The Gnu Women’s Park & Pipe Camp held at Breckenridge Resort on February 7-8, 2009, was without a doubt the highlight of my first year teaching snowboarding at Breckenridge.
I was super psyched about getting to work with so many talented riders, from the top-level female riders who participated to the Gnu Girls who came out to support the program. As a Breckenridge instructor, it was really an honor for me to get coach the camp alongside Gnu riders Sandra Hillen and Terri Mayrer. These girls brought raw talent and a great attitude, and I definitely think their energy went a long way towards pumping up the women who attended.
In particular, I have to give a shout out to Sandra who joined my group on Sunday. It was really fun getting to team teach with such a talented and creative rider. Not only does she kill it in the park, but she’s also a natural teacher and nurturer. I don’t know if some of our campers would have been so successful hitting that first jump in Park Lane (16-feet) without her. Likewise, I myself probably wouldn’t have succeeded in tweaking out my method so much or attempted to 180-off a tree stump without her smiling and meticulous encouragement.
It was also a treat on Sunday to be able to demo Gnu’s 2009-2010 boards. I’ve worked in these kinds of camps before, but this is the first time that there were enough boards for everyone who wanted to try one. I only heard positive things from the participants about the boards. In fact, there were quite a few people who wanted to buy them then and there, but of course they’re next year’s models so everyone is just going to have to wait.
At the Gnu girls’ encouragement I tried out a 151 B-street. I normally ride a longer, stiffer board but I guess the Banana Traction boards ride long, so I gave it a try and I was not disappointed. The board was stable at high speed and handled the Park Lane jumps just fine, while at the same time feeling lighter and easy to manipulate both on snow and in the air. In some ways it’s hard to make a comparison with other boards, since it was the first time I’ve ridden Magne-Traction or banana technology. I can say, however, that I felt a huge difference on the boxes. That reverse camber banana business definitely boosted my balance, which in turn helped me to take some of my old tricks to a new level. The real clincher was the halfpipe, however. The board carved up the walls aggressively and effortlessly thanks to the Magne-Traction. Approaching the lip of the pipe, it was easier to come off the edge thanks to the banana technology, and as a result I was able to launch my tricks smoothly into the air. (So I guess what I’m really trying to say is that if anyone over there at Gnu needs me to test their products further, I’d be tickled to be your guinea pig.)
Anyway, in closing, Gnu rounded off the event nicely on Sunday, raffling off two snowboards, Gnu beanie giveaways for all the participants, and a T-shirt making party at the end of the day. Some of my friends and fellow instructors kept stopping by, peeking in at the party in the Maggie, and asking what was going on since everyone seemed so excited, which we were. All in all it was a high-energy, successful weekend that I am totally looking forward to repeating in the coming year. Thanks to Gnu, to Breckenridge, and to all the sick chick riders who came out.