Women’s Progression camps are not a novel idea when it comes to encouraging women to progress and commit more time on-snow. The misconception of these camps is that they are mainly geared towards beginners or never-evers, but as the percentage of women who have taken up shred increases, the nature of the women’s progression camps has shifted from teaching women the basics to helping them push their riding ability to the next level.
As many brands continue to push this initiative by offering annual weekend retreats, an interesting yet unsurprising pattern has emerged— Not only have the programs grown and expanded, but women continue to return year in and year out, reaming loyal both to the particular event and to the specific brand.
One of the longest running camps has been the Burton Pillow Fight Retreat and Camp, held at Stevens Pass and run by The Sales Asylum. Started by former principle rep Sasha Dietschi-Cooper and former SG rep Colleen (Coco) Farrell, the camp was created not only to help women progress, but also get in some much needed R&R time. The result has been impressive. Going into its fifth year, this has fast become a coveted event with women traveling from all over the country. Participants from as far as New Mexico came out to join the shred-fest this year, combining a weekend of serious pow, all day riding, and unlimited access to the full 2012 Burton Women’s quiver, with yoga sessions, festive drinks, and nighttime fun.
The camp is currently organized and run by Sarah Kuhns, the Sales Asylum’s key accounts and regional marketing guru. “The Burton Pillow Fight Women’s Camp and Retreat is held at Steven’s Pass every year and brings together a perfect combination of snow, friends (new and old), female camaraderie, progression, and most of all, fun,” she says. “I will not take credit for the concept but this camp has been going on for five seasons and is the most fulfilling event I have had the pleasure of working on. This camp allows women to escape from the ‘boy’s club’ aspect of snowboarding and really give them a comfortable environment to progress. Steven’s Pass Resort and several over partners to ensure that the girls have the best-on snow experience possible, which ultimately keeps the sport strong and retains athletes. The girls and I look forward to this event every year.”
This year’s camp brought girls from all areas of the country, and the return rate was quite high, with a select group of ladies on their third or fourth year of participation. The level of riding was high, and the women really pushed their coaches to teach and inspire. Beth Steel, Burton’s director of sales, flew in from Burlington for the weekend and was duly impressed: “This event was everything snowboarding should be: fun, inviting. and progressive. I plan on encouraging all our reps to incorporate something like this into their territories by inviting participation into snowboarding, for women of all abilities, and most important, having enough women’s specific products so that the experience is that much more enhanced.”
Puget Sound Creative created an inspiring video of the event on view here.