The POPCORN! brand manager gives us the lowdown on Women in Boardsports and living in a fairy tale
Interview by Anna Langer, photo by Säny Blaser
I originally came to Saas-Fee as a snowboarder teacher. I’m from Solothurn, that’s about 30 km from Bern. I spent a couple of winters here and then eight years ago I decided to stay all year round.
Saas-Fee has a very special charm and authenticity. Instead of taking the car you do everything by foot and there’s the most beautiful nature everywhere around you, liveability of the highest grade! Of course you can get that in other ski resorts as well, but most likely the rustic chalets will be towered over by concrete shelters and the snow in the streets will be black from pollution and cars. Here on the other hand it’s like a fairy tale – which can be dangerous too, when you suddenly wake up to reality when you heading to the nearest city.
I started as an assistant to the hotel manager of POPCORN! and I’m proud to be a part of their unique story. I also organised the legendary parties and even some international snowboard events, and put all my heart and soul into promoting the POPCORN! beanies, shirts and other merchandise. One of my personal highlights was the Snickers Classic & Popcorn Wallride TTR event in 2008, where I went on stage to sing to “Highway to Hell” with Shaun White on the drums!
The environment is a very important issue for me. Living in a place like this you’re more aware and sensible. We’re very consistent in separating our waste, everybody in the village does it – and they’d earn some serious looks if they didn’t. We use the stunning nature which surrounds us to raise awareness among kids and tourists in general. Two years ago, I organised the first “Mountain Cleaning Day” based on the example of Mountain Riders in France. After the season we met up with the Saas-Fee Tourism and about 200 volunteers to clean the slopes from rubbish and dirt. We also have a preventative campaign with ads in all gondolas, to remind tourists that they can’t behave the same way over here as they do somewhere else.
The story behind Women in Boardsports is quite cute actually. I met [co-organiser and founder of Les Ettes] Carmela Fleury about five years ago at a BBQ that Girlie Camp founder Marika Borg held in France. We sat in a nice round of girls and at one point the discussion moved on to the boardsports industry and how difficult it can still be for women to stand their ground in such a male-dominated world. That gave us the idea to organise something like the Snowforum, which already existed back then, but just for girls, to create a network and platform where they can share ideas and support each other. That was the basic concept. Two years later I met Carmela again, this time watching the girls’ pipe finals at the Burton European Open in Laax. Everything simply fell into place that day, everything was perfect and the girls’ riding was sick that I finally said “Come on, lets do it! I’ve got the infrastructure, the location and the accommodation and you know the important people, or rather the important women.“ The rest, as they say, is history.
What impresses me most about WiB are the many projects and ideas that are created and developed in these four days and carried out afterwards. And that I can be a part of it, by organsising this event, makes me very happy. Skateistan is a great example, through their presence at the event, they got a lot of girls working for major brands thinking about what their employers could do to help. So the support the project will hopefully get in the future would not have been possible if it wasn’t for this event. And I couldn’t be more stoked that together with Carmela I had a part in initiating this.