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Conquering Mountains: Brooke Potter’s “Ultraviolence” and the state of women’s street skiing

Conquering Mountains: Brooke Potter’s “Ultraviolence” and the state of women’s street skiing

“Girls don’t hit urban,” goes the ever-popular rhetoric, followed by a wave of backlash and justification. But here’s the thing, that statement has been mostly true—until now. Women’s skiing is on the come up; more companies are throwing R&D towards female specific gear and the newest generation is getting in the terrain park younger and younger. That park experience hasn’t really made a full-scale transfer to the streets, though. A place where the stakes are much higher, but the photograph you get, is oh-so-much sweeter.

You don’t have ski patrol to call when you take a concrete stair to the rib or drop 15 feet off a ledge. You deal with the fine line between private and public property, and the run ins with police. You don’t have pristinely sculpted features designed by a world-class park builder; instead, you have the creativity to make a feature work for you. Yet, the common thought was always that it was too dangerous, or too hard.

Meet Brooke Potter.

brookelifestyle

Photo: Savannah Pitts

Believe it or not, she’s one of only a handful of ladies leading the charge in street skiing. Potter is fresh off a gold medal win in slopestyle from the 2015 Winter University Games in Granada, Spain. She’s originally from Annapolis, Maryland, but spent the majority of her life living in Colorado. When she’s not out bagging gold medals or hitting the streets, she attends Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge, Colorado getting her Bachelor’s in sustainability studies. Potter had always been a slopestyle competition skier, but this past year she set her sights on a new goal; dedicating her time to a solely street shot film—the first of its kind. Below, she gives us an inside look at her project, Ultraviolence, and what the future has in store for her.

What is Ultraviolence?
This project is a small step in the right direction of where I would like to be heading. It’s the first glimpse of the type of skiing I want to pursue, my editing style, and overall personality. It was shot throughout Colorado as a build up to hopefully bigger urban trips in the future. I chose the name Ultraviolence because street skiing can contain violent acts like a lot of hard falls simply for the thrill and excitement of it.

https://vimeo.com/135309642

Why did you decide to make a solely street film?
I put together a street-only project because I had finally accumulated enough shots. The idea had been on my mind for a while and this was the year to make it happen. There are always so many edits filmed in the park every year, but there has never been a girl to put out a full season edit filmed in the streets. I believe it’s the time to make it all happen.

What impact would you like to see Ultraviolence have?
I would like to see it have a solid impact on women’s skiing. This winter, a buddy told me that sometimes the ski industry has tunnel vision and it only takes one person to see things differently. I hope that I can impact the industry and show girls that it is totally possible to dedicate a season to urban skiing, no matter what people say.

Opinions on the state of women’s urban skiing?
There is so much potential in women’s street skiing. So many lady rail slayers are out there and if we could all take our rail game to the streets, we would have a whole new niche in women’s skiing. The competition scene is not the only option for us anymore.

Waterfallrail

Photo: Katrina Siegfried

Favorite spot you’ve hit so far?
I hit a waterfall style drop rail in Arvada, Colorado. I took so many hits and it was the hardest I had ever worked to get a shot. I was super close to giving up and leaving, but then my buddies encouraged me to hit the rail a few more times and I got the whole thing.

Most challenging thing about skiing in the streets?
Most challenging part of skiing in the streets would be the added variables on top of the feature itself. My personal struggle would be relying on a bungee for speed. My first time using a bungee resulted in a really bad concussion because it sent me way too far. I am tiny compared to the guys I hit the streets with, so depending on them and the bungee for proper speed is a major challenge that I overcame this season.

A video posted by brooke potter (@brooke_potter) on

You’re an accomplished competition skier as well, what’s the pull to the streets?
Competitions used to mean the world to me, but there came a certain point where I stopped enjoying them. I get the same accomplished feeling from stacking a shot in the streets, without the insane amount of pressure and politics.

Do you feel like there’s more to prove in the streets, being a female?
There is a lot to prove in the streets in general, but I have to be realistic. My project is not comparable to any of the guys, but my goal is to prove to myself that I can do something that hasn’t been done and to overcome my fear on the daily.

Any advice for girls wanting to get out and hit urban?
Dial in your rail game. Once you’re fully confident hitting any rail in your park, make sure you go out with skiers who have experience hitting handrails. It seems silly, but it makes a huge difference at first to be around people who know what they are doing.

brookebridge

Photo: Calais Lecoq

Ultraviolence drops Friday, October 2nd on vimeo. It has also been entered into the annual International Freeski Festival (IF3), so those of you in Montreal may get a first look at the project. Follow Brooke on Facebook, Instagram and Vimeo for more photos, information and teasers.

Related: Conquering Mountains: These 5 ladies are on a quest for a never-ending winter

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