Guest blog by Katie Blundell
Is it possible to tick every single snowboarding “box” in one week? To have a week of “work” where it actually just feels like riding with your girl mates every day? To have so much fun that you didn’t even miss your husband/children that much?!*
(*disclaimer: I did miss them sometimes)
Let me tell what went down on the girls-only Ticket To Ride Snowboard Camp in Meribel, France in April. Best week of “work” I think I’ve ever had.
DAY 1- ARRIVAL DAY
I set off from the UK to host my first official girls-only snowboard camp in Meribel. I was actually meant to host the previous 2, but I ended up having babies instead. Leaving motherhood back in England, baby food and Lego a distant memory, I was raring to go.
I met half of the girls at the airport. You know when you instantly get a good vibe from people? Well as soon as I met them, I knew we were in for an epic week. The drive up to the mountains was amazing, felt like coming home. Funny how everything looks even more beautiful when you haven’t seen it in a while. I may have even cried a little, shhhh!!
The conversation in the van was buzzing, obviously centered around snowboarding. The girls seemed to have clicked already. We arrived at our PIMP chalet (did I mention it had a hot tub) and were greeted by our lovely chalet hosts. The sun was shining and it was impossible not to be happy. The remainder of the girls slowly arrived and the rest of the day is a haze of excited chatter, blissful mountain sunshine and possibly some champagne?! Last but not least, our world class snowboard instructor and GB coach Corinne Mayhew (aka Cozza) arrived. The group was complete. I must say, us “athletes” were very well behaved and tucked in for an early night in preparation for the first day. After opening our Nikita goody bags that were left on our beds of course. Sweet dreams.
DAY 2- FIRST DAY- LIKE RIDING A BIKE
Meribel delivered the goods. We awoke to the sun shining into our little chalet. Fueling our bellies with tea and croissants, we got ready for snowboarding. For many of us, particularly me, it had been a while. Once we had all decided on how many layers we should be wearing (always the problem on the first day), we began the short commute to the hill. The first chair lift is always funny. Everyone is trying to seem like they have their s*it together, but really everyone is thinking “oh my god, I hope I can remember how to get off!!” You’ll be relieved to know we all managed it.
At the top of the lift, Cozza put our first day nerves at ease with some fun warm up games. Then we tackled snowboarding.
It IS like riding a bike. We did a few “remembering how to snowboard” runs to start. After the shakey first turns, it starts to come back to you. We were really lucky as all the group were at a similar level so we could all work on similar stuff and stick together. Cozza put us on the straight and narrow from the outset by concentrating on our technique, a good base for those Triple Corks later on in the week!
It was a fun, non-serious day, rounded off with some Snowboard Tripods (google it) and group photos. Cozza has a way of making every one relax and creating a chilled mood. Together with the lack of testosterone, this created the perfect environment for progression.
We headed back down the mountain for an afternoon yoga session and a chance to warm down our bodies. Not forgetting indulging in cake for afternoon tea. We earned it!
DAY 3- FREESTYLE WAS THE NAME OF THE DAY
Wait, another sunny day in paradise?! Yes please. Beautiful sunshine and everyone in high spirits, we started off the day with a fun-Cozza-warm-up again. We professionally assessed the conditions (!) and decided that today felt like a Freestyle Day.
We started off the session with some flat land jibbing. 180s and buttering. Next we introduced Ollies….then Ollie and 180s together, ooooo now we are getting technical! Once we felt like the girls had found their freestyle mojo, we upped the game and headed to the Terrain Park. We found the most perfect little jumps to start practicing on. Cozza gave me the lead in the park session, as back in the day (cave ages) I used to be a park rat!. Well, more like a park Hamster, but I loved it!
The girls were keen as mustard. Even when the coaching had finished, they carried on lapping the jumps.
And what’s the best way to end an epic park session?? Après of course! We headed to the Folie Douce, danced on tables and used our gloves as twirling battons!
Then it was Quiz Night……what happens at Quiz Night, stays at Quiz Night. All I can say is that the Nikita prizes went down a treat.
DAY- 4 DAY OFF- HOT TUB ANYONE?!
The word on the street was that the girls had an awesome day (without coaches) on the mountain. They put everything they had learnt so far into action and even took themselves to the park again.
I can also confirm that Cozza and I had an AMAZING day. Of course, we went to the park. We also hot tubbed…and napped. NEVER get to do that at home.
OU OUT in the evening for a very French meal. C’est Bon!!
DAY-5 POWDER DAY
“No friends on a powder day” was 100% NOT the theme here. We were all ready for action pretty sharpish once we realised it has been snowing all night and there was a huge amount of fresh powder to be had. Ridding powder is a totally different technique. Cozza gave us her expert instruction and got all the girls boosting through it in no time. I may have even seen some of them doing some slashes?! Visibility wasn’t great, so we headed to some trees and found a good line in-between them.
Wow powder riding is hard work on your body, so what better way to recover than some hot tub-snow plunges??!! You need some guts (and chalet wine?) to do this, but oh my god you feel good after. Good for your body, and for Instagram!
After a pretty hardcore day, we opted for a chick flick evening. Pajamas were obligatory.
BLUEBIRD!!! Blue skies and fresh snow=HEAVEN. To access more terrain and some untracked snow we got some transceivers. After testing that they all worked and giving the girls a brief run down, we hit some off piste. For me this was definitely a highlight of the week, and judging by the girls faces, I think they were pretty stoked too. We took it in turns and everyone was so encouraging to each other. The vibe was lush.
But all good things must come to an end. For me anyway. I had to leave the girls here as I had to go back to the UK to catch another flight to the Philippines (hard life). What a high to leave things on.
DAY 7- LAST DAY
Gutted to not spend the girls last day with them, but reports were that they had another epic day. I have no doubt that Cozza made the final day one to remember.
Honestly it was the best week with the best crew of girls. Everything just seemed to work out, you know?!
We were a group of ladies that had all come together from different backgrounds, with different stories and different shit going on. But we were all there for one thing….snowboarding, so that instantly made us friend. Everyone looked out for each other and we felt like a real team. All the girls 100% progressed their snowboarding, leaving with new tricks and steeze, and new friends.
It wasn’t JUST the snowboarding either. There was the best banter from start to finish and an incredible atmosphere. For me, I never once felt it was “work”, I just felt like I was on holiday with my mates. Girl shred crews are hard to find, so when you do, you have to stick together.If you interested in next Ticket to Ride's Girls Snowboard Weekend, you can sign up online now! If you want to check out all of Ticket to Ride's snowboard and ski camps, head to their website. They offer camps in Canada, New Zealand, France and Japan!