To kick off the next winter season, pro skiers Lexi duPont and Hedvig Wessel, alongside snowboarders Fanny Avril and Leanne Pelosi, are launching a new women’s-only ski event: Sister Summit. DuPont’s time digging at Redbull Formation, a progression session in southern Utah for female freeride mountain bikers, inspired the new offering. Part peer-judged competition, part networking event, Sister Summit is a unique opportunity for female skiing, filling a long-overlooked gap.
“That format—helping each other build and choose lines, getting women together, having it be collaborative instead of a true contest—was so inspiring,” duPont said. “I immediately was like, ‘Wow, we need this for skiing.’” DuPont said she feels the ski world, especially the female ski world, is missing a solid sense of community that she noticed in other sports. “Even with snowboarding, I was noticing that they have all these events throughout the winter where everyone gets together; aside from the [Freeride World] Tour, X-Games, and King’s and Queen’s [of Corbet’s], we don’t have that.”
Twenty athletes—ten skiers and ten snowboarders—will be invited to gather at Mustang Powder Lodge in Revelstoke from November 24 through December 1 with female photographers, filmmakers, and guest speakers. Women will split into groups daily to ride, stacking footage for a full-length film highlighting the whole process. In the evenings, they’ll have guest speakers, including female CEOs, nutritionists, avalanche safety experts, and female producers, and participate in mindfulness and breath-work sessions. DuPont says the event will livestream the speaker series in the evenings so folks can tune in and listen to some of the discussions.
DuPont says they haven’t put together the roster yet—a hard task, since they know so many women they want to include. “I think this year we have to hand-select who’s going to come, because if we just open up registration at some time, it’s not going to be very fair,” she said. “We want to incorporate more diversity but want to avoid tokenizing. We have ten invites out to women of color so far, hoping to create an event where all women feel welcome.”
For the inaugural event, duPont says they want to keep it centered around community-building and progression. Women will have the chance to ski and ride with others from different disciplines, emphasizing collaboration instead of competition. “X-Games girls will get the chance to work on backcountry skills, and the freeride athletes who aren’t as used to air time might want to practice hitting booters,” said duPont. “Seeing all these ladies push themselves, like at Formation, we’re getting a different view of what’s possible, and that’s how we hope to push women’s skiing and snowboarding forward.”
Skill-building will be a big focus, but the goal of the first Sister Summit isn’t solely to ski and ride the most enormous, challenging terrain. DuPont, Avril, Wessel, and Pelosi hope to grow each year with more sponsor backing, creating a safe and welcoming space where women can take giant leaps in their sports.
“When we launched Sister Summit, all four of us were thinking, ‘How can we make this a better environment for both future and existing athletes?’” duPont said. “The opportunities are endless when you start to put women together.”
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