Photo: Credit

Frequently Asked Questions

One of our favorite things is getting to connect with participants, answer questions, share information, and make things easier to understand than they previously were.

That said, there are over a thousand participants out in the world and just a couple of us in the office, so we put this section together to hopefully meet some of the need.

Click on any question to show the answer. And of course if you don’t find the information you’re looking for here, email us and we’ll do our best to help you out.

This program is so well organized and effective at teaching you exactly what you want to learn, no matter your level.
— Siobhan Henry, Fernie camp volunteer
 

Registration

What's the best way to make sure I get a spot in a particular camp?

Registration opens on March 1. We recommend that you register for the camp you’d like to take as soon as you can. Some camps fill up as early as the first week of March.

If the camp you want to attend is full, you can either choose another camp and / or sign up for the wait list for the camp you initially wanted to take. You can access the wait list from the camp schedule. Just click on the link that says full / wait list.

If you register for your second choice camp and end up getting off the wait list for your first, we'll simply get in touch with you and transfer your registration at no cost.

How does the wait list work? What happens once I sign up for it?

Once you register for the wait list, you’ll receive an email and a waitlist confirmation number. If a space opens up, we’ll email you an invitation to register, and give you 24 hours to sign up.

If the camp is over a month away, you will get your own unique invitation. If the camp is sooner than that, your invitation will be shared with a few other people, and the first to accept and sign up will get the spot. Once your registration goes through, you will get another email, this time confirming your spot in the camp.

You will only get an invitation to register from the wait list if a spot becomes available. If you'd like to know where you are positioned on the wait list, please ask. If you receive an invitation to register and you’re no longer interested in attending the camp, please email us back so that we can remove you from the list.

The wait list stays open until the day before the camp. While the ideal is to register when there’s still space available, if you can move quickly and make last minute plans, your chances of getting in are actually quite good.

Do you offer discounts for returning participants?

We don't. About 75% of our camp participants are either return participants or referred by those who have participated before. While it’s wonderful to see people come back and while we love the community feel, discounting these registrations would be very similar to just changing our camp pricing.

We do offer group discounts for groups of six or more, and a fixed number of scholarships for those who couldn’t otherwise afford camp at all. Please email us for more information.

Can I attend camp if I’m under 18 years old?

We have a minimum age limit for a number of reasons.

First of all, each camp day is really long, with skill sessions, rides, and other activities from 8AM to at least 5PM. We do spend lots of time progressing and practicing, but we also incorporate more analytical learning and not quite as much play as you might find in a youth oriented camp.

The majority of Trek Dirt Series participants are between 30 and 45 years old. Some teens are intimidated being in a group with older riders, and visa versa. Also, we find that as people get older they often become more aware of their limits and able to make continually smarter decisions on whether to take a particular risk. It’s nice when the group is at a similar place in this regard too.

We have, however, made exceptions in the past for 15-17 year olds who think that they’d enjoy the type of program we offer, as long as they can attend with an adult who’s willing to ride in the same skill groups as them, and generally look out for them at camp. If you think you’d like us to make this exception for you, please send us a note.

 
 

Logistics

What time does the camp start and where do I meet the group?

Camps start between 8AM and 830AM, depending on the camp location and your demo equipment needs. All camps, with the exception of our Calgary camps, start at the host shop.

We’ll send out an email about ten days pre-camp with additional scheduling information. If you’d like directions earlier, you can click on the map link on your particular camp location page.

What time does the camp end?

On Saturday, the riding ends around 5PM and is then followed by an in store session from about 6 – 730PM.

On Sunday the riding finishes at about 5PM. If you need to get home and don't think that the finish time will allow you to do that, please talk to us in advance so that we can try to accommodate.

The one-day camps are like the Saturday at a weekend camp, with an 8 - 830AM start, a 5PM riding finish, and a shop session following.

How do we get between the host shop, skill site, and riding areas?

In some locations, like Whistler and Mammoth, everything is close together and we simply ride our bikes from spot to spot. However, in most locations, at least some driving is required.

Our pre-camp email, sent about ten days before camp, will include details such as parking and / or driving information for your particular camp location.

If you're at a "driving required" camp, please drive to the host shop and leave your bike in / on your car, so that it is easy for you to then drive on to the skill site once we've finished our morning shop session.

If you don't have access to a vehicle for the weekend, please just get yourself to the host shop in the morning, and we'll set you up to carpool with other participants from then on.

Will the camp still go ahead if it’s raining?

Yes, it will. Barring a natural disaster, we will be out there, ready to have a fantastic time. Take it from past participants, once the skill sessions start, you practically forget it’s even raining. That said, be sure to bring appropriate clothing so that you’re as dry, warm, and comfortable as possible.

Are the co-ed camps still taught by women?

Yes, they are, with some male coaches added in for good measure. Check out their bios in the coaches section.

Do you have any recommendations for lodging on-site?

Yes. We have accommodations partners in many of our camp locations, and include suggestions in the details section for each camp. Access this information by choosing your specific camp from our schedule page, or go up to the locations heading and scroll down to the one that interests you most.

What's the tipping protocol at camp?

We’ll always do the best job we can because we want you to have the best weekend possible. That’s our biggest motivation, but not to say that getting tips isn't also really nice.

If you'd like to leave a tip, please give it to the camp manager or lead hand, or even one of your coaches if that’s easiest for you. We work as a team, with some of us more focused in the background in order to enable all kinds of success in the foreground, so we share the tips we receive.

 
 

Skill Levels and Disciplines

How do you determine my skill level and decide which group I ride with during the weekend?

When you register for camp, we ask you to fill out an extensive skill and interest questionnaire. This gives us a good idea of where you're at with your riding, and what you're most excited to learn.

If your skills and interests change significantly between the time you register for camp and the actual camp date, you can submit an entirely new participant questionnaire. If you don’t remember what you previously submitted, or if you’d like to refer to your old questionnaire as you complete your new one, please let us know and we’ll forward you your previous answers.

We spend over ten hours pre-camp sorting out the groups, and use all the information you’ve given us to place you appropriately. Ideally, where we assign you is where you’ll feel happiest throughout your camp. If, however, you find that you'd rather ride and learn with a different group, we'll happily switch things for you.

If a camp offers cross-country and lift-assisted downhill options, do I get to choose between those?

Yes. In these situations you can choose to spend both days riding the cross-country trails accessed from the valley, both days riding the downhill trails in the bike park, or one day in each area. The skills questionnaire asks you for your preference, so just let us know what you'd like to do when you fill that out.

There are more and more options in our program all the time, so if there’s a particular style, level, or skill set you want to focus on, now is your chance.

Are lift tickets included for camps with lift-accessed riding?

If you're interested in riding in the bike park on one of the camp days, we'll provide you with a lift ticket at no cost.

If you're interested in riding in the bike park on both of the camp days, we'll provide you with a second ticket at a significantly subsidized cost, usually about half of the regular price. Please pay for this additional ticket in cash.

If you have a season’s pass for the bike park we’ll be riding, please bring it with you.

Could it be possible that I am too much of a beginner for this camp?

Very unlikely. In order to enjoy the camp, all you need to be able to do is ride a bike comfortably on bumpy gravel terrain, shift your gears, and use your brakes. Our step-by-step approach and ultra-encouraging coaches will take it from there, and probably teach you a year’s worth of skills in one weekend.

There is a great group of beginner riders at every camp, and since we organize all the participants according to ability level and interest, you’ll be in good company. The list of skills you can look forward to learning is long. Here are some to start you off:

(1) A dynamic on-bike body position: neutral position, ready position, fore-aft movement and lateral movement.

(2) Front wheel lifts: getting up a curb and over a log with ease.

(3) Technical braking and descending: getting the most out of your brakes, choosing your lines, and making descents of all kinds more than manageable.

(4) Climbing: key techniques to minimize your exertion and maximize your success.

(5) Tight cornering: making your way through switchbacks and twisty spaces.

Beginner riders have a fantastic time at our camps. If you’re thinking of attending, you should.

Will this camp be challenging enough if I'm an advanced rider looking to focus on downhill skills such as steep descents, rough technical terrain, jumps and drops?

If you want to focus exclusively on advanced downhill skills then you should choose one of the camp locations featuring that style of riding.

Our camps in Whistler, Mammoth and Angel Fire all feature downhill bike park access, so those would be your best bets.

Our Park City and Fernie camps are more all-mountain focused, although we can spend the afternoon on the lifts at Fernie Alpine Resort, and incorporate some of the Trailside Park features at our Park City stop.

Calgary and Hood River offer shuttle access, which is great for technical descents, but if you’re focused mainly on advanced air maneuvers, the progressive set up in a bike park just can’t be beat.

Here are a couple of the advanced sessions offered:

(1) Line selection, maintaining traction, creating fluidity, and managing steep rock faces and successive technical drops.

(2) Gap jumps, wall rides, tricks, and incorporating air into more technical trail environments.

We do bring a truckload of stunts to all our camp locations, so we can always put together a labyrinth of planks and a-frames, create high speed cornering challenges, and set up drop ramps at varying heights too. If you’re at the top of the game and want the most challenging conditions around, look through the different locations and / or send us a note so that we can make sure you’re set up for success.

I'm an avid cross-country rider, but would like to get faster and more comfortable in technical terrain - going down drops, managing steep descents, clearing obstacles. Is this camp for me?

Absolutely. At every camp you’ll find heaps of options in between the beginner and advanced scenarios above, and often those with lots of miles under their tires are super quick to pick up new techniques.

We’ve had expert cross-country racers come to our camps and find that developing their technical skills allows them to shave all kinds of time off their rides. Plus, it’s fun for anyone to learn new skills, and incredibly useful too.

 
 

Equipment

What kind of bike do I need to bring?

Bring a mountain bike that fits you and is in good working condition, which is to say with gears and brakes working, bolts tightened, and recently checked over by a certified bike mechanic.

Ideally you'll want to be on a dual suspension bike, but having just front suspension will work just fine too. Having an adjustable seat post like the Fox Transfer is great, but even a quick release on your traditional seat post will prove really useful, as then you can raise and lower your seat with ease. If you have a traditional fixed seat post, consider getting a quick release installed before camp.

If you have two bikes at home and are trying to decide between them, bring the one that is best suited to the skills you most want to learn, and the trails in the camp location you most want to ride.

Do I need a full-face helmet?

We require full-face downhill specific helmets for all bike park / lift access skill sessions and rides. We also strongly recommend them for advanced downhill focused riding of all kinds.

If you have a full-face helmet, please bring it with you. If you’d like to rent one on-site, please check with the host shop at your camp location; you’ll find their contact info on your camp location page.

If you bring a full-face with you, it’s helpful to bring a regular open-face helmet as well. Sometimes you might choose to be in skill sessions that are lower risk (and higher heat), and you’ll be happy to have that lighter helmet around.

Please note that if you have a helmet with an optional chin guard, you’ll want to make sure it’s ASTM certified before you plan to use it for bike park / lift access sessions at camp. If you have questions about your particular helmet, feel free to send us a note.

Your list of things to bring suggests flat pedals. I ride with clip / SPD pedals all the time and feel that I won’t ride as well without being "attached" to my bike. Should I really switch my pedals and shoes for the weekend?

Funny. Many of the coaches had the very same question the first time someone suggested they switch pedals and shoes to learn a new skill.

Basically, if you’re super comfortable with your clip / SPD pedals, so much so that you never have to think about getting in or out, you don’t have to use flats for the camp.

However, flats really do make learning a number of skills that much better. It’s generally helpful to have a wider platform under your feet for balance, and it’s also nice to have a system that lets you get off of your bike super fast. While working on air drops and jumps especially, flat pedals make you use an active technique, and this will improve your riding no matter whether you stick with flats or not.

On the flip side, using flat pedals and shoes can make technical climbs a bit more challenging and long rides a bit more tiring, as there isn’t the same exact efficiency involved. We will, though, give you some tips at camp that’ll help in these situations too.

If you’re new to flats, what we suggest is that you put a pair on your bike, set yourself up with some flat soft-soled shoes, and practice with them a few times before the camp. Depending on how comfortable you feel, and what skills you most want to learn, you can then decide to: a) use flats for the entire camp, b) use flats for just the morning skill sessions and switch back to clips for the afternoon rides, or c) not use them at all.

The What to Bring section has more information on shoe / pedal compatibility, so if you’re interested, head over there too.

If I’d like to use some of the Trek Dirt Series demo equipment, can I arrange that in advance?

Yes. Head to our demo equipment section to see all that we have to offer, and submit your request pre camp. We’ll try our best to fulfill all requests, but we do have a limited selection of bikes and gear available, so may not be able to accommodate everyone, especially those who contact us quite close to their camp date.

If you don't reserve demo equipment pre-camp, you can still ask about it when you arrive. Some sizes and models will be reserved, but if you’re flexible there’ll likely still be product for you to try.

Many locations also have rental product, so that could be an option for you too. If you’d like to check on the rental details for your particular location, click on it in the camp schedule or scroll down to find it under the locations heading above.

 
 

Additional Instructional Opportunities

Why are your camps focused in the West?

Our program is based in Whistler, BC. We have one truck and trailer, one set of demo equipment, and one set of stunts, and we use all of that to run twenty camps each year.

If we had two sets of everything, we could potentially keep one on the west coast and one on the east. Or if we ran ten camps instead of twenty, we could probably spend the extra time travelling back and forth instead.

Right now, though, we love coaching so much that we don’t want to give up our camp weekends, and so we work on expanding our geographical reach bit by bit. This year we’ll head out to Angel Fire, New Mexico. That’s new for us, and further than we’ve driven before.

We’re all about learning and growing, for our camp participants and for our program too. A broader footprint isn’t out of the question. It just hasn’t happened quite yet.

Do you offer private lessons?

Yes, we do offer private lessons, most often in our home base of Whistler, BC, but also in other camp locations if and when we have coaches available. For more information, please send us a note.

 
 

Photos

Where can I view photos that were taken at camp?

Please visit Flickr for photos of past camps. Our Flickr gallery is the result of submissions from camp participants, coaches and friends, and while they don't offer complete coverage of each camp location, they're definitely fun to check out.

What’s the best way to share the photos I took?

If you have less than 15MB of photos, or if you don’t mind splitting up what you have into several messages, you can email them through to us here.

If you have more than that, it’s best to use We Transfer instead. It’s a free service that doesn’t require you to sign up for an account, and we’ll get them easily as long as you enter photos@dirtseries.com into the “friend’s email” field. If you have any trouble with that, of course you can email us for help.

We’ll try to use all the photos we receive, but we reserve the right to make selections too. Your photos should appear with a few days of receipt. Thank you in advance for sending them in.