Words and photos by Dylan Sherrard.
I dive deep into the dog days of summer. Wild flowers paint the forest, the laps keep coming, and the light seems to last forever. The season is energizing. I do all that I can to share the buzz of the summer with everyone around me. And the absolute pinnacle of sharing begins each morning at Shred Hard Summer Camp.
Once the sun has painted the sky all blue and white and several cups of coffee are enjoyed, a gang of young riders gather at the base of the Sun Peaks Resort Bike Park. We tell jokes and stretch in preparation of another wonderful day. And we head straight to the trails when the chairlift begins to turn.
Divided into various groups, we bob and weave in a dusty dance between the wild alpine blossoms. Flying through the trees, surfing in the silt, casting shadows over the back of berms, and leaving rooster tails around each turn.
Even in the earlier turns of the day, it becomes obvious that riders are quickly growing. I always aim to inspire through instruction. Skill building is an important focus at Shred Hard Summer Camp. But creating a powerful and positive experience is paramount. Transmitting a feeling of confidence is a goal I work hard to achieve, and progression is inevitable in the splendour of such an environment.
So as the morning laps rage on, I share with my campers the many hard-learned clever lessons of my various endeavours, in hopes that my lessons can carry them to new heights with considerably greater style and ease than I ever experienced while learning them myself.
A break for lunch creates a pause beneath the flat light of the midday sky. As we all make our way back to the mountain as new friends, bonded through the gift of shred, I begin to realize that the sharing experienced at Shred Hard Summer Camp is, in fact, symbiotic.
Through the process of sharing confidence by instructing with observant eyes and remaining open to whatever my campers need, they too, share something special with me in return. During these camps, the riders allow me a front row seat to re- experiencing the trails I love with a pure and unfiltered stoke that could never be mimicked or manufactured.
So we rally hard into the summer breeze. The afternoon burns on and the laps never end. We spend less time focused on instruction, and more time playing. Leaning into turns and letting off the brakes. Popping wheelies while hooting and hollering. Allowing the lessons of the morning to marinate and build slowly into muscle memories that we will enjoy on every future ride we tackle.
And while I work hard to inspire the kids, they’re persistence and playful energy inspires me too, naturally, without them ever making an effort. It truly is the most wonderful trade I could ever imagine the chance to take part in. And as the sun moves slowly into the tall and skinny alpine branches of the horizon, glowing gold before us all, I can’t help but feel as if this summer buzz could live on forever.