Monday, March 26, 2012

Loon Mountain is nestled in the small town of Lincoln, New Hampshire. It’s off the beaten path, two hours north of Boston, but lays claim to a 24-hour supermarket, an amazing $1 dollar breakfast sandwich that is served late night, and arguably the best sushi restaurant in a 500-mile radius. Of course, the gem of the town is the mountain itself, a resort that has garnered acclaim and love in the snowboard and freeski communities because of the unique and innovative parks that the dedicated Loon Mountain Park Staff creates season after season. This notoriety is tempered by the welcoming vibes that park crew maintains—always working to better the features, layouts, and designs, and always stoked when new people get to enjoy their hard work.

It’s out of this spirit that Droppin’ In was born. Droppin’ In began in the early 2000s and since then, with Oakley, has evolved into what is now the Oakley Progression Sessions series. Because of the heritage at Loon, Droppin’ In remains a very unique stop of OPS.

“What makes the Loon Mountain stop unique from all the other stops is that it’s been going on for so many years,” said Coach Christine Savage. “It has so much history and there’s such a sense of community within the girls, it’s like a big family.  The ladies reunite every year and it’s something that I think adds a special element to the camp.”

It’s true. Loon is the only OPS stop (so far) where the ladies cheer, extremely loudly, whenever a friend enters the door on the first day. The energy is unparalled as many of the crew come back year after year to not only have fun learning new tricks and progressing their riding, but to hang out with their favorite group of snowboarding and skiing women. The boisterous crowd is often lead by Becky Kennedy, who has been going to Droppin’ In for three years. Becky let it slip that she is the quiet, reserved one at her workplace, which blew everyone’s minds because she is a huge cheerleader at Droppin’ In. She leads the pack with whoops and yells all weekend, fostering the positivity and fun at the camp.

And all of the other women join in, as well. Smiles were huge this weekend at Loon as 82 women rode the slopes of the mountain and hung out in the private Droppin’ In park. Saturday was a beautiful spring day and everyone took advantage of the perfect weather, working on new tricks and riding until the mountain closed. The Droppin’ In park was the biggest of any OPS stop to accommodate the large group of women. Two rail and box sections, a double jump area, and a wallride/mini hip gave the participants tons of shredding options and allowed them to grow their skill set in a myriad of areas. “The park crew builds us an amazing park every year and this year was the best I think we have had,” said Coach Christine. “The park crew stayed on top of it all day. They were constantly raking, keeping everything perfect, and I think that also makes the girls feel kind of VIP and extra special. The crew was on hand raking and cheering the girls on every day, all day.”

New for this year, specialized clinics were offered. On Saturday, a pond-skimming and “no-feature” park riding clinic took a group of women down the mountain to practice freestyle riding in unusual ways. On Sunday, Marie-France Roy taught handplants, nosepicks, and transition skills on a large quarterpipe.

After a solid Saturday, and a long, eventful Saturday night (thank you Oakley and the Bunyan Room—if you missed the annual Droppin’ In party last weekend, make sure to be there next year. Woo!), the Droppin’ In crew woke up to rain Sunday morning. There were no lackluster smiles in the meeting room, though. In 2011, it poured during the event and all of the ladies donned ponchos and had fun rainboarding. This year, it was almost tradition and everyone was psyched. Gretchen Bleiler led the crew, threw on a poncho fashioned out of a large trash bag and made it look stylish—impressive! With a huge smile, she led her group of new-to-the-park girls onto the hill and along with teammate and fellow OPS coach, Ellery Hollingsworth, made laps in the progression park all morning.

By afternoon, the rain had subsided. Music was blaring in the park, Marie-France was crowdsurfing, and the stoke level was high as tricks that participants had been working on all weekend were stomped. When it was time to come in for après and awards, the group was collectively exhausted and satisfied with an amazing weekend.

Awards were a blast, as usual. For the first time ever, a double “You’ve Got Skills, Girl” award was given to mother and daughter duo, Ginny and Terri Peck, who tore up the mountain all weekend with an incredible passion for snowboarding. As a surprise to the coaches, group 7 aka Team Fun, gave out the “Paper Plate Awards” to all of the event staff for putting on a great weekend, and just as a few examples: having awesome hair (Christine), having the strongest neck (Marie, for healing up after an injury last year and being an impressive headbanger on Saturday night during the dance party), and being the most patient (Chanelle, for working with Team Fun since its inception three years ago).

“This is where it started. The OG crew,” commented MFR. “Not to be biased, but this is an amazing stop and it’s the biggest stop, these girls became friends [through Droppin’ In]. These girls threw down this weekend, they’re legit.”

Thank you so much to everyone at Loon Mountain for making the weekend a huge success—Jordan, Brian, the entire LMP staff, Gus and all of the people that contributed to the event!

This wraps up Oakley Progression Sessions for 2012. Stay in touch on the OPS facebook page, where there are updates, info, and friends all year round. We can’t wait to ride with everyone next year! For more, go to