Good For Me

This is an article dedicated to all the women in my life. The ones that give me balance, support, and motivation to work hard and do things that make me happy.

Women. What a loaded word! I asked a few people what came to mind when hearing this word. I heard things like athletic, united, strong, beautiful, and passionate. So many of Fernie’s women have inspired me throughout the years to embody all of these characteristics while enjoying the outdoors and immersing myself in all of the activities that the mountains have to offer.

I find the ski and bike communities of women to be ever-growing and it is exciting to find only in my second year of competitive free skiing the growth in numbers of female athletes participating in this sport. However, despite the increase in female competitors there have been times where I have felt a little defeated as a female athlete when entering an event and finding out that I am the only female competitor in my age category. This lack of female competitors has motivated me more to want to push away the stereotypes of female athletes. Now when I hear comments like, “You shred for a girl,” or “You’re really strong for a girl,” I work even harder to show them that I am capable of performing at a level in which I can be titled as a strong athlete. I remind myself that these comments aren’t how I should view myself; I am not competing like a woman, but as an athlete out to compete at the highest level I can attain.

Sometimes I do, however, find myself comparing myself with guys when they outnumber the girls in the group I am riding or skiing in. When I am surrounded by a majority of boys I ask myself questions like, “Can I beat him?” Or, “Can I do that jump as big as he did it?” But I’ve always been competitive and my mindset has always been one in which I compare my ability with those around me, males or females, in a competitive setting. These women and men are the ones that have helped me grow and improve because they challenge me to ski or bike to the best of my ability, they push me to be better. When in these groups of people I have no need to wonder, “Was it good for a girl?” I need to recognize that what I was doing was good for me, on that jump, line, or trick. I pushed my own limits and my own boundaries because of the ability not the gender of those around me.

I have always been thankful that this community has given women so many opportunities and activities for those of us who love to play in the mountains. I am constantly reminded through my female role models that being athletic and strong is a key to happiness and well being. I look up to these women knowing that they are the ones that are pushing their limits to erase the labels that have been placed on female athletes and feel proud to continue challenging myself and gender stereotypes by doing my best in the sports that I love.