There has been some serious stoke surrounding Lynsey Dyer’s new movie brainchild: the all-girls ski movie Pretty Faces. It showcases the talents of some of the most prestigious females in freeskiing, and is one of the first female snow films to generate such a huge amount of excitement from men as well as women.
So much so, in fact, that three of Britain’s finest have decided to organise a tour and showings of the film. Sophie Offord, Rachel Walsh and Robyn Benn are all heavily involved with the British freeski scene, and have teamed up to put together two premiere nights. They’re all about getting girls together to ski and snowboard, learn some new tricks and have a damn good time – and then watch some other girls do the same! We caught up with them to find out a bit more about what they’re doing and what it takes to organise a tour…
How did you come to organise the Pretty Faces Premiere?
Robyn: We’ve been following the film since its infant stages and upon realising there was no plan for tour dates in the UK, it seemed obvious that we should get in touch and organise one for ourselves and the rest of the female freeski following. This film is revolutionary in all senses of the word; from the original concept of featuring an all-girl cast, to the fan fuelled funding through use of Kickstarter. The film has had such an overwhelmingly positive reaction it would be criminal not to bring it to the UK.
What’s the plan for the big night(s)?
Sophie: We are going to have a ‘girly shred session’ in the dome (boys are more than welcome too) with some tips and help from some of the top female freeskiers and boarders, and a little jam session with spot prizes. Then after a quick freshen up we will be screening the film in the bars followed by a raffle with some pretty sweet prizes up for grabs!
Have you had a lot of support for what you’re doing and from whom?
Sophie: We have had a lot of support from loads of the UK girls who seem pretty excited about the event; lots of university clubs have arranged girl’s trips to come and join in. It is difficult however to get support from the big companies for an all-girls event. So a huge thank you to those who have supported us… Finest Hour, Armada, Faction, Planks, Funi, Smith, Leeds [university] Snowriders, Ellis Brigham, NUCO and of course Cooler!
Robyn: Incredible support, not only from sponsors (who have been awesome and so generous), but also from other lady riders out there. Girls are so encouraging and always go mad for events like this, it’s been amazing to see so many girls wanting to get involved and help out wherever possible. It’s been overwhelming to say the least.
Who can we expect to see at the premieres?
Rachael: Girls that want to have fun, loads of rad UK girl skiers and snowboarders and maybe an Olympian…!
How do you think films like this will change the face of women’s freeskiing?
Sophie: I think it will change it a lot! I think there’s a thin line between trying to showcase amazing female skiing and putting female and male skiers in different boxes. The film is rad though and I really feel that it showcases some of the top female skiers, throwing down but also having such a fun time doing it!
Rachael: Yeah, It’s so great! Unicorn Picnic (the people behind the film) have done a great job of making the film fun and girly without trying to be too serious AND I’ve never seen more incredible skiing from ladies, from doubles to huge Alaskan freeride lines! It’s so great to see the girls smashing it and I am convinced the guys will love it too!
Robyn: I’d like to think that it will not only inspire the girls out there who are perhaps lacking the confidence to have a go, or haven’t yet had the opportunity to follow their passion! But as well as this, I really hope that it disproves those who feel that watching women ride is boring compared to the men – I really hope for the film to break boundaries and show that we’re on a level playing field here.
Tell us a bit about the girl’s nights you’ve put on in the snowdomes before.
Sophie: We have thrown a few girl’s nights in the snowdomes in previous years within the university ski scene which have been so popular we were able to organise more than one. The laid back feel and encouragement from the girls made such a great atmosphere for beginners and pros alike to learn new tricks and get stuck in. We had so many girls who had never tried freestyle before doing their first box and first kickers and it was amazing to see how much fun they had. Hopefully these events will encourage more girls to leave behind their fears and get stuck into freestyle skiing and boarding!
There is a good crew of British girls coming up through the domes and dryslopes, do you have any predictions or hopes for the future of female British freeskiing/snowboarding?
Sophie: I think female freeskiing/snowbording in the UK is blowing up right now! What with Katie competing and killing it in the Olympics this year to some of the up and coming riders such as Katie King and Sarah Hoffelin releasing some awesome edits this summer. There are so many more girls starting to come through and I think this season will really showcase and encourage more and more girls to get filming; competing and most importantly have fun!
Robyn: Too right! My only hope is that the more female riders in the public eye, the more participation we will see from girls across the country. That’s the main thing, more and more girls get stoked on doing what they love with their mates. And if one day girls can be offered the same opportunity that guys have to achieve this, well, that’s exactly what this is all about.
How does riding in the domes compare to real snow? Do you think some girls get put off by the price/size/other aspects of dome riding?
Rachael: The awesome thing is that these places are really supportive of their local riders and events like this one! Obviously there’s some drawbacks to domes, like the lack of space for a kicker with a nice long landing, or the prices but it does mean you can shred year round!
Sophie: Yeah, I think domes can be a little intimidating for first time riders as often there seems to be a bit of a cliquey atmosphere. However I think domes are a great way of trying out freestyle for the first time as many domes do offer smaller rookie features and nights for beginners and there are so many people there who are happy to help out.
My only hope is that the more female riders we see in the public eye, the more participation we will see from girls across the country. That’s the main thing, more and more girls get stoked on doing what they love with their mates.
What advice would you give to girls who want to get into freeskiing/snowboarding?
Sophie: Don’t be scared, just go for it! Most women are just so excited to have other girls to ski with. I have met so many people through skiing who I can now call life long friends! But most of all just have fun… Freeskiing is all about being free and enjoying what you are doing!!
Rachael: I think the best thing to do is to get a beginners freestyle lesson! They do these at pretty much every Snow Centre in the UK and one lesson will give you the basics, good technique and save you loads of hassle in the long run! Also don’t worry what you look like or give up, everyone looks like a noob the first time they go but you quickly get the hang of it.
Robyn: Get involved! And don’t be afraid to ask for help. The beautiful thing about this sport is that everyone is just stoked to ride and wants to spread the love.
The Pretty Faces premieres run on two different nights: 7th November at the Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead and the 13th November at Castleford Sno!Zone. Come on down and meet these guys, along with heaps of other girls who are stoked on riding, learning new tricks and having a good time.
Both events are non-profit and any money raised will go to shejumps.org, a charity started by Lynsey Dyer to help get more girls doing more outdoor activities.
Oh, and check out the Pretty Faces teaser here, it looks awesome!