Girls go to extremes on ski slopes
BY STEVEN SKIPINSKI
OU News Bureau
The organization is a group of female athletes who partake in educating and empowering young women through action sports. The group was the only sponsored booth at the late February event that attracted 45 participants to a jam session on the ski slope in Oakland County.
“Anybody can ride with us,” said Kristen Theos, a member of the group. “You don’t have to be a girl. It’s all about spreading positivity and making sure that everybody’s having a good time.”
The slopestyle and rail jam events were open to athletes of all genders and ages.
The national organization, founded in 2006, hosts events in New York, Tennessee, California, Virginia, Colorado, Washington and Michigan.
The In the Snow events were sponsored by People Skate and Snowboard, Burton and Rome SDS. Theos gave away sponsored gear including hats, jackets, a helmet and a pair of bindings to the girls who were shredding the hardest.
Theos said the group is creating monthly sessions at ski resorts when weather permits. She said that traveling from one mountain to the next will help make its presence known and get more women out on the slopes.
The Michigan Girls Riders Organization gets together once a month at Modern Skate and Surf in Royal Oak for skate sessions to show off tricks and progress.
Sarah Campbell, who lives in Colorado, flew home to Michigan for spring break and took part in the In the Snow Slopestyle and Rail Jam events after finding out about them from her parents.
“I think that it takes a lot of courage to be a girl involved with extreme sports,” Campbell said. “When people think of skateboarding, they hardly ever associate it with a girl’s sport.”
Zach Laverdiere oversees the grooming and construction of the Mt. Holly terrain parks throughout the season. In the last two years, Laverdiere and his crew have built 13 structured features for the park. Features are anything that an athlete can do a trick onto or off of.
Mt. Holly was closed two days prior to the event due to warm weather. Many members of the staff were surprised that the park crew could finish a park in time for the jam session.
“One of my biggest concerns for putting together an event of this sort is the weather conditions leading up to it,” Laverdiere said. “Southeastern Michigan hasn’t been getting much snow lately, so we had to push it from some of the other runs just to cover the visible dirt on the hill.”
Despite the lack of fresh snow, riders threw down their best tricks thanks to the hard work of the crew.
The athletes had room for creativity. The park had five features, including two boxes and three rails.
“The conditions were good for what we’ve had the past few days,” Theos said. “They were better than what I could have ever imagined, and I really have Mt. Holly and their park crew to thank for that.”
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