Roxy Team Week at Copper Mountain

words: Mary T. Walsh
photos: Mark Clavin

It was a balmy six degrees outside, but inside the Roxy house just down the road from Copper Mountain, the fireplace was crackling. Faux plants flanked the sides of a dark leather armchair. Annika Morgan sat in repose, a mug of hot cocoa in her hand. She turned toward a camera pointed in her direction, “Oh, hello. I didn’t see you there,” she said, cracking up in laughter. Billy Pelchat, Abby Ronca, and Baily McDonald chilled around the dining table. Nirvana Ortanez and Jenna Kuklinski were in the kitchen with skiers Maggie Voisin and Tess LeDeux, prepping veggies for a stir fry. Isabella Gomez came down the stairs and joined the girls.

The riders had assembled in Copper for Roxy’s Make Waves Move Mountains Week, an opportunity for the team to kick off the winter together and take some laps before the seasonal grind of contests and filming really began. It was the first time everyone had come together; there were a couple of new faces on the team, and for many of the riders, they hadn’t gotten to meet before at all. Now, a few days into the trip, you wouldn’t be able to tell that this was the first hang for everyone. Conversations popped around the room between the women, sharing experiences filming, competing, balancing riding and attending school, navigating the industry. The atmosphere was casual, comfortable, and filled with laughter.

Annika.

Roxy debuted in 1990 as the first-of-its-kind brand for women. While the roots of Roxy were in the water, influence from the mountains came quickly and the Roxy Snow line launched in 1992. In the three decades since, Roxy has continually pushed the envelope in not only making gear for women and girls that is designed, tested, and approved by women, but also in supporting female riders to do what they love. Roxy has left a large imprint on both snow and surf over the years that extends from core to mainstream. In snowboarding, specifically, momentum built in the 90s and by the 2000s, Roxy had a heavy roster of riders—Erin Comstock, Torah Bright, Kjersti Buaas, Corinne Pasela, Robin Van Gyn, Aimee Fuller, Danyale Patterson (the list goes on)—and began releasing team movies, including 2007’s Labor of Love, 2012’s Wanderlust, and 2013’s Wilder. In the years that followed, the brand supported projects (P.S. and Full Moon), held women’s events (the long-running Roxy Chicken Jam), and unveiled new outerwear technology (check out Hydrosmart and Warmlink). Simply put, Roxy’s heritage runs deep, and now, sitting around the dining table in Colorado, was a look at Roxy’s future.

Jenna Kuklinski and Nirvana Ortanez, a one-two punch of a marketing team, have been working together for the past year on Roxy’s snow program (Jenna joined the brand in early 2020 and Nirvana, at the beginning of 2021). Together, their dedication to snowboarding as a whole and women’s snowboarding, in specific, has already fortified Roxy’s present-day role in the industry and community, building on the foundation set over the past few decades. During the team week, it was the atmosphere that Jenna and Nirvana created that forged fast friendships among the crew.

“The idea behind the week was to really to get a bunch of our snow athletes together to help provide a set up where we can get an amazing mentee/mentor situation for all of the athletes on the team,” said Jenna.

On hill, the women fed off each other’s eclectic perspectives—when chasing stashes and side hits on a sneaky, early season pow day or when hiking in the Woodward Copper park. Veteran contest riders, up-and-comers, powder hounds—their experiences in the park, the backcountry, competitions, and beyond, shared with one another, was fuel for their collective fire. Camaraderie through making turns. Raising one another up. Learning from one another. Annika from Germany. Izzy from Minnesota. Baily from Ontario. Abby from Pennsylvania. Billy from British Columbia. Bringing their POVs and eclectic styles to the group as one Roxy team.

“I’m used to being the only girl on a team,” Annika shared her thoughts on being on Roxy after riding one evening. “I have three brothers, so I’m always stuck with them. This is really amazing because I feel like we all motivate each other.”

Off hill, Torah Bright and Chloe Kim met with the crew via video calls, as they were unable to be in Colorado. They shared up their experience to their teammates, gained from years at the top of the game. Be unapologetically yourself. Don’t be scared to push yourself. Support and learn from the people around you.

“The one trait that I had as an athlete was that I was teachable,” Torah said. “I was never right. I was an open book. I was able to take in feedback and instruction and I think that trait was maybe one of the most beneficial things: I was just able to be teachable. I don’t know how you teach that or learn that, but maybe that’s something you can ask yourself, how teachable am I?”

And that’s what’s the Roxy team week was, an opportunity to get with a crew and share different ways of looking at things, different frames of reference, and leave with something new. “Outside of trick progression and what run you need to do, there’s so much more to being an athlete nowadays,” said Nirvana. The time to ride together, to hang out off hill, to listen to others’ career experiences, and to actively learn more not only from one another, but from organizations like Save A Brain, who presented to the women about brain health and concussion prevention is so valuable in so many ways. And all of it was just a good time spent as the Roxy Snow team.

“I think it’s really important to have opportunities like this,” added Jenna. “These are bonds that people can have and carry with them that really help strengthen their overall experience within snowboarding. With the Roxy team, we want everybody to get to have real relationships with each other, to give everybody a chance to work together and feed off one another.”

Comments

Up Next

January 24, 2022

Yeti Natural Selection Day 1 is Confirmed for Tomorrow – Here’s How to Watch Live

The first day of competition at Jackson Hole goes down January 25th at 9:30am MST.

January 24, 2022

EVERY PODIUM RUN FROM X GAMES ASPEN 2022 – McMorris, Zoi, Kleveland, James, Tomita and More!

Why tell you about it when we can show you. Luckily, X Games drops every medal run on Youtube...

January 24, 2022

Engineering Natural Selection

A Conversation with Travis Rice, Liam Griffin, and Circe Wallace.

January 21, 2022

Zoi Sadowski-Synnott Wins Gold at X Games Aspen Slopestyle

It was a snowy day in Aspen for women’s slopestyle finals at X Games, but that didn’t slow the...

January 21, 2022

Maggie Leon and Benny Milam Take the Win at Red Bull Heavy Metal

I went to Newfoundland for a semester in college. It was sort of a spur-of-the-moment decision. A semester abroad...

January 15, 2022

Red Bull Heavy Metal Goes Down Tomorrow in Duluth

Check out the rider list for the return of the infamous contest.

January 13, 2022

Nate Haust – Rome’n Around In The Streets

Nate Haust dropped his street clips from this past winter, edited by Kyle Greene. You might have seen the...

January 12, 2022

First Look: U.S. Snowboard Team Uniforms for 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing

Volcom sent out a press release this morning with the official drop of the Team USA Snowboarding uniforms for...

January 12, 2022

Gear Up: Snowboard Gear for Kids

photos: Mike Basher When it comes to outfitting the shredders of tomorrow with the gear they need today, features,...