Q&A

Equal rights is a dicey topic in any forum. In snowboarding, the pro-equality movement claims that women work just as hard as men, and female consumers really do spend a lot of money on gear. Opposing groups suggest that the men’s competition field is way larger and that they’re the ones risking their lives to bring in money for sponsors. And the field is by no means split men against women—I mean, look how divided the opinions of these top female shredders are on the subject. The debate rages on.—J.S.

Should women get equal prize money, paychecks, and incentives in snowboarding?

Anne Molin Kongsgaard

Age: 25

Sponsors: Burton, Oakley, Gallaz, Nixon

“Sure, why not? More money for us. No, it’s a hard question. The level of women’s riding is definitely getting better and better. If it were at least close to the men’s, of course it should be the same—but as of right now, I don’t mind that the men are getting more prize money or bigger paychecks than us women.”

Hana Beaman

Age: 21

Sponsors: Rossignol, Vans, Smith, Grenade, Red Bull, Boost Mobile, Pharmacy Ride Shop

“Well, that’s a toughy … as a girl, I would say that yes, we do deserve the same because men and women are equal. But on the other hand, women don’t have as large of an effect in snowboarding as men do—yet. Men sell more product, and that’s a big factor in getting paychecks. Also, there are a quarter of women compared to the men in contests, and therefore it’s harder for men to win. Hopefully, though, with the rise in the number of women snowboarding and companies realizing the importance of female consumers, it’ll benefit all women snowboarders.”

Gretchen Bleiler

Age: 22

Sponsors: K2, Oakley, Aspen Ski Co., Red Bull, DAKINE, Giro, Polar Revolution

“Well, this question is easy for me, because I’m a woman and like to get paid just as much as the men do. Let me state the obvious, though—men and women are built differently, and in the end, men are generally more powerful and technical than women. There, I said it! Now that that’s out of the way, I want to say there’re some really amazing female riders out there right now who have to hit the same features as the men and are getting the job done with grace and style no matter how gnarly the situation. Because of this, people are becoming interested in watching women ride—now that’s a reason to whip out your checkbooks.

“Because women are competing in the same pipes and parks, and because we’re pushing the bar more than ever, and because women are getting their sponsors’ products out there just as much as the men—using their own talents and style along the way, and because women will always look way better in pink than men, it all evens out. So as my good friend Cuba Gooding Jr. says, ‘Show me the money!’”

Photos: Nick Hamilton