Gnu Girls history runs deep at Mt. Baker. The neon clad Gnu team in the ’80s was stacked with Gnu girls. Amy Howat was a World Champ, Gene Higgins, Suzy Riggins, and Marcella Dobis rounded out the female half of the Gnu pro team with style. At a time when snowboarders were outcasts, Mt. Baker, managed by the Howat family, embraced snowboarding and was one of the first resorts in North America to allow snowboarders on their slopes and on their lifts. Mt. Baker is a legendary mountain that produces legendary riders and to this day it’s the ultimate proving ground for men and women alike. Gnu has pioneered progressive new technologies there since the ’80s and their Gnu Girls have been an influential part of our team and the industry as a whole since day one.
Mt. Baker Snowboard Shop hosted an archive exhibit this past Saturday with a collection of Gnu Girls boards and images from the ’80s to present day. Adding to the already incredible collection of Baker history that lives on the walls of MBSS, Gnu brought in some highlights from the ’80s, ’90s, and today with a selection of Barrett Christy’s 20 years of pro-models, Kaitlyn Farrington's gold medal winning pipe board, Amy Howat's World Mogul Championship and LBS winning board from 1988, and an early Gnu swallow tail that Marcella Dobis rode, as well as other Gnu girls boards and original artwork. Pioneers and pros were in attendance along with future Baker legends.
Read on for what a few leading ladies said about the rich history of Mt. Baker.
"I really wanted to share the history that Gnu Girls has at Mt. Baker, there is such a strong crew of ladies up here that have been riding one of the most challenging mountains with style and creativity for years. Amy Howat opened the door to what is possible for a lot of girls in the late ’80s and then in the ’90s I made my first trip to Baker and realized there was a whole crew of girls who rode with confidence and strength and navigated their way around this place like it was their own playground… without any desire for media attention or sponsorship. These girls are still here ripping, and still waiting for nobody. I wanted to celebrate their influence on me, and on women's snowboarding. Thank you Mt. Baker, thank you Mt. Baker Snowboard Shop, and thanks Gnu for bringing me here for the first time in 1995 for my first LBS!" — Barrett Christy
Gnu History at Mt. Baker Snowboard Shop. Photo: Tim Zimmerman
"Looking at the Mt. Baker Snowboard Shop wall was just so amazing to see the history of riders that have passed through there over the years! My favorite part was our ladies crew of riders that got together to celebrate women's snowboarding. Even though not every bad ass lady was there it felt every era was well represented!" — Kaitlyn Farrington
Gnu ladies getting ready to drop at Mt. Baker. Photo: Tim Stanford
Maria Debari also shared highlights from her snowboard upbringing at Mt. Baker.
“Which ever higher power directed the creation of the mountains near Mt. Baker Ski Area most definitely had snowboarding in mind. Mt. Baker has therefore managed to turn out several generations of rippers. Growing up in Glacier, Washington and, for lack of a better term, being addicted to this corner of Whatcom County for most of three decades, I've been in prime position to observe a large potion of the snowboarding that has gone down here. Everyone at Baker is really good at snowboarding, but nobody makes a big deal about it. I may be biased because I'm a female, but I feel this rings especially true for the ladies. I've snowboarded all over the world and never run into a group of harder charging, friendlier, and more humble women than the ones who ride Mt. Baker.” — Maria Debari