Tahoe: Take two. Last weekend we headed back to Northstar for the Oakley Progression Sessions. We would be joining about 50 other women, plus a few Olympic snowboarders and skiers, to progress our “skills” on the mountain. Seeing as how our “skills” were quite limited, we figured that this wouldn’t be such a difficult task. But little did we know, we’d actually be freestyle skiing, rather than just going down the slopes the same old fashioned way we’d finally (sort of) gotten used to. Ha!
The Progression Session is a two-day, on-snow camp for female riders who are looking to take their freestyle skills to the next level. Oakley sets up customized, private terrain parks in different locations (this year the Sessions were held at Loon Mountain, NH, Canyons, UT, Winter Park, CO and Northstar, Tahoe), complete with boxes, jumps, half-pipes, rails and moguls, so women can build skills without being intimidated by other people on the mountain. There are usually about 40 snowboarders and 10 skiers who are divided into groups based on skill level and what they wish to accomplish over the weekend. Each group is headed up by a professional snowboarder or skier who is there to teach a few of her favorite tricks. The coaches at our camp included Gretchen Bleiler, Dominique Vallee and Kristi Leskinen.
On day one we headed to the park with Kristi and learned how to slide down a box sideways on skis. Seriously. Who are we?!
Everyone was so supportive and encouraged each other to grow as skiers and snowboarders. Whenever you did something positive, your teammates would click their ski poles together, as if giving you a powder-appropriate round of applause. While we were proud of our side slide down a box, a lot of the girls learned how to do 180s, jump through moguls and ride the half-pipe by weekend’s end. It was awesome to see people accomplish new goals in such a short period of time.
Off the mountain, there were yoga classes each morning, group lunches and apres-ski happy hours. You also got to design your own pair of Oakley goggles (sweet!) and received a cute gym bag filled with all kinds of fun stuff (a yoga mat, hat, gloves, sunglasses, etc.).
The Progression Sessions have ended for this season, but for $250 (includes two-day lift tickets, one-on-one sessions, discounted lodging, and everything else mentioned above), we might have to sign up for one next year. Plus, Oakley is also working on creating Progression Sessions for other sports, such as surfing and cycling, so stay tuned for more info on those.