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By Lucy Higgins • March 31, 2023

Alex Showerman is a professional mountain biker and trail builder based in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington. As much an advocate as she is an athlete, Showerman spends her time working for Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance on their Pro Build team, overseeing maintenance projects on popular trail networks like Tiger Mountain and Raging River. We caught up with Showerman to learn more about her work on the trail and to hear her take on the role of inclusivity and leadership in trail building and the mountain bike community. —Lucy Higgins

Photo: Jack Lambert Media

Lucy Higgins: Tell me about a couple of projects that you’ve been working on. What trail work have you been involved in as of late?

Alex Showerman: There’s a really cool trail called Dirt and Debauchery [in Port Gamble, Wash.] that has been all women-led efforts, which has been fun. That was actually the trail and the group of volunteers behind it that got me working for Evergreen, because I went to one of the work parties and was like, “Woah, this is rad,” then needed a winter job and applied. So that and also working on the Tenant Bike Park, jumping in there to help shape up a blue jump line there, which is a small bike park going in in North Bend, Washington. 

LH: So you’re busy. That’s a ton of stuff. 

AS: I’m also running a lot of volunteer efforts. I think in the last few weeks we’ve run two women-led work parties, and we’ve had 70 people come out between the two. 

LH: You recently posted something on your Instagram about the need for leadership positions for women in trailwork. I’d love to hear more about your experience with this in your trail-building work. 

AS: I could write a book about this. Taking one step back, one of the things that’s a really fascinating perspective is that I’m trans, so I’ve experienced the space presenting male, and now obviously as myself as a woman. It’s crazy, because my resume now is so much more stacked than when I presented male, but I have to fight so much harder for respect. 

One of the things that I’ve noticed is just the way that men are marketed to and spoken to, it’s just assumed that you’re a leader or expert. If you look at the way that women are marketed to, we’re treated like we don’t know what we’re doing. All of the events, and all of the opportunities are marketed at beginners. 

Photo: Jack Lambert Media

Now I’m working on really exciting projects even beyond trail building, in the athlete space, and I always find the first words out of everyone’s mouth (at brands) is, “Well, how do we make it relatable?” That was something I never, ever once got asked when I was presenting male. 

LH: What a loaded question.

AS: I’ve gotten it so many times. I think what’s so frustrating about that, and when we think about it systematically, is it’s not effective if all we’re doing is doing a bunch of beginner clinics and bringing people in with no actual culture for people to enjoy the space that they’re in as they progress. I also just find it generally insulting to all of us as women to just assume we’re beginners.

We need to stop assuming that the most inclusive thing is beginner focused, because the most inclusive thing is lifting up and elevating women and underrepresented people into places of leadership. Then we can start to build a culture around us, not just create a dead end of “Here, learn how to ride a bike,” or, “Here, learn how to build trail,” but then have nowhere to go with it. 

If we’re going to change culture on trail and in biking, it comes from women and underrepresented folks in leadership, not just giving us these low-entry points, and calling it a DEI initiative or Women’s marketing.

– Alex Showerman

Dirt &  Debauchery was a really cool project led by my two friends Heather deChoudens and Chrissy Calvert-Page , who are both leaders with these women groups the MsFits and the Donut Squad—informal groups that started with racing and grew to be more community focused. They wanted to host a women’s build day at Port Gamble. They reached out to me asking if I had any ideas, and then they ran with it. The first one was like 40-plus women and was a huge success, and we got half of a trail roughed in in one day. So the local Evergreen chapter, West Sound,  decided to just give the trail to the women’s community and call it Dirt and Debauchery.

It  turned into this really amazing leadership opportunity. Heather, Chrissy and some of the other women have been out working alongside some of the local paid builders, learning and making the decisions about where to route it, building different types of features, etc. I went out and helped for a few weeks, and then we just hosted another big day Dirt and Debauchery part two and had another 40 women come out. 

With this leadership, there’s so many ripple effects. Now we’ve had two huge work parties, we did a maintenance work party the weekend after, and had like 30 women come out; there’s this huge buy-in and pride. 

From a rider experience perspective, another thing I was helping bring to life on D&D were some jumps and features. We were really trying to think about walking that balance of creating a black diamond trail that also inspires confidence so there’s room for error. It’s been so cool because some of the women who helped build it said they were shy about jumping, then started going for these features and were like, “Oh, that wasn’t that bad.” As a freerider and a builder, it made me so happy to hear more women getting fired up on jumps as a result.

If we’re going to change culture on trail and in biking, it comes from women and underrepresented folks in leadership, not just giving us these low-entry points, and calling it a DEI initiative or Women’s marketing.

LH: Do you have any plans for what’s next for trail building there? Is there momentum?

AS:  There’s a ton of momentum that’s palpable in the community. There’s such great enthusiasm behind it right now. My hope is that we as a community are given more trails to build. As women, We’ve shown that we turn out in big numbers, build really freaking fun trails and have a blast doing it. It’s an essential evolution of our sport to capitalize on this momentum, and keep building on it. 

Photo: Jack Lambert Media

LH: In your own perspective, what draws you to trail building? What keeps you coming back? 

AS: To me, it’s where the culture of the sport is built. One of the things that’s really neat with the projects I was talking about earlier, is there’s different ways that we as women look at trails. When Heather, who was driving the bus on D&D, was articulating what she wanted me to work on out there, she said, “It’s going to be a black diamond, but I want to have my friends who maybe aren’t as good as me ride down it.” So that allowed us to get really creative on how we were building jumps, and how we were building features. We want the blue rider to be comfortable on the trail, but build it in a way that rewards that black diamond rider. 

Generally the trails I’ve found that are driven by women are a little more fun, a little more progressive, there’s a lot more community and joy around it. It just makes for a way better trail quality experience. 

Learn more about Alex at and @alexshowerman.