June 11th-17th I was down at Mt Hood, Oregon for Session 1 at Windells Freestyle Camp.
So I'm going to preface this post with a disclaimer: I believe this was potentially my 5th time even being IN a terrain park…so please bear with me and realize that I was starting from the absolute beginning on this one! ;)
As usual, I met the BEST people. This was a crew of "adults" who wanted to go play at kids camp. The most beautiful thing was how everyone checked their ego at the door. I love how it's become normal for me to step outside my comfort zone and open my eyes to new experiences. Part of what I love about that is that I get to see other people having their eyes opened! It's so inspiring to be around aspiring skiers…some of whom are only just realizing that skiing for a living is possible and it's awesome!
Our crew renewed my passion for living life to the fullest. It is always empowering to be surrounded by people who won't just conform to the status quo - even if it's just for a week. Though a couple of us had already come to embrace skiing as a lifestyle, it's great to see people explore their options. Rupert's 26-foot, leaky, old RV, affectionately known as "The Black Pearl" showed more than a few people that you can live at any mountain, anywhere, for any amount of time and still be at "home." I came away with a new found respect for how energetic, happy and silly freestyle skiers can be. I feel like I have a ton of new creativity and style to bring back home to Revelstoke.
How fun is park skiing? Maybe it's because I haven't been on snow for over a month but that was a seriously entertaining few days! Much to my dismay, I even spent half a day learning to slide around on boxes and ALMOST managed a 270 off! I really didn't think this was a skill I was interested in learning but I was wildly surprised how fun it was and also how transferable I think it will be to my big mountain skiing. I didn't even feel like I had skis on my feet! It forced me to concentrate on balance and fast movements on and off and made spinning off jumps feel a lot easier!
I don't think I could have asked for a better coach for the week. It still makes me smile to hear Tommy's voice in those videos. His love of the sport is absolutely infectious and it made me feel like I was stomping HUGE tricks. I can't wait to use what I learned in the pow!
Despite being in a beautiful place, we did have to rally a little bit. The weather teased us all week - the mountain was closed 2.5 out of our 5 on hill days due to wind, rain and visibility. To be honest, I was really discouraged that I missed my small window of opportunity to attempt a backflip on snow…which was my main goal for the week (but I'm 100% confident I will easily try it and stomp it this winter based on what I've learned). Check out these awesome indoor training facilities at Windells:
What I did learn is a lesson I've learned before but need a constant reminder of: the more you put into it the more you get out! It's so simple but so often we doubt our ability to do something new only because we've never pulled it off before! I'm a big advocate for coaching and mentorship. I told myself that after giving me the tools to try, if someone told me I could do something, I was going to try to do it. I could feel myself progressing the most when I allowed myself to face my apprehension and just plain try it! It was incredibly rewarding and just another experience I can use to push myself on the mountain.
Even if I didn't get to work at all of my goals directly, I learned how to be confident and progress as a park skier. Armada hooked me up with a brand new pair of 171 Pipecleaners so I'm going to do my best to make it to Whistler before they close the Blackcomb glacier for the summer and I'm going to spend next year's high pressure days (non-powder days at RMR) at the park in Silverstar!