“I love it when I see a girl sign up for lessons!” our instructor said, “it’s so great seeing more and more young women on the hill!” Melissa, our high energy, female instructor was excited to see my daughter pull up on her bike. The feeling was mutual, as my daughter was beaming to see a “girl” teacher to look up to and spend the day learning from! It would pay dividends in her riding and development throughout the day! Melissa is a mountain bike instructor and she introduced us to the kid friendly version of the Sun Peaks Skills Zone! We had signed up for two hours of 1:2 private lessons and the kids were very excited to “have” to wear full face helmets and ride in a “real” bike park. After getting geared up at the local bike shop, Elevation, which included the very exciting full face helmets for the kids, we were off! Melissa quickly touched base with me, before the lessons, to learn about their skill level and what I thought they should work on during the lesson. After meeting the kids, she quickly comforted any nerves they had by saying “biking should always be fun, if we’re not having fun, we’re doing it wrong.” Once the tone for lessons was set, my kids were at ease and ready to work on their skills!
Pre Park Ride
Before we headed up the magic carpet, Melissa wanted to do some skill testing to see where the kids strengths, weaknesses and listening skills were at. She quickly saw that my son likes to hit the hill full throttle, and learn by doing, whereas my daughter likes to be more in control and is more cautious. With these learning styles in mind, she was able to tailor her instruction to each child, making sure they’d get the most out of their first Sun Peaks Bike Park experience!
Remember Three Things
Each micro lesson (even though the kids couldn’t have identified it as such, as they were just having fun) was broken down into little steps for the kids to remember. With so many moving pieces, this was a great way for the kids to be able to really focus on what skills they were trying to develop, and with depiction we were able to quickly see results.
My kids are strong beginner riders, but still like to be a bit lazy and sit down on their seats… my daughter also feels safer in this position. Melissa was great at prompting her to get her to stand up and how to be a standing tall, strong rider with lots of control. At the beginning, we could barely get her to lift her butt off her seat, however at the end… well you’ll have to wait for that!
Advantages Of Professional Instruction
While I love teaching my kids new sports, being a teacher can test my patience and leaves everyone frustrated when things don’t go well. With having a professional instructor, I was able to sit back and just be a Mom. I could support and play, rather than have to teach and left the recommendations and advice to come from someone else. The kids really respected Melissa and connected with her, which meant everyone was having a better overall experience.
Safe Slow Biking
While my son feels the need to whip down every run, it doesn’t necessarily mean he has the skill set to do so. Melissa was great at showing us how we could tackle steps and corners with slower speed and more control. This helped build confidence with my daughter and help my son actually learn how to ride!
Skill Zone – Perfect Place to Learn
The skill zone has a variety of tracks for the kids to develop their skills. It’s a long enough lap that they are riding, and able to get feedback from their instructor before they are at the bottom, but not too long that their legs burn out! When my kids were ready for a new challenge, we headed into the feature area of the park!
Bring on the Bridges!
We stopped halfway on the magic carpet and walked our bikes over to the feature area of the park. There, the kids spotted a mini bridge and some drops. With their new found confidence, they were ready to try them! I was so proud, as only 1.5 hours ago, they were feeling nervous about standing up on their bikes!
Let It Drop
A tear may have rolled down the corner of my eye when my daughter not only mastered her first drop, but decided to go over to the bigger one right away. Seeing her have so much fun and be so confident in her riding was such a transformation from when we had hit the park a few hours before. We stayed for 20 minutes with the kids riding back and forth over the bridges and drops, all while gaining skills and confidence with each lap. “Did you get a video to send to Dad? ” my daughter asked…(no honey, I think I took 20! #proudmom).
About 1.5 hours into the 2 hour lesson, my sons adrenaline wore off and he started to feel exhausted from all the fun he was having. Melissa was great at setting up a little rest stop for him, but at a point where my daughter could still ride. I just so happened to pack some sugary treats in his bag to give him some incentive and energy to get him through the last half hour of the lesson. With some H2O, a leg and helmet break, and of course some sour patch kids, he was all set after 5 minutes and ready to get riding again.
High Fives and Hugs
At the end of the lesson, Melissa circled back and shared the success she witnessed with the children so they could recognize their accomplishments on the hill. My daughter was beaming to see another biker, especially a female, so proud of her mountain biking skills. She had officially transformed from a beginner and somewhat intimidated rider, to a confident mountain biker with bike park skills! A day of mountain biking lessons doesn’t get better than this!
Send the kids with a waterpack if you have one… they needed to hydrate regularly and not having to dig out a waterbottle saved time and kept them more hydrated.
Send a small treat or snack incase they need it. Mountain biking is a LOT of hard work!
Slap on the sunscreen, bug spray and extra protective gear so the kids feel more comfortable on the hill.
Plan for a good meal and some downtime after their lessons, the kids are going to be tired!
To learn more about Sun Peaks Mountain Biking Lessons, or to book your own lessons visit their website.
Check out this video of our mountain biking adventure!
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I’m a Family Travel Writer based out of beautiful Vancouver, BC. Our family adventures take take us all over BC, Alberta and the Pacific Northwest. You'll regularly see us hiking, biking, snowboarding, wakeboarding, and camping our way around the province. Our passion is recreation and our mission is to explore and protect this beautiful earth of ours.
JamiFrom Timid to Triumph, Building Confidence with Sun Peaks Mountain Biking Lessons
I am a family adventure writer sharing stories about solo and family adventures. I’m an outdoor enthusiast and you’ll find me regularly hiking, biking or boarding, often with my children by my side. I believe in lifelong learning, following your passion and living life to the fullest every day.