Times are changing: women are taking a real interest in sports which they have not traditionally participated in, such as contact and extreme sports. Female snowboarder, Kimmy Fasani is at the forefront of it all. A ‘tough chick rider’, she is committed to promoting and improving opportunities for women in sport, especially in freestyle snowboarding.
Fasani grew up in Truckee, California, where she was raised primarily by her mother, having lost her father to cancer when she was a teenager. It’s no wonder Fasani promotes female athletics, according to Fasani, “I am proud to be a woman and have been inspired to be independent, strong, and vocal because of my mom – who raised me on her own.”
Fasani began her foray into snow sports at the age of two when she began skiing. It wasn’t long before she was begging her mother for a snowboard, “I had a group of guy friends who would go snowboarding after our ski races. They made it look so fun. At Christmas, 1993 Fasani’s wish came true when her mother gave her a brand new snowboard, “I instantly fell in love with it and gave up skiing at the age of 12.” Two years later, Fasani started competing and was the USASA National Slopestyle Champion for 3 years running, “I ended up doing really well in the amateur events, this got me a bit of attention from sponsors.” From then on she was hooked, “I did whatever I could to be on snow as often as possible.”
In 2002, Fasani graduated from high school early and moved to Mammoth, California, “Mammoth was the mecca of the snowboard industry at that point,” explained Fasani, “living there would allow me to chase my passion.” During this time, thanks to University of Phoenix’s online programme, she also managed to obtain a BA in Marketing.
Fasani’s list of accolades is long but one of her biggest achievements came in 2011 when she landed a double backflip in both the park and the powder, making her the first female to accomplish the trick, “I spent a lot of time thinking about the trick and what it would take to make it happen. Timing was right, so I went for it.” Landing this trick meant a great deal to Fasani, “I realized how powerful my mind was and how I could harness it to accomplish whatever I wanted, not just in snowboarding but in life as well.”
Along with being nominated for several awards, including Women’s Rider of the Year, Standout Performance of the Year, and Women’s Readers Choice, in 2012 Fasani graced the cover of Transworld Snowboarding Magazine, “Being 1 out of 5 women ever documented on Transworld Snowboarding’s covers, and also having it be a 5 year gap since the last woman was on the cover made this accomplishment feel that much more rewarding and special.”
In 2012 she was injured while performing a trick, Fasani recalls, “It was a very scary situation and I can remember everything in slow motion.” At the time of the injury Fasani was was preparing for Olympic qualifying events and so it couldn’t have come at a worse time, “just after the crash, I was devastated because I had to let go of so many opportunities.” Fasani, however, came out of the experience with a clear mind and positive attitude, “the amount I learned about myself and my mind during my time off snow for that year has given me so much more clarity,” explained Fasani, “I learned that it’s okay to be good at one aspect of snowboarding.”
Following the accident Fasani gave up the Olympic dream but soon found her calling within the snowboarding world, “I had really supportive team managers that saw potential in my abilities to stand out as a rider who filmed rather than competed.” Fasani has worked with snowboard film company, Standard Films and has parts in several of their videos and boasts a full segment in their latest film, “2112”. For Fasani, filming snowboarding videos has been a real passion, “I love being deep in the mountains creating a video part off a blank canvas.”
Fasani’s real passion, however, comes from supporting female athletes in freestyle snowboarding, “There are so many girls coming up in the competitive scene who are incredibly talented. I love watching them progress.”
Fasani doesn’t like to put a label on it but feels very strongly about equality within the athletic arena, including in the snowboarding filming industry where she has experienced sexism first-hand, “Women are just as capable at doing most things as men; half the time, we are limited by our own minds or preconceived notions of what we are ‘expected’ to do.” Thanks to her success as a freestyle snowboarder, Fasani is one to watch, and listen to, “I try to use my voice to help, I speak up for women because I want to see girls stepping up to positions for which they feel qualified for,” explained Fasani.
After Mammoth Mountain built a jump where she could land the infamous back-flip, they began to collaborate on an annual all-girls invite-only private snowboarding event, Amusement Park, “I designed Amusement Park to give women a fun, no stress, springtime progression session.” Now in its fourth year Fasani invites female snowboarders, professional and amateur alike to come ride and maybe even learn some new tricks, “The pros and amateurs can ride together and learn from one another.” The event is also somewhat of a photo-shoot, “I invite the media to give all the ladies an opportunity to gain more exposure,” explained Fasani, “I want the girls to walk away with a fun experience, photos and video for their sponsors.” The drive behind the event comes from Fasani’s desire to help women progress when first starting out, an opportunity she herself would have enjoyed, “Making sure women have these types of platforms is really important, I know I could have used more experiences like this when I was coming up in snowboarding.” Thanks to Fasani’s dedication to the event it has become increasingly successful over the years, “I want to keep this growing and hopefully women will be able to use this spring time session as a way to keep our sport progressing for years to come.”
Fasani has many sponsors including Zeal Optics, Mammoth Mountain, Clif Bar, Mimi’s Cookie Bar, Evo, and Skullcandy, but one she is keen to talk about is Burton, “Burton has an amazing women’s initiative that gives us a voice in snowboarding and our outlet is visible through burtongirls.com.” Fasani is the only female representing Burton’s AK line, a line of snowboarding gear with top technology aimed at the sport’s professionals as well as amateurs. With Fasani’s strong interest in women in snowboarding she’s proud to be part of Burton, “Not many companies have a women’s initiative, or as many women on their team as does Burton. Burton has built their brand with snowboarding as their number one goal. They are true to their roots and give back to the sport more than any other company in the industry.”
Today, Fasani leads quite the busy lifestyle, “I am on the road for majority of the year; I am usually on snow from November until May, and then for a few weeks in July or August,” reported Fasani, “The rest of my travelling is for product development meetings or catalogue shoots for my various sponsors.”
Though a professional athlete Fasani has no agent as she instead has put her marketing degree to use with multiple career endeavours, “I represent myself as an athlete, and because I don’t have an agent or manager, I have learned how to build my own brand.” Fasani is part owner of Mimi’s Cookies, an organic cookie bar in Mammoth, California. Moreover, snowboarding isn’t the only sport for Fasani. She leads an active lifestyle that includes any sport she can get into, “I have found that I am my happiest when I am active and because of that snowboarding, hiking, biking, swimming, running, and rock climbing are my other outlets to that happy place.”
As for the future, Fasani athletic lifestyle is in full-swing and she is seemingly nowhere near retirement, “I would love to keep progressing my riding in the back country; I also want to become a stronger mountain rider.” Although sports aren’t the only thing on Fasani’s mind, “Eventually, I would love to have kids and can see myself involved in a marketing position in action sports.”
In the near future Fasani has a full schedule of travel, “I am heading to the southern hemisphere for the first two weeks of August with Burton for a catalogue shoot.” The hard-core athlete also plans to take some time off from her busy schedule as she and her husband head to Bali for a holiday in the early months of July.
Fasani’s advice for female athletes who are just starting out: “Have fun, do what you love, have a positive attitude, don’t avoid college, dream big, set goals, and work hard. You can accomplish whatever you put your mind to.”
Check out Kimmy Fasani’s website for more details, as well as some amazing footage of her riding!
Note: This article was written for Exclusive Sports Media.