Inspiring women of the mountains
INSPIRING WOMEN OF THE MOUNTAINS
International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality. Globally, International Women’s Day 2022 is shining a light on gender equality through its' #BreakTheBias campaign, supporting global efforts towards creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive world where difference is valued and celebrated.
This year we are shining a light on some inspirational women of the mountains.
On September 14, 2020, Mathilde took female freeskiing to a new level when she was the first ever female to land successfully land a Switch Double Cork 1440, a real watershed moment. Then, just a few months later, in January 2021, she took the trick to the contest slopes and landed it in competition for the very first time in the Ski Big Air finals at the X Games Aspen, earning her the gold medal in the process.
She's showing no signs of slowing down either, continuing to add more silverware to her collection with every passing competition – including a bronze medal in 2022 from the Free ski Big Air event in Beijing, China.
Matilde alongside Kelly Sildaru, Jennie-Lee Burmansson and Tess Ledeux created this fascinating mini-series provides a glimpse into the world of women's freeskiing, seen through the eyes of four of its biggest talents.are four women who're ushering in a new era of freeskiing and living their lives at full speed.
Watch Four - the next generation of freeskiers here.
Chemmy Alcott: Olympian and British Sporting National Treasure
Powderhound’s brand ambassador Chemmy Alcott is a true inspiration to us. As a little girl, Chemmy she always keen to prove she could be doing whatever the boys were doing. Growing up with older brothers, and sporty parents, she propelled herself into the world of skiing and was natural from the start. Since then, Chemmy has competed in four Winter Olympic Games and seven FIS World Championships and has been overall Senior British National Champion 7 times. Chemmy is passionate about ensuring there is accessibility in women’s ski racing working with ‘Woman Who Ski’ to run a skiing experience in St. Anton, Austria. Being a busy working mother herself, Chemmy is passionate about promoting skiing in early motherhood, and making sure skiing is accessible to women at any stage of their life. She has spoken out publicly about the gender gap in skiing and is a shining inspiration to any young girl with aspirations to make it as a professional ski racer.
Read Chemmy’s fantastic article on the gender gap in skiing here.
Tina Basich was one of the first women to bring female snowboarding into the spotlight. She began snowboarding when it was still a ‘new’ sport, back in 1986 and has been a consistent face in the sport ever since. Her list of achievements is lengthy; from becoming the first ever woman to win an X Games gold and the first woman to successfully land a backside 720 in competition (1998 X Games), to winning the 1997 ESPN Freeride Big Air in Aspen, Tina is definitely one of the mothers of modern freestyle snowboarding. Her autobiography ‘Pretty Good for a Girl’ is an essential read for any young aspiring snowboarder.
One of the world’s top female freeride skiers, Lynsey Dyer makes even the toughest terrain look like a walk in the park. Winning every big mountain competition she has ever entered, has starred in a number of films and was the first female to grace the cover of Freeskier Magazine.
However, Lynsey does not only inspire through her personal skiing successes, but also through her off-slope ventures. She founded production company, Unicorn Picnic (UP), a female driven collective of adventure lovers, who bring a light, fresh take to ski movies to empower women to get involved in the outdoors. Their first release ‘Pretty Faces: Diary of a Skier Girl’ was fully community funded and received widespread praise for bringing the fun, unique freeride experiences of an all-woman cast to the big (or little) screen.
Their latest mini series, ‘Lighten UP’ aims to continue this, showing a light-hearted, behind-the-scenes type look at the whole big mountain experience.
Committed to encouraging and empowering female participation in outdoor adventure, Lynsey also co-founded non-profit organisation SheJumps. This organisation looks to educate and inspire girls and women not only in snowsports but in all outdoor activities, bringing women together to achieve the best of their potential.
Millie demonstrates an inspiring determination and resilience that very few people have. After losing her sight at the age of 6, she found a passion for skiing and was determined to pursue her dream of skiing professionally. Millie now competes in the slalom and giant slalom events, and in 2014, was chosen as the flag-bearer for Paralympics GB the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games. At just 15 years old, she was the youngest person ever to compete for Paralympics GB in the Winter Paralympics and achieved an amazing fifth place in both disciplines. Since then, she has become the first ever British Paraskier to win the world championship title, taking gold in the 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Tarvisio, Italy. Despite a concussion that left her out of much of the remaining 2017 season, Millie has remained focused on building on her success at the 2018 Paralympics in PyeongChang.
Follow her blog to read more about her achievements here.
Elizabeth Simisola Oke - Mount Noire
In 2019 Oke went skiing in Chamonix, France, with her university friends and future business partners -Tobi Adegboye, Wenona Barnieh, Blessing Ekairia and Adeola Omotade.
The uncomfortable stares and unsolicited comments about "not realizing Black people ski" continued. Oke explains that you can't help but "feel insecure" when people stare, noting "It's as if you are walking around naked." Despite this, Oke describes skiing "with a group of other people who looked like me" as "the best experience" she'd had on the slopes.
The close friends found inspiration behind their shared encounters, sparking the formation of Mount Noire, a London-based ski travel company with the aim of "bringing colour to the mountain." Adegobye explains that: "Mount Noire reminds you that you are welcome in all spaces, no matter what your background or heritage is. It is companies like Mount Noire that are transforming snowy landscapes into inclusive spaces.