From the Oakley Progression Sessions — Loon Mt., N.H. (March 6) — It's everyone's dream to ride a private mountain, even for a day. No liftlines, no crowds, no one to wait behind in the park. Most of the time, it's little more than a far-off fantasy, except at Loon Mountain's Droppin' In camp, the first stop of Oakley Progression Sessions.
So, the mountain may have been vacant because of warm temperatures and consistent rain, but that was not nearly enough to deter the radical lady riders. Everyone showed up bright-eyed and raring to go (even with the late hours pulled the night before at the Oakley/Loon Park Ranger Auction and Boarding for Breast Cancer benefit party). The women took one look at the dreary weather, threw trash bags and ponchos over their jackets and headed to the lift.
The mushy snow was perfect for slashes and learning tricks, and because of the rain, it was still plenty fast. The Droppin' In women didn't look back once they headed on hill—they rode until the lifts shut down. Seriously. Soaking wet. Taking laps. All day. And smiling the whole time.
That never happens. And it was awesome.
A glowing testament to the insane vibes that Loon and Oakley have fostered with all of the female shreds, everyone had even more fun in the drenching rain Sunday than on Saturday, when the weather wasn't bad.
Said Beth Dooly, who received Oakley's "Girl, You've Got Skills" award (which included dinner, lodging, and lift tickets for a future trip to Loon, as well as Oakley luggage, streetwear, Loon gear, and more), "I've never had so much fun in the rain. Any person who comes here is going to progress because of the positivity that surrounds you. The coaches are extremely supportive and all the girls are cheering you on, which just makes you want to go bigger and better. You can't be in a better environment for two days. You want to do this every weekend."
After the camp finished up on Sunday, we had a chance to catch up with Chanelle Sladics, who spent her weekend coaching all of the dedicated women. In her second year as a Droppin' In coach, Chanelle explains what the weekend was like, what's she's looking forward to at the Winter Park stop of OPS and what keeps her coming back to coach.
So, how was the first Oakley Progression Sessions: Droppin' In at Loon Mountain this weekend?
Chanelle Sladics: I was here last year so I kind of knew what I was signing up for; the energy of last year attracted me to come out again this year. I didn't know what to expect, since we didn't get the sunshine that we got last year and it poured all weekend. The girls didn't flinch. They just wrapped themselves in trash bags and rode until the lifts closed. Even with the weather, the progression was more than last year.
What the girls are learning out here is really a metaphor for life. They walk away with new friends, new tricks, and new tools to take away and apply in life. Oakley and Loon really go above and beyond to create the best environment for these girls.
The camp has a really good balance between good meals, good coaching, and good vibes. You got the yoga in the morning before you go ride, which I think, is an element that most camps have not incorporated yet. There's an insane amount of product donated to the girls just for participating and a tons of award for riders that stand out. I look forward to watching it evolve in the next few years.
You're going to be coaching at the Winter Park stop of OPS, are you excited to do the camp in a new location? I spend my preseason in Breckenridge, Colorado, so I'm pretty tuned in to the energy in Colorado and when I heard they were doing an event there, I got really excited. Colorado is a place that attracted me about three years ago and I have been riding for Breckenridge ever since. I really feel at home there with people because they are absolutely in love with the mountains.
To be a part of the first camp at winter park will be really fun because they won't know what they're signing up for and it gives us a lot of freedom to switch things up if we decide to, or carry the knowledge from the Loon event and hope that it's equal or better. I am interested to see where the ladies' riding is in comparison to the East Coast, and also where their passion is, because the East Coast obviously breeds passion.
You spend most of your winter competing and shooting, what is it like to do something so different for a weekend? I really enjoy taking a break from competition hopping and photoshoots to come back to the basics that first made me fall in love with snowboarding–a toe edge turn, a heel edge turn, and the beauty and simplicity of snowboarding. Riding the mountain and remembering my experience as I have been progressing through my career. And the fact that I have been able to make it a career brings a lot of gratitude to me at these events. It reminds me to slow down and break down my tricks. These bigger tricks, it's just another 180 on the trick before, or just linking two rotations that I already have on lock. Sometimes my season is moving so fast that I forget to slow things down and break things down. This weekend really allows me to do that, and the girls' attitudes are really refreshing. I always come out of this weekend really inspired.
Oakley Progression Sessions heads to Canyons, Utah next weekend. For more and to register, visit www.oakleyprogressionsessions.com.