2020 would have been the year of women’s freeskiing, had it not become the year of ski resort closures. The level of women’s freeride and freestyle skiing is rocketing, and women are increasingly represented in ski films. The premature season finish cut short everybody’s tricks, lines, and features in the pipeline. Not to worry, I am here to fill your isolation days with the best skiing from the last year. Here is your 2019/20 guide to women’s freeskiing from the sofa.
1) THE COLLECTIVE: X Women’s Segment
Faction launched their ‘THE COLLECTIVE’ film in December 2019, featuring a stacked line up of the best pros in the world. But Faction went one step further. Instead of the ‘token girl’ in otherwise all male segments, they produced an all-women’s segment showcasing sun, slush, but most importantly, skill. Emphasising the uniqueness of an all-female park edit, they released it as a stand-alone segment a month before the full film.
Red Bull released their docuseries following the lives of four of the best young talents in freestyle skiing. Whilst features of male freeskiers are easy to come by, it is refreshing to finally hear what the women at the top of the freestyle game have to say. A must-watch for inspiration and insights into the mentality behind the crazy progression that these ladies are forerunning.
3) SuperUnknown XVII
SuperUnkown – Level 1’s online contest set on showcasing hidden freeski talent – seriously stepped up their game this year. Shockingly, SuperUnknown introduced their women’s category only last year. But following the buzz around Giorgia Bertoncini’s 2019 winning entry (must watch!) and ‘based on the strength of this year’s Women’s entries’, 3 female finalists join the 2020 competition. The semi-finalists’ edits ooze style and creativity. Standouts: McKenna Brown’s floaty style, Rell Harwood and Marin Hamill’s rail wizardry, Lauren Bendixen’s stomped dub back.
Watch semi-finalists here:
Watch the finalists here:
4) Freeride World Tour
FWT made headlines this year after announcing equal pay for athletes across all categories. For those who criticised this decision, I recommend watching this year’s women’s ski category. The Kicking Horse comp showcases unparalleled precision in the women’s field -not a single crash despite some huge sends! Standouts: Jess Hotter, Emma Patterson, Ayana Onozuka. For the virtual thrill-seekers, the Fieberbrunn comp bombards you with run after run of risky ski-business: enormous cliff drops (Jackie Paaso), backflips (Jess Hotter, Evelina Nilsson), serious speed and style (Ari Tricomi). Not all the risks pay-off, but even the failed attempts indicate the exciting and exponential progression we can expect next year.
Watch the Kicking Horse comp here (at 29:36):
Watch the Fieberbrunn comp here (at 2:36:12):
5) Dream Job
Not your average ski edit. Firstly, because this short film consists of an all-female cast, director, and producer. Secondly, because this is comedian Katie Burrell’s take on showcasing a day in the life of a professional skier – the ‘dream job’. Described as a ‘roast’ on the ski industry, ‘unconventional’, and even ‘subversive’, Dream Job simultaneously ridicules ski culture whilst praising the women who have climbed to and thrive at the industry’s peak.
6) The Blondes
I can’t get enough of this Revelstoke freeride crew. Their edits are glorious! Bursting with energy and packed with skill. These women are absolutely pushing their limits and each other. There are some seriously technical and big drops/lines up for viewing. Their 2019 season footage is pretty much everything I want from a ski edit: powder, pillows, huge sends, and even bigger crashes.
‘A film project created in Japan entirely by women and of women’. Whilst the powder clips don’t quite match the likes of The Blondes, Jyosei stands out because of its gnarly street section. Watching Taylor Lundquist repeatedly fail before nailing her rail section with the crew onlooking makes me slightly emotional… Nothing beats the feeling of finally mastering a trick with your friends, or maybe lockdown has just made me overly-fragile.