By Kim Constantinesco
Snowflakes may be fragile, but take into consideration what they can do when they stick together.
Big mountain pro skier Lynsey Dyer, 31, believes in the power of the woman just as much as she believes in the power of snowflake.
“When we choose to support each other as women, it can be the most beautiful, most powerful thing,” Dyer said.
Dyer is the first female to ever land on the cover of Freeskier Magazine. She’s been named the Skier of the Year by Powder Magazine, and the list of big mountain competitions she’s won runs chest deep. She doesn’t just stand atop the most intense looking mountains in Alaska or Jackson Hole, picking the most thrilling lines down. She’s also a graphic designer, photographer, TV host, action sports model, non-profit advocate, and mentor.
With all those titles, why not add one more to the list?
Most recently, this Sun Valley, Idaho native added filmmaker to her repertoire, and she did it for good reason: In major ski films, only about 14% of athletes are female.
That’s why Dyer got on the coconut wires to contact her best ski friends about starring in her movie: Pretty Faces: The Story of a Skiergirl
Talent Over Looks
“My inspiration came just from feeling an obligation to represent an undeserved market,” Dyer said. “There are so many incredible athletes that most people don’t know about, and most specifically, young girls aren’t exposed to. As females, we get lots of chances to be models, but we don’t necessarily get chances to showcase our talent, and that’s what drives us, and what we’re on the planet to share. I wanted to give girls an opportunity to show what they could do on their talent alone, and show young girls that we can take the emphasis off of what our bodies look like and put it onto what our bodies are capable of doing.”
People weren’t exactly jumping out of their seats when Dyer first pitched the idea for the movie.
“Everyone kind of patted me on the back and said, ‘Good luck with that. Isn’t that cute,'” Dyer said.
However, once she launched her kickstarter page asking for $60,000 to fund the film, backers gave her over $113,000, making it the most successful kickerstarter campaign in history for an action sports film. Since its September release, over 150 shows have been sold out, all from a grassroots approach.
What is it about the film then that appeals to not only women, but to men too, particularly fathers of young girls?
“A lot of men, especially fathers, tear up when they watch the film,” Dyer said. ” I think it’s because it [skiing] is all the same thing. We all want to go challenge ourselves in the mountains, gender aside, and live these dreams that we fantasize about — the deep, deep powder or getting to go to Alaska to see if you can actually hang. We all want to progress. We all want to challenge ourselves in these environments that inspire us. ”
Dyer has received hundreds of emails from people thanking her for her film-making efforts.
“The world at large is tough on the messages that it puts out to young girls,” Dyer said. “I think parents really realize that they want to expose their young girls to positive messages; not just the ones that compare themselves to a standard that isn’t even authentic.”
Born for the Job
Dyer is perhaps the perfect woman to represent female skiers. She’s athletic, insightful, well-spoken, and yes — authentic. That’s why XS Helmets wanted her. The Canadian based company, which designs and manufactures thoughtfully-colored helmets for women and youth in action sports, couldn’t think of a better woman to inspire their consumers.
“Lynsey is a great brand ambassador for XS because she really embodies what we see the brand to be, which is athletic, positive, and feminine,” XS co-owner and creative director Christine Breakell-Lee said. “We really feel that a woman can be strong and still want things to look good, and be drawn to something that’s accessible like nice packaging, nice colorings, and still be really inspirational in a truly athletic way.”
Dyer talks with ease and confidence when discussing how women have progressed the sport. She says that women have taken skiing to a new level in terms of their ability to communicate effectively in the backcountry, which is essential for safety. Dyer says that women also have a strong desire to be part of a community.
That’s what prompted her to launch SheJumps in 2006, which aims to increase female participation in outdoor activities.
Jump In, Jump Out, Just Jump
“It was inspired by the fact that we all played team sports when we were growing up, and we love the camaraderie of that,” Dyer said. “Sometimes, as women, we have a hard time supporting each other. There’s some ugly parts of girls that we’re not always proud of. Given the right circumstances and experiences provided, we can also showcase the best parts of being girls.”
SheJumps offers educational classes and outdoor adventures all over the country for women of any age at any level. The point is to maintain a strong, safe, supportive, and trusting community in order to provide women a place where they can go to fully express themselves.
“So many of the women that we talk to say that they struggle with going out with the guys,” Dyer said. “They don’t want to slow down the group, so they don’t want to ask their questions, or they’ll just pass and not go out that day. If we can provide a community that is a safe to make mistakes then that’s a place where we can really grow from.”
Given the person that Dyer is, the program really draws a special type of female, who is not only looking to grow from experiences in the outdoors, but to grow within a community of like-minded women.
If Dyer has it her way, she’ll take SheJumps, and its philosophy to mountain top levels.
“I think my purpose is to share my passion, which is being empowered through challenging ourselves in nature both as an individual and as a group,” Dyer said. “When we are empowered, we are more authentic to who we really are. I think if we can share more of that with the world outside of action sports, we’re not only going to empower ourselves, but we’re going to save our planet.”
One snowflake at a time. One woman at a time.