Skiing Magazine caught up with the coach to see what she thought about being a woman in the ski industry, girly ski graphics, and why flinging yourself off a 50-foot ramp is good for your self-confidence.At the Roxy Pop Drop in late June, Salt Lake City-based freeskier Caroline Gleich, 22, taught girls of all ages how to throw ski tricks off water ramps. Skiing magazine's Mallory Ayres spoke to Caroline about what it's like being a woman in the ski industry, girly ski graphics, and why flinging yourself off a 50-foot ramp is good for your self-confidence.
Skiing Magazine: So water ramps are supposed to get girls excited about snow skiing?
Caroline Gleich: That's right. Last year was our big kick off of the camp. We had 30 girls—an awesome turn out. We have done previous attempts at all-women's freeride camps but the turnout was weak. Usually these girls train in camps of about 10 girls and two boys and I don't see them pushing themselves as hard.
SM: How did the idea of this camp come together?
CG: I wanted to do an all-girls camp so participants could progress in their skiing and meet other girls who wanted to do the same. It just seemed rational. I worked on a business proposal for the event that I submitted to Kristy Mitchell who works in marketing for Roxy. Sue Larson was the promotional rep at the time (she is now the only female sales rep for Roxy skis) and she helped me execute the ideas I put forth in the business plan.
SM: You must like coaching
CG: I have ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder] and like always having three things on my plate. I'm good with kids because I have the same attention span they do. We have such great girls coming through, and I love to see them build their confidence here.
SM: How do you see the ski industry adapting to include females?
CG: An example is Roxy deciding to enter the ski industry. They make really cute female-specific twin tips that have cool graphics. It's great to see them on skis instead of just snowboards and bikinis. They are making skiing more fun, cute, and accessible. I think getting younger girls involved will definitely be reverberated throughout the industry. I expect to see big things from these girls.
SM: I'm sure you've faced your fair share of challenges.
CG: I've struggled a lot. Photographers will often tell the boys to jump first and I have to be careful about landing in their bomb holes. Once I did and broke my ankle. You have to speak up for yourself. In one of my recent photo shoots I told them that I needed to go first, and they were cool with helping me line up.
SM: Roxy is trying to make gear that works for women. What do you do if gear doesn't work for you?
CG: It can be hard to speak up to companies and sponsors sometimes. You have to say what's working and what's not. You can't just accept the gear if it doesn't work well. It's great to see more women involved in research and design.
SM: Any wisdom you'd like to pass down to the next generation?
CG: Women need to project their voices. We are taught to be soft spoken as little girls and it carries over into our teenage and adult years. Aggression is not taught as a desirable female characteristic, but good skiers need to be aggressive. You have to do what you want to do.