By Kaz Willmer
On the first night, Lewis asked us what our dream day on the mountain would be. A general agreement of perfect park laps with buddies in the sunshine resounded around the newly born SuperRad ‘family’.
At the risk of being written out from the ‘family’ will, I kept my waist-deep powder day dreams to myself. There were only six of us, and we’d all come on the SuperRad ‘Huck Your Meat’ week with the aim to improve our jib skills, so perfect park laps were at the front of all our minds. What we didn’t realise was that SuperRad takes a different angle to coaching, and by the end of the week, Lewis Sonvico had definitely made all of our dreams come true.
We were based at the awesome Treeline Chalets in Morzine, providing us with the epic playground that is the Portes du Soleil at our fingertips. And every day provided a different story, thanks to mother nature throwing every weather condition our way – sunshine, wind, monsoon rains, hail, and perfect fluffy snowflakes. But, as Lewis told us, Mother Nature can be a cruel mistress – we just need to learn how to tame her. And not only did he teach us to do that, but he made us all leave Morzine far better riders for it. And that was just the start of it.
The level of riding from the other campers was awesome to see from day one, but what was even more impressive was the passion everyone had for developing themselves as riders, and supporting each other along the way. Snowboarding is all about progression, and SuperRad helped every one of us develop as stronger, more confident riders, in every condition thrown our way. Avoriaz has such an expanse of different terrain that it’s always possible to find somewhere fun to ride, no matter what the conditions. What Lewis taught us was that spinning solid 1’s, 3’s, or 5’s in the park doesn’t just come from repetitively practicing that trick, but comes from a solid riding foundation across the mountain, that you can then transfer to anywhere you ride – park, piste, pipe or pow.
He took us from our basic riding stance, and tweaked all of us individually until we worked out of our bad habits, and the solid riding platform became more natural. Bad riding habits are engrained, and so breaking them doesn’t come easy, but just by becoming more aware of your body position and where you should be, noticeably helped all of us, all across the mountain. Whether it was wind-blown ice paths, slushy Stash sessions, or waist-deep powder, it was an incredible feeling to feel in complete control and enjoy the flow of riding – because that’s what snowboarding is all about; enjoying yourself.
My first moment of realisation that things were developing was on the sweet morning we had lapping the Avoriaz pipe. The pipe was absolutely perfect, and it was pretty much just us lapping it. Having never hit a pipe before, I was really nervous, but with the solid stance in mind, I felt in far more control than I’d initially believed, and I didn’t think that feeling could be topped.
The next morning, while the pouring rain in Morzine kept the crowds in their chalets, we pretty much had The Stash to ourselves. Riding The Stash was another first for me, and every lap just kept feeling better and better. Lewis pushed me to ride the boxes, hips and wall-rides which I thought out of my reach, and for that I cannot thank him enough. The stance work we had done earlier in the week was really paying off, and Lewis was not only breaking me out of my comfort zone, but making me a better rider for it. It not only felt awesome, but watching the other guys push themselves and develop their riding too, really was everything snowboarding is all about.
By the final morning, that epic rain and hail had turned into the most perfect snowflakes, and we woke up to 50cm of fresh, soft powder, blanketing Morzine and Avoriaz in the most incredible white duvet. As we dropped off the top side of Prolays, my waist-deep powder dreams came true, and everything Lewis had worked on with me throughout the week seemed to just come together. It was an incredible feeling, and my powder-day snow grin could not be wiped. I looked around and everyone was wearing that exact same grin. ‘Stoked’ was an understatement.
SuperRad was a completely different take on snowcamps, and although developing your riding is not easy, Lewis managed to make sure we were all enjoying ourselves while still focussing on progression. With SuperRad we weren’t treated as a group of snowboarders – we were looked after as individual riders, and looked after each other as a family.
So much work from Lewis and James has gone into making SuperRad so incredible – from the solid coaching and super friendly atmosphere through to the support we got every step of the way, not to mention the rad goodie bags and prizes from the camp sponsors (thanks Westbeach UK, Dragon, Butta, and SS20!).
To top it off, we were looked after day and night by the awesome guys from Treeline Chalets – with immense food, incredible chalet, rides up the mountain, evenings out in town, and even a night of yoga (thanks Hannah!).
There’s nothing I’d change about SuperRad, and what Lewis and James have promised us is that we’re more than just campers – we’re a family. Good riders don’t become awesome overnight, it takes time to develop into strong snowboarders, and progression never stops, no matter what level you are. What I do know is that Lewis’ riding was enviably solid, and his coaching skills were incomparable. It’s what’s going to make riders never want to leave the SuperRad family – an awesome group of riders who share the love of snowboarding, and just want to keep progressing at something they’re so passionate about.
James and Lewis have more camps running this season in both Morzine with Treeline Chalets and Tignes with Dragon Lodge. Check out www.getsuperrad.com to find out more.