In its inaugural year the Lay-Back Weekend at Mt. Baker Ski Area, WA was anything but a competition. Instead it was a time for communal empowerment, which took shape in the form a style-centric snowboard jam that continued on through whiteout conditions and ripping winds. A group of women — pros, amateurs, and groms that proved skillful beyond their years — hiked and rode a flowing course despite the storm, despite the cold, despite the notably non-competitive nature of the event. As the Lay-Back Weekend was founded on the principle of empowering women in snowboarding, it would have been foolish to expect anything different from the event, its participants and hosts, Hana Beaman, Barrett Christy and Robin Van Gyn.
The event delivered as a fun-fueled gathering of the tribe, with a retro-themed, mid-mountain after party in the Raven Hut on Saturday night (along with an art show/silent auction featuring dozens of local artists) followed by a camp-out in the parking lot. Mt. Baker Ski Area’s own Gwyn and Amy Howat were on hand at the after party, where they talked about the progression of the industry and the women within it in the decades since they began their own snowboarding and skiing careers in the late 80s, when Amy began winning world cups and became the first woman to land on US snowboard magazine covers.
But the Lay-Back Weekend featured infinitely more than simply snowboarding, including a climate change discussion led by climate change expert Dr. Sarah Myhre and a snow safety course sponsored by Evo, which emphasized that the most important thing you can have in the backcountry is knowledge (and that when it’s your turn to dig, “you gotta go full ham,” according to Beaman). Countless moms and daughters rode alongside industry veterans, pinked-out preteens mingled around the mini ramp in the skate jam tent and, later, egg rolls and local art in the Raven Hut.
Event proceeds were divvied up between the Changing Tides Foundation, Boarding for Breast Cancer and the Coal Pad Skatepark in Glacier, WA. It’s that depth — not just of getting a bunch of rad women together for a weekend of skating and snowboarding, but making sure they left with more than just good memories — that made this event one to keep on the radar in the future. Until then, the influence of the weekend, of the countless donations, of skills acquired or refreshed at the mountain safety session, of the cheers as teenagers laid back on their snowboards or did their first of many rock-to-fakies on the mini ramp — will no doubt persist well beyond a few days’ time.
Thank you to Gwyn, Amy, Eliah and rest of the Mt. Baker Ski Area crew, to Robin, Barrett and Hana, and to everyone who helped make this event possible. We’ll see you again at next year’s Lay-Back Weekend.
Here are the results:
1. Jill Perkins
2. Lou Lee
3. Zoe Vernon
Giver award: Gemma Davis
1: Erika Vikander
2. Jenessa Bork
1. Juliette Pelchat
Spirit Animal Maggie Crompton
Heavy Flow State: Hannah Eddy
Lay Back Slasher: Zoe Vernon
Lay Back Runner up: Lori LaBissonierre
Sponsors of the event include:
Roxy, Ride, Hiball, Vans, Spark R&D, Yeti, Evo, Mt.Baker Ski Area, The Snowboarders Journal, Gnu Skate Like a Girl.
All proceeds go towards:
B4BC, The Changing Tides Foundation, and The Glacier Coal Pad skate park