Elyse Saugstad Is Superwoman

In addition to filming in Montana with WME for Ticket to Ride, Freeskiing star and Salomon athlete Elyse Saugstad made her own edit this winter, worked with fellow pro skier Lynsey Dyer on an all-women’s ski film, was accepted to speak at TED x San Francisco, and is putting on snow safety awareness clinics for women.

Freeskiing star and Salomon athlete Elyse Saugstad has just joined the Warren Miller Entertainment crew for an appearance in Ticket to Ride. She spent time in Montana this winter, filming with Crystal Wright and Keely Kelleher for an all-ladies big mountain segment.

In addition to finding time to film with WME, Saugstad made her own edit this winter, which is now entered in a Teton Gravity Research Co/lab video contest, is working with fellow pro skier Lynsey Dyer on an all-women’s ski film, was accepted to speak at TED x San Francisco, and is putting on snow safety awareness clinics for women. We asked Elyse a few questions to find out more about her current projects.

How did the filming and trip to Montana go this winter?

The Montana trip was great. I’ve never filmed with only women before, and it was really cool. Women can be lighthearted and don’t take things as seriously, but still get what needs to be done, done. Because of the conditions on our trip, we couldn’t push our limits, making it more of a pow segment, but Crystal and Keely are supercharging girls.

How do you feel about being a part of the WME scene?

When I was young, I got hooked on skiing from watching Warren Miller movies. It makes skiing really approachable for the audience. The skiers can do rad things but having a good time is what it is all about at the end of the day.

You are only one of two females who entered TGR’s open video contest with $100,000 prize purse, pitting your segment against dozens of men’s edits, many of them fellow pro skiers – and your edit is in the top five based on fan voting. How did that come about?

I had a goal this year to put together a segment that I was really proud of. I didn’t consider at first entering it in the Co/Lab contest. I thought I wouldn’t have a chance, but then I realized I was only hurting myself if I don’t try.

How do you feel your segment measures up?

It is daunting to enter a contest with male athletes in a male –dominated sport. And it is not easy for anyone to put together a segment, especially if you are doing it yourself. A lot of factors have to come together and you have to have the means and support.

To tell the truth though, I don’t feel at all outgunned in this contest. I’m happy I can throw my hat in the ring to represent women.

Tell us about the avalanche awareness clinic you are putting on.

The clinic is also with Ingrid Backstrom, Jackie Passo, and Michelle Parker. We are putting on a snow safety clinic in December – we hope to make it an annual event. It is a women’s specific event, and hopefully we can broaden it in the future to include youth. Skiing has transitioned so much into the backcountry that people need to approach it in a safe smart way. We like to do women’s specific, so women can learn in a good environment and not feel intimidated by a class full of men, for example.

You are helping with a much-anticipated all-women’s ski film called Pretty Faces. How do you feel about the current rise in women’s ski media?

I think it is great timing. Some of us females have been in the industry for a while now. We want to give a good impression and inspire more women to be confident young women and athletes – and give women more visibility.

I like having both male and female as well as all-women stuff.  Skiing with guys, it is a challenge because you are pushing yourself, but when I see a women do something better than me I get really inspired, and think if she can do that, then I can do it too.

What is your TED x San Francisco talk going to be about?

I just got accepted to be a presenter, so I don’t know yet. I’ll use skiing as my vehicle for whatever I talk about but I don’t how I’ll apply it.

You can also view and vote for Saugstad’s season edit in the TGR contest here: http://colab.tetongravity.com/entries/view/elyse-saugstad