ski bummette

Southern girl playing in the Rockies, living in a Dude's world, and writing about adventures in the great outdoors.

Archive for the tag “mountain bike”

“She Jumps” Beauties, Skis and Guns

It is full-on fall here in Crested Butte, my favorite season. It is the time of year to sharpen the chainsaw and build the wood piles just right. It is a time for baking with pumpkin, drinking hard cider, and prematurely wearing down jackets. The weather is perfect for those last few mountain bike rides before trading it in for different toys. But more than anything, it is a time to watch every video possible about skiing. We are getting excited about skiing pow even before the first dusting, so what better way to anticipate a perfect ski season than watching some rad ladies rip in beautiful Alaska?

Who says men have to be a part of a perfect weekend filled with sick lines, sleds, and guns?

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Alison Gannett: Badass Beauty on Planks and Wheels

Photo by Sarah Mah Rarick

Depending upon who you talk to, the name Alison Gannett can mean a lot of things. To a ski-bumette, she is a rad skier who holds her own as a professional world-champion big mountain free skier; to us green babes, she is an innovator in the eco-friendly way of life who actually “walks the talk;” to a bike chick, she is a kick ass mountain biker who manages to take her skills on the snow to the trails; and to a novice at almost any extreme sport, namely, skiing, mountain biking, or surfing, she is an amazing teacher who knows exactly how to ease women into their next personal level of fitness.

During this summer’s Bike Week, here in Crested Butte, I was lucky enough to be able to take one of her skills courses. A small group of women came together, most of us beginner bikers who were scared to go to that next scary and thrilling level. With the help of Alison’s excellent teaching strategies, we were all cruising over obstacles that had always been daunting on the trails. So, thank you, Alison, for the power you provided each of us in the saddle.

Ms Gannett was gracious enough to answer a few questions ranging from her skiing career, being a ski-bumette, her local Paonia farm, and why she loves our valley.

When did you start skiing and when did you decide to go pro in the sport?
I was full bore into my environmental career when a Warren Miller film crew saw me free skiing in Crested Butte and asked me to be in their movie. They talked me into competing, which was a tough but rewarding route into my new career as a professional skier. I was a teased traumatized chubby dorky math geek, always sucked at conventional sports, even kickball.
When you were/are unsure of a situation on skis or on a mountain bike, how do you get through it?
I now try to put aside the little voice in my head that tells me I can’t do something, think of some situation similar that went really well, and then talk myself into the fact that I am a strong powerful person that can do this, and then I try to stop overthinking and just go.
What made you want to start Rippin Chix, and what is you favorite part of teaching a clinic?
I started Rippin Chix in 2002 because I realized that sports had given me incredible confidence that spilled over into my everyday challenges in life. I also realized that not many programs were teaching women in baby steps, women were being turned off from sports forever because some guy’s only advice was “just go for it”.
As a respected female bad-ass, have you ever felt that being a woman has created more obstacles for you in your career advances?
Being a woman has been a bit tough, as my sports are very “dude” centric, with T and A for gals being more important than talent. I wanted to prove that gals could ski crazy lines and jump big cliffs. Sometimes it has paid off being a woman with perseverance, as some ski companies would hire me to do women’s designs as they only had men in the office.
How did skiing affect your outlook on environmental issues?
My favorite thing about skiing was not the championship titles or starring in ski films, it was creating my own women’s only ski expeditions to wild countries and places that had never been skied. Since I wanted to marry my career as an environmental scientist, I would photo document glacial recession. For my Global Cooling Tour, the most powerful part for most people is seeing that lines I skied just ten years ago are now gone.
What led to your decision to buy a farm, and what is your favorite part of running it?
I have been trying to walk the talk for over ten years now, especially after working with some people like Al Gore, who inspired me to not do what he was doing. I wanted to reduce my carbon footprint and see what worked and what did not – firstly starting with travel, then house, vehicle, and ultimately the biggest elephant in the living room – FOOD. My favorite part is bringing weeds to the pigs, and my least favorite part is letting the chickens out at 5:30am.  The cool part of this giant experiment, is that we have halved our carbon footprint with keeping an outdoor sport lifestyle!
and just for fun,
What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?
My favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley is all our trails and public lands! We often take for granted what many people don’t have!

Melting into Mountain Bikes and Other Holidays

Today is a very special holiday. It marks the beginning of spring, the end of winter, and brings the promise of wild flowers and mountain bikes. Today is Closing Day! Crested Butte Mountain Resort officially closes its slopes, and the town parties.

Okay, that isn’t entirely true. You see, usually on this special day, we acknowledge that in fact it’s not the end of winter, far from it. Last year it was still snowing in June! Closing Day actually represents either migrating west to the desert for biking or Central America for surfing. The few that actually stick out our “off season” usually have at least another month of winter as they trade in their resort gear for their backcountry gear.

This year is different. It isn’t a secret that this season has been missing one crucial thing. Snow. Oh we got our random 10-inch days when friends became strangers in the lift line while we got our fix of fresh pow, but in the past month I have been mountain biking more than I have been skiing. Very un-ski-bumette of me, I know. But when skiing no longer has the adrenaline rush we are after (aside from dodging rocks), we mountain folk find something that does. It’s just usually not until summer.

This closing day may be more about drinking on the bar decks in the sun than skiing, but it is still a very special day here. It is officially spring, and we no longer have to feel guilty about not using our hard-earned passes.

Happy Closing Day everyone! Enjoy the beauty of winter melting into spring and skis traded in for whatever it is that brings you joy in these few warm months.

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