Five Things You Need to Know to Survive in the Snow Sports Industry….as a Girl.

Dude looks like a lady. … Because she is a lady.

It is hard not to notice as you look around at the base of the mountain, on the chairlift, at a ski shop or at an après bar, that the ratio of men to women is more than slightly unbalanced. I can’t lie, it can be intimidating to be surrounded by the opposite sex for a majority of the time. However, because of your passion for the sport, you’ll get through it, and actually really enjoy yourself. Here are my tips on how to do just that:

1. Be confident.

I attended a demo week last season and approached one of my favorite snowboard companies and asked to try out a particular men’s board. The employee laughed and said I couldn’t handle something like that. I laughed, thinking he was trying to make a joke. He stared at me. We exchanged an awkward five second staring contest. He wasn’t joking. I said, ‘okay, umm… never mind.” And I walked away. It really hurt me to be talked to that way, because I knew that I could probably beat him down the mountain. But when I strapped on my next board and cruised down the mountain with my friends, I forgot all about that employee. Listen, you know you’re good at what you do, so don’t let people break you down because of your sex.  Some people in the industry will doubt your skills and try to push you aside. I’m not sure why people do it, but I like to think that they feel threatened by our womanliness ;). Be strong, stand up for yourself, and remember why you love the sport.

2. Know your stuff. 

If you are fortunate enough to work at a ski shop like myself, you are constantly immersed in the industry everyday. However, I am sure if you are passionate about the sport you are online everyday and if not actively researching things about the industry, you see it on your Facebook page or in magazines and other websites. Do some research. It will get you more excited about getting out there on the mountain. There will be a lot of moments where people will doubt your knowledge because you’re  a betty, so having the knowledge to show them that women are equals on the mountain will really help. It will also give you something to talk to people about while you’re out there. And if you don’t know something- ask questions. People who love the snow sports industry, love to talk about the snow sports industry. Read up, and enjoy!

3. Don’t try so hard to be “one of the guys.” 

Just because you are constantly surrounded by men, doesn’t mean you have to wear baggy clothes and say ‘bro’. Don’t get me wrong- there is nothing wrong with chicks who do this, frankly, I love it, but don’t force it if it’s not the real you. Don’t be scared to wear pink on the mountain- it just makes you stand out even more as a lady rider who rips, and that’s awesome. There is nothing more genuine about being yourself, and loving yourself.

4. Try new things. 

If you are on a stiff board, try a soft one. If you are on a park board, try a carving one. It’s the best way to see what you like and it will highlight what type of riding you excel at. If you are scared of jumps, try an ollie on a small jump, and work your way up. They were right when they said ‘practice makes perfect’. If you try new things, you are guaranteed to find something new to love about the sport every day. Get out there and just do it. 🙂

5. Talk to everyone. 

Remember that everyone who works in the industry meets an unfathomable amount of people every year. So, talk to them frequently as they may not remember you the second time you meet them. If you want to get into working in the industry, you have to ensure that people remember you. Don’t be scared to go up to people at après and strike a conversation. Ask people about their ski or snowboard on the chairlift if you don’t know about the product. It’s the best way to make great friends and connections that you can stick with for a long time. Adding a member to the crew, girl or guy, every time you’re on the mountain is the best reward.

Image

A selfie of me and my co-workers/friends at Killington Mountain, Vermont. See more on my instagram: @cassachusetts

Until next time.

Cassie

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