Friday, March 18, 2016

This past weekend, 60 ladies met at Mammoth Mountain to progress their freestyle snowboarding and skiing skills at Oakley Progression Sessions. Women of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life joined together under blue skies and gusty winds on Saturday morning to share in their love of the mountains while meeting new friends (or reconnecting with old friends) and upping their skills all over the mountain as well as in the park.

After an energizing yoga class and some delicious Designer Whey protein breakfast cookies made by Mimi’s Cookie Bar, the girls were amped up and ready to hit the slopes. Under the guidance of coaches Mary Walsh, Christine Savage, Faye Gulini, Fancy Rutherford, Christine Carelli, Britt White, and Presley Doyle, the women divided into groups based on their previous park experience and headed out to rip up the slopes with their coaches. Some groups headed straight to the Forest Trail Park, which had become the private OPS park for the weekend, while others took some time to nail down the basics on the trails first. No matter where the ladies were, it wasn’t long before tricks were being learned and goals were being checked off. The perfect for learning jumps in the private park were the hot spot of the morning, and first time jumpers were dialing in grabs even before lunchtime. By the time the girls did break for lunch, the accomplishments were impressive and the stoke level was high.

After a short break for lunch, the ladies were anxious to get back out on the hill and continue where they had left off. A storm was starting to roll in, but the increase in clouds and wind didn’t seem to affect the women, who were still rearing to go. The afternoon included a pipe clinic in Mammoth’s 18-foot halfpipe as well as laps in South Park’s transition park which included hips and banked turns of all sizes, and was an absolute blast for all ability levels. As the storm continued to roll in, the ladies seemed to pay it no mind, and kept lapping until the very end. As the lifts stopped spinning, celebration of a great day was in order and the crew headed over to the Yodler to cheers to a great day over beer and hot pretzels.

On Sunday morning, the OPS ladies arrived ready to go despite the challenging weather that Mother Nature had dished out. After yoga the girls headed back on hill to pick up where they had left off the previous day and check off any new tricks that were still left on their to do lists. After the traditional “mob run” where the entire group of women takes one run together, the hiking began and it was clear that the OPS participants wanted to get right to work on their remaining goals. The coaches spread out among the park features, allowing the girls to pick what they wanted to focus on in the park. Skiers and snowboarders alike were spinning off the jumps and upping their skills on the rails and boxes. By the time the girls dragged themselves into lunch 360s had gone down on the jumps as well as frontside boardslides on the rails.

The wind picked up after lunch, which sent some of the girls inside to take advantage of a tuning clinic, as well as a grab clinic and jib clinic. The ladies that chose to brave the weather continued to progress in the park until the very end, dialing in half cabs and backside 180s on the jump as well as additional skills on the rails. The girls seemed unfazed by the conditions and high fives and hugs were exchanged as they continued to add new tricks to their repertoire.

As an extremely successful and fulfilling weekend came to an end, the OPS crew met for an awards ceremony to honor some stand outs from the weekend. Jessica Wei was commended for her contagious positivity and unrelenting spirit with the “Boss” award.

Coach Mary Walsh summed up the weekend best when she said, “There’s something magical about getting sixty women together that makes them collectively unstoppable. The ladies were so hyped to be on hill trying new tricks despite the fact that Mother Nature was throwing high winds and snow at the Eastern Sierras. The progression that we saw was crazy, and everyone was having so much fun in the process.”

The next OPS stop hits Loon Mountain March 26th and 27th.