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Millie, Madi and Rachael helping out. Photo by Emma Fitzgerald
Millie, Madi and Rachael helping out. Photo by Emma Fitzgerald

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I turned up at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead for the premiere of the much-anticipated all-girls ski flick, Pretty Faces.

My main concern, as is common for me , was that I wouldn’t know anybody. But it was kind of relevant for the showing of a film that aims to get more girls interested in snowsports.

Looking cool in my rental helmet. Photo by David Wren at RWND
Looking cool in my rental helmet. Photo by David Wren at RWND Photography

I hadn’t been planning to ski, out of something I thought might have been professionalism, although I’d brought my ski pants, just in case (helmet and gloves had been left at home during the panic-packing). But of course I ended up skiing – how could I not?

Just saved from the humiliation of rental skis by a kindly event sponsor who lent me some of this season’s Armada ARVws, (great ski, by the way)  I put on my rental boots and bright white rental helmet and ventured, gloveless, onto the slope.

And I was so glad I did, because skiing gave me the best chance to see what was going on and catch up with two of the organisers, Rachael Walsh and Sophie Offord. They’d had a busy day of organisation, appearing on BBC Counties radio to advertise the event, and battling with the connection leads in the room where the film was due to be shown. But they were stoked at the turnout; was stoked at the turnout. There were far more girls than you’d see in any European snow park on an average day, well over 25, made up of a mixture of regular faces and and first or second timers.

Ella learning to slide a box. Photo by Emma Fitzgerald
Ella learning to slide a box. Photo by Emma Fitzgerald

Over in the girly section (usually a beginners’ area) GB freeskiers Madi Rowlands and Millie Wilkinson were on hand to help everyone get started and learn new tricks, whether it was sliding a box for the first time or learning 180s on the jump. This was where the idea of the girls’ shred night really came into its own;  Rachael and Sophie threw out some beanies, chatted to some new faces and everyone was just generally getting stoked on riding with other girls and learning some new things.

The session was cut a bit short to watch the film, which was attended by more than just the girls; there were some mums who had been watching from the bar and some of the boys as well. It was the only time since I’d seem Mamma Mia! at the cinema that people actually clapped at the end of a film, and it was totally worth the applause.

As oppose to the standard girls’ ski flick which involves any number of lifestyle shots, time lapses and awkward voice overs, Pretty Faces stood out for being fun; all about the skiing and having fun with your friends. The film was the project of professional freeskier and founder of Shejumps.org, Lynsey Dyer,who used a Kickstarter campaign alongside sponsor money to fund the film. You could really see Dyer’s vision for the film throughout which may well have been lost had big budget sponsors been involved.

Photo by Emma Fitzgerald
Photo by Emma Fitzgerald

It’s not about looking pretty or being cool, or even nature shots for that matter – it’s  just about wanting to go skiing and being a girl. But not in an in-your-face feminist type way, it’s a lot more subtle than that. It’s just realistic look at life as a skier as well as a woman, which was something I found really refreshing, as did most of the people I talked to afterwards.

The film totally encompassed what the premiere night was about – Rachael, Sophie and Robyn put in heaps of work to make sure everyone had a good night, had fun and made new friends. Girls should really ski together more often…

There’s one more Pretty Faces premiere to go, this Thursday the 13th November, so if you want to get into freeskiing, make some new friends and win some sweet gear, get down to the Sno!Zone at Castleford, Leeds, to meet some other like minded girls and receive some help and tips from GB team members Katie and Molly Summerhayes!

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