This winter, the Rip Curl Girls Tour is on a mission to get girls across Europe hooked on freestyle skiing and snowboarding. The tour is touching down at plenty of Europe’s best snow spots in France, Switzerland, Italy… and Glasgow. Glasgow? Yep, that’s right Glasgow. Although it’s not the first place you’d think of spending a day on snow, with the arrival of SNO!zone, Scotland’s only indoor snow slope, Glasgow is fast becoming a breeding ground for new ski and snowboard talent. And with the new snow dome comes a new type of girl, the Rip Curl Girl…
After a successful stop in Milton Keynes the week before, I could see this event was a good excuse for me to go riding with friends and add a couple of new tricks to my snowboarding repertoire. A quick call to my mates at SNO!zone, and we were all booked up and stoked for a weekend of fun in the ‘snow’.
The Rip Curl team met us as we arrived, introducing our instructors for the weekend - including Rip Curl pro skier Shelly Jones. As a boarder I was disappointed Rip Curl pro snowboarder Alex Barrere couldn’t make it, but throughout the weekend Shelly was equally encouraging to the boarders and the skiers. By Saturday morning we were all practicing our 50/50’s and boardslides on the rookie box!
It was exciting to have the skiers and boarders encouraging each other and really brought the group together. By lunchtime on the first day I had managed to get over my fear of backside boardslides and was giving backside 180’s a go off the kickers, but for my best mate Barbara and many of the other girls there this was their freestyle debut and I could tell many of them were catching up with me!
All the girls got chatting at lunchtime and I was surprised to hear some of them had travelled all the way from London, Cardiff and even Belfast for the event. However, even after just a couple of hours riding, they were glad they made the trip. We enjoyed some well-earned hot chocolate and cookies before we were back on the slope to step things up a notch in the afternoon.
We decided to session the rookie box again in the afternoon as the group became more comfortable with their new skills, and pretty soon several of the girls were pulling off big tricks. After mastering my frontside boardslides to fakie out on the rookie box I decided it was time to try out the bigger slide box with an up-gap-down setup that I had been itching to have a shot at all day. With the help of my awesome instructor Graeme, by the end of the day I was pulling off 50/50 to frontside boardslides over my new favourite obstacle with style. Bruised but happy we were all treated to goody bags and some music to rock out to, provided by hot new band Skirtbox.
The next day the progression continued further with many of the girls nailing grabs and 180’s off the kickers, and for those of us that wanted a bit more of a challenge there was a 5m rail set up for our grinding pleasure. After getting over my fear of backside boardslides the day before I was chuffed to be trying them switch by the end of the second morning - this is definitely my new favourite trick, despite taking a couple of hard slams trying it!
The afternoon gave me the opportunity to take some pictures, ride with my new friends and watch everyone show off their new-found talent. Little did we know that throughout the second day the Rip Curl team were keeping an eye out for the girls they thought looked most promising. After pulling a 360 off the kicker, Sinead Owen won a snowboard for ‘best trick’ on a board. I was chuffed to win a bunch of Rip Curl goodies including a rucksack, hoodie and skullcandy headphones for being the ‘most stoked’ rider that weekend whilst my best mate walked away with a new pair of Rip Curl skis for pulling off the best trick on skis. Skiier Jordana Dunlop was also awarded a free pair of skis for the ‘best progression’ award, and 11-year-old Katrina won a bunch of prizes for being one of the most promising on skis. The final prize for ‘best progression’ on a snowboard went to a girl called Lucy who didn’t even know how to put a helmet on before she started!
A week later, I’m still stoked and planning a trip to France with my new friends to improve our freestyle skills even further. The tour has only just begun so I would encourage girls of all ages and abilities to get to their nearest resort and take part. I can’t wait for next year!
Words: Ruth Carruthers