Edit: Ryan Scardigli
Photos: Scott Serfas
In an effort to create a platform to help elevate women's riding, Spencer O'Brien recently hosted a women's jump session at Whistler/Blackcomb in British Columbia. Dubbed 'Views from the 7th,' the session proved to be one of the most progressive women's jump shoots of the season. The ladies were fired up and unleashed a fury of tricks on the meticulously crafted jump. Among those involved were Anna Gasser, Enni Rukajarvi, Yuka Fujimori, Klaudia Medlova and Spencer O’Brien. See all the highlights from the session above and get the inside scoop from Spencer below.
How did the idea for ‘View from the 7th’ come to be?
Over my career I've had the opportunity to hit about four really sick, big jumps. Each time I found that my riding progressed so much more than on a typical jump, but at most of these shoots I was either one of two girls, or the only girl. I've always been an advocate for women hitting the same courses as men and I hate it when people say that women need a 50 foot jump to be able to learn something new. I wanted to create a session that gave the girls a place to progress, not only trick-wise, but feature-wise. I knew that with the right crew and the right jump, the girls would excel and destroy those stereotypes. I took a lot of inspiration from the shoots I've been a part of in the past, especially Kimmy Fasani's Amusement Park.
Who was involved and how did you chose this crew?
I was really particular about who I invited. I wanted a smaller group, but one that I felt had complimentary riding styles. Crew dynamics play a huge part in any shoot. You feed off of one another and push each other when it's the right dynamic. The original crew I wanted was Anna Gasser, Enni Rukajarvi, Klaudia Medlova, Silje Norendal, Jamie Anderson, Hailey Langlend and Sina Candrian. Unfortunately, due to injury and other conflicts, Jamie, Hailey and Silje all couldn't attend. I was going to just run a smaller crew, but a few weeks prior to the event I got the chance to ride with Yuka Fujimori. The girl absolutely rips and I knew I had to have her up there with us.
I invited each girl because I felt like they at the forefront of women's riding right now, in either a very present or future tense. In the end I feel like this edit is going to introduce the world to a lot of these women who are so underrated.
How big was the jump?
It was pretty big, but not too big. Our builder, Charles Beckinsale, measured it out at 77ft to the knuckle. I didn't give him a ton of feedback because I trust him so much. He's one of the best in the game, and one of the only builders I trust to do a shoot like this with.
Loads of big tricks were stomped by the crew, including 10s and 9s. Who was really pushing the envelope and going for it?
A lot of big tricks were stomped, the girls exceeded my expectations and then some. They absolutely slaughtered that thing. Anna rode so much and did such a variety of tricks, her cab 9 was perfect and she was close to getting cab double 9. Yuka did a sick back 9 and was so damn close to back double 10. The two best tricks though were definitely Enni's cab 10, (which she landed on her first try) and Klaudia's front double 10. Those went down about 30 seconds a part, it was the sickest thing I've ever seen.
What was your favorite trick you stomped and favorite trick you saw landed?
Here's the sob story, haha. I got a pretty decent concussion testing the jump with the Canadian team right before the girls got to town. I got cleared to ride near the end of the week and rode a little bit, but started getting headaches from landing and had to stop. It was so bittersweet to have put so much of myself into the week and to see it all go off flawlessly, but then to to be on the sidelines. I did a front 7 and one front 3 that felt pretty damn good, but besides that I was strictly Team Managing. My favorite trick I saw landed is a toss up between Klaudia and Enni. Maybe Enni's 10 because I knew that was in her for so long and to see her push herself, land cab 9 and then get cab 10 first try, was so amazing.
Any wipeouts or major injuries?
Oh shit, so many wipeouts. Those chicks are made of steel, so many times I thought people were going to be out and they just got up and kept riding. Sina and I both got concussions and couldn't really ride, a lot of back edge hooks went down on that jump. Myself, Sina, and Anna all took crashes like that. Anna sprained her ankle on that cab double 9 to face plant,Yuka hurt her ribs knuckling on a back double 10 attempt and Klaudia sprained her ankle on a front double ten to the knuckle as well. All said and done only Enni really walked away in one piece.
Now are you tuning your dial to summer, what are some of your plans?
I just got foot surgery and am healing up until my Signature Session at High Cascade in July. I'll get in a few weeks of gym time and then a little French vacay before then. After that I'll head to Australia for a month to get back riding.