I found this ad I did in a snowboard magazine back the ’90′s. I rounded up the girls in my neighborhood and my friend Polly snapped the photo. At the time, I was the Marketing Director for Avalanche Snowboards and was considered “a pioneer woman” in the sport.
Even as an owner of the company, I was frustrated getting women’s-specific equipment into the production pipeline. It was expensive to make and promote a snowboard model, so often the women’s line of gear was limited.
One year, I put my foot down and demanded a model specifically for women. It was more of a statement than a marketing strategy, but we made the snowboard and I ran this ad. I can’t prove that I could ride better, but it sure felt like I could. And that’s what matters.
So in honor of International Women’s Day, I wanted you to see what I wrote next to the photo:
What’s in the future for these girls in snowboarding? Will they get the choices they deserve?
Although snowboarding is a young sport, the old rules still apply. Women may be 25% of the participants, but of 1600 boards offered only 64 are designed for us.
The overwhelming majority of decision makers in the sport are men, designing and selling women’s equipment. Do you think our needs are being taken seriously?
I insist on building a board with absolutely no compromises in quality, construction, or design – for women. I’m raising the standard even though I’m told we don’t need it.
We do – and by the time these girls get there, there’ll be plenty of choices and no more questions.
Bev Sanders is founder and president of Las Olas Surf Safaris for Women. She started surfing at 44 continuing her lifelong pursuit of introducing women to sports.
Photo by Polly Gaillard