Going to Snowboard Camp with Tricia
by Lauren Traub Teton
Lauren, Tricia Byrnes, and Campers
I hadn't planned to go to Tricia Byrnes' Snowboard Camp at Stratton
Mountain, VT. Shoot, it was held two days before the big holiday party I'd
be having at my home. But when I thought about it, the camp, taught by
Tricia and some of her pro friends sounded too good to miss. So off I
drove, 4 hours to Vermont on the spur of the moment, for a quick
overnight. It was a two day camp, held December 22 and 23rd, but I only
made it for the second day.
This was the first camp that Tricia Byrnes has offered at Stratton.
Tricia is so down-to-earth and girl-next-door, with an infectious smile.
You would never know that her awesome résumé includes competing (6h
place) at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Park City, Number Two World Cup
ranking in 2000, and 1999 World Champion among other glories. She was a
good teacher, and attentive to each student and able to offer constructive
critique when it was asked for. Stratton is her home mountain. More on
Lauren, Elijah Teter, and Campers
There were 26 campers enrolled, and 8 coaches, making for small groups
and lots of attention and coaching. Kelly Clark and Elijah Teter helped
out teaching groups, along with Maria Mazzucco who rides for Hayes
Brothers. Members of the very competent Stratton Snowboard School rounded
out the group. Kelly Clark was low key, with her hat pulled down so low
over her eyes that I'm not sure all the campers realized they were working
with the 2002 Olympic Halfpipe Gold Medalist! We secretly hoped the pros
would kick out the jams when they demonstrated tricks. But they were
modest and appropriate for the level they were teaching. We switched
The camp was for intermediate and advanced riders and we worked on new
skills in the Advanced/Expert Power Park on Suntanner, and Intermediate
Park on East Meadow. We hit the hips and rails and we rode the 420 foot
long SuperPipe with its 18 ft. high walls. (Transworld Snowboarding rates
it Number 1!). Even though I was 30 years older than the next oldest
camper, I had a ball! When you're all looking to nail the same tricks, age
doesn't really matter. Except at lunch, when conversation with 12 year
olds can lag a bit.
I rode my first rails at this camp. The Lower East Meadow Park has 2
baby rails, each just inches off the ground with a snow ride-up. They were
so low that there was almost no place to fall. Perfect for a first timer!
The fourth time I did my 50-50 down the rail I gave it a little more
speed, as my coach suggested. My jib was smooth like butter and I rode
away clean. I was absolutely ELATED by my success! In truth, the board
seemed to know where to go.
Good basic form was emphasized. One of my coaches, Stratton instructor
Erin Tasnady says "anytime you're riding without having your knees
bent, you're asking for trouble." She also had us ride with our hands
grasping the bottom of our jackets or the pockets on our cargo pants, to
keep the upper body still. Teachers are using this method this season.
Stratton Safety Course
We campers attended Stratton's new Safety Education Session in order to
be permitted to ride the Power Park. It is given in the igloo at the top
of the park. Riders are required to watch a short video where pros talk
about safety and etiquette. And we each signed a responsibility waiver and
were given a card that had to be shown each time to enter the park. Good
idea. Hopefully injuries will be reduced by this educational program.
Besides the camp being so excellent, the weather was with us in a big
way. Cloudy morning skies turned into crystal blue sunny skies, and the
temperature was in the 40's. That meant the snow was soft and forgiving. I
don't think I would have ridden the pipe or taken the jumps as confidently
on hardpack snow.
My skills and confidence definitely went up a notch from just attending
one day of this 2 day camp. By the end of the afternoon I felt that I was
riding about 2/3 of the way up those 18 ft. walls of the SuperPipe.
Luckily there are no pictures to disprove my theory. There is some talk
that Stratton may cut another pipe right next to the main one. Imagine the
pros flying from one pipe to the other like skaters do? Sick! There was
also a low rail perched right at the edge of the lip of the pipe. Didn't
see anyone hit it, but that could be wild too!
I highly recommend lessons, and snowboard camp to improve skills. Hey,
it's all about progression. Don't even worry about the age of the
campers. As long as you're in a group that rides at your level, it doesn't
matter. And where else can you get Olympic athletes to train you for a
relatively modest price?
I'm packing now for Barrett Christy's camp in Vail, and I am stoked to
attend Ross Powers Camp at Belleayre (NY) on January 31 and Feb. 1.
Tricia Byrnes instructs