Mint Chicks: the making of

It was Autumn in 2010, I sat at my computer tucked away in a bleak office in the city. I would occasionally look across at my boss who thought she owned me. She thought I was immersed in an Excel spreadsheet, but actually I was searching for new snowboarding destinations. I was like many others around the globe who spend more time thinking about living than they actually live!

I started daydreaming of an all girls snowboarding progression camp in New Zealand and I emailed an itinerary to Jarred (creator of Mint Tours). Jarred had been working in the snow community for more than a decade. In his younger years he maintained his Queenstown snowboarding lifestyle by delivering pizza in the snow, constantly getting towed out of ditches in his crappy car. “The worst job was in Canada, it was cleaning kitchen grease traps while it was puking outside,” he says. Luckily he stepped it up a notch and joined the park crew which he likes to drop into conversations the most and more recently he judges snowboarding events. He’s an honest, chilled and professional guy with a lot of information in his head. He’s the “get me out of the city and take me to the snow” go-to-guy in Melbourne.

So I asked him online, while I was still tucked away in the office, “Can you make my dreams come true?” Great Itinerary, he said, but I’ve tried to run girls camps in the past and I couldn’t get enough girls on board (no pun intended). Fuckers! I guess that meant I had to find some numbers. Any girl I met whilst snowboarding I invited along. Black, white, fat or skinny – it didn’t matter. Heaps were enthusiastic, but one got pregnant and others were drawn to alternative locations.

Come summer time Jarred was ecstatic when he had confirmed more numbers and a female coach for us at Snow Park. Fi Duncan was her name. It was only once I hung out with Fi that I realised how lucky we were to have her. Fi is a travel queen and free spirit. She has surfed and snowboarded all over the planet. Back in her prime time, she was a snowboard competitor and an instructor, but a harsh knee injury changed her life voyage slightly. Now Fi is a passionate Pilates teacher and a dedicated surf coach.

Fi remembers, eight years ago when she was an instructor at Concrete Peak Coronet Peak. She would go into the offices and try to push for all-girl events. “I guess we were just at the forefront of it all,” Fi says. Coronet’s management didn’t see the point in all-girl events and there wasn’t enough money in it back then either, but that didn’t stop Fi. Instead she travelled to Wanaka to run girls camps at Snow Park. Snow Park offers one thing and one thing only – it’s a resort for park riders. The entire resort is full of jumps, boxes, rails, a half pipe and a wall ride. It’s a great place for progression, which is why it’s used as a training ground throughout the snow season.

Back in her day, Fi coached camps at Snow Park with pro snowboarder and instructor Abby Lockhart. It was only once our chicks numbers had doubled that Abby’s name would become familiar to myself and the other Mint Chicks. She was the second coach in our playground.

August 2012. The camp began. Girls flocked from all over Australia from different backgrounds and occupations. One element pulled us all together – snowboard progression.

Claire Hopper, journalism student and Mint co-shredder sums the camp up nicely here. “Mint Chicks Tour was created for a sole reason; to bring Aussie snowboarding girls together. Their desire to do something so unique and groundbreaking, together with our basic desire to simply ride with other chicks, meant this week-long tour in New Zealand was not only bursting with unforgettable and hilariously girly moments, but also full of the encouragement and support us females need to give each other in this once male-dominated sport. We not only nailed some awesome new tricks and techniques during our tour, we formed snow-bound friendships and finally found those chicks we’d always be looking for.

Cassie De Colling caught the rest with her camera.

 Note – Anything written or viewed in this blog can not be held against me or others.

Pictures by Alexandra Volk, Cassie De Colling, Tamie Wexler and Mint Tours.

By Tamie Wexler

 Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you can not help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics. Albert Einstein.

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