Kimmy Fasani’s Steep Climb
Transitioning from competitive snowboarding to film and backcountry projects, Kimmy Fasani has seen all sides of the downhill sport. At Burton Snowboards’ showroom in New York City, Fasani spoke to AQabout her unique path down the mountain.
How did you get started in snowboarding?
Growing up in Tahoe, you’re exposed to the mountains and that whole lifestyle. My mom was a huge mountain enthusiast, and I’d always be outside. I loved that snowboarding was different. It wasn’t skiing, and it would get me away from the ski races on the mountain. Ever since I was 9, snowboarding just clicked with me.
You mentioned skiing as well as snowboarding. When did you pick between the two sports?
When I was 12, my mom told to pick which gear I wanted—skiing or snowboarding. I chose snowboarding. Soon after, I started competing in snowboarding. I still do it today, so it was definitely the right choice.
Did you have any female friends involved in the sport when you got started?
I had female friends who would come out with me to the mountains, but only a handful of us would ever compete. There was a solid group of us who would casually go out to the mountains regularly. On competition days, I definitely felt like an anomaly being a woman on the mountain.
You mentioned starting off your career with these competitions, what made you want to switch from competitions into the backcountry and film side of the sport?
I wasn’t as successful as I wanted to be in contests. I’d get super nervous for finals and big competitions, and it wasn’t good for me. It took a lot of fun out of the sport. I also wasn’t getting on the podiums at contests and that’s kind of what you have to do. Backcountry offered me an opportunity to have a new purpose and a continued passion for the sport.
How steep was the backcountry learning curve?
There was a hugelearning curve entering the backcountry. That’s part of the reason why there’s such a small number of women in this side of the sport. You have to spend a huge chunk of your season learning how to access the mountains and figuring out where you’re going to go. You also need a solid crew, and it takes a huge toolbox to participate in this side of the sport.
Have you had any dangerous experiences in the backcountry?
Up in Alaska, I’ve faced avalanche danger, Being mindful and listening has definitely saved my life. It’s so important to understand where you’re going and knowing ahead of time what dangerous situations might present themselves, and how you can best deal with it and adapt.
You snowboarded and did various outdoor activities while pregnant. How was that experience for you?
It was so important for me to stay active while pregnant. It let me stay in my routines, stay in tune with my body, and really just kept me going. Now, I’ll be able to continue making snowboarding and the outdoors a family experience!
You’ve been working with Burton. What kind of influence have they had on your snowboarding career?
Burton really lets me celebrate new seasons. I need different attire for each season, and they really help facilitate that. In terms of my favorite gear, their windbreakers and jackets, they’ve nailed. They’re light and have so many different styles. You can just throw it straight in your pack, and it makes going into the backcountry so much easier.
What in your experiences has allowed snowboarding to grow so much amongst women especially during your time in the sport?
Social media has grown the snowboarding community so much recently. It allows women to see more women doing the sport, and also men have been much more inclusive of us. As a result, the sport has really shined as of late.