Mountain Vibez: Snowboarding Athletes – Supporting Female Progression in their Communities

By Kim Ewing

Photo Credit: Dan Hilden | Rider: Kim Ewing

Stevens Pass Parks | Washington

Snowboarding to many is a sport that is extreme and dangerous, and to the rest of us who live in the life of a snowboarder; it’s a passion, an invigorating connection to being alive, and a family we’re committed to. Predominantly a male driven sport, yet the popularity among females of all ages have become impressing and the girl gangs are boldly sending it.

In the United States riding season can begin as early as October and span through the spring months of late May and even June.  Pick your preference, freestyle or freeriding, but it has become much more common for the ladies to try and demonstrate ability in all areas of riding until they find what they are truly passionate about progressing in.

Conditioning pre-season and even ongoing through winter regardless of how frequent you ride is undeniably a main artery to improving in ability, or often it just sustains our bodies through injury after injury to keep charging. May seem like a simple tweak to your daily routine, but don’t be fooled. The harder you go, regardless of ability, it becomes a game of risk, a fun game, but a risky one.

To each their own, we are only here to indulge in the mountain stoke for snow because for many of us, winter is coming full circle. So, if you don’t have you dance pants on, our friendship may be questionable (only joking).  Some of our Mountain Vibez riders have shared their pre-season activities to keep the stoke for winter and their efforts to building a stronger community this this season.

Photo Credit: Peter Day | Rider: Jen Jones

Squaw Valley | California

Jen Jones: Riding 10 years with three years of consecutive months

Style: Big Mountain Freeride

Home Mountain: Squaw Valley, CA

Off Season

Jen maintains monthly consistency in riding while conditioning for Big Mountain Freeride competitions around the world, most recently in New Zealand. Back state side she picked up skateboarding; shredding the streets and concrete surfing have been keeping her passion for board sports alive.

Mountain Vibez Female Support

Jen often supports and encourages females around the world by staying connected.  She finds the female division for big mountain freeride to be lean.  Even with growing demand for more competitors the community is small so when reunited at these events it’s only more motivating to go out there and push each other past those comfort zones. Ultimately, she hopes to achieve a progressive female community in this type of terrain.

This has transcended into her ability to be an effective coach for females which allows her to work directly with these athletes pursuing snowboarding.  Through this she has found that being supportive and giving encouragement has allowed her to directly strengthen the female snowboarding community.

Photo Credit: Michael Sorger | Rider: Emily Sorger

Bear Mountain | California

Emily Sorger: Riding Park for 5 Years. Started snowboarding at 3 years old

Style: Freestyle Park

Home Mountain: Park City, Utah & Bear Mountain, CA

Off Season

Admirably, Emily is a full-time student majoring in computer science with an emphasis video game programming, while also perusing a double major in German and Physics. If you’ve got your brain wrapped around all that, when Emily isn’t snowboarding she is also the captain and flyer of the cheer squad at CSUSM. While the conditioning to continue leading her cheer team is vital to progressing, she also spends time hiking, wakeboarding, surfing, and disc golfing.

Mountain Vibez Female Support

If you hear all the things that Emily is passionate about, her heart is gold when it comes to supporting females in snowboarding regardless of their ability. No matter when you begin, it’s important to recall that all athletes were new and had to start somewhere, and we all had someone help us achieve our goals.  Emily is leading the way and spreading the love by:

  • Taking any interested fellow female riding with her.
  • Challenging others alike to try new features, pushing for their goals, and stretching for achievement.
  • Investing in others confidence to give them a positive experience despite their skill level.

I love hearing about her compassion and ability to work with others with that almost tough love, “it’s okay to fall” mentality.  I challenge all readers to stretch their minds to be a more supportive rider this year, and remind each other of the pride we once had when we achieved the little lessons and strive to omit the fear of being judged on the hill for new riders out there, rather help them out.

Let this all resonate, and if you find yourself itching for snow or feeling the same way about how you push for the ladies to somehow tune out the criticism of women being in this sport. If you continue to strive for progression in yourself and others alike, and if you persevere during the hardest frustrations that come along with it all, then you’re a snow addict like us.

Develop a supporting group of riders and hype up the confidence because we can rant all day about ability and skill.  The other main artery here is mental ability to find balance and confidence in what you are about to do. Someone once told me, “hesitation leads to devastation.” We all build walls of fear. Fear of worst case scenario, or that playback of when worst case scenario occurred. So, who you surround yourself with can be a foundational piece of the equation to stomping that trick or slashing the sickest line you’ve been twitching over.