Tag Archives: K2 Ski Alliance

SheJumps Get The Girls Out at Crystal Mountain

Enter the SheJumps Beluved 78ti Contest!

To get even more women out on the slopes, we are giving away a pair of K2 Beluved 78ti System Skis with Marker ER3 10 bindings! Enter below for your chance to win. Full contest rules here.

SheJumps Get The Girls Out at Crystal Mountain

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Words by Krystin Norman | Photos by Ryan French — Get The Girls Out (GTGO) at Crystal Mountain Resort  is the original event that first got me interested in volunteering with SheJumps. SheJumps (SJ) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase the participation of women and girls in outdoor activities.

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When I first moved to Seattle, I didn’t know any female skiers in the area and wasn’t sure how to find ladies who shared my passion for skiing and adventure. After learning about SJ through my friend Yulia and deciding to volunteer as a regional ambassador, I experienced one of the most fun winter seasons of my life full of friends and SJ events: ski tune-ups and stoke parties at K2 Headquarters in Seattle, International Women’s Ski Day, all-women’s avalanche awareness talks, plenty of resort skiing and backcountry adventures with shred friends, and the pinnacle of a season of stoke…GTGO at Crystal Mountain.

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After the 2015 GTGO was cancelled due to significantly below-average snowpack, GTGO 2016 lived up to all that it had been in my mind. It was a day of skiing, riding, smiles, and laughing in the sunshine with tons of stoked ladies with a common passion for skiing, snowboarding, and being on snow in the mountains.

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This past weekend on Sunday, March 12th, 2017, I attended my second GTGO event at Crystal Mountain. When the weather forecast called for warm temps and precipitation, I was super worried that GTGO 2017 would be a day of pouring rain, low stoke, not much skiing, and a really really soggy Krystin in a narwhal onesie costume. Fortunately, the stars (or clouds) aligned and the weather held up for the whole day.

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After helping with registration and admiring all of the neon-retro, tutu-tastic, and majestic animal onesie outfits being sported by the smiling women and little girls who came out for the event, the ladies hit the slopes in full force. As a Crystal Mountain Freeride Team coach for the 16/17 season, I decided to volunteer by teaching an “Intro to Freeride Skiing” clinic for the morning. I would say that spending the whole morning explaining the elements of freeride skiing to 8 women and finding interesting terrain to ski was difficult, but it absolutely wasn’t. Each of the ladies who attended my mini-clinic were a joy to ski with. I could feel so many vibes of excitement and encouragement between everyone in the group as we focused on body awareness, line-choice, fluidity, and working up the courage and foresight to safely hit natural jump and cliff features on the hill.

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When we took a break for lunch, some of the women told me that they were definitely planning to go back to the same spots we had skied that morning to keep practicing in steep terrain and hopefully hit some bigger drops next time! Hearing that much enthusiasm and sense of excitement to challenge oneself is a part of coaching that is so incredibly satisfying and rewarding.

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After lunch, Crystal Ski Patrol gave a talk about avalanche and snow safety, and the rest of the day was spent freeskiing with new and familiar friends. I believe at one point we had 20+ women mobbing down Powder Bowl and through the terrain park all at once!

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Meanwhile, there were groups skiing with tunes blasting, a scavenger hunt, kids lessons, a piñata, and games for the little kiddies.

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The day was topped off with a fundraising gear raffle, packed with tons of prizes for the little ladies and some super sweet donations from our event partners like puffy jackets, helmets, outerwear, and some lucky women even went home with brand new pairs of K2 women’s specific skis!

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Overall, Crystal GTGO was a huge success thanks to amazing support from so many local companies and partners, the awesome rock-star volunteers who helped make everything happen, and because so many women and little girls came out to the mountain for a day of pure fun on the slopes.

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To anyone who hasn’t had a chance to participate in a SheJumps event, especially our Get The Girls Out events, I highly encourage you to add one to your calendar. Not only are these events a great way to make new friends to adventure outside with, but they are a chance to feel support from the outdoor women’s community and take the jump to challenge yourself, progress, and have so much fun outside with other inspiring women.

K2 Ski Alliance: One of a Kind

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K2 Ski Alliance, founded in 2000.

Who We Are: A diverse group of women, all ages, nationwide, with different skiing styles and abilities that come together for the love of the sport, and to assist in the development process of K2’s women’s specific ski equipment.

The Allliance is the first industry program of it’s kind, ever. And the crazy thing is, it’s still pretty much the only one. Our biggest goal besides making great product is to act as an example for other ski companies to support women. Because who doesn’t want more girls involved in the sport?

Alliance trip at Silverton. Photo: Crystal Sagan
Alliance trip at Silverton. Photo: Crystal Sagan

Take your average lift line on a pow day. Hand pick the ones with the lucky extra X chromosome, put them in a line up and there you have a cross section of what the Alliance squad looks like. Just a little bit of everything!

A 14-year-old from Estonia who barely speaks English (and also happens to be one of the most decorated female skiers ever), teenage high schoolers barely more focused on skiing than boys, PSIA level 3 instructors, freeride rippers stronger than you’ll ever be, to grandmas in their mid-60s.

From park skiers to big mountain skiers, resort focused to dedicated backcountry girls, the K2 Ski Alliance is the perfect mix of women to contribute to a product line that is as diverse as the group of ladies developing it.

Anna Segal at Timberline
Anna Segal at Timberline

As far apart as we are from each other, we are a family. We communicate with each other and our ski engineers to produce the best product on the market. We make mistakes and are happy to admit it. We learn from them and fully embrace the process of trial and error.

Overall, we aim to provide a sense of community to our customers; for them to feel like they are a part of something bigger, an Alliance of like-minded females, no matter what the level of skiing is or where they live in the world.

The ladies feelin' the luv.
The ladies feelin’ the luv.

The Three Tiers of the Alliance:

Research and Development, i.e. R&D: These girls work with K2 engineers and designers to dream up, test and create the next wave of future product.

Regional Alliance: A network of women around the world who are local brand ambassadors. These girls work with their territory reps to spread the K2 luv on hill, at their local shops and at events and demos in their region.

Athletes: These ladies represent K2 in the spotlight and each contribute to the brand’s personality on and off the mountain. We look to these girls to give us product feedback in order to help us design and promote the gear they use and love.

Then there is you. If you like K2, if you identify yourself as a female and you want to be part of this collective, then welcome to the family. We are hooked on skiing and want to share our passion with you.

All K2 womens skis are tried and true.
Remedy and Luv skis developed for women, by women. Photo: Crystal Sagan

Let’s hear the truth about these so-called “women’s” products you make:

What does it actually mean to have women’s specific product?

It means the gear performs at the optimal level because it’s built with the female skier in mind. It is product with features designed specifically for girls from concept to creation (engineering to graphic production).

What actually goes into making women’s specific product?

Check out the testing blurb below. It’s a wild process. And it’s a long one. But we like doing it and we hope you like what we make for you! Out of the gates to the finish line, we try and make sure females are involved in each and every product we make.

Are all women’s K2 products different than the men’s product?

Depending on the needs of the product, there are shared innovations between the categories.

For example, a few of our women’s skis share the same construction as the men’s version. Why is this? When a good engineering concept is born and proven to be successful, we may use it across a spectrum of products.

Don’t forget we produce skis, boots, poles, helmets, goggles and accessories! We can proudly say though, that our entire women’s product line is tested and approved by girls, with most items having a unique build for the gals.

How specific to women are these products?

It depends on what we’re talking about. For skis, it can vary in the materials used (different types of wood, metal, urethane or carbon compounds), stature or weight of the incorporated bindings, type of steel edge, style of tip protector, color of the sidewall, texture of the topsheet, ink variations of the graphic, flex profile, aesthetic of the logo and much more!

Other product categories have components that are built specifically to fit a woman’s body: pole grips designed for women, boot liners and cuff heights, helmet shapes, goggle frames, etc. The list goes on and on.

In the rare case that the construction doesn’t vary much from the men’s version, you can be sure everything else about the product will be tailored specifically for the female customer.

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Longtime Alliance member, Heather-Paul Featherman, ripping it up at Copper!

What is the bigger picture?

Well of course the goal is to make gear that makes you comfortable and confident on the slopes. We are here to help you have a good time because #seriousfun is what it’s all about, right?

The Alliance also has input on graphic concepts and designs, model names, marketing initiatives, social content and collaboration, as well as events.

>K2 proudly started International Women’s Ski Day in 2013, which has grown into a grassroots, worldwide celebration. Follow along with us by checking out the hashtag #IWSD.

>>Thank you for taking the time to learn about the Ski Alliance. We take great pride in this program and hope that it inspires you to spend more time in the mountains.

>>>Keep up with us on social media and make sure to hop on the chairlift with one of the Alliance members if you have the chance. In all that we do, we #luvk2!

Instagram and Facebook

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For over 15 years, K2 Sports has supported the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). To date, K2 has contributed over $1,150,000.00 to research efforts. To show additional support, we proudly place a pink ribbon on our women’s skis.

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Not a bad view at Silverton. Photo: Crystal Sagan

A glance at the TEST life:

Before the R&D Alliance gets on snow, we meet in house to go over concept designs. The engineers present their ideas to the Alliance and get initial feedback. They tweak their comps as needed and produce a huge round of prototypes for testing. For this purpose, we’re going to focus on skis.

Because we’re working on product a full year and half before it hits the ski wall at shops, the prime time for testing is in the spring and summer. At Mt. Bachelor or Mt. Hood in Oregon, we average four trips over the testing season and typically there are five or six of us, depending on the amount of prototypes we have.

You may have read about the process at magazine tests (producing your fall Buyer’s Guide results) but our method is quite a bit different, and maybe a bit more intense.

An example test day would be waking up at 5:15 or so to be out of the door by 6am. Chugging coffee in the car and scarfing down a bagel, we arrive at the mountain and get briefed by our engineers on what category skis we will be working with for the day. They hand out waterproof test cards and pencils and talk to us about the test groups. There are four groupings of skis on average, with each group usually having five or six skis. Groups are identified by letters: A, B, C, etc. and skis are numbered 1, 2, 3 and so on.

In the A group for example, the engineer may say, “Group A has 85mm-waisted, metal laminate skis. You are to focus on overall versatility and performance.” They tell us that while skiing, think about, for example, how the tips feel- are they damp and solid with good initiation? Or are you feeling/seeing some chatter going on? How is the edge hold of the ski on hard pack? Enough camber? Does the ski feel damp enough in the variable snow?

The engineers have specific questions for each group of skis. After briefing us on the day’s fleet, we break up into pairs or small groups depending on boot size.

Tip: if we group girls together by their boot sizes, then we don’t have to adjust the bindings as many times i.e making each run transition go more smoothly.

McKenna Peterson catching the last light of the day.

During these tests, time is so valuable. We have to ensure we get up for first chair so the mountain is as empty as possible and snow conditions are prime.

When we head to the lift, we are usually carrying at least three pair of skis and have a backpack full of goodies- a screwdriver, an extra pairs of gloves, a spare Goretex jacket, water, a snack and an extra goggle lens just in case.

(The weather in Oregon during the spring and summer is extremely variable).

Sometimes we’re testing in 70 degree weather on the glacier and sometimes it’s 30 degrees, pouring rain and no visibility.

The skis we’re testing are all masked with a white top sheet. We are encouraged to not look down at the models we’re testing. It’s all supposed to be about feeling and getting to know what you like and do not like about the ski in one to two runs. Why ski each ski for such a limited time? The goal is to not adjust your skiing style to the ski but to go off of your initial feelings about the prototype.

Usually, you can tell what you’re feeling in the ski within the first ten turns. The things you don’t like scream out at you and the things you do like are noticed right away. You make mental notes throughout the run, solidifying your feelings and continuing to change up your turn shape and speed so that you can get a feel for the model in varying styles of skiing, putting yourself in the mindset of the person that that ski is being designed for. Are you a beginner that is comfortable on only greens and maybe some blue runs? If so, you’re going to ski slower in longer and wider turns with less carving and probably not in soft or off-piste snow. Or are you an ex-racer, looking to flex and really work the ski? Seeing how well it lays over and how well you’re able to initiate your turn.

The testers also need to take many things into account such as the weather and snow conditions that are changing throughout the test day, as well as the lengths of the test skis and even small things such as the weight of the demo bindings on them. Every little thing warrants an extra consideration.

After the day of testing is complete, we head down from the mountain to do our debrief with the engineers. At this point we have ranked which ski we like best and why, to our least favorite and why. We go over the results as a group and so ensues the afternoon of back and forth conversation of why one prototype skied the way it did. Or why one that in theory should be so similar to the one before, skied so differently. The engineers then divulge the varying construction profiles of each of the skis and we compare the K2 protos to the competitor benchmarks.

After all is said and done from three days of repeatedly testing the same prototypes, hopefully the Alliance team has decided on a direction for the next round of test skis. The engineers and in house team drives back to our headquarters in Seattle and gets to work producing a new fleet of skis with the desired changes. This process continues over the spring + summer months until the new models have been fine-tuned and are signed off for production.

It’s a lengthy process, but as mentioned earlier, we love it and hope that you enjoy the product that really is developed by women, for women.

A group of ladies from the K2 Alliance!
United we SKI!!!

 

The All-New OoolaLuv 85Ti

Developed by women for women, we are excited to be bringing back the the Luv!  The new Luv skis provide ladies with strength and stability, but also forgiveness and control thanks to the all-new channel light core technology. The staple ski in the new Luv line is the OoolaLuv 85ti. Created by the K2 Ski Alliance, this is the quintessential all-mountain ski. With a versatile waist width of 85mm underfoot, the OoolaLuv can ski everywhere.  The new core gives skiers a lighter ski that results in reduced swing weight and a smooth flex that a hard charging all-mountain ski needs. Click play on the video above to see it in action and for an in-depth look at the latest from the K2 Ski Alliance.

 

MissFits Chronicles: Blondes and Blower

words by: McKenna Peterson

“Wow, snow boners everywhere” Pip Hunt wipes the condensation off the inside of the van window in order to get a better look at the 8-foot-high snow banks that line the skinny road. Laughter ensues, “seriously, how much do you think it has snowed since we have been here?…. Hey, you’re driving on the wrong side of the road again”

“Oh. Yeah, s*** I need to stop doing that”

Two weeks of overhead blower powder, getting used to driving on the opposite side of the road, and delving into the intimidating yet absurdly delicious Japanese cuisine[1] proved to be quite the adventure for the K2 Ski Alliance ladies. Pip Hunt, Amie Engerbretson, Lexi duPont and McKenna Peterson linked up at Hokkaido’s Kiroro Resort with one profound goal; to have as much fun as possible.

As we put on our skins and headed into the backcountry for the first day of skiing, we were all feeling some nerves. The sun was out, the snow was perfect, and we were following local knowledge to a zone of spines. Yes, spines, in Japan. Who would have thought? Cameras were queued and the pressure was on. When the face came into view, we each hurriedly picked a line and gunned it to the top. Naturally, we made Lexi, with more Alaska spine skiing experience than the entire K2 mens team[2] drop first. We watched as Lexi was consumed by billows of perfectly light powder, she let out a “wooohoooo” and disappeared from view. My eyes grew wide and powder panic overtook my soul like never before[3], “I am dropping next!” I yelled over the radio, “ready when you are”. Camera man Jefe’s[4] response turned my gut and slashed my pillowy visions, “Lex is a little hurt down here, the face is steeper than expected, standby”.

The words you never want to hear. How did the initial stoke of the ‘wooohooo’ turn into a regrettable ‘ouch’?

Lexi was ok, just a bit of shin-bang and a little wake up call for all of us. We had rushed into skiing those lines without second thought or a concise look. For that moment, and that moment alone, we allowed our ego’s to overtake our inner child and we went for the rowdy line. And when your uber-importante number 1 goal is to have fun, the rowdy line is not always the answer.

Together, we recounted the day and made a pact to prioritize having as much fun as possible throughout the remainder of the trip. We were in Japan, the land of hello kitty and unbelievable amounts of low density powder; we were going to enjoy every aspect of the experience. Powder shots were paired with Motown and portraits evolved into slow-motion hairwhips[5]. The point was to replace the ‘roars’ with ‘meows’ and deep breaths with giggles. We skied mellow pow and deep pow, popped pillows and hugged trees, we ate sushi and envisioned stomach aquariums, we even sang karaoke to the Spice Girls until the sun came up[6]. All smiles, all the time.

I think everyone can agree that in the world of skiing, laughter trumps intensity any day.



[1] We ate something from the ocean that resembled a baby armadillo, tasted like chicken

[2] Only slightly exaggerated

[3] This happens at least 25 times per year

[4] Actually Jeff Engerbretson

[5] Amie E for the win

[6] TLC and Destiny’s Child were mixed in for good measure

MissFits Chronicles: Travel Like a Pro

Words by: K2 Alliance Member McKenna Peterson 

As soon as the snow starts to accumulate, it is inherent ski bum nature to begin obsessively checking the weather in every corner of the winter world, develop instagram envy, weigh the consequences of dropping everything to chase a storm, and then…. end up staying home to ski the thin local snowpack on the weekends and continue to peruse the gram from the comfort of the couch. We all do it. But… What if? What if you used up the vacation time that you have been hoarding and hit the road with a couple buddies?

Here is a secret; 90% of the skiers that you follow on Instagram, you know the ones traveling the world and always skiing the deepest of the deep?… well, they are just like you; incessantly checking social media and weather predictions, throwing together last minute trips, and, yes, weighing the consequences of draining the bank account. The only difference is, they pull the trigger and deal with the aftermath in the afterthought.

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So next time you see that Japan is having a record season or that the snowpack in BC is unusually stable and absolutely blower… just send it. Seriously, what’s the worst that could happen?

Here are a few tips to help you throw together that last minute dream trip (think faceshots and après)

Location: Last minute storm chasing can prove to be the best decision you ever made, although it can have some hurdles. www.opensnow.com is a great one stop shop for snow predictions across the US and Canada. Learn to interpret a basic Doppler radar and keep an eye on what is happening, as forecasts can be moody and change on you. If you need more than a day notice for your ski getaway, look at the month-by-month snowfall history for your desired location and dates. Figure out where it has snowed the most and when over the past five years or so. Google is a big help with this one. For example, March is the best (and most unassuming) time to visit the Wasatch.

Travel: Driving seems easy but is time consuming, usually requires snow tires and 4-wheel drive, and it can be costly. If the drive to powder paradise is longer than 5 hours, look into flights. Tuesday is the best day to book a plane ticket (I don’t know why, but it’s cheaper). In order to avoid baggage fees; pack as much as you can into your ski bag until it weighs exactly 50 lbs and fill a carry-on and your backpack with the rest (anything that doesn’t fit, you don’t need). Always carry-on your ski boots. If traveling outside of the US, bus and train systems are easy to navigate and will bring you into the mountains for fairly cheap.

Lodging: Most resort towns have a city or a ‘non-resort’ town close by. Be willing to spend a few extra minutes on the bus in order to avoid resort inflation on the cost of a room. Online trip reviews and blog posts can be helpful in finding the right place to stay. Read up a bit on what has worked for the ski bums that have been there before. Package deals that include lodging, food and lift tickets are worth looking into.

Food and après: A long day on the hill is almost always followed by a bout of après. Try not to get too carried away; you don’t want to end up with empty pockets and a ski-hindering hangover. But definitely partake, meet people, have fun and reminisce on how rad you got that day. If in a foreign country, learn a little bit of the language. Think of the phrases you will use the most,  ‘thank you’ ‘excuse me’ ‘beer’ and ‘coffee’ are key. The costs of food can add up, make sure to keep all of your leftovers (and friends’ leftovers) for lunch the next day. If it is possible, try and cook your own breakfast, it will save you time in the mornings and ensure that you get first chair.

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Terrain: Make friends! Drop the shyness and get to know the locals. Starting up a conversation with someone at the coffee shop, on the hill or in the bar can be beneficial. Don’t be pushy about asking for beta. Usually, if you get someone talking about something they have a passion for (skiing, touring, etc) the info will eventually slip out and then you can start asking questions. If you are venturing off of the resort, definitely check the local avalanche forecast and avalanche history for that season. It is OK to ask questions, even in foreign countries where there is a language barrier; the ski community is friendly and wants to help you find the goods.

Social Media: Make sure to continuously post photos to your social media feed of you getting faceshots, standing at the top of cool lines, and drinking beer. Make your friends jealous. I bet they join you next year for another ski bum getaway.

Road to Recovery: Maggie Voisin

K2 Skis: What’s one word that describes your current mood?
Maggie: Content

Not always a bad thing. Where are you at the moment?
Park City, Utah

I know you stay up on your pop culture. Have you become addicted to any TV shows since your injury?
(Laughs) I always get asked this but not yet.  I have a lot of school that should probably get my full attention.

Dedication, nice. How are you feeling physically?
Physically i’m feeling as strong as I can be at 6 weeks. I am just really looking forward to a strong recovery.

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All smiles! Photo: Shay Williams

I’m sure you’ve been dreaming about skiing. Anything in particular? A certain trick a favorite slope course?
Lately I have been been reading a lot of articles and have been seeing lots of photos of the skiing in Japan. It’s been awhile since I have done any kind of skiing outside of the park and skiing deep pow right now sounds like such a blast and Japan seems like the place to go!

Japan did look epic. Two of your amigos got injured this season. What does it mean for you that two of your best friends are now in your situation (I.e Julia and Darian)?
I wish more than anything for those girls to still be out there killing it but unfortunately it doesn’t always work in our favor. I know with all three of us together we will push each other just as hard as we do when we are skiing. I think having them is really going to contribute to a huge part of my recovery.

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Maggie in her element. Photo: Shay Williams

What have you been doing to rehab?
After surgery my doctor let me come home for the first six weeks and start my rehab out here in Montana. The first six weeks are the slowest and seem to me,  to be the least progressive but I’ve been really working on my, range of motion, swelling and working on engaging my quad. Also because I had a meniscal repair I haven’t been able to walk
for six weeks and i’m very excited to say that my 6 weeks is up!

Have any feel good advice for others going through an knee injury?
The best thing I have to say is to not dwell on your injury. I understand that’s easier to say then to do but try and find the positive out of the situation. Listen to your doctors, yours physical therapist and work hard to get healthy.

Have you been getting some school done in your down time?
Yes, school and physical therapy have been occupying most of my time.

When can people expect to see back on skis?
I’m hoping to get back on snow in the next 8 months. I’m going to have to work hard but i’m excited to get back doing what I love!

Have you been working with trainers to rehab?
I’ve done my first 6 weeks of rehab in Montana and now I’m in Park City training and rehabbing with the U.S Ski Team.

Any favorite songs lately?
Im going to have to say Blank Spaces by Taylor Swift just because thats what the girls and I used to blast before we went skiing.

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Air Voisin. Photo: Shay Williams

Who doesn’t love T-Swift? She’s a boss. Any last shout outs?
I would love to thank my family, friends, sponsors and everyone who has supported me throughout my skiing especially through my lows. I am so thankful to be in such a wonderful community of people and i’m looking forward to a fun and exciting future.

MissFits Moment: Yuki Tsubota

 

Name: Yuki Tsubota
Age: 20
Hometown: Whistler
Other sponsors: The North Face, Sushi Village, Giro, Skullcandy
K2 skis of choice: MissConduct

Yuki! What’s up girl? How is life!??
Things have been really good! Haven’t done a whole lot since the Olympics but it’s so so so nice to have some down time to myself.

Tell us what you’ve been up to this summer…!
I’ve been slowly getting back into the swing of things, had a camp in Mt. Hood a couple of weeks ago. Coached a session at Momentum which was a blast and now I’m getting ready to head back down to Hood again. There’s been a lot of lake days and hanging with my friends which has been the best! Hoping to get out at least once for a camping trip.

How has your life changed since the Olympics?
I wouldn’t say my life has changed that significantly. There definitely has been more media and interviews and people asking how it was and how I’m doing. There are a lot more “wow you went to the Olympics?” I get from people, but if anything it was more of an amazing experience for me and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of our sport debuting at the games.

What is your favorite memory from last season?
Probably the day I was officially announced to the Olympic team. I was in Aspen at X Games and I got up early to watch the TV broadcast of the team being announced and of course everything about being at the games also was unforgettable. It didn’t really kick in for me that I was at the Olympics until I walked in with Canada at the opening ceremonies; what a night that was. Surprisingly though when it came to competing there, it wasn’t that much different then any other contest for me beside the a little more pressure but only in qualifiers. Once I made it to finals I was fine, I was there to do what I came to do and no matter what happened I was proud of myself because I skied the best I could.

Tell us a bit about your injury from Sochi. And how are you doing now?
So on my final run I came up short on the knuckle switch and kneed myself. I ended up fracturing my cheek in two spots and a concussion. I stayed in the hospital over night and flew home two days later. I was able to get surgery quickly after I got home and take everything real easy. I think I seemed fine at the time but I hardly remember anything after the accident for about two weeks, for the longest time I thought somebody packed my bags for me but apparently I did it myself and no recollection of the flight home. I couldn’t really do anything for about a month after which was the toughest I couldn’t drive at all so I had to have someone take me everywhere and be with me. I’m almost back to 100% now beside the vibrations I get though my face on hard impact but it’s been slowly going away.

What do you have in the books for this winter?
My season is looking really great, very similar to the last two season without the pressure of the Olympics so that will be nice. Dew Tour, World Cups, and X Games. If I find the time I would really like to get out to Japan and ski if not I want to get out and ski more back country and do a few trips out.

Give us some insight on what it’s like to grow up in Whistler. Is it is crazy as my vacations always are?!
I don’t think you could give a kid a better place to grow up! I’ve lived here since I was 3 moved up from Vancouver and haven’t left yet and have no plans to ever. Growing up I did every sport you could think of and trying to jam it all in every week was a task but slowly they got weeded out and I ended up with hockey and skiing, and at the age of 12 I put everything into skiing and it’s been my life ever since. The schooling here is great too with all the teachers being very accommodating with your schedule, helping you catch up and making sure we understood what we missed.
…and yes it’s always crazy as your vacations here, living in Whistler is like living in a vacation. Go skiing all day, hang out by the lake, do what every you want then theres the village to go partying, shopping or out for dinner. Thats why you get all these people that come to visit and never leave.

I think you pretty much have the best sponsor EVER (besides us of course;)  Tell us about it puuhhlease!
I sure do! I can’t thank them enough for everything they have done. Ladies and gentlemen I’d like to give a big big thank you to Sushi Village. If you’ve been to Whistler before you know the place and how awesome it is. Hands down the best sushi and saki margs. All of the crazy nights we’ve all had in there… team dinners, birthdays, pants off parties…theres no better place to do it right. Putting that all to the side though they have been amazing support to me over the last two years and I give the biggest thanks to Miki and Naoko.

Do you have any rituals you do at the top of the slope course or before a comp?
I have one but I can’t tell you because it’s a secret. I do have a left and right ski that I’m very superstitious about and I also have a ziploc of notes and small charms that I ski with everyday, I know it’s weird but i’ve done it for so long now that it’s become a part of me.

Do you see yourself living in Whistler for a long time?
I sure do! This is the place I want to live forever and I can’t see my self living anywhere else, it’s home for me and always will be. Growing up here as a kid, I want my kids to grow up here and have all the opportunities I had.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
That’s tough and I don’t really know if I even have any, I have the top three places I’d like to go but I know they aren’t very difficult places to get to and I will visit them way before I die. The first is to ski powder in Japan, I’ve visited Japan many times but only in the Summer and fall never to ski. I’ll find the time one day to go over there. Second is to go to Africa and do a couple week safari, I don’t know what it is but being able to see and be close to lions and elephants is very intriguing to me. My third is New York, it’s not very special but it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. Just to see the main places, Time Square, Central Park, Statue of Liberty ect.

Do you speak Japanese? Have you been to Japan much?
I do, I can almost speak fluent Japanese but my writing and reading is non-existent. I get to speak it sometimes with my mum, family back in Japan or a few people that around town but beside that not really. I’ve been to Japan around 8-9 times hopefully the next time is to ski too. It’s one of my favourite places to go, the food is to die for and the shopping is up there too.

What’s your favorite K2 ski and why?
The ski and ride and is my favourite is the MissConduct. It’s got the shape of a traditional ski which I love and perfect stiffness for me, last year I went up a size which really helped me, it’s made it easier to land having more tip and tail to land on. What I’m really excited for is the Remedy 112 for next year it’s a completely new ski that I can’t wait to try out.

Who was your biggest influence in the industry growing up?
Growing up in Whistler I looked up to all the pro skiers in town, I would see them around town and on the hill and be starstruck. Of course though Sarah was the one I looked up to the most even when I was a mogul skier she was the one. She did what the guys did and was just such a big influence on women’s skiing.

I know Paul Walker was your #1 man. Sorry for your loss. Do you have your eyes set on anyone new?
Really? Do we really need to talk about this? Yes Paul Walker was my man and we were gonna get married and drive fast cars. I remember the day I got the news, it was so devastating and I cried. There will never be anyone that can replace my love for him.

Any shoutouts?
My family for always being behind me on everything I’ve ever done, my sponsors for supporting me, my coaches for getting me to where I am and making all my dreams real and a big special one to my best friend Annik and my man Ryan for putting up with me all the time because I’m so high maintenance.