Bringing more women to freestyle snowboarding

Freestyle Club competitor Katie Brayer will coach the new adult women’s snowboarding program. Photo provided.

The Sun Peaks Freestyle Club (SPFC) has a new adult ladies snowboarding group this year to encourage more women to ride the park. The program will be coached by Katie Brayer, a 17-year-old SPFC competitor and recent graduate of Westsyde Secondary in Kamloops.

Brayer said she is excited to coach an all-women’s freestyle snowboarding group because two years ago when she was on the freestyle snowboarding team, she was the only girl and felt less experienced than the others.

“I was also one of the younger athletes as well, and all the coaches were male,” she said. “It was really intimidating to try and want to learn new tricks and try stuff that the boys have been doing for years already, you know? So I’m excited to sort of show other people that it’s okay to do that.”

Janna Brown, the SPFC’s snowboard program director, said the idea for the group came from a woman in the community. She reached out to Brown and said she had a few ladies who would be interested in an adult ladies-only program.

“I said if there’s enough women interested, I’ll try to make it happen,” said Brown. “All these women are pumped about it.”

Brown said they had more women sign up than expected and all the spots were filled quickly. She said she is excited for the program to bring more women to the terrain park and to have Brayer as a coach.

“I’ve seen her ride,” said Brown, “She’s a great park rider. So I think she’ll just really inspire women to push themselves and learn more. Learning from another female who can actually do all this stuff gets people that one step up. It just gives them that confidence.”

Brayer has been snowboarding for about seven seasons. She had always skied with her family when she was younger, but once she tried snowboarding she knew it was for her.

“I haven’t skied again since,” she said. “I also have aspirations to take snowboarding somewhere for myself, but I think this coaching will help me a lot as a rider to sort of look at things from the other side and more understand from a coach’s perspective.”

The program runs every Sunday for 15 weeks beginning the second week of November.  Participants are required to be comfortable on a snowboard, as the focus is to allow the women to develop their park skills with one another. 

“It’s really awesome to have a group of girls that can just ride together and sort of have a support system,” said Brayer.

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