All photos by David Malacrida
This series, Women In Freeskiing is simply that. Three influential women in freeskiing, talking about “women in freeskiing”. I am not a woman. I listened to what Ingrid Backstrom, Coline Ballet-Baz, and Sarah Hoefflin had to say and transcribed it for you. This week Coline talks about how women are represented in ski movies and her experiences of the industry throughout her career:
Honestly, I’d dreamt about a project like SKIVAS for my whole competitive career. Just my ideal season really, to spend time skiing with friends —especially female friends— that I’d met at the contests.
I wanted to take the time to go out in the backcountry, the street and do trips together. To try to ski well together for a movie. But it was hard to find the time. In spring 2019, when I stopped competing, it really clicked in my mind, what I wanted to do next.
I wanted to do a ski movie. Quickly the idea to do an all-female ski movie became obvious. I thought about what I wanted to show in it, what would make the movie different?
What I really like about skiing is sharing it with my friends and for me, skiing is all about friendships. I don’t think of it as so much of an individual sport. That’s what I wanted to show and that was the idea behind SKIVAS.
Skivas is as much a statement of an all female ski movie, as it is just me skiing with my friends.
There was definitely an idea behind it. Girls skiers have started being well represented in competition and the level is increasing a lot. To me, something was missing on the female side in the videos and film side. There are a few female-only productions companies, like Shades of Winter, but usually, it’s only one girl with a bunch of men or sometimes even no girls in the movie at all. That’s not a criticism, that’s what it is. To me, it was important to make this change.
So yeah, I had the idea to give a platform to girls to be able to showcase their skiing in front of a camera.
When I started freeskiing, as a young person when I wanted to watch females, I watched X Games videos, because there was more variety than the movies.
Then I obviously saw the names: Kaya Turski, Ashley Battersby and Grete Eliassen, then I Googled them, checked Youtube. Then I found some videos, but it was harder to be represented in movies for sure. There was a lot less coverage of women on that side. Kaya had a great part in the Level 1 movie, but there were definitely way less girls in the videos!
Whenever I’ve skied with guys, they’ve always been super nice and super encouraging. It’s definitely not a war between men and women in freeskiing.
For most girls, we’ve always been in the situation of being the only girl amongst men. It was only ever positivity from the guys, but to me, it’s maybe been a bigger problem of society, that presents these kind of sports as reserved for men.
So maybe a lot of girls don’t dare or are being told to try other things. Maybe they’re told that having bruises or taking risks isn’t good for girls. For me, that’s the biggest issue, so it’s not really related to the ski industry itself. It’s something more general that needs to change.
Me, in the ski industry, I’ve never felt discriminated against. But there are still not many girls, it’s getting better and better, but it’s nice to talk about this.
For me, I’d like to see more girls in all aspects of freeskiing. I know there are so many insanely talented girls in the contest scene, of course in the backcountry too, but there are less in backcountry, freeride and street.
What I would like to see is a big community of girls in every aspect of skiing. Girls competing, filming, maybe bits of XGames for girls, not only as Taylor did, but 3,4 or 5 girls putting together a segment for RealSki, in the street or the backcountry.
I know freeskiing can get a bit serious with competing, I know that, for me, the last few years, everything’s been getting a bit more serious. I’d really like the new generation to keep it fun and keep it collective as well.
To me, there’s a real spirit in our sport and it’d be a shame if that got lost. Women, men, everyone!
Next week in the third, and final, article of Women in Freeskiing, Sarah Hoefflin discusses female skiers in contests.