It's official: the 2012 season of Oakley Progression Sessions has kicked off at Le Massif de Charlevoix in Quebec. With good snow, warm weather, and a crew of excited and wicked riders, this season of OPS is off to an awesome start!
Quebec is a breeding ground for professional snowboarders and skiers. There is something about the icy, East Coast mountains and rail-populated urban landscape that has turned out a quantity of quality athletes. Marie-France Roy grew up riding at Le Massif de Charlevoix. Professional skier, Kim Lamarre grew up a few hours away, and Dominique Vallee and Kaya Turski are originally from Montreal. With these women, along with Head Coach, Christine Savage, the lone tourist, as the coaching crew, a population of passionate local snowboarders and skiers, and the opportunity to get more women stoked on park riding, Le Massif was a natural choice for OPS to expand into international territory.
"I'm so stoked to be at my home mountain," said Marie. "Le Massif has changed and grown so much since I started snowboarding here. I'm so happy that the place where I took my first turns and learned how to snowboard is the first Canadian OPS stop."
A sold out weekend of forty women arrived bright and early Saturday morning to register, pick out custom Oakley Crowbar goggles, and pick up their stacked Oakley gift bags, filled with gifts from sponsors Muscle Milk, Zico, Coola, Aerial 7, and Unite 7Seconds. After a warm-up yoga session with Dom Vallee leading stretching, the girls split into skill level groups and headed out into the snow.
The friendly crew at Le Massif put together a solid private park for the OPS women: a small jump, a mini hip, and a variety of jibs, including flat rails, a flat box, and a mailbox. Being able to session a private park has been a key to instilling confidence in OPS women for whom park riding is a new experience, and more advanced riders are able to come back to the smaller features to dial in new tricks.
The day was perfect. Pow slashes on the sides of the trails started off the morning. Right before lunch, the sun broke out and the day remained bluebird the whole afternoon. By midmorning, women were cheering and applauding for their peers as they tried new tricks. It sounds almost cheesy, but the positivity and support at OPS weekends is unbelievable and is solid fuel for progression.
Said Coach Christine Savage, "We had a bunch of girls hit their first box and do their first grabs today. There were so many girls trying things they'd never attempted and pushing themselves out of their comfort zones, it was amazing." One OPS lady, Diana, felt sure that hitting a box for the first time wasn't going to go well, and she cleared the whole thing on her third try. That is what Oakley Progression Sessions is all about.
The ladies of OPS at Le Massif started the weekend off strong today, and tomorrow there's plenty more to come. Stay tuned for more from OPS: Le Massif.
See the day 2 recap here.
For more info on future stops check out OakleyProgressionSessions.com