Wild Women of the Wasatch all find happiness through outdoor sports in the Wasatch Mountains. I’m Amy David bringing you the next episode which highlights an even wilder breed of women storming the range. These babes on boards will drop your jaw with their rowdy riding while simultaneously lifting your spirits with insights on their jovial lifestyles. While there are a slew of savvy babes on boards in the Wasatch, I spent a few days getting to know Olympic boardercross athlete Faye Gulini, big mountain snowboarder Laura Dewey, and backcountry splitboarder and writer MacKenzie Ryan.
Are these daredevil women completely fearless or extremely calculated … it’s a solid balance of both. Watch ep08 to catch them in action sliding, grinding and flying through the mountains.
The first time I met Faye, we were skating from the top of the University of Utah to downtown. She noticed her wheel was missing a screw, shrugged it off and started ripping down the hill. Since then, everytime I see Faye, she’s busting a dance move, giving out massive hugs and looking like an all around boss. Her tough, yet happy-go-lucky personality is welcoming and always fun to be around, not to mention a pow slaying, cliff dropping animal.
Faye started riding at Snowbird when she was nine years old, and she entered her first boardercross competition when she was 10. With a strong natural talent and desire to chase an Olympic dream, Faye moved to Vail, Colorado when she was 15. Within two years at the young age of 17, she had qualified for the US Olympic boardercross team for the 2010 Vancouver games where she placed 12th. Continuing her competition progress, Faye returned to the 2014 Olympics moving up to 4th place. Among many other top places, her most recent accomplishment was earning third on the podium at the World Championships in Spain.
Between contests, Faye finds all of the powder stashes and launches off big cliffs with a crew of friends. She’s studying accounting at Westminster College and volunteers with Wasatch Adaptive Sports. Between traveling across the world representing the US in boardercross competitions, Faye calls the Wasatch home.
This gal is a Cornell University grad and drives her passion for snowboarding through writing. With 22 years of riding under her belt, she’s found the most happiness through rigorous days backcountry splitboarding. MacKenzie aspires to learn more mountaineering skills to improve her approach to bigger descents.
Originally a competitive snowboarder, MacKenzie broke her back causing her to take things one day at a time. She could splitboard up Grizzly Gulch to strengthen her back and ride smooth powder on the way down. She says, “riding backcountry is more of an intrinsic motivation and making the best out of any given situation each day.”
She refers to splitboarding as making lemonade out of lemons. The ascent is just brutal where you’re going uphill for about 99% of the day and you have to get comfortable with all the funny idiosyncrasies you get when climbing a mountain.
“You’re basically here to observe. Any sort of stress you have in your life gets left behind, and you focus on putting one foot in front of the other. I really enjoy riding pow. It’s the most freeing feeling you can experience.”
MacKenzie described how it’s a really empowering experience to be in the backcountry because you need to be able to self advocate and speak up to convey your opinion on the safety of each situation. Your partner should be someone who is receptive to that and then you confer and mutually decide what you’re going to do.
As a well known rider at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, Laura has made a name for herself through competing in big mountain snowboard events and having an outgoing personality bound to bring a smile to your face. During this episode, Laura reflects on her last competition run at Snowbird and the value of maintaining a strong, healthy body. She’s also big on ripping around with her friends.
You’ll either see her working as a snowmaker for Alta, waitressing at the Shallow Shaft, or lapping Baldy through the winter. During the summer season, Laura is a stand up paddle board instructor and travels to ride the white water. Her love of cruising on boards transcends through all the seasons and forms of water.
Also featured in this episode was Haille Soderholm throwing down the stunts in the park. You’ll see a lot more of her in the upcoming episode.
Next up, ep09 Spring Fling. Temperatures heat up and the Wild Women of the Wasatch turn it up even more for the slush slingin’, barbequin’, booter boostin’ spring ski traditions. Keep an eye on Ski Utah until then and keep up with my personal travels on Instagram @AmyJaneDavid.
Watch Ep01 Adaptive Sports
Watch Ep02 Chicks Who Rip
Watch Ep03 Dawn Till Dark
Watch Ep04 Escape the Heat
Watch Ep05 Mountain Canine Companions
Watch Ep06 Steep Jobs
Watch Ep07 Local Pioneers
Watch Ep09 Spring Fling
Watch Ep10 Who are the Wild Women of the Wasatch?
Watch Ep11 Gnarly Nurses
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