Darkside Snowboards has a hike park at their shop in Killington, Vermont. They also have a large ladies following, and a separate instagram account, @girlsofdarkside. That's really all you need to hold a meaningful event. I reached out to Jordan who runs their ladies program earlier this winter. We decided on Sunday February 26th and came up with a loose format for the day - setting a few features, going over how to shape different styles of lips, pizza, Liquid Death, and a Mental Meetup inside the rental room. Anna Bernard and Justin Diak made fliers for the event and we posted them on instagram.
Around 20 ladies showed up that Sunday ready to build and ride. They were all very new to building and shaping terrain parks. It was a few people's first time attending a ladies event. By the end of the afternoon we had set a flat box, a flat rail with transition on all sides, shaped a street style lip, and fine tuned other take offs. When we started riding we cheered each other on and new friends tried new tricks together.
4:30 pm came way too quickly. The rental space in the basement of the shop provided the perfect setting for a Mental Meetup*. Our reading was on an abundance mindset vs. a scarcity mindset. When you're in an abundance mindset you want your peers to succeed- there are enough resources for everyone. In a scarcity mindset everyone else is competition- if you see another girl on a team she's taking away from your chances of success. We talked about how we related to the reading in addition to other things going on in our lives. We laughed, I cried, and we left knowing each other a little better and feeling like we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
Take The Rake, spearheaded by Marsha Hovey at Trollhaugen, led me to realize that my knowledge and ability to build terrain parks is a resource I can share. Krush Kulesza, founder of Snowboy Productions, talks about leaving snowboarding better than we found it. When we work together and support each other in our community we are capable of creating lasting positive change.
If you're reading this article and you wish there was something you could do... start now and stay persistent. Hopefully more events like this will continue to pop up in our industry. If you know how to build parks you can share that knowledge and hold an event. You don't need a budget or sponsors. DIY!
All photos are by Anna Burch - Thank you!!
*A Mental Meetup is an hour devoted to authentic conversation, vulnerability, and creating a safe place to be yourself. Each one is unique. We start with a brief reading on a topic that hopefully gets us thinking and is constructive or cathartic. We go around in a circle and each person has an opportunity to speak, uninterrupted. After everyone shares we open up for group discussion.
My idea for creating Mental Meetups is that snowboarding is stressful. It's inherently risky. We all have something in common and we've also dealt with similar challenges. One on one therapy is great - but you are paying someone for their time. Feeling supported by a community of your peers is really healing. It's also free. Someone might bring up something that you wouldn't have thought about on your own. We're All Mental's goal is to create a free emotional support community and safety net within the snowboard community through creating opportunities to deepen pre existing friendships and create new connections.