Words: Tilly Tasker Illustration: Łukasz Horbów
Anyone could tell you that if you step into an interview with someone as passionate and driven as the co-founder of Coalition Snow, Jen Gurecki, all the metalicious planning and prep is going to go out the window. Jen writes her own script. She’s carved her own path, built her own businesses, broken down stereotypes, and redefined what it means to be a badass girl in the action sports world.
Coalition Snow was co-founded by Jen and Danielle Rees in 2014, producing a line of skis and snowboards for women, designed by women, with the tag ‘we make womens skis and snowboards that don’t suck!’ Beyond the technical aspects of the equipment, the skis and boards are extremely easy on the eye, and without a single camp pink floral design in sight.
Settling down for our chat, it’s 4:45pm here in England, and 8:45am in Lake Tahoe, California, where Jen is based. I’m anxious about having dragged her up so early, but she doesn’t sound sleepy in the slightest. ‘I started a company in Kenya’, she says, ‘I’m often on early morning and late night calls.’
When she’s not shredding in Tahoe, Jen is the chief officer of the Zawadisha Fund, a non-profit organisation based in Kenya that provides renewable energy and water products on credit to women. Exploring ‘bottom-up’ approaches to social change (you can watch Jen’s fascinating TEDx Talk on ‘Reimagining the Paradigm of Poverty’ from the University of Nevada), the objective of Zawadisha was to provide the fundamentals for these women to improve their immediate quality of life. A better education system would follow wake, and putting women in positions of power tackles gender inequality hands-on. Even though these humble resources, some of the women discovered their inner entrepreneurs and started their own businesses.