While most of the US has been suffering from warm temperatures and lackluster conditions, winter decided to show its white, fluffy side at Copper Mountain, Colorado, this past weekend. The shift was timed perfectly, just as the Oakley crew arrived at the resort for the second stop of the 2012 Oakley Progression Sessions. A blanket of fresh snow coated the mountain and resort village, creating a seasonal landscape that has been absent from most of North America this season. While this was a welcome site for everyone, the weather was not without its challenges, specifically ones that gusted up to 40 mph and created a windchill that threatened even the most technical outerwear.
But, the ladies of Oakley Progression Sessions are not easily deterred by one of Mother Nature's stormy tantrums. In fact, the riders showed no reticence when they walked through the doors of Woodward-at-Copper at 8am Saturday morning, board, skis, boots, and warmest layering kits in hand. They were ready to brave the elements, but first they had some warming up to do.
For the camp at Copper, Oakley Progression Sessions teamed up with Woodward at Copper to bring a brand new element to the existing OPS program. "We had a great event at Winter Park last year, but we were really interested in Woodward at Copper because we thought their facilities and training programs would add something unique to the camp," said Jenny Earnshaw, Women's Brand Manager at Oakley who has developed the OPS program. "It's a perfect partnership. So far, the response has been amazing. Doing the "One Hit Wonder" and "Dropping In" sessions made the women more comfortable to try things on their snowboards and skis. After warming up in The Barn, Woodward's indoor facility, this morning, the women got on the hill and they already had the confidence of learning some new tricks. It was like a win under their belt. It warmed them up."
It's true. Woodward's enthusiastic and awesome staff helped the OPS ladies learn fundamentals before they even put on their boots. Women that had previously been nervous to go upside-down were backflipping into foam pits and on trampolines like they had been doing it for years. Oakley pros and OPS Coaches, Jenny Jones, Kristi Leskinen, Chanelle Sladics, Helene Olafsen, and Lauren Perkins were getting in on the action, too.
Serendipitously, as the OPS participants and coaches headed out to the lifts to start their day on hill, the weather relented, and the sun began to come out from behind the clouds. The day was on. At the top of Union Creek chair, the Copper park crew had put together one of the funnest private OPS miniparks ever. A triple jumpline, multiple boxes and rails with different types of take-offs, and a quarterpipe with a corrugated tube on top were ideal for everyone from first-time jump and jibbers to girls looking to develop 360s, nosepresses, and switch frontboards.
"I came back to OPS this year because of the coaches," said Anna Uthe, last year's "You Got Skills, Girl" recipient. "They're really supportive and fun to ride with. Hitting rails with Chanelle was my favorite part of today. We talked about environmental issues on the lift, which was pretty interesting. It's inspiring to me to ride with Chanelle, because she takes the time to ride with us, give us advice, and have fun snowboarding with us."
Everyone from Phoebe Mills at Woodward, to the park staff has been amazing to work with and we're just really excites about the partnership. Anything we can add to the camp to put smiles on the girls' faces and give them more, we're stoked.
Even the most seasoned locals will rarely pull an 8am-4pm day, but the OPS ladies didn't want to come down from the private park when the lifts closed, their motivation for learning and having fun on their boards and skis showing little sign of slowing. Of course, the day had to eventually wrap up and everyone went down the mountain, riding switch, doing 180s, and smiling the whole way. To reward everyone's efforts, Chanelle led a cool down yoga class to ease everyone's tired muscles and get the group ready for some aperitifs at après.
Tomorrow the weather is looking sunny and much warmer, so while today was pretty awesome, Sunday should be even better. Stay tuned for more from OPS.
See more at oakleyprogressionsessions.com