It's not enough that we've got our own women's section on SOL called Circleplus,
(because it's hidden back in the Matrix and no one can ever find it, but
that's another story). We need more! We need a place to spew, gossip, gather
tidbits of info, answer questions, share a little ditty, recipe, dirty joke.
This need came to my attention when the Circleplus stories hit the SOL cyberwaves
some time ago and suddenly I was inundated with email questions from women
wanting more advice about women's equipment, clothes, snowboard camps. Then
there were questions such as "what's Carabeth Burnside up to?" "I'm pregnant!
Can I ride?" and "who gets the biggest air?"
First off, like I know! But from on top of this pedestal, which you dear
cyberchicks have so kindly placed me on, I have tried to answer each and
every one of your questions and offered advice to the best of my knowledge.
Only I'm getting sick of sending little personalized emails and hell, I figured
y'all might want to share these comments, so I figured we should have a column
called The Girl's Gospel, in which I can post responses to all your questions,
plus add some advice, gossip, and other cool stuff that I come across while
atop this crazy footstool.
As the psychedelic philosopher, Terrence McKenna, once said, "All media is
tabloid and consumer-oriented because there is virtually no ability to feed
back. Computers on the other hand, are on an any-to-any based communication.
The feedback from [what is] on-line makes for real media."
So send me your questions and tidbits of info about what's happening with
the female riders in your area. Oh, and pictures and art, too-stuff I can
scan easily and that won't take up too much time for you to download. Then,
every couple of weeks, I'll put it all into this Girl Gospel format for you
all to check out and "feed back" in order to make "real media. " It'll be
like a chick snowboard 'zine stuck in the heart of SOL, so to speak.
The Girl's Gospel, Issue Uno:
Let me start of by filling you in on what the women you've asked about are
up to. You're right if you've noticed that Carabeth Burnside isn't in the
limelight these days. She's on her couch in So Cal nursing a brain contusion.
She got a concussion some three months ago from charging too hard on her
snowboard and it's bumming her out 'cause she keeps getting migraines. Send
happy Holiday thoughts her way, K? Paige Clay got a couple more stunt gigs
bungie jumping off of bridges this summer, but she's trying to lose a few
pounds and getting in shape for snowboarding this season by following a pretty
disciplined cleansing: lots of rice and beans and veggies and no alcohol.
"But I make up for it all, especially in Alaska," adds Paige. Morgan LaFonte
is the "Mikey" character in Greta Gaines latest music video,
It." It seems that when they were filming in the Big Apple, some locals
thought Morgan was a guy and hassled her because they were jealous about
her skills for attracting the ladies.
"They didn't know I was a girl," says Morgan. (Farmer should be so lucky.)
As for Victoria Jealouse, I have no clue, but I'll find out-check back next
week. Miki Keller, marketing director of Morrow, did indeed, win the women's
beginner division at the Morrow Dirt Flyer Challenge II this summer and get
this, she's launching a motocross magazine with Matt Schlingman called "Wide" as in, if youup the throttle on a motocross bike-wide-you get
max speed. As for other women motocrossers, I know that April, sponsored
by Bombshell is a mean-ass rider and this girl Emily Norton that snowboard
photographer Doug Ludwig told us about, grabs huge air. So big in fact, W.I.G.
Magazine ran a story on her in their latest issue.
As for the new breed of movies out there-made by women with lots of women
in them-there are three this season that I know of. J2 Productions (named
after both women's names, Julie) has a pretty decent flick out called HERA,
but I would veer towards purchasing A Ripe Productions film by Dina Helmlinger
HOW IT IS. It's got some raw documentary-type stuff, plus incredible
footage of New Zealand and Alaska, and candid camera moments with Michelle
Barnas and Noah Brandon. The other chick flick is HIPS THAT RIP by Pow
Productions, but to be honest, I was bummed and pissed because it gives us
ladies a bad name. And it was way too long-like some 65 minutes or something.
Lots of questions role in about what to look for when buying a board and
boots. For specifics, go back to CirclePlus and read the stories. Too lazy?
In a nutshell, this is what I suggested:
Snowboards: If you can pick up the board from the tip when it's standing
on end, it's probably a good weight. If you can't, shelf it. Check the
pre-drilled holes for binding width and put your feet on them to determine
if the board stance has the capability of going narrow enough for you. So
many don't, so check this. Also while you're standing there, do your feet
come close to the edge? If they go over, it's too narrow-although just the
opposite is usually the case for women.
Boots: This gets tricky because feet are gnarly. Ask the salesperson
if the boot manufacturer you're interested in made the "woman's model" from
a woman's last. Many won't know; some will ask what a "last" actually is.
A last is the basic mold that is formed around a foot onto which the rest
of the boots are modeled and formed. Since women's calves start lower, and
women have narrower heels and wider balls of their feet, a woman's-lasted
boot is a must.
Bindings: Try them on in the store with your snowboard boots on. Many
soft bindings are too wide and you'll have to cut the plastic, re-screw,
and duct tape them into the appropriate place for your feet. Also, check
the width of the binding when buckled in.
When buying clothing, things to consider include: regionality (satin garments
aren't popular buys in mountain stores, for example), ability level, and
affordability. If you're a beginner or intermediate, you may be spending
a lot of time on your butt, so chose pants with re-enforced seams. If you're
into extreme terrain, but your local resort has its share of ice and hardpack,
avoid the silky stuff or else when you do fall, you could end up taking the
slide-for-life. And affordability: if you don't need internal powder skirts
and a detachable hood because, say, you mostly ride in Southern California,
why pay for it? When it comes to comfort, look for pants that come-up high
enough so you don't get snow down the back when you bend over to clip in
your binding. Suspender pants are great-especially with ones that go up the
sides of your boobs or in the middle; and look that they don't constrict
movement. Practice a tail-grab in the store (even if you're a beginner) to
see that they don't bind. The other key aspect for pants are drop-seats (to
allow for a quick pee in the woods). As for jackets, if the zipper or buttons
go up the "wrong" side, guess what, a guy probably designed the thing. Avoid
Velcro up by the hood or collar if you have long hair or else it will get
stuck in it.
A lot of you seem to be bummed by the lack of your boyfriend's or husband's
ability to teach you to ride. Or else you blame yourselves for your inability
to learn from said boyfriend or husband. Girlfriend, it's not your fault.
Friends often times don't know what's up when it comes to teaching. Take
lessons from a professional! Otherwise, as many of you have woefully discovered,
it may just ruin that friendship. After you've done a few head slams, you'll
blame the friend that's teaching you for teaching you the wrong way. You
will yell. You will get bitter. You will hate snowboarding. Listen, unless
you're Barrett Christy, it takes about three lessons to really discover how
to link turns. But once you have it, the "feeling" never goes away-it's like
never forgetting how to ride a bike.
Which brings me to what's the best women's snowboard camp to attend this
season. I will always say the Wild Women's Snowboard Camp in Jackson Hole,
Wyoming. Unfortunately, if you're just joining us, it's already full this
season, but call the director, Mary Seibert (206-784-3266, or
Bearsb) to get in on next year's
camp. Even if you're an expert, it's worth the expense, so save your waitressing
dollars this summer. A new one that just popped up for backcountry queens
is Jennie McDonald's and Craig Kelly's backcountry powder camp at Island
Lake Lodge, January 3-8 (250-423-3700). Lots of hiking, snowcat riding, and
avalanche safety training, along with gourmet food, massages, and tons of
vertical. Look for a future story on the women's camp lowdown-I'll be more
specific and cover women's clinics in different areas of the world.
Some of you are pregnant and still want to ride or are thinking of having
a baby and want to know if you can still ride. This topic, my friends, is
still foreign territory to me. But do not despair: I've got my buddy, Monique
Cole, who's still riding and is five months pregnant, compiling helpful tidbits
that she's going to put into a useful story next month, so look for it in
Oh, before I forget, if you haven't checked it out yet, you've got to get
this book called Girl Goddess #9 by Francesca Lia Block-it's consider an
"Outlaw Culture" book, whatever that means, but it's filled with great characters
with names like Raven, Anastasia, alabaster duchess, and Tuck Budd, and tales
about two moms, young love, groupies, and 'zine lore (plus much more). It's
a tough book to find, so give Harper Collins a buzz at (212) 207-7032.
And in another nutshell (or should I say bra cup?): The confirmed music at
Boarding for Breast Cancer (April 19 at Sierra at Tahoe) is
Bitch; not yet confirmed are Blondie, Garbage, and the
Boys again; the Funniest guy in snowboarding: Alex Warburton; Nicest:
Tie goes to Brian Savard and Noah Brandon; Coolest name: Faces the Sky Rondenet,
a.k.a. "Sky"; Best Female Filmmaker: Dina Helmlinger; Best Female Photographer:
Dawn Kish (but I'm biased 'cause she's my best friend); Best Hair: Tina;
Best Air: Ingemar's 28-foot air at a contest in Sweden that made the cover
of a zillion snowboard magazines. Too bad no one shot the landing because
I guess he did stick it and that would have been interesting to see.
To rap this up, I've got some questions back at you: What are your favorite
'zines? Who would you name as artist of the year? Best tunes to ride to?
Your dream snowboard partner?
That's it for this time, my princesses.
From Snowy Goddess Heaven, I'm
Preview of The Girl's Gospel #2: How to get sponsored, the easiest trick
to learn, where to get snowboard clothes on the cheap, how to become a
photographer/writer in this industry, and other bits of gossip and news.