words and photos: Mary Walsh
For the better part of the past decade, The Progression Sessions presented by Oakley has been a staple of the spring event calendar at Mammoth Mountain. Mammoth Unbound, the resort’s prolific park system, is a legendary oasis of transition and metal and with parks of all sizes for all abilities making Mammoth the perfect place for TPS to gather a group of boarding ladies for a weekend of jumping, jibbing, and everything in between. Every year since the women’s snowboard camp touched down in the Eastern Sierra has been epic, but this season’s edition of TPS may have been the best one yet as 2017 has been a megalith of a snow year for the Eastern Sierra. Main Lodge is so surrounded by snow that downward steps have been carved in order to reach the first floor of the building. Want to get an apres drink at Tusk’s? Put your board in the racks by the deck and walk directly to the bar–the second floor of the lodge is accessible from ground level. It’s crazy and awesome, and most of all, means that Director of Unbound TJ Dawoud and his cadre of diggers have practically endless snow to play with when it comes to building their pristine parks. To this end, TJ and crew roped off the lower portion of Forest Trail and filled it with a progresion jump line, boxes and tubes, and a tube-topped wallride the ladies dubbed, The Toblerone. There were plenty more jumps and tubes to hit in the upper part of Forest Trail en route to the TPS zone and just to rider’s left of the Progression Sessions park was a freshly-cut minipipe.
Even better, just in time for the 2017 edition of The Progression Sessions, Mother Nature raised the mercury for St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The sun emerged and the snowy storm clouds that have populated Mammoth’s skies for the majority of winter were nowhere in sight. While we will always take a powder day (and have had quite a few in past years of TPS), a weekend of spring shredding is the perfect setting for lapping the park and trying new tricks. The coaching squad was fiery. Christine Savage, Fancy Rutherford, Faye Gulini, Christine Carelli, Taylor Elliot and Brit White hiked alongside the ladies, helping to dial in half cabs and threes on the jumps and blunt stalls and rock to fakies on The Toblerone. New for this year, a perfect entry-level street-style down tube opened up a whole new type of rail riding to ladies unfamiliar with hitting a feature from the side and offered the option to try more tech tricks for more experienced jib girls.
The perfect park paired with spring weather made for heaps of new tricks stomped by the collective of ladies. As tunes emanated from the Oakley tent at the top of the park, huge smiles were plastered across each face in the jump and jib lines. Celebrations at 53 Kitchen and Cocktails in the Mammoth Village on Saturday night and with Mimi’s Cookies Pies in a Jar on Sunday rounded out the weekend. Every season, The Progression Sessions at Mammoth somehow is even more fun than the previous year and we already are counting down the days until 2018.
Thank you to all the amazing women who came to Mammoth to shred! Thank you also to the sponsors, Oakley Snowboarding, Mimi’s Cookie Bar, Wend Wax, Coola Suncare, Goldcoast Skateboards, Perfect Fit, Kind Snacks, G-Form Protection, Bark Thins, KRAVE Jerky and Kevita! Thank you to Molly, Lauren, Peter, TJ and the entire Unbound park crew and the whole crew at 53! See you guys next year!