Bridging The Gap: The Next Wave Of Women’s Snowboarding

Radical Backcountryists

Pros such as Marie-France RoyAnnie Boulanger, Kimmy Fasani, Hana Beaman, Robin Van Gyn, and newcomers like Helen Schettini prefer testing and progressing their skills in the backcountry—and they’ve made a living by doing it. All began as competitive riders, but each found opportunities with male film crews and companies that supported their backcountry pursuits. For Fasani, filming with Standard helped her land double backflips and ride the best lines of her life. “With more and more women pushing their limits, it’s clear we’re trying hard to progress,” says Fasani.

Helen Schettini, Transworld Snowboarding, Women's Snowboarding, Action
The backcountry learning curve is especially steep. Helen Schettini takes a course in slough management. Whistler backcountry, BC, Canada. PHOTO: Ashley Barker

With the level of riding rising, it inspires others like Hana Beaman to try bigger tricks and new approaches. “Kimmy, Cheryl [Maas] and Torah [Bright] landing double flips really made everybody realize that women weren’t going to let double corks be a ‘guy only’ thing,” says Hana. “With the ladies trying doubles, it reignited a push for all of us.”

Last season Hana worked with her sponsors to support the P.S. webisodes, which showcase her abilities to throw down backcountry bangers like a backside 720 off of the infamous Mt. Baker Road Gap (check episode eight). “I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of different crews and filming projects come my way while I was competing, as well as a really supportive snowboard family,” says Beaman. “I find when I’m around people who encourage me I do my best.”

Another backcountry slayer who continues to push women’s riding every season is Marie-France Roy. Even a neck-breaking injury in the backcountry two seasons ago hasn’t held her back. She’s busted her ass to get where she is, but she credits her sponsors for letting her film and ride the terrain she wants. “I’m lucky to be involved with brands that believe in women’s snowboarding. If it wasn’t for Rome, I’d probably still be doing contests. I know so many other sick girls that would benefit from an opportunity like I had.”

Lucky and fortunate are two words consistently used by the girls who have had the opportunity to film in the backcountry. While, yes, even dudes have to fight to get in films, more are supported to get out in the backcountry compared women. But overall, the opportunities for where women can and want to take it are endless.