Take 28 girls out of 11 different nations between age 16 and 35, let them meet with snowboard legend (and Olympic gold medallist) Nicola Thost, send them in the park with five freestyle coaches and you will get a Burton All Girls Snowboard Camp!
After a successful kick-off in the Kleinwalsertal at the beginning of February (with even Donna Carpenter, Vice President of Burton Snowboards, taking part), the second camp was held from February 24 to March 3 in Mayrhofen/ Austria – the motto: Jump, jump, jump. And the mission was completed successfully!
But let´s start at the beginning: On Sunday all girls had arrived at the Alpin Hotel Schrofenblick and the Welcome Night could start - with a Burton Goodie Bag (with a T-Shirt, Gravis bag, beanie, gloves, stickers and more) for every girl and an introduction by Nicola Thost, initiator and organizer of the camps. The girls were split into five groups, depending on their level of riding and what they expected to learn in the camp. Melanie for example, 26 years old and from Munich, had concrete plans: “I would love to be able to do a Fifty/Fifty to Backside Boardslide at the end of the week!" Others like 16 years old Kasia from Poland have never went into a park or jumped over a kicker. That had to be changed and the Jump Mission was ready to start!
The Burton Park in Mayrhofen with different kicker types and rails was the perfect playground for the girls who could throw their old equipment in the corner and test new Burton women snowboard gear and protection (I love those R.E.D. protection pants made of red lace!). Normally girls are afraid of going in the park by themselves – they think that the guys are better and are afraid that they will be laughed at, get send away or just be ignored. But going in the park with a cool looking coach and in a group, suddenly none of the girls had a problem with trying something new, slamming and trying it again. And the guys were not even sneaking!
“With my camps I want to bring together girls from all over the world to share the fascination and life of snowboarding“, Nicola Thost explains. “The concept of the camp is to explore the diversity of snowboarding in a non-competitive way and improve riding with no fear. As important of course is sharing all this with a group of motivated girls and friends!" Last year´s first three camps were all booked out and Nicola soon realized that there are more girls who want to improve their snowboarding than she would have thought. So the amount of camps was doubled this year, going up from three to six.
During the week in Mayrhofen, the girls not only improved their riding but also learned about board tuning and avalanche safety, relaxed in the wellness area of the hotel, watched girl´s snowboard movies and, as a highlight, went for a trampoline session where the girls inspired each other to do all kind of tricks, spins and rotations.
Even rain on Wednesday couldn´t stop the girls from going up on the mountain and stay in the park until even the best outerwear was giving up. Every day Nicola joined another group, answered every question of the girls and gave them tips in the park. At the end of the week she was proud that all girl had fulfilled their personal goals: “Every one of them made a big step forward within this week and was able to come over her fear of jumps and kickers. I enjoyed the kicker-, rail- and trampoline sessions as much and all I can say: Jump mission completed successfully!" Also the girls were smiling after the week and most of them want to come back. “I couldn´t imagine that I can have so much fun in riding with girls -thought they only look for her hair. All the girls in the group were on the same riding level and we got motivated by our great coach and motivated ourselves in between the group- it was so much fun! I hope I can take part in a camp next year again!" says Melanie from Germany. And Dolores, 17 years old and from Switzerland, continues: “You have to be part of the camp at least one time because you will take home so much more than you brought with you – so many new friendships won´t fit in a suitcase!"
If you want to see more pictures from the Burton All Girls Snowboard Camp in Mayrhofen, check out the gallery on www.burtonallgirls.com.
And in case you want to join one of the four still remaining camps - there are still some places left for the Adventure Week in Morzine/ France from March 25 to 31 and for the Nature Experience in Wäsabergen/ Sweden from April 22 to 28 (all camps cost 670 Euro for one week all inclusive, only the arrival is individually).
Words: Melanie Schönthier
Photos: Frank Stolle