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Season after season, Kimmy Fasani sets goals for herself and in turn pushes the progression of snowboarding as a whole. With solid video parts under her belt with Standard, Burton, and TransWorld Snowboarding, many wondered what Kimmy would conquer next. The answer comes in the form of a gripping full part in Absinthe's /fterForever. Though a virgin to riding in Haines, AK, and a newbie to Absinthe's stacked roster, things aligned for Kimmy, who churned out a full part that is undoubtedly one of the best we've seen this year.
"Even with all the talent in the world, sometimes the difference between elevating your career to the next level or slipping into obscurity comes down to a few of the right people believing in you at the right time," said Absinthe's Justin Hostynek of her part. "Kimmy got to experience Alaska with Nicolas [Muller] and Manuel [Diaz] and took full advantage of the opportunities set before her. The rest is herstory," he continued.
Watch her full part above, and keep scrolling for a deeper look into Kimmy's season below.
I started my season off in Mammoth Lakes, CA filming with my husband, pro skier, Chris Benchetler and his GoPro Series Called Chasing El Nino. Mammoth Mountain got hit hard by early season storms, so I was able to film a few days around home before heading North to Canada. I met up with Justin Hostynek for the first time in February along with Austen Sweetin and Mark Sollors up in British Columbia. We spent about three weeks in B.C. waiting for storms to clear but that ideal blue-sky weather never really lined up for me. In the middle of March, weather in Haines, Alaska was looking solid so Justin invited me to go up there with the dream-crew of Nicolas Muller and Manuel Diaz. We scored a four-day blue-day window that trip, followed up by another two days of sunny weather. I went back to Mammoth at the beginning of April to host my women's backcountry education event called, Amusement MTN. Then, I ended up doing one more trip up to Haines in the middle of April. Each trip to Haines taught me a laundry list full of lessons about snowboarding, snow stability, mentality, and the power of Mother Nature. I ended my season with a Burton park shoot back in B.C. and then headed to Mammoth at the end of April. Overall, this season one the most eye-opening and mind-expanding experiences of my career.
What were your top three highlights from this season?
My top three highlights from last season were riding in Alaska, being able to have welcoming and patient mentors with Nicolas and Manuel taking me under their wings and showing me how to ride in big mountains. I was also very grateful to end the season healthy and in one piece.
How was it filming with Absinthe, how did it differ from other film companies you've worked with?
To be honest, when I originally got the invite to work with Absinthe I was pretty terrified to commit. I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to hold my own. I also could feel the industry doubting that I was capable of pulling a segment together with this crew. And, with such solid females like Annie Boulanger, Marie-France Roy representing the women in the Absinthe movies in the past, I knew I had big shoes to fill. On top of that, I only knew a couple guys on the crew, so I thought I was going to have to prove myself to everyone- else each time I went out in the backcountry; which is what typically has happened in the past. However, from day one, Justin gave the same opportunities as the guys. He made me part of the crew and all the guys were so encouraging and rad to be with. That made all the difference for me and my riding. I knew I just had to show up and snowboard. Not once did they make me feel like a weak link, they always made me feel welcome, and encouraged me to be out sharing the mountains and terrain with them. Big thank you to Nicolas Muller, Manuel Diaz, Austen Sweetin, Mark Sollors, Brandon Cocard, and Garrett Warnick for making last season so wild and fun, and obviously Justin Hostynek for taking a risk to have me join the project.
“At this moment, I am thinking how epic the conditions are but also wondering if the pocket directly below my board is going to be stable enough to handle this hard turn.” Photo: Erin Hogue
Let's talk about your part, holy tomahawk! Can you walk us through how that went down.
The opening shot for my part was definitely an exciting moment. It was 8 a.m. on the third day in Haines, and it was my first line of the day. This zone was pretty overwhelming for me at first, but Manuel pointed out the traverse as something I should try. I trusted his opinion and opted to give it a go. Getting out on top of the line was my first toe-in drop off heli experience, as well and Nicolas was kind enough to get out on the peak with me. As soon as I dropped in, I realized how steep the spines were because my back was brushing against them as I was doing the heel-side traverse. I white roomed myself when I turned and I didn't have a good angle on my landing. Before I knew it I was in the washing machine with my slough. I rode back to the landing zone with snow everywhere on me but I had the biggest smile on my face. Each line I dropped into in Alaska, including this one, taught me so much and made me eager to spend more time in those mountains.
Holy avalanche, you're ripping down a face in AK and it cracks on one side, then you go back and rip the other side.What went through your head when the second slide happened? Was that the closest call you've ever had?
That day was interesting. We were aware of an unstable layer but it wasn't easily triggered on the aspects we thought it would be on. So, we went to this zone thinking it would be safest for stability. Nicolas and Manuel were both at the top of that line with me and though they had previously set off small slides themselves, I still opted to try my line. We discussed the possibilities of my line sliding, and we made sure I knew where my safe spots were if something did slide. My first run I tested the snow with a couple of heavy turns at the top. When that a six inch wind pocket went, I felt like that panel was more stable than it was. I decided that I would try my line with hopes nothing else was going to move. When I saw the snow cracking under my board, I knew I had to put on the brakes and stay as high on the ridge as possible. I watched the slide move past me and settle. I was then able to ride on the bed surface back to the landing pad. Hindsight, knowing the risks of instability I shouldn't have been on such a big panel of snow, but I am also very grateful I was okay and was able to learn from that experience.
Which trick or section in your part are you most hyped on?
I am most hyped on the last shot in my part. Riding with Nicolas was something I never thought I would do… Ever! Having him be such a guiding light for so much of what I did this season was unbelievable. Every time I got to watch him ride this season I felt like I was watching all the previous Absinthe movies in real life. So much respect and gratitude for all he has done for me and for snowboarding!
Ripping into a new season Photo: Chad Chomlack
You continue to push the progression of snowboarding, season after season, what keeps you stoked to keep pushing the envelope?
Snowboarding makes me happy and that's why I keep doing it. Progression happens when I am having fun and feeling the flow of the mountains. I love challenging myself to be uncomfortable, to ride in new places, and to be calm and adaptable. I like the rush and pressure of creating something out of a blank canvas,like snow covered terrain. I continue to snowboard and push myself because I feel most alive and most connected to nature when I am exploring the mountains.
What are your goals this season?
I am focusing on being a part of avalanche courses in December. (SafeAs Clinics in Tahoe 12/10, 12/11, and 12/12. Then I am hosting an AIARE 1 course with Sierra Mountain Guides from 12/20 to 12/22 in Mammoth Lakes, CA.) Then I will be filming with Absinthe again so I am looking forward to possibly going to Japan with them, and then back up in Alaska.
What are three things essential to having an awesome season?
A few things that I think are essential for a good season are getting educated or refreshing your backcountry skills and avalanche awareness, keeping a positive attitude, having patience and being adaptable both mentality and physically. Mother Nature and the mountains are unpredictable, so in order to have a successful and safe season it's important to live in the moment and be accepting and aware of whatever is thrown your way.
“Spines are all different and not until you’re riding them do you know what they are going to feel like. You have to be quick and ready for anything.” Photo: Erin Hogue
What dudes part are you most hyped on this season?
I was really hyped to see Travis Rice and Eric Jackson shred together in Alaska in The Fourth Phase. Both those guys have insane style and flow in the mountains and seeing them ride together was awesome. I also really enjoyed watching Bode Merrill movie and segment. He is superhuman with his creativity and power on a snowboard.
What's your AK kit comprised of?
Board- Burton 150 Day Trader
Boots– Burton Felix Boa
Bindings- Burton Lexa
Jacket- AK women's 2L Elevation Anorak Jacket
Insulator- AK women's Helium Insulator Jacket
Pants- 3L Kimmy Bib
Gloves- AK Oven Mitt
Other Sponsors- Skullcandy, Clif Bar, Mammoth Mountain, Zeal Optics, lululemon, Evo, Mizu, Mimi's Cookie Bar
Thank you to my mom for being superwoman, always! Thank you to Chris for being such a strong support system. Thank you to all my sponsors for helping me keep this dream alive.