Paving The Way: Sarah Burke

Paving The Way: Sarah Burke

Sarah Burke This woman needs very little introduction. She has been a pioneer in women’s park and pipe skiing for a decade. Sarah Burke has been fighting the good fight for women’s park skiing since before such a term existed. She competed with the boys and was stomping tricks only a handful of them could do early on at the turn of the century. Her multiple X Games medals, film segments and ESPY awards speak for themselves.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO SKIING COMPETITIVELY? I started competing in bumps and going to summer ski camp. I would do a week of moguls, and when freeride camp started, I jumped right on it. Basically, once I saw Vinnie Dorion, Mike Douglas and Philou Poirier doing this stuff I wanted to be a part of it. I would do big air contests at night after the mogul events.

“I looked up to Wendy Fisher mostly. She was the one in the spotlight when I was starting to get into it. She was the one girl in the ski movies shredding. I remember being so scared to actually meet her.”

WHEN DID YOU START SKIING PROFESSIONALLY? At around 18 years old. I got my first sponsor at 17 but I was 18 when I was making enough money to travel and live on my own.

HOW DO THE PEOPLE YOU SKI WITH INFLUENCE BOTH YOUR SKIING ANDYOUR CAREER?Everyone brings something different to the table. You ski with Grete Eliassen and she is going to push you hard and fast. You ski with Rory Bushfi eld and you’re going to be off hitting something you’ve never seen before. You ski with Justin Dorey and Mike Riddle and you’re mostly going to be standing there, going, “Whoa.” That’s the best part of taking it all in, everyone does it differently.

WHAT IS IT LIKE BEING A FEMALE IN THE SCENE? It’s never been a bettertime. Girls are coming up from all over the place and they are all ready to get after it. They all want a piece, so it’s really great to see. I think companies are starting to notice this movement and wanting to get involved, as well.

HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE AFFECTED WOMEN’S SKIING? I hope it’s been positive… I know it’s been positive one for me. It has built me into the person Iam today. I started at the beginning when there were no girls, always fighting for a small piece of the action. I have learned a lot of about the industry and to never give up because someone will eventually give in. I am proud to have continued to push and push. Things are finally happening for us ladies and I couldn’t be more stoked!

WHAT WOMEN IN SKIING DID YOU LOOK UP TOOR ADMIRE GETTING INTO THE SPORT? I looked up to Wendy Fisher mostly. She was the one in the spotlight when I was starting to get into it. She was the one girl in the ski movies shredding. I remember being so scared to actually meet her.

WHAT MAKES SKIING THE SPORT YOU CHOSE? It’s what I grew up on. It was my freedom back then. It still is now. It can take me from the worst mood to the best mood in the matter of a single run. I played all kinds of sports growing up but none of that felt as natural as skiing did for me.

WHAT MAKES IT EMPOWERING?Women in sports are empowering alone. You are strong, independent, driven and confident. To excel you have to want it and that is a great feeling… to know what you want and to go after it. You can’t help but feel like the shit when you land that trick you’ve been dreaming about.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNGER GIRLS GETTING INTO IT? Get out there and do it. Go have fun with it. Don’t get all caught up in being the best. Find a group of friends — girls or guys — go out there and push yourself.

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