This year, Beyond the Boundaries Women’s Snowboarding Camp kicked off the weekend camp schedule at Mountain Creek, New Jersey. If you haven’t been to Creek before, you have to add it to your list of must-shred resorts. Just an hour-and-a-half from NYC and only an hour from Newark airport, Mountain Creek is a snowboarding (and skiing) Shangri La—South Mountain is a full-mountain park, with every run filled with jumps, jibs, and interesting transition.
This year was the third year in a row that BTBounds has collaborated with the crew at Creek on a women’s-only park riding event. Sixty women descended on South Mountain on Saturday, February 22nd, warming up inside the lodge with yoga and fueling up with Clif bars before heading outside. We lucked out with the weather: spring temps all weekend! Matt Byerly and the Creek park crew had built a super creative BTBounds-specific park that was perfect for progression. Up at the top of the lane were two jib options, a short, flat box for beginners and a longer, flat rail to progress toward, or for more experienced riders to try new tricks on. Below that was a street-style down box (one of our favorite types of features to get women comfortable on). Below that there was a pole jam, a mushroom jib, a hitching post, a two-jump line…am I forgetting anything? The park was perfect!
Fueled by BEC everything bagels SPK (that stands for bacon, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel with salt, pepper, and ketchup for the un-NJ initiated), the BTBounds coaching crew, including 686 team rider, Taylor Elliott, rallied the ladies and headed to the park. For two days straight, the assembled women picked apart the features, tackling new tricks, expanding on their snowboarding creativity, and encouraging one another to try new things. Coaches Christine Savage and Savannah Golden took a group to an open area at the bottom of the park perfect for buttering and learning tripods. Alice Gong led a session on the hitching post. It was equally exciting to see women that had been attending the annual weekend for the past three years pushing themselves as well as new women getting in the park groove for the first time.
Part of BTBounds is off-hill learning, as well, and one of the hallmarks of the weekend is the creation of an open forum to ask questions about gear. On Saturday at lunch, Taylor held a stance clinic to help interested ladies dial in their binding angles and adjust their setups. Before après, Christine led a Wend Wax tuning clinic. These sessions offer opportunities to dive in further to dialing in the snowboarding experience and offer a space to ask any questions that individuals may not have been able to ask before.
On Saturday evening, the crew celebrated the day’s accomplishments with apres in The Kink, Creek’s infamous watering hole. Creek’s incredible Jackie Tal and Chris Vanderyajt (as well as BTBounds supporter and Jackie’s boyfriend, Steve Cerra) were on hand to celebrate. The night concluded with proper NJ slices and plenty of stoke for Sunday.
On Sunday, the weather was just as perfect as the day before, and though legs were tired, everyone was hiking the park with stoke-filled energy. The pole jam, hitching post, and mushroom jib went off Sunday afternoon. These features were three of the more intimidating parts of the park, but by Sunday, with the help of the BTBounds coaches and the camaraderie of the whole crew, women were dropping in, stomping, and riding away, conquering fears without apprehension. This was no surprise, of course; the riders on the East Coast are a special breed. Diehards who go out in any weather just to make turns. They will ride park in concrete conditions with a smile on their face and when learning new things, their tenacity drives their progression. During BTBounds weekend this year, spring conditions, a perfect park, and the always amazing crew combined for one of the best weekends of the season—at only the first camp of the year. Thank you, Mountain Creek, you’re truly a special place with an incredible snowboarding community.
Thank you Jackie, Chris, Matt, Hugh, Evan, and the entire Creek crew, Nico and Will at Clif Bar, and all of the women who attended to make this stop one of our favorites! See you in 2021!
Words by Mary Walsh (@walshmt)