People often ask us what makes a ski or snowboards “women’s specific.”
We could try to tell you that the cores are made from tampons and the tears of fragile masculinity or that the mounting points will guarantee you’ll never blow out your knee but that’s not what really matters.
The real secret to designing women’s gear is starting with women first. Women talk, we listen deeply, and then we create. We know that no two women want the same exact thing. In fact, the only thing that all women can agree on when it comes to gear is that we don’t like being pigeon-holed into the basic “women’s specific” stereotype.
Here’s the thing the industry seems to be missing: there’s no such thing as the perfect women’s ski or snowboard. Gone are the days where a company can offer one women’s specific option among a myriad of “unisex” and “men’s” options.
And that marketing jargon? We know you can read right through that shit. If the industry can’t do better, we will. And that’s exactly why we started Coalition Snow.
During our 20+ years as skiers and snowboarders, things just didn’t seem right. We saw more pictures of women in bikinis and ski boots than women dropping steep lines or going big in the park. To some people this may seem trivial, but it was indicative of larger issues of sexism and misogyny in the outdoor industry. Women want to be taken seriously, and that is increasingly difficult when we’re portrayed in a way that doesn’t mirror our skills, our intelligence, our values, and our passions. We’re tired of having to prove ourselves when we’ve already shown up and made shit happen—it’s time for the rest of the world to catch up to us.
Coalition started before women became trendy. Before they were everywhere—in films, in magazines, in just about everything related to the outdoor industry. But that visibility doesn’t equate to real change, and that’s why we plan on sticking around. There aren’t enough women calling the shots in the industry, in powerful positions making the decisions that will ensure we’re not just a trend. Coalition is just one piece of a much larger movement of women staking their claim in the industry.
We wanted to create a company that celebrated women and supported them. That didn’t portray them as bystanders in the sport. A company that recognized what women could do, rather than focusing an out-of-touch perspective of what they couldn’t do.
We also wanted to build kick-ass skis and snowboards. Yes, women might be shorter and weigh less than men (on average), but that doesn’t mean that we need gear that is so watered down, so soft, so short, that it holds us back. It’s like so much of what’s out there is designed around this idea that all women skiers and riders are weak, less than that of the able-bodied male archetype that has been touted as a “normal” skier or snowboarder.
Fast forward nine years from when we were founded, and Coalition has made some moves. We have won coveted awards for our equipment from Powder Magazine and Blister Gear Review. We’ve seen two Olympic athletes compete on our skis. We are selling skis to all sorts of humans, yet we still design around women's preferences, creating a whole new approach to what "unisex" means.
But we’ve done more than built superlative skis and snowboards. We’ve built a platform that celebrates the power of women and amplifies their voices, and we’re expanding that platform to include binary, trans, genderqueer, and other underrepresented voices. Let’s just say it’s been a process and a journey.
At Coalition Snow, we’ve always believed that we have to accept what’s handed to us. We don’t have to wait for someone else to do it for us. We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for.