Soul Dirt Stories – 2023 Community Impact

It was another outstanding year for VVMTA’s Soul Dirt program.  Soul Dirt is designed to encourage sustainable recreation to create a stronger, healthier community. Over 500 participants enjoyed the benefits of time spent on the trails: outdoor access, social connection, and improved health and wellness, all while strengthening their stewardship of our public lands. 

This year we embraced inclusivity with a continued commitment to cultivate outdoor spaces in which all members of our community feel like they belong. With help from our partners, Mountain Pride, Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement (EVOM), My Future Pathways, Mountain Recreation and more, we were able to provide participants with new opportunities to experience the transformative power of the trails.  As many as 39% of Soul Dirt’s participants were new to trails this year – each with their own story. Some were stories of overcoming difficulty, some of strengthening community, some of healing, some of joy and gratitude, and all with a connection to the trails.  Here is what some of our Soul Dirt participants had to say for themselves…

“This was my first ever Soul Dirt AND my first time ever mountain biking. I couldn’t have chosen a better event to attend! I was seriously dumbfounded by how wonderful, encouraging, badass, and kind everyone was! I had a blast and felt so proud and confident in myself afterwards. I’ve only been in CO for a month and it was definitely a highlight so far! I definitely felt exhausted and the elevation got to me, but with breaks, it felt like a good challenge!”

Casey, Soul Dirt first timer and Mountain Pride Family

“Experiences like these are incredibly rewarding as an Ambassador and coach. It’s fun to work through the nervous, anxious emotion, then go to courage, and then have “I can do this” moments. Pretty cool to have bikes to give people the opportunity to surprise themselves. We humans are so much more capable than we give ourselves credit for, we just need others to help support and push us out of our comfort zones to get there.”

Hailee, Rockstar Soul Dirt Ambassador


“Mi experiencia fue algo muy bonito, me di cuenta de lo que me he perdido todo este tiempo! Me sentí relajada al ver y escuchar la naturaleza.”

Cinthia, Soul Dirt Inclusive Women’s Ride SHEro

“I love the crew, they’re kind, friendly, and very special. This is my second year…thanks for making this for the Hispanic people.”

Angelica, Soul Dirt Superstar and EVOM participant 

“I was able to connect 1:1 with a client who had shared his story of recovery. I shared some pieces of my own mental health journey and how mountain biking and nature have played an integral role in who I am and the person I’ve become since I decided to take back my life. He told me thank you for sharing and that it gives him hope for his own life. “

Sara, Soul Dirt Ambassador and Inspiration to Many

“I got to do what I am passionate about, teaching people about wilderness and why it’s important…THANK YOU very much for all of your work so that I can do this! It’s such an honor…This community means a lot to me”

Ellen, Soul Dirt Ambassador and Wilderness Trail Queen

“The experience was so fun – learning something new while having the support and encouragement from an awesome group of women. I pushed myself physically and mentally and built confidence. Overall I felt challenged and happy.”

Emily, return Soul Dirt participant and all around Awesome Person

Thank you to everyone who joined us on the trail this year. You helped to make the 2023 Soul Dirt season a spectacular one. Trails were enjoyed, gratitude was shared, friends were made, and fun was had by all! We can’t wait to see what 2024 brings.

See you on the trail,

Shawna Wood, Soul Dirt Program Manager

Shawna Wants You To Help Us Get Our Community Outside:

Donate now to support our community with:

  1. Gear:  A significant barrier for our community to get outside is simply the right gear.  Whether it’s a helmet, bike, water bottle, or backpack, we are always in need of more gear for our participants to encourage them to get outside.
  2. Resources & Education:  Support to increase the resources available to our community to understand how, where, and why they can get outside on the trails.  Imagine not knowing you have a trail in your backyard that is free and yours to use.  We want to make sure our community knows this and feels welcome to use it.
  3. Food, Drink, & Swag:  Getting out on our trails is a great way to socialize and celebrating a great time on the trails with food, drink, and swag always reinforces the excitement and builds relationships amongst our community.

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