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Meeting our Shades of Winter Camp participants

First of all, we would like to aim a big thank you to all the great people that made it possible for us to start the MM Rapaport Hargin Foundation in memory of our loved Matilda. Our friends, family, and all the people out there that have donated and support the foundation, THANK YOU!

Our first initiative as a foundation was to send two motivated women to Shades of Winter’s Freeride Camp in Engelberg, and we are so happy we did! The camp was filled with safety awareness, inspiration, and a whole lot of skiing. Back from the camp, we took to opportunity to ask our MM Rapaport Hargin participants, Emilia and Nicky, and the founder of the camp Sandra Lahnsteiner about their experience:

Hi Sandra! We understand that the camp was a success! Please describe it from your perspective.
The camp was simply amazing! 15 girls from 8 nations: Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, UK, Andorra, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland

The lack of snow was no problem at all, we rocked the snow, the girls were super motivated and ready for the new challenges, we skied the couloir in Steinfeld multiple times, jumped any rock between 30cm and 1m in there, skied lookers left of the glacier T-Bar, and had a safety session every day:

  • Day 1: Basics about beacon, shovel, probe as well as avi reports, local information, daily routines and approaches, beacon checks and confidence in leading on and requesting your riding buddies to know at least as much as they learned
  • Day 2: Full afternoon spent with beacon search, probing, shovelling and decision making.
  • Day 3: RECCO & airbags along with tons of questions

All girls told us they feel confident to share their new knowledge for backcountry safety and also, as they now know how to use the equipment, feel confident in making calls and requesting the same from the others they ski with.

The group was amazing – so many interesting characters, tons of “WOW”-background stories and a spirit and love that was touchable. Matilda was present every minute. We talked a lot about her, shared memories, answered questions. The inspiration was all over.

Emilia and Nicky please briefly describe your experience of the camp.
E: A friendly, fun and forgiving environment for pushing ski technique and knowledge about avalanche safety further. The hotel, dinners and activities are bonus topping.

N: In 4 words: It was a blast!

What were the highlights?

E: Of course skiing! The coaches gives you feedback, are positive, hard rocking and cheering. When you see how they perform, tackles bumps, cliffs or tricky parts it is much easier to imitate and try yourself.

N: I felt a big connection with this shades of winter camp. It is really special to ski with female pro athletes! It was nice to hear all the stories from the girls attending. And yes you could feel some emotions going on. Because of Matilda. Being in Engelberg and missing her. She definitely was a connection.

How was the group?

E: We were girls from all over Europe between 22 years to 40-something. All girls were really good skiers; some with racing background, others had been ski touring much and we were a few which had a background in snowboarding, but in the latest years moved to skiing.

 N: The group was just perfect! It feels like I found 16 new powder friends all across Europe. How cool is that?

What was the most important thing you learned?

E: That I need to take control; to be the leader when it comes to buddy checking, equipment check and that my followers know how their equipment actually works before setting out in the backcountry. I also got quite good at judge steepness and do risk management from that information.

 N: The most important thing I learned was to have fun in the mountains and share it together with other strong and like-minded girls. It really gave me a lot of energy. Besides that I also learned that you never know what live will be the next day. So carpe diem!

Would you like to do it again?

E: I didn’t want to leave! The whole experience to develop as a freerider in a friendly environment, get to know new friends who shares the same passion for mountains, sporty life style, delicious dinners, and loaded breakfast buffet for a skiers is unique.

N: I would love to join a Shades of Winter camp again in the future. I liked the vibe, all the girls together making each other better and of course it was special to ski with Sandra and Mel.

Do you have any suggestions for improvements?

E: Maybe set up digital pin board to connect girls who plans to ski to hook up?

N: Powder would have been a big extra but that is nature. Maybe to organize a powder weekend in a fixed date and to choose the location just one week in advance, so almost fresh snow is guaranteed.

 / MM Rapaport Hargin Foundation



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