The boom in women's snowboard sales, last year, in the UK shows that it's sideways NOT sidelined for women in the future. Our snowboard contributor, Faye Young, looks at why snowboarding may now have the edge for girls.
With an increase in girls buying snowboards it got me thinking is there a reason why more girls are getting into the sport?
Sales of snowboards to women were up by 44% in the UK, last year, which is quite a substantial jump. Is it thanks to Jenny Jones (below) and her slopestyle bronze medal at the Winter Olympics in Sochi?
The standard of women's riding in contests, these days, is awesome. It's definitely inspiring to see so many British girls holding there own on the international contest circuit. With the likes of Katie Ormerod (below) from Halifax landing double corks and earning invites to some of the biggest competitions in the world, it's easy to see why other girls might watch her and want to get involved.
The next influencing factor is better equipment for women - we now have boards, boots and bindings that are tailored to our bodies, weight and riding styles. There are so many options out there buying new gear is really fun now! It used to be bland and boring and some women even turned to buying men's stuff due to lack of choice in the female section.
Companies have really taken it on board that women are fast becoming a big part of the sport and market, which is great because it means more effort is being put into the design and technology. Burton believes that 'Women and snowboarding go together like mountains and fresh snow'. Donna Carpenter, CEO of Burton, was the original Burton Girl, and has been supporting women in snowboarding for decades, with mentor programmes, the creation of Burton Girls and countless other initiatives with the goal of female progression - personal and professional - through snowboarding. Burton has an amazing ambassador programme with a team of awesome ladies ranging from 17-32 years old.
The team are all from different background - some are snowboard coaches, marketing managers, dentists, waitresses, photographers and students, which is a great mix of girls and shows that anyone can get involved with the big companies and help inspire other ladies to join in. Tiffany Ngugan, 28, from California, above, is a dentist and one of the Burton Girls Ambassadors working with girls in the snow community to build relationshps and 'spread the stoke',
Nikita is a brand #forgirlswhoride and they focus purely on creating products that work best for female riders. With outerwear in all different girl-orientated colours, patterns and fits there is something for everyone in their collections. It's great seeing the social media posts from them involving loads of different girls being active and enjoying the outdoor lifestyle. Using real women instead of models is inspiring and helps build trust in a brand. It shows that they really care about functionality as well as fashion.
Roxy are another great women's brand, with a team including Torah Bright, Aimee Fuller and Katie Ormerod, dedicated to 'pushing the boundaries and supporting women in action sports' with such initiatives as all girl park shred parties featuring warm up yoga and snowboard coaching.. You know that all the products they sell have been thoroughly tested out by female riders. Roxy says: 'We inspire girls to dream big and have fun on and off the board', which is a great message because snowboarding is more than a sport, it's being part of something fun and exciting
I have quite a few friends who started skiing for many years before learning to snowboard and most of them have made the switch permanent. It seems like now that the 'skiers V snowboarders' rivalry has calmed down it's become more acceptable for people to try snowboarding without getting stick from their family and friends for 'going to the dark side'.
There are many more female specific snowboard camps too, which make it less daunting to learn. Surrounded by women who are in the same situation can help. Girlie camps do trips all over Europe for different levels of riding so it doesn't have to end after your beginner lessons. If you want to get into freestyle or freeriding you can book onto a specific camp knowing that you will be learning new things with like minded women. Meeting other girls on the camps is great because you will be making friends who have the same interests and you plan your own trips together in the future.
Maverix Snow Camp host lots of really helpful courses in the UK, too, so you can even prepare for your winter trips and get a bit of extra practice. Whether it's freestyle or transceiver training, they have you covered. Having access to the indoor domes in the UK has, also, had an impact on the amount of women taking up snowboarding - it's more accessible and you can try it our before committing to a week abroad to see if you really like it.
If you haven't tried snowboarding already then you have chosen a great time to get involved - with more of us on the slopes things will only get better!