competition to community, thoughts on unlocking womens' potential in the outdoor space

Competition To Community: Women In Outdoor Action Sports

I would like to state that, according to my experiences, it is proven that women in outdoor sports send harder when they shred with other women.

women skiers in park city, utah

But you may be asking, what is your proof? How do you know this to be true?

Exhibit A:

Last year, I saw a rad lady shredder send a casual backflip off a side jump. The guys that she was with just straight aired it (along with the guys that I was with) and I had never seen a woman in the wild like this. She said she was gonna do it. She did it. She stomped it, and I was in ABSOLUTE AWE.

And what happened the next week? I sent my first ever backflip on skis. While I didn’t land it, it was the crucial first step towards landing my first one later that season. A backflip was one of my main goals for the season, and I didn’t think it was going to be possible until I saw that gal send it.

Exhibit B:

The other night at a ladies night at Woodward Park City, (hosted by Women MTB) I was surrounded by some amazing lady mountain bikers. One girl that I’ve been biking with a handful of times sent a wood cannon feature, and the next time around, she hyped me up to try it out.

I ended up doing it flawlessly, and it was the best adrenaline rush of the night.

So why did I choose to try out these new things? I have seen so many of my male friends land backflips or try out similar bike features…? And to be totally honest, the guys I surround myself with are very supportive of my attempts to get better at skiing and biking, and they are always encouraging me to send. So what was different about these monumental and notable times in my outdoor action sports career?

The common denominator is the fact that I saw WOMEN out there sending shit.

I saw WOMEN trying new things.

WOMEN stomping backflips.

WOMEN not being afraid.

And WOMEN hyping each other up.

I am not going to lie… I usually end up skiing or biking with guys (it’s usually just my partner, Nic). However, the most pivotal moments in my progression have been heavily influenced by women in the outdoor space.

Then I got to thinking… why is this? Why do women motivate me to get my season goals, when I have plenty of male friends that have the skills and patience to teach me?

I genuinely think that a lot of the motivation comes from competition:

The misogynistic notion that women are competing against each other for male validation. That women are inferior, and the only way for them to be noticeable is to be the “token girl” in the male-dominated spaces like skiing and biking. Which consequently means that you need to tear down other women in order to come out on top.

However, I think that we as women can use this idea against itself in order to change the competition into a community. Use it as fuel to the fire to encourage women to bring each other up instead of tearing each other down. A sense of friendly and positive competition to rapidly progress unlike we have before.

Our own potential is being unlocked as we surround ourselves with more and more female role models. We can use each other to build the ever-growing community of women in action sports because bad ass lady shredders are no longer endangered animals, and we are here to thrive.

  • women skiers at powder mountain, utah

Your nacforadventurer, and ladies’ night advocate,

AJ

This post was inspired by the first Big Stick Energy’s episode through the Out of Bounds podcast from the ladies at Womb Tang. Listen to it here.

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