words: Mary Walsh and Jenna Kuklinski
It's not often that one gets to witness a group of highly skilled female snowboarders sessioning a sizable hip; the option just isn't presented enough. This year, Ms. Superpark returned to Mammoth Mountain for the third time in the event’s tenure and the Mammoth Unbound Park Crew presented the group of invited women with a pristine hip right in the center of Main Park. Once Chair 6 had stopped spinning for the day, Unbound Terrain Park Manager TJ Dawoud and his crew of dedicated diggers shuttled riders up into the park to shoot as the light left the hill. As the sun began to set behind the Minarets, a bevy of women congregated at the drop in, representing a cross-section of the strata of snowboarding that very rarely gets the opportunity to come together. Spencer O'Brien, Jess Kimura, Mariah Dugan, Kelly Clark. Maddy Schaffrick, Elena Hight, Melissa Evans, Kaitlyn Farrington. Alex Duckworth, Kjersti Buaas, Mary Rand, Chloe Kim. As quickly as snowmobile engines could churn up the spring snow, these women and more tightened their straps, selected tracks on their iPods, and pointed it toward the transition. Jumpers, pipe riders, jibbers, video part and contest riders—the lines blurred into one track, a boardwidth in size, sending everyone to rider's left off the hip.
While the first day of Ms. Superpark saw an plenty of impressive riding go down throughout the day, the sunset hip session typifies the experience of this event. This is what Ms. Superpark is all about and luckily there is plenty more to come during the next three days. With over 100 women present at Mammoth, the talent is multifaceted and so far the riders have checked out, tried out, and ridden out of every feature on hill, stomping familiar tricks, trying new ones, and finding new lines and trannyfinders between it all. Christy Prior (who stomped a first hit switch back one method), Anna Gasser, Possum Torr, Faye Gulini, Kaitlyn Farrington, and Sarka Pancochova, among others, were sending the jumpline. Mary Rand, Marie Hucal, Alexa McCarty, Stephanie Sue Feld, Orla Doolin, and many more were lapping through and picking apart the rails. Ms. Superpark first-timer Grace Mayernik introduced a trannyfinder over the pole jam and firecrackered the underutilized stairs to the deck of the hip. Overall, one of the most striking aspects of Day 1 of Ms. was the effusive style that was present in the park: indy pokes, tuck knees, crails, textbook methods, and big laybacks, all executed in smooth fashion. Stock tricks were of no interest to these riders.
For ten seasons, Ms. Superpark has been a place for established professionals and rookies to ride side-by-side, pushing one another on like ground and because of this, the environment has been a catalyst for many up and comers as well as a place that riders look forward to returning season after season. This year, in this same spirit of providing a creative outlet for snowboarding's best female riders, we here at SNOWBOARDER would like to showcase some of the women who are behind the scenes and new to Ms., to share their unique perspectives about the on hill proceedings.
So, introducing Jenna Kuklinski, a Massachusetts-born HCSC staffer who recently took up residency in Salt Lake. Jenna pens blogs on Gofer Collective and was nice enough to share her take on Day 1 of Ms. Superpark at Mammoth. Enjoy.
– Mary Walsh
The first impression of Ms. Superpark 2014 from the lift was nothing short of, ‘AWESOME!’ The private park flowed by below as dozens of ladies scouted features, tested rails and began sending a rodeo or two on the jumps.
We all know the female side of snowboarding isn’t that big. There isn’t as much money in it, there aren’t as many sponsored riders. This can cause people to get clique-y and exclude others they feel are their rivals on snow, but that feeling of aversion wasn’t present today at all. All over the park ladies were inviting others to join them in a session on one feature or another, whether they knew them well or not (grinning ecstatically the whole time).
Kelly Underwood said something at the top of the park that summed it up perfectly. "People try to prove themselves in other events too much. If you’re already here, someone believes you deserve to be." And that was exactly it. Filmers and photographers were chasing down different riders all day that they wanted to shoot with, and if one of those filmers or photographers were set up at a specific feature they picked up their camera for every single person that gave it a go. Riders were giving eachother props when they saw someone land a sick trick and tips when they saw them struggling with it. The outside pressure was low, the personal motivation was high, and the overall vibe was pure fun. Coming to Ms. Superpark felt like arriving at a family reunion where you all actually really liked being around one another and you also all loved to snowboard (oh, and you were all female, which doesn’t make biological sense, but who cares really). Day 1 gave everyone a solid platform to build off of, things can only go up from here.
– Jenna Kuklinski