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This New Ladies-Only Freeride Competition Is Not Your Average Skiing Comp

Sister Summit, a new all-female backcountry skiing event, aims to change the model of skiing competitions.

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Lady shredders, this one is for you. On Nov. 24, a team of skiing’s top female athletes will hole up at B.C.’s Mustang Powder for Sister Summit, an invite-only event that blurs the line between competition and motivational retreat. There are two components to the Summit—a media competition and a series of off-the-hill workshops. While unique, this format isn’t the event’s only defining trait. Everyone involved, from the videographers to the athletes, is female.

During the seven-day media competition, 13 skiers (joined by nine professional snowboarders) will explore Mustang Powder’s catskiing tenure each afternoon to shred a playground of pillows, meadows, and technical lines. The guest list includes the likes of Amie Engerbretson, McKenna Peterson, Maggie Voisin, and Piper Kunst (2022 Queen of Corbet’s), among other highly talented freeride veterans and up-and-comers alike. At the end of the competition, the crew will convene, watch the short films of each rider produced by the media team, and collectively crown the Sister Summit champion.

As a result of participation, each rider will walk away with videos and photographs of their skiing, meeting one of Sister Summit’s stated goals—highlighting the “powerful women in our sport.”

Skier shredding big mountain line
The ladies invited to the first inaugrual Sister Summit in Revelstoke, B.C., will be challenged to showcase their unique riding style and talent in the backcountry via photos and videos captured throughout the week. (Photo: Stellar Media)

Another component of Sister Summit is collective growth, facilitated by the aforementioned workshop series, which includes avalanche awareness clinics, discussions with entrepreneurs, nutritionist advice, and diversity seminars.

“Starting in the early 2000s, [skiing] was all just about your physical ability,” says Lexi duPont, professional skier and Sister Summit co-founder. “Now you have to be able to build your own brand, and that comes with so much knowledge with negotiations, entrepreneurship, [and] social media.”

To the event organizers, the workshops present an opportunity for female athletes to expand their skills on and off the slopes while tackling tricky subjects like inclusion in outdoor sports.

The rest of the event’s founding team includes Hedvig Wessel, Fanny Avril, and Leanne Pelosi. Collectively, their snowsports pedigree is immense. Avril worked as an international business and human rights lawyer before spending several years as the Freeride World Tour’s communications director. Wessel’s known for launching enormous backflips during her time on the Freeride World Tour, and Pelosi is a professional snowboarder who clinched a spot at last year’s invite-only competition, Natural Selection.

The seed for Sister Summit was planted when duPont got the call to ride as a wildcard during last season’s Freeride World Tour. On the Tour, she met Avril and Wessel and pitched the concept of Sister Summit, which emerged from her desire for more community-oriented skiing events. She recalls thinking, “with skiing, we really only have the Freeride World Tour, X Games, Kings and Queens of Corbets, and the Olympics.” Outside of these events, duPont notes, “you’re not seeing your community at all.”

Avril shared a similar sentiment. “I always felt it kind of hard to find people and women to connect with, and I felt like we really needed to express ourselves and express our fullest potential,” she said. “I felt that the only way to really do that was at some point to gather all together.”

With Sister Summit, Avril, duPont, and Wessel sought to address this need for community and female connection in snowsports. While duPont posits that future event iterations may include male attendees, “we really just wanted to work out what this contest looks like from a feminine standpoint.”

Getting the event off the ground didn’t just involve brainstorming and wishlists—it required action, too. The team brought Pelosi into the fold and got to work, relentlessly contacting brands this past summer. Within three months, they’d lined up enough sponsors to meet their budget goals.

Now, it’s just a matter of watching their hard work unfold. Avril and duPont are already stationed in Revelstoke, where the excitement is palpable.

“I think that we realized that what we started here is going to be of a huge impact,” says Avril.

The Athlete Roster

Skiers

  1. Lexi duPont
  2. Hedvig Wessel
  3. Amie Engebretson
  4. Mckenna Peterson
  5. Sasha Dingle
  6. Rachel Croft
  7. Evelina Nilsson
  8. Janina Kuzma
  9. Janelle Yip
  10. Maggie Voisin
  11. Molly Armanino
  12. Mollie Jepsen
  13. Piper Kunst (Rookie)

Snowboarders

  1. Leanne Pelosi
  2. Hana Beaman
  3. Manuela Mandl
  4. Taylor Godber
  5. Khai Bhagwandin
  6. Erika Vikander
  7. Mary Rand
  8. Ylfa Runarsdottir
  9. Anto Galmez (Rookie)

The Media Crew 

For the first time in the snow sports industry, an all-female media team of videographers and photographers will follow the athletes on a daily basis to deliver first-class content and highlight reels for the Sister Summit contest during and after the event. Check out the names of the most talented creative women of the industry.

Videographers

  • Sophie Danison 
  • Leslie Hittmeier
  • Tatum Epperson
  • Margeaux Bailey
  • Lilia Miki (Assistant and Rookie) 

Photographers

  • Robin O’Neill – lead
  • Mirae Campbell
  • Zoya Lynch

Director: Fanny Avril

Producer: Anne Cleary 

Production Assistant: Emilié Zynobia

 

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