Behind the scenes of K2 Snowboarding’s Summer Alliance Meeting
The K2 Snowboarding Alliance was created in 2004 as a means to unite women snowboarders across the globe and propagate the perpetual stoke for snowboarding on and off hill. Now in its eleventh year, the Alliance has gone through a resurgence and is an integral part of K2's snowboard brand that fully incorporates the motto "for women, by women."
The summer edition of the Alliance Meeting recently popped off in Oregon, and brought together K2 pros, regional riders, influencers, buyers, and K2's lead designers and engineers for a weeklong gathering with a shred component at Mount Hood and a surf and camp adventure near Cannon Beach, Oregon.
"Getting together with a like-minded group of girls from all over the place and hearing their perspectives on snowboarding and their feedback on the product is a huge highlight for me," said Leanne Pelosi, a leading force on K2's women's team that has ridden for the brand since 2004.
Things kicked off Sunday evening at the K2 House with a welcome pizza party hosted by HCSC. The group of diverse and spirited girls enjoyed getting to know one another over slices of pie, which turned into a late night at Charlies, Govy's go-to for beers and baskets brimming with fried food.
The next morning a quiver of 2017-2018 K2 prototypes awaited the girls at the Palmer snowfield and were ridden and rated by the girls. Despite minimal snow coverage on Mount Hood, there was still plenty of shred-able slush, that provided ample opportunities to assess the elements of the freshly-pressed protos. Hot laps were rallied and an epic quaterpipe session had the girls high-fiving and hootin’ and hollerin’.
"Even though we're all from different parts of the country and other countries, we all have the same ideas and love for snowboarding, which is really cool," said Pelosi said of the unique crew. It consisted of; Maiko Yoshiyasu, K2's current Japanese liaison who flew in from Japan, Yukie Ueda, a former K2 pro with a giant social following in Japan, and riders, Taylor Godber, Morgan Lynne, Danika Duffy, and shop influencers, Sarah Steere and Jenna from Snowboards.com.
Post shred sessions, design meetings were held to discuss the specifics of the product line and to fine tune details with input from all the girls. Everything from graphics, product names, performance, shapes, styles, and fit were discussed and K2's astute engineers and designers took note of everyone's feedback.
"As a brand, K2's women's side is going to be noticeably stronger as we've put a lot into redeveloping the line," said Pelosi. "Having a revamp of the women's side of the brand is so important and I'm just so excited about where the things are going. As far as for women, built by women, that really is the case. The K2 engineers are right here, listening to all of us."
After two solid days of shredding, discussing the line, and living the good life in Govy, it was off to Portland where the crew lunched at the Picnic House with Hunter Waldron, Global Brand Director of K2 Snowboarding. Hunter spoke about the strong direction of K2's women's line, and how important rider’s feedback is to the brand.
With bellies full of locally-sourced delights, it was off to Heart Coffee for a quick pick-me up. Heart is Wille Yli-Luoma spot that serves up some of the finest coffee we've had the pleasure of sipping. Following a tour of the EVO store in Portland, we GPS'ed to Cannon Beach for the surf/camp portion of the trip.
We set up camp at a quaint campground called Sea Ranch, and enjoyed an entertaining dinner at the Lumberyard, where the crew shared stories that spanned from SIA debaucheries, to mishaps in the backcountry, to a recent foray at a strip club in Portland. The crew was delightfully diverse, and connected through the shared love of shredding.
Then it was back to the campsite where a late arrival of libations and s'mores was more than appreciated. Leanne took the reigns on making the sticky, fire-baked treats, while the conversation flowed from snowboarding techniques to politics and the vast differences between cultures. One plastic cup of wine turned into two, until it was time to tuck in to our Coleman sleeping sacks.
The next morning we awoke in slightly soggy tents and ventured to the Short Stacks break for solid day of surfing.
"We haven't actually brought in the surf component of what we do, but this is rad because it's like the entire scope of the lifestyle we live— snowboarding in the winter and surfing in the summer—so it's nice to bring it all together. Bringing the surf vibe to snowboarding has been really cool," commented Pelosi as we suited up and set off to try our surf legs.
Some of girls were more advanced than others, but all had a blast paddling out and relishing in the moment. While some caught waves and others caught whitewash, a solid connection was made between the girls and a revitalized stoke for snowboarding and the lifestyle it spawns reverberated through the crew.
From this meeting and unto the next, thanks to K2 for perpetuating the stoke among women in snowboarding and having us along for this inside glimpse into the Snowboarding Alliance.
Check out the full gallery above with highlights from the trip and head here to read more about what the Alliance is all about.