Imagine this: Spending all night camping out with your best friends at the base of a gorgeous, dramatic glacial peak after dancing the night away at an isolated mountain lodge, then spending all day hitting the slopes, skating a half pipe, and hanging out with other bad-ass female shredders from all walks of life. Sound like a winter wonderland dream? Yep, thatʻs Lay Back Weekend, an eco-conscious event dedicated to female board sports and the women who pursue them every day. I had the opportunity to join in on the first ever Lay Back Weekend hosted at Mount Baker, Washington, and Iʻll tell you it was so well executed and exciting with well over a hundred women in attendance, it did not feel like the first rodeo.
Last October while at the Roxy Pro France, Robin Van Gyn (fellow Roxy girl, professional snowboarder, and co-creator of Lay Back Weekend- if you didnʻt know already) introduced me to the idea of coming to Washington to participate while it was still in the works. Immediately, I jumped 100% on board and couldnʻt wait to go. But there was just one catch – to that day, I had only gone snowboarding twice. Ever. I was, and trust me, still am, a total kook (or jerry, as snowboarders say.) Robin assured me that Iʻd be fine, that Lay Back Weekend was for all levels of ability and it was all about girls encouraging girls to get out there and have a good time. Although the thought of riding with some of the best female boarders in the world was absolutely initially intimidating, I completely trusted Robin and the opportunity was just too epic to pass up.
Fast forward a few months to January 5th, I really realized what Robin meant. It was a boarder-girls dream. Women, snowboards, skateboards, and smiles were in abundance. Everyone camped in their RVʻs and trucks literally 50 steps from the lifts at Baker and 25 steps away from an epic indoor mini ramp. No matter where you went you were surrounded by your new friends. Best of all, there was zero intimidation factor. The weekend was dedicated to chilling out and riding (hence the name), that meant everyone was there just trying to have the best time possible. I was so inspired by all the women who participated in the ʻSkate Like a Girl Skate Jamʻ for all levels. Everyone sincerely found so much joy in helping others learn and get out of their comfort zone, even if they were total strangers. The world of snow, surf, and skate collided here and it was nothing like Iʻve ever experienced before.
This was the line up of events for the exhilarating, jam-packed weekend. With a snowboard jam, beginner skate session, mountain safety clinic, and retro party on the mountain, what else could you ask for?
Friday January 5th: Welcome party, registration, and skate practice
- 4pm-7pm : Welcome party and Registration at the new Mt.Baker Snowboards Highway 542. Check in and sign up for the activities you want to be involved in during the weekend (Skate Jam/Snowboard Jam/Mountain Safety/Yoga). Hang out and watch some movies from the snow, skate, and surf worlds while meeting and greeting the hosts and friends.
- 7pm-9pm : Go up to the White Salmon parking lot to set up your camp spot for the weekend in the designated camping zone. We’ll have the Vans skate ramp open for inspection and practice.
Saturday: Mountain Safety / Skate Jam / Apres Party
- 9:00am : Demos : Ride, Roxy, Gnu, and Spark R&D will have their best fleet on hand for you to try.
- 9am : Mountain opens, fingers xx’d for POW!
- 9:00 -11:00am : Mountain Safety Clinic. Learn from some of snowboarding’s most experienced mountain women. Bring your gear and practice with pros.
- 11:30am-1pm : Link up with local lady shredders to preview and practice the LBS locals qualifier course
- 12pm : Vans Skate Ramp in the evo tent opens.
- 1pm-3pm : Skate Like A Girl Skate Jam followed by a Dare to Skate session for all levels. Every girl who dares to skate will be entered in a raffle for prizes, if you have never tried or just need some help, this is your chance!
- 3:30-7pm : Apres Party at the Raven’s Hut on hill! Yes, we are having a retro themed party, dress up is encouraged. Hang out after the last chair OR hike into the Raven Hut for the art show, silent auction and live music from YURT.
- 7pm-9pm : Post party hang at evo tent skate ramp area at White Salmon parking lot.
Sunday: Lay-Back Snowboard Contest
- 9am : Mountain opens, fingers xx’d for POW! Take some laps and warm up for the contest.
- 10am- 3pm : Lay-Back Snowboard Contest. All ages, all levels welcome to come out and express yourself in this style driven women’s only snowboard course. Channel your inner artist and paint your line.
- 4pm : Awards and Prizes in the evo tent
- 6:30pm : Decompression Yoga guided by Brooke from NW Fold Yoga at Mt Baker Snowboards in Glacier, think you’ll need to balance your inner peace after all this
When Sunday rolled around I really wanted to take a few runs on the half pipe course made for the Snowboard contest, but the only way to do that would be to enter! Of course, it was laid back and uncompetitive, but I was still nervous because it was my first time doing any riding of that caliber. If it were in any other circumstances, I probably would have thought “No way, Mainei!”, “Iʻm not good enough” or “everyone will laugh and think Iʻm a massive kook”, and forgotten about it. But that wasn’t the vibe of Lay Back Weekend. It was about putting your doubts and worries aside and just riding. Of course with the encouragement of Robin and all the ladies, I gathered up the confidence to just go for it. And surprise, surprise, it was the best decision I made all weekend. Even though I was a total beginner, with the support of everyone I was able to get out there and have one of my best sessions yet.
Photos by Erin Hogue @erinhogue
I felt like I progressed a lot in just a few days, and I credit that to being in a positive environment where women were not only cheering me on, but also pushing me by exemplifying power, grace, and genuine fun. Thatʻs what we need more of in the world of board sports, women supporting women whether they ride mountains, waves, or pavement. Thatʻs why Iʻll be heading back next year, and why you should too.