For the 2nd year of Views, Spencer O'Brien and her crew of ladies switched venues, heading East into Alberta. The spring jump session hosted by Sunshine Village and O’Brien consisted of Spencer, Jamie Anderson, Enni Rukajarvi, Cheryl Maas, Yuka Fujimori and Jess Rich.
In the midst of Olympic Qualifiers and a steady stream of events, the event aimed for ladies to let go of the stress of competition and just ride. The crew made the most of the few weather windows they got on the perfect 70 foot jump nestled into the Canadian Rockies. The end result is "Views From the Village". We were lucky enough to catch up with Spencer to hear a bit more about the 8 days out in Alberta!
So Spencer, what is the importance of a late season jump session with friends?
To get the chance to just ride. We get to hit awesome features in contests, but it's such a different mentality when you get a crew that feeds off each other. It's a totally different dynamic, a place to have fun and so everyone can ride for themselves. Weeks like this are becoming more and more important so we can have a bit of fun and progress.
Why this crew? Is this the second year with mostly the same riders?
I like to keep the crew on the small side as I think crew dynamics play a big part in how a session unfolds. It's a bit of a new crew, Cheryl, Jess and Jamie are all new additions. I aim to invite the women who are at the forefront of women's slope, but I like to mix in ladies who I think are underrated as well. This year those girls were Jess and Yuka, they don't get nearly the respect or attention they deserve. We were a pretty eclectic mix this year, but it worked well.
The ladies on top of their mellow playground for the week…you just couldn't pay any of the filmers less than $10,000 to hit that jump. PHOTO: Erin Hogue
Any standout moments?
Yuka was the standout of the week, no question. She definitely showed up with the frontside double 9 on her mind and you could tell. She sent it every session and rode in some gnarly weather. I was so stoked to see her get that, it was for sure the standout trick of the week. Jamie also rode super good, she just stomps everything every time, rattling off tricks. Enni's style was a standout as well…that back 5 nose.
How many days did you all ride?
Out of the 8 days, we had 6 days riding. We really struggled with the weather though, we did a ton of window shopping. You can tell from the edit, there aren't many sunny and clear shots. It was challenging to ride in and to get sessions going, but in the end I think the weather added to the vibe and gives the edit something different. It was bluebird every day last year…we even had to take a day off when it was blue skies because everyone was so tired. This year was different, but still great. Spring just never showed up in Canada, it was winter… and now it's summer.
I wanted to try a front double 900. One day after a lot of waiting due to bad weather the conditions improved so I decided to try it." – Yuka Fujimori. PHOTO: Erin Hogue
Why sunshine village?
I originally thought I would just keep the event at Whistler as it's my home resort, but when scheduling conflicts occurred I knew I needed to make a move. I also liked the idea of moving locations to keep it fresh and continue the tradition of "Views". Ben Suurallik is the builder for Sunshine and was recommended to me by Charles Beckinsale who built us the jump last year. Having a good jump is my number one priority so I was a bit nervous to take a chance on a builder I had never worked with before. It paid off though as Ben is such a talented dude and so easy to work with, he absolutely killed it for us. Sunshine Village is such a beautiful place and they were incredibly accommodating, it was such a great experience to work with a family owned resort.
Last question. Any plans going into the Olympic year?
I'm just taking some time off at home and then I will be going to New Zealand and Australia for a bit, just to get some riding in. I love going down there, one of the only times of the year I get to ride for myself! After that we've got a few camps with the team and it's winter again!
“After competing all season, we need to do things like this – it reminds us why we love to snowboard and ride park.” – Spencer O'Brien. PHOTO: Erin Hogue