Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Alternative Chicks: Examining Women Freeskiers and Empowerment

Kevin Klein, Charlene Weaving


We consider the possibility of rethinking gender through alternative sports. In particular, we focus on freeskiing (often referred to as extreme skiing) and argue that freeskiing offers a space in which traditional mainstream values can be questioned to a far greater extent than in mainstream sport cultures (like those of football, softball, and ice hockey). If so, they provide an opportunity for alternative understandings of gender to emerge. We examine what would need to happen within the world of freeskiing in order for a more inclusive understanding of gender to emerge through the process of worldmaking. More specifically, we consider various factors within the subculture of freeskiing that influence questions concerning gender constructions including the presentation of women athletes in films, magazines, and other sport media, conceptions of gender among non-competitive backcountry skiers, and the general understanding of the relationship between humans and nature within the sport. We argue that gaining a better understanding of these features is an important step in considering how conceptions of gender may be altered in the sport of skiing.

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