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To kick off the season, pro skiers Lexi duPont and Hedvig Wessel, alongside snowboarders Fanny Avril and Leanne Pelosi, are launching the first ever Sister Summit. duPont’s time digging at Redbull Formation, a progression session in southern Utah for female freeride mountain bikers, inspired the new event: Part peer-judged competition, part networking event, Sister Summit is a unique opportunity for female skiing, filling a long-overlooked gap.
“That format— helping each other build and choose lines, getting women together, having it be collaborative instead of a true contest—was so inspiring. I immediately was like, ‘Wow, we need this for skiing,’” she says. duPont feels the ski world, especially the female ski world, is missing a solid sense of community that she noticed in other sports. “Even with snowboarding, I was noticing that they have all these events throughout the winter where everyone gets together; aside from the [Freeride World] Tour, X-Games, and King’s and Queen’s [of Corbet’s], we don’t have that.”
In short, Sister Summit is pretty much going to be lady ripper heaven; but there’s also deeper reasoning behind the shredfest.
Twenty athletes—10 skiers and ten snowboarders—will be invited to gather at Mustang Powder Lodge in Revelstoke from November 24 through December 1, with female photographers, filmers, and guest speakers. Women will split into groups daily to ride and film, stacking the footage for a full-length film highlighting the whole process. In the evenings, they’ll have guest speakers, including female CEOs, nutritionists, avalanche safety experts, and female producers, and participate in mindfulness and breathwork sessions. duPont says they plan to live stream the speaker series in the evenings, so folks can tune in and listen to some of the discussions.
So who’s going? DuPont says they haven’t announced the roster yet, and that part’s been hard since they know so many women they want to include. “I think this year, we have to hand select who’s going to come because if we just open up registration at some time, it’s not going to be very fair,” she says. “We want to incorporate more diversity but want to avoid tokenizing. We have ten invites out to women of color so far, hoping to create an event where all women feel welcome.”
For the inaugural event, duPont says they want to keep it centered around community building and progression. Women will have the chance to ski and ride with other ladies from different disciplines, emphasizing collaboration instead of competition. “X-Games girls will get the chance to work on backcountry skills, and the freeride athletes who aren’t as used to air time might want to practice hitting booters,” explains duPont. “Seeing all these ladies push themselves, like at Formation, we’re getting a different view of what’s possible, and that’s how we hope to push women’s skiing and snowboarding forward.”
Skill building will be a big focus, but the goal of the first Sister Summit isn’t solely to ski and ride the most enormous, most challenging terrain. DuPont, Avril, Wessel, and Pelosi hope to grow each year with more sponsor backing, creating a safe and welcoming space where women can take giant leaps in their sports.
“When we launched Sister Summit, all four of us were thinking, ‘How can we make this a better environment for both future and existing athletes?’” duPont says. “The opportunities are endless when you start to put women together.”
Stay tuned for an announcement on the first Sister Summit roster, and look out for more information on how to stream workshops and talks from the event.