Maria Thompsen has been snowboarding for nine years, and has put out stacked rail segments and heavy parts the past several seasons. She's also the mother of an awesome and adventurous baby boy, Tao.
Instead of letting motherhood take over and stop her from snowboarding and persuing her passions, Maria has adopted a parenting style that allows her to bring Tao on trips and shoots with her.
We chatted with Maria on all things motherhood, including how long she was able to board while pregnant, breastfeeding at rail spots, advice she has for others to keep the snowboard dream alive, and much more.
Check out her season edit above and read on for our interview.
*All photos courtesy of @mariathomsen
Where are you from and how old are you? I'm from Esbjerg, Denmark. I just turned 30. How long have you been boarding? About 9 years. I did my first season in Whistler in 2008. How’s you’re season going so far, what are some of your highlights? I’ve been filming for Jess Kimura’s video project, “The Uninvited", and it's been super rad to be able to work with Jess. She is such a big support and inspiration. Also Vancouver, BC finally got snow, which never happens, so it was sick to be able to film there for the first time.
You have a darling son, what's his name and how old is he? Thank you! His name is Tao and he is 2. Have you gotten him out on a board yet? I have, he seems to be more into skateboarding, but who knows, he's just 2.
How do you manage motherhood with being a pro snowboarder? I try to be creative and have a relaxed approach to being a mom and snowboarder. When I was a baby, my mom use to leave me outside sleeping, while she would go for a run. Today, that’s pretty unheard of and you would probably get a call from social services if they found out. We have so many expectations to parents and rules about what is right or wrong. Being a mom is not a square thing, so I try not to make it that and I trust my own ability to raise my son the best way possible without needing to be perfect. The first time Tao came out to film with me, he was just 3 months old. I was breastfeeding him in between shots, he would go back to sleep and I would go back snowboarding. Now he is older and has been on many rail trips with me. He usually plays in the snow or naps in the car, while I snowboard. -- Sometimes it works well to bring him and sometimes it doesn’t. I wouldn’t do anything that wasn’t safe for him, but I want to teach him to explore and be adventurous and be a part of the life I live. I am also very fortunate to have family and friends that support me so much.
Where all has your son been with you while snowboarding? Sometimes comes with me on railtrips, specially if I go for a long period. He hangs out at the spots, help us shovel and what not. Mostly just plays around while I snowboard. Other times, I leave him with grandparents or his dad and I get to be more focused.
How long did you keep snowboarding when you were pregnant, and how soon after were you able to get back on a board? I snowboarded until I was 5 months pregnant. The season ended, so that was a good time to stop for me. I tried to skateboard at 7 months, but I was too fat and out of balance so it didn’t really go that well. Tao was born in September, so when the season started mid-November (2 months after giving birth) I was back boarding again.
What advice do you have for other mom's and mom's to be about keeping the snowboard dream alive? Remember the person you were before you were a mom – remember to still be that person. Take time off (and go snowboarding!) Learn to multi-task! Don’t be scared to ask for help. Don’t feel bad for leaving your little one to go snowboarding. It's healthy for you both to be a part sometimes. Bring them with you or trade babies with other mammas who want to ride or just have some time off. I'm not sure what exact advice to give people, we are all very different and babies don’t come with instructions. Motherhood can be difficult but it's not prison, you still have lots of life to live so don’t forget yourself in all the dirty diapers.
Who are some of your favorite female snowboarders and why? Jess Kimura, Desiree Melancon, MFR, Darrah Reid, Anna Gasser, cus they kill it and inspire me.
What are your plans for the spring/summer/fall and next season? I hurt my knee so I’m not gonna be doing any boarding this summer. Hiking, dirt biking, Camping and getting back in shape i guess. I'm filming for ‘The Uninvited’ next season too, its a 2 year project. I want to go to Japan next winter and do some more travelling outside of Canada Anything else you'd like to add? Yeah id like to thank all the people who help me: Barrett Christy & GNU, Pete Longy & Modest, Matt Heneghan & Thirtytwo, Jess Kimura & The Uninvited and all my family and friends. Much love