Snowboard Iskola

Drive south for just over an hour from Burlington, Vermont and turn onto the Killington access road. Just a few minutes up the road, you'll see Darkside Snowboard Shop, a Vermont snowboarding institution on your left.

And if you happened to be in Killington early last February, you would have seen a few dozen people outside the shop, raking, shoveling and snowboarding, gathered together for We Dig Dark Park, an event collaboration between Darkside and We're All Mental.

Darkside has been a beacon in the community for over three decades. Its Dark Park is a free-to-all hike park that provides accessibility and community in one stop. For the past few seasons, Laura Rogoski, the founder of support community We're All Mental, has been working with Darkside on a learn-to-dig event. This year's get-together, the third annual event, was the biggest yet.

The two-day We Dig Dark Park began partly as a way to get more women involved in working in the terrain park, an area of resort operations that has traditional been male-dominated. The event has involved to bring in all snowboarders while still holding a place for women to learn specifically.

Through maintaining Dark Park and learning to use a rake and shovel to dig in features prior to riding, We're All Mental offers agency and community to attendees. Goals, growth, and emotional well-being is prioritized at the event, as through all We're All Mental initiatives, bringing things full circle, on and off a snowboard.

"We're All Mental is definitely..a resource for people who feel like they have nowhere to go snowboarding kind of portrays this perfect lifestyle image," says Jarrod Seavey, a member of the Sugarbush Parks crew and We're All Mental volunteer. "No one's going home feeling like they just have to sit with it after the hill. We're all kind of on the hill together, we get to share how we all feel and what we're all going through off the board and that's just as important what's going on when we're on the board."

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We're All Mental explains on their Instagram, "The goal of We Dig Dark Park is to build up our community and deepen feelings of belonging. We all struggle with things and also have so much in common, including our love for snowboarding. Building and riding together sort of breaks the ice. It helps the conversation we have later in the day flow naturally."

The community support is resonant at We Dig Dark Park.

Teeta Langlands, who started Darkside with her husband, Bill, in 1989 added, "Laura's skill, what she imparts, particularly on the day she just has the women and the girls here, is invaluable. It's such a big part of our snowboard community. Every year it seems to grow."

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