Slay Days was created based on several comments from riders at last year’s Rail Jam in Laax, who were stoked to ride with the other girls they’d seen in the park, but never really made contact or ridden together. This felt like the perfect connection to be made, so we set about to create a space to facilitate that conversation – to have women skiers and riders support each other to learn tricks, progress and have fun.
Slay Days 1.0 was, in many ways, a pilot to see if there was even a demand for this kind of experience – and for all the things we got wrong, (like scheduling it mid-week), we left Austria with an overwhelming feeling that yes, there is a need for this and hell yeah we’ll be back in 2020!
With Slay Days, we wanted to create a low pressure, high reward environment where the contest elements were secondary to getting on with the goodness of skiing and snowboarding with new friends. We also wanted to bring in cultural elements to celebrate the lifestyles we all champion beyond the slush – skateboarding, talks, film screenings, music and party. Unfortunately, the art show didn’t happen (sorry Agne!) which just makes us more hungry to make an outstanding art and photo exhibition next year – promise! Shredders were rewarded for (in order of importance) best attitude, best style, best progression, best trick and probably best slam – or whatever we felt like at the time.
Looking at a quick run through of the events that ran from Wednesday to Saturday, we arrived a few days early to get to know the locals and the hill and we were blessed with bluebird skies, an incredible park, friendly shaper crew and lifties and an overwhelming vibe of love and positivity – good work, Absolut Park! Come Wednesday and the Kicker Session supported by Red Bull, the weather gods had other plans and gave us a relatively flat and cold morning – so the pro-line jump got cancelled (boohoo – was really looking forward to seeing Anna Gasser, Yuka, Silje and Zoi hucking off that monster). We went ahead with the mini kicker session hosted by current world champion Zoi Sadowski-Synnott. We had everything from first-time kicker riders to a few weirdo frontside 180 flippy things (what are those even called Zoi?).
Wednesday afternoon saw a chilled skate session down in the Flachauwinkl dorf followed by Girls Are Talking supported by Mizu which Henry Jackson (bless) mediated as a panel discussion interestingly digging into both women’s wildly different journeys; Zoi being a relatively recent addition to the scene, instantly skyrocketing to the top, and Yuka, a four-time Olympian sharing the motivations behind her decisions to drop boardercross to focus on slopestyle in her 30’s – something previously unheard of. The evening was so rad and super inspiring and resulted in a Q&A that lasted almost an hour.
Thursday started with an energising taste of Paula Viidu’s own flavour of yoga in Ride Yoga – an action sports specific warm up.
As the glowing crowd emerged after this hour session we embarked to the lift and another greybird day, and the Blue Tomato Hike Race which needed a liiiiiittttle bit of encouragement to make happen. The thought of running up the jib park to then ride down wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but we made it happen with around twenty women and girls stepping up for the cause. Girls Are Awesome’s own Yoga Queen and shredder Paula Viidu crushed it, claiming first place edging out Blue Tomato rider Jay (favourite person award!) and Elena Könz. The rest of the afternoon was spent doing hot laps through the medium line, learning tricks and sipping bubbles. Once off the hill, we gathered for the Blue Tomato skate session which had a humble turnout (gonna fix that next year) but good vibes and amazing music from DJs Anemone and Crystal were flowing.
We then headed up to the Absinthe Chalet to host a film screening evening where we showed Anne-Flore Marxer’s award-winning documentary A Land Shaped By Women and Jess Kimura’s Uninvited, which riled up the 30 or so strong crowd.
Friday started with blurry eyes, dry throats and recent memories of people swinging from chandeliers (literally), plus the discovery of large unpaid receipts in the bar. Ahem… Heading up the hill to meet the Burton busses that rolled in from Innsbruck and Munich, we had a slow start to the morning and due to low light decided to axe the mini pipe (that’s a bloody big mini pipe, Absolut!) in favour of a Blue Tomato hip contest where, once again, we had riders doing their first airs combined with seasoned shredders getting inverted. Great session and an awesome way to have all the girls encouraging and helping each other.
On to the Nikita G.W.R. Coaching Session, where we had the fortune of tips and tricks from Olympian and all round amazing human Elena Könz helping out on techniques for everything from 50s to front boards. And it didn’t stop there – the supportive nature of the vibe had everyone hepping each other on, which was a beautiful thing to see!
Towards the end of the day, we gather a massive crowd of riders at the top of the Absolut Shuttle for the biggest crew shred home run I’ve ever seen. Up around 35 people slaying the slush in a collective stoke train which lead us to the mini ramp and DJs once again for the final blow out dance competition and good conversation over some beers and bubbles.
Once we’d sent the Burton buses on their way with cases of beer (turns out they had quite the bus party), I think we went to the bar again – by this stage of the week, the days were kind of melting together.
Saturday was a beautiful bluebird once again and with no scheduled events, we did park laps and filmed with the riders we could pin down (Thanks Elena, Aleika!).
We left Flachauwinkl and Absolut Park the next morning tired but with our hearts full. With new friends, new possibilities and some of us even with new tricks in the bag. It’s important to express our gratitude to the people behind the brands who supported this – without their personal vision for pushing women’s action sports forward, this wouldn’t have been possible – Alexandra, Katharina, Seppi, Patrick, Neea, Hanna, Juliane and Linn. And I want to throw love and gratitude to Henry Jackson for his confidence in this event, helping bring it to Absolut Park and for always making everything easy and fun. It matters. Thank you. And to our team Tine, Pipa, Paula, Nikolaj, Theo, Anna Mona, Crystal, Mona, Miriam, Sonia, Julia, Mark, Syo and Birgit for being the best ever despite speedbumps and curves. What’s your lifestyle bro?