words and photos: Mary Walsh

From downtown Vancouver, Cypress Mountain is just over thirty minutes away by car. It boats winding trails, technical tree runs, and terrain parks that span the peaks of both Black Mountain and Mount Strachan–and of course, we can’t forget the views of Howe Sound and Vancouver Island that are visible as you take runs. In 1987, Cypress was the first resort in British Columbia to allow snowboarding and in 2010, it was the location for the alpine events in the Olympic Games. Cypress Mountain is fun, it’s beautiful, and the Crazy Raven, Cypress’ in-lodge pub, serves a mean poutine. So, on the last weekend of March in 2018, Beyond the Boundaries teamed up with Cypress Terrain Park Manager, Mac Whillans, for the first-ever stop of this women’s snowboard camp at this BC mountain.

Mac and the Cypress park crew pushed a perfect park for the ladies to learn new tricks over the course of the weekend. A succession of rails and boxes–flat, down, and side-approach–led to a ender feature that could be hit in a multitude of ways: as a quarterpipe, wallride, and double-sided hip (as well as deck butterpad!). On rider’s right at the top of the park was a hitching post set in front of a picturesque view of the bright blue water leading to downtown Vancouver. It was a heck of a park.

On Saturday, the crew of women gathered in Cypress’ lodge, scarfed down bagels and coffee and headed up the chairlift to the park. The day was classic BC spring: clouds moving in and out, sunshine warming the snow. The squad was made up of women with diverse experience in the park–from freestyle rookies to jump and jib veterans, the progression park had features that catalyzed learning. Powanoia and Too Hard’s Fancy Rutherford and Christine Savage, as well as park maven and Olympian Faye Gulini were on hand to facilitate learning and break down new concepts. The ladies spun a few warm up laps and headed to the park.

There’s a unique kind of energy that is created when a crew of women come together to snowboard; the environment is stoked, progressive, and supportive. And at Cypress, the vibe was electric. Over the course of the two days, riders went from never-having hit a box to trying a down tube for the first time. Methods were thrown off the hip. Boardslides, frontboards, 180’s off, and more went down as the jibs were hiked from open to close. The crew high five’d and celebrated with Caesars, of course.

“Cypress is so amazing,” commented Fancy. “This was my first time here and I’m so blown away by the mountain and the women who ride here. The terrain is really fun, the park is perfect, and the community of women who came out to ride with us are not only talented all-mountain snowboarders, but trying new things and building so much confidence and style!”

On Sunday afternoon, after a morning snow squall opened up to sunny, blue skies, Christine and Faye led a session on the hitching post. The clouds had parted and the scenery stretched out for miles. The sun lowered in the sky, yet the crew kept hiking. Last minute tailpresses went down on the dancefloor box. The side-approach tube, one of the more intimidating features in any given park, was hit again and again. And once it was finally time to head down to the lodge to close out the weekend, the crew was stoked, their arsenals loaded with new tricks to keep working on for the rest of the season.

Thank you so much to the incredible sponsors who helped to make Beyond the Boundaries happen at Cypress: Oakley Snowboarding, DC Snowboarding, Saga Outerwear, Nikwax, Mount Royal Bagel Company, Ladro Coffee Roasting, Bucha Brew Kombucha, Coola Suncare, Blackstrap Facemasks, Arcade Belts, Wend Wax, Evolh Haircare, and Boiron Homeopathics. Thank you to Mac, Jeanette, Alex, and Joffrey at Cypress for all of the awesomeness of the weekend! And of course, thank you to the ladies who came out to ride with us! See you next year!

For more, check out www.btbounds.com and @btbounds on Facebook and Instagram.