason can be the role models that many of us didn’t have when we were younger.

With all the enthusiasm for the Women’s Slopestyle Tour and its associated movement, it’s safe to say that the necessary changes are happening – maybe slowly, but inevitably. I, personally, hope for a future in which little girls receive the same encouragement to mountain bike as little boys do. That future seems to be coming, and it’s bright.

Cover photo: Casey Brown throws a stylish one-footer over one of the Speed and Style trick jumps to claim 2nd place. Photo by Cailin Carrier

Continue Reading

image

Events

Jul 05, 2019

Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019 – Final Call for Entries!

The world´s greatest adventure and action sports imagery contest is underway with entries now being accepted.

image

WRITTEN BY

The Outdoor Journal

Red Bull Illume showcases the most creative and captivating images on the planet while illuminating the passion, lifestyle and culture behind the photographers that shoot them. An elite judging panel of editors and experts from around the world will select 55 Finalists, 11 Category Winners and 1 Overall Winner, to be unveiled at the Winner Award Ceremony in November 2019.

The Outdoor Journal Founder, Apoorva Prasad, has also returned as a Red Bull Illume judge this year, after previously serving on the panel in 2016. He said, “Judging the 2016 Red Bull Illume competition was an honor and also a genuine challenge, with an incredible range of entries to choose from. I have to admit that some of the final decisions were incredibly difficult to make. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the planet’s best adventure photographers present us with their work once again.”

In 2016, a record-breaking 34,624 images were submitted by 5,646 photographers from 120 countries, with Lorenz Holder crowned for the second consecutive time as the overall winner.

You can submit your images and become part of the Image Quest 2019 until July 31.  Everything that you need to know about the categories and previous winners can be found below.

Previous Winners

Last time around, German photographer Lorenz Holder took the top spot for the second time running. His atmospheric shot of athlete Senad Grosic riding his BMX across a bridge in Germany received the most votes from the panel of 53 respected judges. In addition to the Overall Title, Lorenz’s winning image also took home the coveted Athletes’ Choice Award.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Today I am just feeling overwhelmed!”

Mr Holder, who works as a staff photographer for Nitro Sports, explained how he got the shot to The Outdoor Journal, “I discovered this lake in Germany by accident and decided that this was the perfect spot for shooting with an athlete. The bridge mirrors in the water and this is the perfect circle. The day of the shooting we had to clear the lake of all autumn leaves before we have been able to do the shooting with Senard Grosic. Today I am just feeling overwhelmed!”

The Categories

Whether you are an amateur or professional photographer, young content creator, social media enthusiast or a videographer – there is a category for you! Categories are influential in the judges selection – so choosing the right one is essential!

Prizes

A huge array of prizes are on offer courtesy of the competition partners, such as Sony, SanDisk, Skylum, COOPH and Red Bull Photography. However, it doesn’t stop there, with great exposure on offer too, such as seeing your image on display at the breathtaking Global Exhibit Tour and in the Red Bull Illume Coffee Table Book.

How to Enter

To enter Red Bull Illume is very simple, photographers just need to follow these steps:
1. Shoot awesome stuff – what that is, you decide!
2. Register and sign in at www.redbullillume.com – it’s just a couple clicks
3. Choose your categories for submission – you can submit every image to two categories and in total 10 images per category = 100 chances to win
4. Upload your images. For the initial entry, only JPGs and MP4s are required
5. Submit your image until July 31, 2019 – once an image is submitted, it is final and can’t be changed

Recent Articles



India Must Stop Deforesting its Mountains if it Wants to Fight Floods.

During floods and landslides in August 2019, two villages were completely destroyed killing several people, while a year earlier Kerala saw its worst floods in a century.

How climate change is driving emigration from Central America

Rising global temperatures, the spread of crop disease and extreme weather events have made coffee harvests unreliable in places like El Salvador. On top of that, market prices are unpredictable.

The Great Barrier Reef outlook is ‘very poor’. We have one last chance to save it.

It’s official. The outlook for the Great Barrier Reef has been downgraded from “poor” to “very poor” by the Australian government’s own experts.

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Advertising

Analytics

Other