Interview by Anna Langer
The environment has always been a big issue for me. I grew up with only organic food from the very beginning, my mother used self made fertilizers for her garden, brewed natural pesticides and so on. I do the same today, I treat the whole family (even the family dog) with homeopathic remedies or take them to our naturopath and try to avoid drugs, just as my mother did. We also use solar and hydro energy to heat, and this list could go on and on. I think it’s in our responsibility to take care of how we live and to take care of our mother earth – it’s the only one we have.
My husband Peter tried to find a system for environmentally friendly production methods that would work for the Outdoor industry and its high requirements on functionality, so in 2000 he developed the bluesign® standard. At the very beginning it was a two men/women show with just Peter and me, but today we already relying on around 23 people all over the world. And with the support of SGS (main share holder) with 70,000 associates world wide, we also have cultural and language support especially in the Asian countries, where the main textile industry is located today.
The bluesign® standard creates transparency along the entire textile manufacturing chain, providing tangible solutions and practical tools, without compromising functionality, quality or design. With a sophisticated input stream management, all input streams are assessed based on their ecotoxicological impact with a particular focus on resource productivity, consumer safety, air emission, water emission and occupational health and safety. Potentially harmful substances are eliminated before production even begins yielding products that contain only components and pass through processes that are safe for humans and the environment according to “Best Available Technology".
We’re working with a lot of outdoor brands, who recogniced the urgency to commit to environmentally friendly production quite early but the boardsports industry should follow and take more responsibility now too! There are a few snowboard brands already, which are aware of the signs of time, like Zimtstern for example (the first snowboard brand to sign up a couple of years ago) and since January 2012 also Burton, who will hopefully inspire many more to come on board the bluesign community.
I’ve been skiing since I was a little child, and at some point it was no challenge anymore , especially not with those long ancient skis. So one day our family (consisting of our 7 year old daughter, my husband and me) were searching for a new challenge in winter sports and the change to snowboarding was definitively the best we could do! We started off with skiboots on the board, followed by hard snowboard boots and alpine race boards for many years, but today my heart is definitively beating for riding untouched slopes and powder with my freeride board!
I still remember the first time very well though. It was fun but also pain. We had a snowy weekend in December 1994 when we started our first turns along with a snowboard instructor. Nevertheless on my third day on the board I ruptured my cruciate ligament and the season was over for me.
Women in boardsports are still a minority. I don’t know actually why. Snowboarding is not only a power using sport for men, it’s also and in my opinion first of all a very elegant sport which fits perfectly for women! There should be more snowboard lessons especially designed for the needs of girls on offer, Girlie Camps are a very good example. That kind of concept should find entrance in every snowboard school.
What tips I can give? Open you eyes for the beauty of our nature and environment – it makes you happy and gives you energy. If you want to keep on doing your favorite outdoor sports in the future and you’re aware of the fragile eco system you live in, then you will take care and act responsibly automatically.
If I’m in good health in 20 years, I can hopefully still make some careful and slow turns in the powder. But in any case I hope that I’ll be able to enjoy our wonderful, healthy and recovered nature either in the mountains or under water while diving (which is my second passionate sport besides snowboarding).