The first day of Oakley Progression Sessions at Winter Park kicked off with a bang, Blue skies, freshly groomed snow, and 35 excited women ready to get down with their freestyle riding selves assembled in the lodge to take park in Chanelle Sladics' yoga class, build custom goggles, grab sweet gift bags, and get ready for a weekend of awesome riding.
For this stop of Oakley Progression Sessions, Chanelle, Marie-France Roy, and Kristi Leskinen were on hand to lead groups onto the mountain. Instantly, the OPS women were ripping through the trails, moving together as an energy-filled pack.
From the start, the pace of trick progression was unbelievable. Women who had never ollied were hitting jumps, riders and skiers who had never spun before were throwing threes, and all of the different levels of participants were cheering for each other and offering helpful advice to their fellow riders.
The Winter Park Park Crew built a fantastic private park for the group, featuring a progression jump and multiple jibs, including a flat box, flat rail, and down rail. As a bonus, they situated everything on the sunniest part of the mountain, right next to the Rerailer Park.
The energy and spirit of the OPS women was amazing. There was a large group of women that, while they had advanced all-mountain skills, had never ridden through a park before. They picked up the basic with ease and were sessioning jumps and rails before lunchtime. Said Emily Moore, "from where our group started this morning, to where we are now, the progress that we made is unbelievable. So many people were intimidated before we started, but then everyone hit the box, we all learned halfpipe, everybody tried it. I just really enjoyed it. I like riding with Trevor, my boyfriend, but riding with a group of girls was amazing."
Alena Anderson, a Winter Park local was beaming at the end of the day because she had been able to regain confidence she had previously lost due to an injury. "The past two years, I had never hit jibs at all and today I cleared a rainbow before noon. I've been petrified of jibs because I broke my arm and OPS gave me the confidence to hit them again. I ride by that rainbow a lot and before today, I was like, 'I'm never going to hit that.'"
As Day 1 drew to a close, the OPS women enjoyed a fantastic après snack provided by the awesomest Winter Park chef, and then headed to the village for a celebration at Doc's. Smiles were everywhere as the women shared their experiences from the day. New tricks, new friends, and fun in the great spring weather—can't ask for anything more at Oakley Progression Sessions.
The ladies of OPS at Winter Park showed up on Day 2 ready to head up the lift and hit the park. After a fantastic Day 1, everyone was stoked to build on the tricks that they had started to learn and dial in 360s, boardslides, 540s and more. Another day of warm temperatures made the snow soft and perfect for learning tricks in the private OPS park. "The weather was ballin'," said Marie-France Roy, pro snowboarder and OPS coach.
This stop of OPS had participants from all over the world. Women from Tennessee, California, New Hampshire, Denmark, and Italy joined Colorado natives for the weekend. Said Marie, "some of the women made sixteen hour drives to come shred with us, it was awesome to see how stoked they were to take part in OPS. Also, this week we had the youngest participant ever at nine years old, Lydia, who inspired all of us."
While the riders took laps through Winter Park's larger parks and through the halfpipe, much of the day was spent hiking the private OPS park. "Winter Park did a great job with the private park and the girls all progressed their riding and learned new tricks," said Kristi Leskinen, Oakley pro and OPS ski coach. As techno music blasted through the speakers in the on hill Oakley lounge, the women threw down methods, spins, and perfected their jump game, all while providing cheers, high fives, and support to all of their peers charging the jumps alongside them. The OPS crew took a break from the park after lunch for a giant mob-run down the mountain; forty women shredding all together was a sight to see and even better to be a part of. The excited yells and smiles as everyone shredded together was great.
At the end of the day, even after riding hard and hiking for two days straight, everyone headed down to enjoy a delicious après (baked brie, berries, and salmon, yum) and celebrate everyone's weekend with the awards ceremony.
Anna Uthe, who came to OPS at Winter Park from South Dakota, was the recipient of the "Girl, You've Got Skills" award. She walked away with a full kit from Oakley, including new Oakley luggage for her next trip to Colorado. Anna said, "it was the best weekend of my life, most definitely. I've looked up to Marie-France Roy and Chanelle my whole life and to be able to ride with them and be coached by them was insane. I learned more in these two days, than I have in my life. This whole season, all I have learned is boardslides and presses and to get spins down today was awesome."