It’s no secret that Whistler is home to a growing cohort of talented young athletes, and mountain biker Cameron “Cami” Bragg is putting herself on the radar.
At just 13 years old, Bragg has already represented the Sea to Sky at numerous competitions in Canada and abroad. Earlier this fall, she took on a new challenge: Crankworx at Cairns. Although Bragg was born in Sydney, she had never raced in Australia before. That didn’t stop her from winning two races in her age group.
From Oct. 7 to 9, Bragg prevailed in both the downhill event and the specialized dual slalom in the U15 women’s category. Her downhill time of 4:51.665 placed her roughly eight seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, Matilda Henness of Australia.
“They were pretty big [races] and I was really wanting to win them,” said Bragg, a member of the local Instinct Development team. “They were really fun.”
The young rider had to face some new conditions in Cairns. The track was dusty at the start, before becoming slippery as the race went on. It was a departure from the Whistler trails that Bragg already knows so well, and she was admittedly “kind of scared” going in. Evidently, she adjusted to the rainforest and red dirt very well.
Bragg moved to Whistler with her father, Kal, and mother, Morag, when she was two years old. At age nine, a friend suggested she try out downhill biking. She was hooked, and began competing shortly afterwards.
After a string of first-place finishes at Whistler-based competitions in the age 9-10 category, Bragg headed to her first overseas competition two years ago in Rotorua, New Zealand. There, she won three medals as a U12 athlete: first in the Air DH invitational and second at both the Crankworx DH and dual slalom events. In 2021, Bragg distinguished herself at Kicking Horse with a U15 victory at the Dunbar Summer Series Downhill Nationals. Her mentor, Whistlerite Georgia Astle, won bronze in the UCI pro/elite women’s category at that same event.
When asked who has had a significant impact on her young career, Bragg named Astle right away. “She’s one of my coaches, and she’s been super helpful in my riding,” she said.
Although she snowboards too, mountain biking is Bragg’s first athletic love. She enjoys exploring Whistler’s vast network of trails, jumping and clawing her way past roots and rocks. The sport has brought her numerous friends, and Bragg appreciates the close-knit nature of the local community. Someone is usually free to ride with her on any given day.
2022 has been a banner year for Bragg. On May 15, she joined a U19 race in Port Angeles, Wash., as training for the rest of the season—finishing sixth out of 13 riders despite competing against older girls. Bragg proceeded to dominate her own age category this summer, racking up 11 first-place finishes and five second-place results prior to her victories in Cairns.
Two of those wins came this August at Crankworx Whistler. Bragg defended home soil with wins in the downhill and air downhill, placing second in the dual slalom. “I really liked it,” she said. “It was super fun competing with friends and seeing how that [pushes me more].”
Bragg has even managed to inspire her own dad. “It’s awesome having your kids enjoy a sport that you as an adult enjoy as well,” said Kal. “Cami, her younger brother Keir and myself ride Whistler Bike Park a lot together and Cami really loves competing, so I ended up throwing my hat in the ring to compete this year as well. We do a lot of travelling around B.C., doing all the BC Cups from Fernie to Mount Washington on Vancouver Island.
“We are also really competitive with each other—well, not so much anymore, as she beat me in most of the recent races.”
Next year, Bragg plans to keep training with Astle and her coaches at Instinct Development. In addition to the BC Cup circuit, she hopes to return to her old Crankworx proving grounds in Whistler and possibly Rotorua as well. She’s already accomplished a lot, and the sky’s the limit from here.