QParks marketing wizard and Girls Shred Sessions initiator Monika Oberreiter shares her passion park riding, girls sharing and freeskiing - obviously!
Interview by Anna Langer
FREESTYLE IS FUN - AGE DOESN’T MATTER!
There’s a saying that Austrians are born on skis and this is almost true for me. I grew up in St.Johann in the Pongau, predominated for wintersports with not only one but a couple of resorts right in front of our doorsteps. I think I was two and half years old when I stole my brother’s skis for the first time to try them out on our living room floor. From there it was straight to the slopes and the first snowplough turns. Turning wasn’t really my thing though and my parents had one hell of a time looking after me, never looking left or right but just charging straight downhill while waving at someone in the lift...
I’ve loved skiing all my life and it has always been a vital part of my everyday life. Even in school we’d go to the slopes instead of doing regular sports lessons, the resort was right around the corner! In winter me and my family spent every free minute in the mountains, afternoons after school as well as weekends. Back then it felt absolutely normal to me but when I think back now, I realize it was pure luxury.
In winter me and my family spent every free minute in the mountains, afternoons after school as well as weekends - what a luxury!
When snowboarding emerged around the time I was nine years old, I obviously had to give it try. And I actually stuck with being on one plank for quite a bit and even did a few boardcross events as well as some races. But only until the first twin tip skis came out! Again my brother set the example when he got a pair of twin tips and from that on moment I changed sides again as well. Snowboarding is amazing but I was just enjoying the twin tips more and soon started doing the first tricks. And I stayed with it ever since.
If you have to be able to ride to work for QParks? Of course, to qualify for the job you have to take on a whole slopestyle course followed by a Big Air jump and if you’re still alive after that, you’re welcome to work with us…haha maybe I should suggest that to our bosses one day! But no, you obviously don’t have to be a hardcore park shredder or some kind of pro athlete to work here, but you definitely should be involved in the scene and be somewhat familiar with freestyle and “youth culture" in general. Everyone in our team is passionate about winter sports and spends a major part of their free time in the mountains and the parks. If you’re not into any of this, the work is only half the fun...
It was again my brother who got me into park riding. When the first attempts of a ‘funpark’ were showing in our resort we naturally had to give the rails and boxes a try. My brother lead and I followed... Landing on my ass most of the times but it was great fun anyway! The first proper trick I had in my bag was a 180 over a mini jump and I was super proud of myself when I stuck the first switch landing without falling over...!
It’s really hard to push yourself when you have no idea what's out there and no opportunity to compare yourself to other female riders.
I want to bring more girls to the park so the guys have more to marvel at! Haha no serious, I think many of us are still to shy and have to much respect to hit the park, and watching the guys throwing one amazing trick after the next really can be intimidating. And since there are so many of the them, the level is constantly pushed further - which is great of course, but we need that too! It’s really hard to push yourself when you have no idea what's out there and no opportunity to compare yourself to other female riders. In the end you don’t have to be a super pro in order to ride a park. Nowadays almost all parks have obstacles for all riding levels. And I hope that events like the Girls Shred Sessions will motivate even more of us to just give it a try!
I’ve never had a proper idol to look up to, but took inspiration from different people around me. Lately a lot of that came from the ski and snowboard girls around me, who are just so passionate and stoked about their sports, don’t feel any dread or fear for obstacles and simply rock the park! I love being a part of that and their energy never seizes to motivate me over and over again to push my own limits.