Stomp Sessions: Think of it as Uber, only for the ski slopes
March 2, 2018
Ever wonder what it might be like to follow Julia Mancuso into a hidden zone on Squaw Valley's KT-22 run or learn an ollie from the likes of X Games gold medalist Ryan Sheckler?
Stomp Sessions is providing the Truckee-Tahoe area with that experience, and after a much-needed winter storm blanketed the region, the company is gearing up for an epic end to the winter season at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.
Stomp Sessions began in 2016 with big air rider Ryan Williams' idea of having action sports athletes share quick tips on how to do different tricks. That plan morphed shortly after when Williams and Stomp Sessions co-founder Robert Suarez were skiing at Squaw Valley, and Williams took Suarez into an area of KT he'd never been.
"Robert is like 'Man, you just showed me KT like I've never seen it before, that was amazing,'" said Williams.
“For me I was super stoked right off the bat, because I wanted to do more mentoring and coaching later in my career, so it seemed like a great fit.”
— Chas Guldemond, X Games medalist
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Suarez suggested Williams blend his idea of filming quick tips by pros with sessions where individuals could sign up to ride or ski with a pro.
"He said, 'You should mesh it and make it like the Uber of actions sports where a guy like me could book a guy like you, and show me around KT or take my kid to the skate park,'" said Williams.
The idea was further cemented when Williams was on a road trip to Southern California.
"I'm thinking of this, and I'm like 'God, you're in Santa Barbara — and I'm not good at surfing, I'm OK — but that break down there looks really cool. I know nothing about the water here, riptide, the waves, the breaks,'" Williams said.
"I wish I could find a guy like me, here. That's a local, that's a pro, that could give me the insider scoop. Don't give me a lesson or treat me like a tourist. Give me that insider feel, that feeling like a local.'"
THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT
With the help of Suarez and the company's other co-founder Dave Sick, Stomp Sessions was launched in May of 2016. Since then the company has grown to include 10 elite pros which have an equity stake in Stomp Sessions, and also dozens of other skateboarders, skiers, and snowboarders, who make themselves available for sessions through the Stomp Sessions app.
Last February the company announced a partnership with Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, making the resort the first in the world to offer an on-demand ride with a pro service.
"Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is home to some of the world's most decorated and admired athletes, and with the Stomp Sessions app, our guests can now connect directly with these beloved snowsports heroes to ride our legendary terrain," said Andy Wirth, president and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, in a statement. "Stomp is a home-grown Tahoe company that is changing how people experience action sports, and with Silicon Valley in our back yard, we're excited to be the first resort in the world to offer this breakthrough technology to our guests."
The partnership with Squaw allows for app users to ride or ski with pros such as Mancuso, 2018 Winter Olympics gold and silver medalist Jamie Anderson, professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones, professional skier JT Holmes, X Games medalist Chas Guldemond and many others. During the sessions at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, skiers and riders will get to skip the lift line along with the athlete they are riding with.
"For me I was super stoked right off the bat, because I wanted to do more mentoring and coaching later in my career, so it seemed like a great fit," said Guldemond.
"I've always wanted to mentor and teach and pass on the knowledge that I've acquired from a sport that has been so good to me. Stomp is the perfect platform to do that. My end goal is just to create positive, fun learning experiences for the youth and everyone."
Once users download the Stomp Sessions app they are able to see which pros are available for a session and sign up for a time to head to Squaw or the local skate park. Sessions range in price depending on the level of the pro, but start out at around $60 per hour. Users are also covered by Stomp Sessions' insurance policy during the sessions.
The app's design allows for pros to check off on new tricks learned during the session, which then shows up on the user's app in a tiered format.
"By gamifying it that way, people want to come back for more and get better," said Williams.
It also allows the pros to see the skill level of the person they're working with, while at the same time giving the user a sense of leveling up as they master the different tricks listed on the app. During the sessions the pros also film video, which is then edited and sent to the user.
'NOW YOU CAN SHRED TOGETHER'
Through Stomp Sessions, Williams said his aim is to create lifelong action sports participants by providing a safe way to learn and improve.
The steady improvement and joy it brings to the person who just "stomped something new" is something he said he's seen over and over as he's taught youngsters and adults.
"All of a sudden a kid does a trick, and he's like, 'You just changed everything, I've been trying that like 20 times.' Just sharing these little tips we could help create more lifetime users in action sports," said Williams.
Williams said he plans on continuing to grow Stomp Sessions and at some point will include other action sports, while also branching out to different locations. Currently Stomp Sessions are available in San Diego, and the Truckee-Tahoe area.
With the company's recent partnership with Squaw Valley, Stomp Sessions has a number of athletes lined up in the coming months for ski and snowboard sessions. Mancuso is scheduled to be on the mountain March 17 and 18, while Guldemond will be available the first week of April.
"With Stomp, we're trying to solve a simple problem in action sports," said Williams. "There has always been a line between the pros and everyone else. Now, with the Stomp Sessions app, that line is gone. Want to ride with Jeremy Jones at Squaw? Want to do a session at Oceanside Skatepark with SLS Super Crown Champion Chris Cole? You can. The people you see in the movies and the magazines have always been right there with you in the lift line and the skatepark. Now, you can shred together!"
For more information visit StompSessions.com.
Staff writer Justin Scacco can be reached at 530-550-2643 or via email at email@example.com.