Women have gotten kind of a bum deal in this whole freeskiing thing. Remember that stupid Freeskier article way back when where they made all those chicks bend over awkwardly in a hot tub together? You have to imagine a few of those chicks were just thinking “fuck this!” behind those awkward smiles. In a sport that is in desperate need of some gender parity (unless holing up in a closet with 80 other dudes for the winter at Alta is your idea of paradise), the misogynistic inclination has been pretty strong. There is a kernel of truth to the female population’s relative lack of presence in professional freeskiing – after all, that self-preservation instinct is naturally stronger in potential (or actual) mothers than it is in alpha male bulls. Nonetheless, women have shown they can perform at an extremely high level in similar sports, with gymnastics and ski racing being the two most relevant examples. Anyone who watched Gabby Douglas and company throwing down on the balance beam or the vault at the Summer Olympics would have to believe that chicks could be right up there with Gus Kenworthy, throwing doubles confidently and landing on the bolts.
My surprise when watching women’s skiing has been the relative lack of grace and style when compared with their male counterparts. When women’s park skiing was getting going under Sarah Burke (R.I.P.), Kristi Leskinen, and others, there were a lot of sloppy tricks being thrown – lacking the confidence and grace of their gymnast or racing counterparts. But more recently, three girls in particular have changed that dynamic. Ingrid Bakstrom has been charging huge, steep, and high-consequence lines for years with a style and poise that didn’t exist in women’s skiing before; there is rarely a moment of second-guessing or non-commitment. Kaya Turski has shown that women can ski the park with Wallisch-level fluidity and grace. And Suz Graham is, well, just plain damn crazy, tossing absolutely enormous flips off cliffs like Julian Carr. These guys have each shown independently that women can perform well beyond what convention would say. Not to mention that both times I’ve gone to Powder Week in Jackson Hole, I’ve gotten completely and unabashedly smoked by at least one chick a day. Maybe it’s time I joined Todd Akin’s re-election campaign.
Oh, how far we’ve come…
At any rate, Lindsey Dyer and co. have decided to go on their own path to stockpile footage from a host of film companies, GoPros, and elsewhere to create a full all-girls ski movie called Pretty Faces. With a roster 35 deep, it promises to showcase nearly every chick who can go fast, and looks like there are no bikini shots or other dumb things. I hope it turns out well. If not, they can always just keep filming with Matchstick. They do such a good job of producing dumb skits that make their male athletes look impotent that it’s a sure-fire way of looking more legit as a girl. Even if that doesn’t work out, Kelly Sildaru’s going to embarrass everyone male or female this season, so we can always just look forward to that.