Words and Photos by Hailey Elise
The Dark Horse Invitational began in 2021 as a women-only freeride event. Freeride pioneer Casey Brown partnered with Revelstoke Mountain Resort to build a rather large jump line, a progression line, and a mulch jump and commissioned an airbag for the ladies to attempt more dangerous tricks. While Dark Horse does celebrate a winner, the intention was always to create a collaborative—rather than competitive—riding atmosphere.
But riding bikes (and there is A LOT of riding) is just the beginning. Dark Horse has since grown to a 5-day networking event consisting of gym sessions, nutrition education and media workshops for female athletes. The idea is to help these up-and-comers develop the skills and strategies that will help them pursue a career in the sport. It all culminates on the final day with the main event: The Dark Horse Air Sesh. Inclusivity is at the heart of this event with everyone welcome to celebrate and cheer on the next generation of female freeriders.
Check out some photos from the event below and we’ll see you again next year!
The ladies did not waste time getting lapping the lift-accessed trail network at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. A favourite trail with the crew, Doomsday, boasts fun, progressive jumps perfect for mega-trains. Here, Vinny Armstrong lays it out sideways.
Cami Nogueira gets warmed up on Doomsday.
The air bag and mulch jump were the perfect primers for the invitational course, letting riders hone their tricks as well as throw down new ones. Mia Moore and Casey Brown landed their first backflips to mulch.
The invitational course consisted of a drop entrance and a series of three jumps: step-up to shark-fin to step-up.
Energy and vibes were high with groms riding alongside their heroes. Witnessing the growth that happens during events like this is nothing short of incredible.
Lucy Van Eesteren on the first step-up. Lucy came straight off Audi Nines to throw down at Dark Horse.
Lucy keeping her tables tight.
No fun was had at all.
Vinny Armstrong on the final step-up, earning her the “Wild Jane” award for best whip.
And the Awards went to:
“True Blue” — Natasha Bradley for her deep well of positive attitude and celebration hype.
“Let Er’ Buck” — Mia Moore for pushing her own boundaries and going big.
“Wild Jane” — Marzocchi athlete Vinny Armstrong earned her stripes (and then some) with the best whip.
“Stay Gold” — Georgia Astle for demonstrating strong mentorship throughout the week.
“Dark Horse” — Morgan Antone, a young rider from New Zealand and one to watch!