LAAX Ladies Session

Photos: Philipp Ruggli, Aaron Schwartz, and Mariell Vikkisk

Women's snowboarding with big names, little guests, and of course… cheese fondue.

Spring is on, the contests are over, and the parks are getting slushy: it's the perfect time for Swiss pro Sina Candrian to invite some of the best female riders to her home resort of LAAX for an all girls shoot. Name dropping? No problem: Kelly Clark (USA), Spencer O'Brien (CAN), Kjersti Buaas (NOR), Chanelle Sladics (USA), Queralt Castellet (SPA), Klaudia Medlova (SVK) as well as Swiss riders Elena Könz and Ursina Haller took over the park for one week and hit everything from rails, to kickers and the longest superpipe in the world.

"I didn't want to organize a contest because you're much more free during a session", explains Sina – who has been at countless events as a rider herself. "You can adapt to the weather, take a break if you want to, or send it the whole time. And there's no competition, it's all about riding together, getting inspired, and pushing each other. We already attend enough contest, but taking sick photos and filming gets lost too often throughout the season."

The only thing the girls lost during the Laax Ladies Session was the feeling of time: sunset, to night shoots, to sunrise sessions, there was always something happening at Crap Sogn Gion, and of course: plenty of cheese fondue, yoga and wellness (some clichés are needed at a girls session, right?).

Riders with very different backgrounds teamed up and made sure that no part of the park was abandoned. Kelly Clark, Queralt Castellet und Ursina Haller set the bar in the superpipe while Kjersti Buaas, Elena Könz, Sina Candrian and Klaudia Medlova held down the kicker line… No feature was left un-hit, not even the mini rails, when 16 local schoolgirls, ages 7 to 13, joined the crew for a day of coaching (no surprise, as Sina is studying to be a teacher one day).

Recap: Snowboard pros happy, schoolgirls happy = Sina happy. And as she's hoping to turn the LAAX Ladies Session into an annual event, she already thinks in bigger categories: "This year I invited 8 riders, but I hope the session will be bigger next year – and who knows, maybe we'll even invite some male riders. We're pretty tolerant." [And laughs.]

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