Category Archives: Snowboarding

Sunscreen Time Again!

My favorite for surf and everyday is from Beauty Counter (here’s my shop,—and you can help support this surfer girl with purchases!).



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Filed under Advice, Beach, Environment, General, Pros, Sea Life, Skateboarding, Snowboarding, Surfing, Travel

Kiteboarding 4 Cancer

gallery-2Camp Koru helped me through the most difficult time of my life to date. This weekend (July 11-14 2014), on the Hood River in Oregon, Athletes4Cancer’s founder Tonia Farman hosts her Kiteboarding4Cancer event. This  provides funding for cancer survivors to attend her snowboard, surf, kite outdoor adventures and move as gracefully as possible beyond the diagnosis. She has been a pioneer and champion ocean athlete and boarder in her own right. Go Tonia! Mahalo, camp Koru. Today I pledged in memory of one of the beautiful spirits I met at my Camp Koru session, Angela Zahniser.

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Filed under Beach, General, Pros, Sea Life, Snowboarding, Surfing

Snowboarding Etiquette

Illustration by Catherine Baumhauer

Here at Surf Like a Girl, we want to do everything we can to encourage women in whatever board sport they chose to pursue. That said, we feel passionately that all our readers should practice good etiquette in the ocean, on the streets, and on the mountain. Hey, everyone is allowed to make mistakes, but following these simple rules will help keep you — and those around you — safe.

The National Ski Areas Association has their own list (in fact, should you break any of these rules, you will be asked to leave the mountain).

RESPONSIBILITY CODE by the National Ski Areas Association:

  • Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
  • People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  • You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
  • Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
  • Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment. (Snowboarders use a leash that goes around their boot and connects to the board.)
  • Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  • Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.

Other rules for good etiquette:

1.  Know before you go. On almost any mountain, beginner runs are clearly marked with a GREEN CIRCLE, intermediate runs with a BLUE  SQUARE and advanced runs with a BLACK DIAMOND. Don’t head up a lift on a run that is more advanced than you can handle.  You will only get yourself or others into a bad situation.

2.  Take yourself out. Take yourself out before taking out someone else. If you know you are heading right towards the five year old doing “pizza pie/French fries” at high speeds and you can’t turn in time, you better hit the ground before you hit her.

3.  Keep your cool on the chairlift. Should you fall off the chairlift (and you will) move, scoot or crawl as quickly as you can out of the way so that the person behind doesn’t fall over you, or, God forbid, they stop the chairlift and everybody gets to see what a kook you are.

3. No tea parties. Don’t take a break with a group of friends in the middle of a run. Wait until you get to the bottom or into the lodge.  If you are helping someone or need to stop for an important reason, move off to the side.

4. Don’t sideslip a line.  Sidesliping a line means you go down on your edge scooting yourself carefully down the run and wasting that good powder for a more advanced boarder. If you find yourself in a situation where this is the only way you are going to get down the mountain stay over to the side. (Don’t worry about this on the beginner runs as this is the way your will learn to board, but don’t head up to a more advanced run if the only way you can get down is on one edge.)

5. Rock out. Wearing earphones while boarding is like wearing them while driving (which is illegal, by the way).  If you can’t hear someone coming down behind you yelling at you to stay to the right, you could have a big accident on your hands.  Leave your iPod at home or keep the volume low enough that you can hear others.

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Ask Betty Advice: Snowboard Size

Dear Betty,

I am a beginning snowboarder and am getting ready to buy a board. What size should I purchase and are there girl-specific boards?

— Laura, Tahoe-bound


Dear Laura,

The basic rule of thumb is that your snowboard placed lengthwise on the ground should reach up to your chin. Chin- to-nose level is probably your best bet, as you can learn on this board and also improve on it. Think you will be hitting the half-pipe? A slightly shorter board may be easier to maneuver, good when you are new, and is used for performing tricks. A bit longer board (eye-level and up) is going to be good for deep powder and zooming down the hill. Also, take into account if you are heavy or light for your height; this can affect the length and also the flex of the deck (heavier = longer and less flexible; lighter = shorter and more flexible). Don’t forget that the width of the board should correlate with your shoe size and stance on the deck. The board should be the same length as your feet on the board or just a just a hair under allowing you to turn easily. Absolutely look into women specific boards and models; while these aren’t necessary, they are a bit lighter and narrower and are usually designed by women for women — and we approve!

Enjoy the ride,


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Wish You Were Here: Snowboarding Trip to Mammoth

Hey girls!

Just got back from Mammoth, where I tried snowboarding for the first time. It was actually my first time on the slopes. The friends I went with couldn’t believe I had never tried skiing before. I guess the timing was never right. Since I’ve moved out to L.A., I’ve turned into a board sport girl (surfing’s still the best, but remind me to tell you about my wakeboarding adventure soon).

Okay, you know about my fear of heights. Remember the time my heart started racing when we went to the top of the Empire State Building and I had to sit down? Well, I expected the chair lift to be a bit of a challenge. But I didn’t really expect to miss the chair entirely. No, I’m not kidding. (Please give me some props for actually admitting to this.) I told my instructor, a sweet young twentysomething from the midwest who aspired to go pro, that I was a little nervous as we were waiting in line for the lift. He told me to relax, that he would stand by me and we’d go up on the same chair. He assured me that getting on the chair would be the easy part.

So there we stood side by side, waiting for the chair to come around. Then, plop. The chair came up behind me and I sat down but I landed right on the snowy ground. I went down and the chair went over my head. The guy running the lift stopped it and the people in line behind us rushed up to make sure I was okay. I was able to get up without assistance — I wasn’t hurt, just a little humiliated. But I started to laugh pretty immediately and this put my instructor at ease. Seeing that I was laughing gave him permission to let loose. I gotta say, it really was pretty hilarious.

“I’ve never seen that before!” he said. He repeated this several times. “Wow.” Pause. “Wow!”

When I tipped him at the end of the lesson, I told him to buy a round of beers for his friends for when he told them about my stunt on the chair lift. “I know you’re going to tell about your friends about it,” I said. “Oh yeah!” he said.

I landed my butt on the chair for my second attempt and I wrapped my arm around the bar. But the ride up wasn’t actually as frightening as I expected. Dan started rattling about how he sometimes experienced vertigo on the lift, especially when it slowed. When he started to tell a story about the time he was stuck for about a half-hour on a lift, I politely cut him short. “Oh, sorry,” he said. The rest of the ride was smooth and I was able to appreciate the view.

At the top of the run, I stumbled my way off, falling on my knees and crawling over to the side. It wasn’t graceful but it wasn’t nearly as embarrassing as my effort to get on the lift. The lesson picked up from there. It was snowing—enough for it to feel very winter wonderlandish but not so much that visibility was affected. I mastered the falling leaf motion pretty fast and found I only had to stop because my thighs were burning. Stopping was easiest for me when I just fell down on my butt (hey, it worked). I was relieved to find the waterproof pants I bought before the trip were really waterproof (I had my doubts). I’ll have to work on stopping while still standing the next time.

It dumped ten feet of snow during the weekend and few of the lifts were running on the day after my lesson so we made it a Scrabble day. Then we went out on the day we were planning to leave. Some of the beginner slopes were closed because of avalanche warnings and my friend Andrea agreed to ride with me. We took a lift up and found a green trail but it wasn’t the friendly and gentle Hansel and Gretel beginner trail I took for my lesson. This was the first snow-free and clear day and when I got to the top I finally had my vertigo moment. I was swish-swishing falling leaf-style several yards behind Andrea when I saw the summit. Holy. It was really spectacular and I was really dizzy. Sweaty palms, racing heartbeat. I stopped. Andrea went left but every time I started again my board pulled me towards the steeper downhill directly ahead of me. I didn’t know how to turn so I simply sat down on my butt and scooted over to Andrea, just like a crab. Ridiculous? Yes, but I didn’t know what else to do. (Again, really happy the pants were waterproof.)

It was a long butt-crawl over to Andrea, who waited patiently for me and sent frequent and encouraging cheers my way (“Take your time! You’re doing great!”). One of the mountain monitor guys driving a snowmobile rode by to ask if I needed help and I convinced him I was okay, just trying to make my way to the side. When I finally made it to the bottom of the mountain, Andrea treated me to a hot toddy at the lodge. It will have to be easier next time.

Wish you were here,

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