Girlie Camps has been around for more than 7 years now, bringing shred, skate and surfer girls together to share their love of the sports. We sent our German editor Anna Langer to Switzerland to check out what goes down on a Girlie Camp
As well as the snowboard camps in Les Deux Alps and Sälen, Sweden, two weeks of camps are held in one of the most snowboard friendly resorts in Europe: Laax, Switzerland.
Here you not only have an amazing park (including one monster super pipe), but also the chance to sleep on the mountain, five meters from the park and pistes - part of a new concept that Girlie Camps started up this year.
That also means that you have to catch the last gondola that goes up to Crap Sogn Goin at 4.30 pm – if you miss that you need very convincing puppy dog eyes to make the Bergbahn masters let you take the staff gondola. Once all the girls make it up the hill, the question of who is sharing rooms with who comes up. Most of the times the girls don’t know each other because the majority come to the camps by themselves, as the whole idea is to not hang out with your BFF who you’ve known all your life, but to meet new, like-minded girls to share your passion with. And although the four bedrooms are tiny (where the hell do the travel bags go if they’re higher than 7 cm and won’t fit under the bed?), everyone instantly bonds and the bitchiness that often occurs with all-girl groups seems like a ridiculous notion here.
As there isn’t really that much to do up the mountain after dinner besides hanging out at the bar, which isn’t the best idea if you want to be fit for a long day’s riding, an early night means you can get up early and catch the first tracks. Freshly groomed slopes and a not a single person in sight tempt you to wolf down your breakfast and lunge out into the white gold as fast as you can get into your boots. After two or three morning runs everybody heads to the No Name Café overlooking the pro park to meet up with the coaches and start the lesson.
Calling it a “lesson" might give you a bit of a wrong impression though. The group is split according to the preferences of the girls (hardcore park riding or easy slope trickery), but basically what’s going on is that you just go shredding together. Which is not to say that Finnish joker Leena, who has the cutest Tyrolean accent you’ve ever heard, and Bavarian rock chick Miriam, didn’t do their job as coaches. In fact they did one hell of a job teaching noserolls and ollies to all of the girls, sending half of them home with proper 180s in their bags and almost successfully telling two gluttons how to stick 3s.
And this feeling of just shredding with friends is probably the essence of Girlie Camps: have fun and enjoy what you love doing in the company of girls who love the same thing. And while you laugh together, spray each other, run into each other almost knocking the other out and tend to bruises and strains together, you progress and learn together, almost without noticing. Especially when you have a bundle of energy like Julia Baumgartner standing next to the kicker, screaming encouragements, tips and advices through the park while filming your attempts for following video analysis. And even more if you also manage to get your hands on one of the brand new K2 boards that are provided for testing, as it’s always easier to learn with a brand new shred stick than your ten year old plank.
While waking up on the mountain and being the first ones on the slope is definitely an incredible experience, girls also wanna have fun, so after four days the whole camp migrates to the popular Riders Palace in the valley. After three full-on riding days everybody is also kind of happy about the shred free Thursday afternoon and the alternative activity of yoga and – oh yes – relaxation in the spa.
In total contrast to the tranquility at Crap Song Goin, at the Riders Palace you have the party on your doorstep – literally, if you’re as “lucky" as us and get to enjoy a huge techno party in the lobby, two meters away from your bed.
After the last day of shred on Saturday the desire to mingle with the strange crowd of techno followers increased enough to have a quick peek in the Riders Club below the hostel. But in the end, our beds still seemed a lot more inviting, even though they were shaking with the base, so the Girlie Night Out had a rather quick ending. But why hang out with techno heads when you can rest your tired bones dreaming about a day on the mountain with the rest of the girls?
And I'm sure a lot of the girls will be dreaming about this for a long time, as only a few of us have a whole crew of girls to go shred with. And let’s be honest, as much fun as it is to go riding with the guys, there’s always gonna be a different vibe to it…