Kids shred hard in freestyle camp

The Shred Hard Summer Camp was the most successful bike camp in the past five years. - Photo Jamie Shinkewski
The Shred Hard Summer Camp was the most successful bike camp in the past five years. – Photo Jamie Shinkewski

Thirty young riders took part in the most successful freeride mountain bike camp in over five years, according to Sun Peaks Resort’s sports director Vincent Lafontaine.

The five-day Shred Hard Summer Camp saw riders between the ages of 10 and 17 take to the Sun Peaks Bike Park under the tutelage of a terrific cast of coaches led by local pro Dylan Sherrard from July 11 to 15.

“For the last five years (participant) numbers have just kept increasing and this year we saw quite a good jump in the interest,” Lafontaine said. “From the kids and coaches, it’s probably the best camp we’ve had in the last five or six years.”

It was the first time the summer camp was run under the Shred Hard moniker after Sun Peaks Resort announced an official partnership with Sherrard in April.

“I’m just really pumped about it,” Sherrard said. “I’ve kind of been running this camp for a number of years and the park’s kind of been the same of a number of years in terms of trails and features, but this year I wanted to brand the camps and make them seem like a more exciting set up and throw a bit more lifestyle stuff into it as well. At the same time the park’s been developed a little bit better to facilitate that as well. It’s all bubbling up to be a dream come true.”

“I think Dylan’s a big draw,” Lafontaine said. “Now that he’s officially affiliated with Sun Peaks Resort as a sponsored pro, that’s really good for us. He’s not just a coach that comes up here, he’s an ambassador for Sun Peaks.”

(Wednesday) was just monsoon all day and the mud was six or eight inches deep in some spots but the kids were just roaring to get after it the whole time

The 26-year-old Kamloops resident moved to the area from the Yukon, and he has been riding in Sun Peaks since 2007 and has been instructing since 2009. He signed a deal with Specialized Canada in 2015.

“He’s a pro rider but they’re all different, the pros, because they’re not all made to do camps and hang out with kids all day for a week, but he just loves it,” Lafontaine said. “I think his commitment to the camp, the participants and the kids, it’s really good.”

Sherrard said he didn’t have the opportunity to go to camps like this one growing up which is why he runs them now. This year’s camp saw lots of rain, but that didn’t stop it from being a ton of fun.

“(Wednesday) was just monsoon all day and the mud was six or eight inches deep in some spots but the kids were just roaring to get after it the whole time,” Sherrard said.

In addition to new and refurbished trails, this year Sherrard said he made an emphasis on ways to enjoy the mountain when they weren’t riding trails.

“It seems like it just keeps getting to be more fun,” he said. “We have a few more kids every year, there’s a few more facilities that open up or a few more ideas of how to pack more fun into the week. Everyone keeps getting better at riding as well so it just keeps getting cooler.”

The success of July’s camp has spurred the expansion of a second camp this summer. The Shred Hard Back to School Bike Camp will run Aug. 29 to Sept. 2.

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