I often tell tourists on winter chair lifts, “If you think it’s great now, come back in summer.” They give me an obligatory laugh, but even through their mirrored goggles I can see their look of disbelief. I don’t blame them, it’s hard to imagine a town known globally as home to “The Best Snow on Earth” as an equally amazing haven for summer sports. But it’s true what they say, Mother Nature gives with both hands.
Summer in Park City is home to 450 miles of gold-rated mountain bike trails, making it the perfect destination for all skill levels, which is why Erica Tingey, International Pro, has made this adult playground home base for her women-only coaching business, Women in the Mountains.
Erica Tingey – Owner/Founder
In 2010 at the age of 33, just a year and a half after the birth of her son, Tingey, a Utah native, began her mountain bike racing career. “I won my very first race by eight minutes,” she tells me, the pride and surprise still in her voice, “I moved up to expert two weeks later. Within three months I was winning expert and within four months I had moved up to pro races on the local level. I was racing pro on the national level within 13 months of my very first race.”
By the end of 2012, Tingey was invited to join the Jamis factory team. Over the next few years, while still racing, Tingey would host pop-up coaching clinics on the side, unsure where this new career in mountain biking was taking her, but to in love with the sport to stop. “I was just hooked. There was a love there that was so deep and immediate,” recalls Tingey, “I was born and raised in the mountains. Before I had a driver’s license, I would have my mom drop me off at a trailhead and I would say, ‘Come back in five hours.’ I started hiking peaks before I could drive myself. Just being in the mountains, it’s so important to me. That’s why I named my company, Women in the Mountains, it’s where I’m alive.”
In 2016 Tingey put on a retreat, at the request of the Jamis founder, in Park City. “I decided to get a website and a logo for just one weekend,” she remembers, “I wasn’t planning on building a coaching company.” But planning or no planning, her future was unfolding. With just eight participants in her first retreat, she launched her career into coaching.
What to Expect
Word of mouth began to spread about Tingey’s coaching ability, what she calls her fundamental methodology of safety and skills. “Once those few skills, body positioning, and breaking, have been learned, we can build from there so quickly and the participant's brains can relax, and they can learn. It’s understanding how I can make this person feel safe, and know that they feel safe, great, let’s go.”
Each of Tingey’s clinics, private or group, builds on the next. For riders brand new to the sport, all Tingey asks is that interested riders come with a basic understanding of how to balance and pedal a bike, she and her team of expert coaches can take it from there. For riders with more experience, whether that be intermediate or advanced, she offers clinics in Intermediate and Trail riding, Cornering, Technical Rock Riding, and an introductory course to Drops, Jumps, and Air.
Descriptions for all courses are listed on her website under Park City Clinic Details and her website offers easy online booking. Don’t have a mountain bike? No problem. Tingey also rents from her fleet of Jamis mountain bikes.
As a local rider and client of Tingey’s, I can say with absolute authority, that while I can make it up and down the mountain on brakes and bravery alone, the joy and comfort I found in riding after a Women in the Mountains clinic offered me mental ease with the trail that brought my riding to a new level of joy. “I love the thought, and practice, and the logic of the building of the skills, and more, in particular, I love coaching women. Women learn differently, they listen differently, and they have safety in mind. That’s how I learn, and that’s how most women learn. My passion is with adult women since I learned this as an adult and adults want more logic and safety.”
Where They Ride
Women in the Mountains meets at various trailheads throughout Park City, depending on the day and the skill-level of the clinic. From May to September, you can find Tingey’s crew of coaches and clients stationed all over town as her business hosts anywhere from three to nine clinics per month. “If someone comes to a clinic, they will feel safe, loved and encouraged,” says Tingey, “We breathe really fresh air, take really deep breathes. Once you know how to ride, the only thing holding you back is your brain. We have a huge variety of terrain, anything from smooth and flowy to technical and rocky. If you ride more than 10 miles, you’re gonna ride through a span of aspen trees, pines, lots of wildlife. [Park City trails] aren’t just hiking trails converted to biking trails. They were built on purpose, they flow, they have a theme.”
You could say Tingey has built her business on helping women navigate life’s obstacles. Sometimes we’re thrown a curve or a berm, other times it’s a rock or a root in our way. Whatever a trail has in store for you, Women in the Mountains can get you through it, over it, or around it. It just takes a little skill, a big dose of safety, and maybe a pinch of faith in that crazy local on the chairlift.
For all clinic dates and times visit WomenintheMountains.com.