Pro snowboarder Kimmy Fasani may be married to one of the most famous skiers in the world (Atomic athlete Chris Benchetler), but she by no means stands in his shadow. Far from it: She moved from racking up Slopestyle championship wins to become the first female to ever land a double backflip in both the park and backcountry in 2011. She’s been lauded with numerous awards and features in TransWorld Snowboarding and Snowboarder, and had featured segments in the Standard Films’ TB20 and 2112.
The Burton athlete is one of the standouts in the women’s and backcountry snowboarding movements, and she gives back to the larger community as an ambassador for Boarding for Breast Cancer and Protect Our Winters. We caught up with her at her Mammoth, California, home.
What’s the most important thing happening in snowboarding right now?
I’m happy to see so many people using snowboarding as a way to become adventure-driven. Splitboarding is helping people see the mountains in a different way, and this makes an impact on how people treat the mountains as well. Having a large variety of reliable women’s specific gear available, like the Burton Anti Social splitboard, is also helping to inspire women to explore more.
How much does climate change weigh on the minds of today’s skiers and riders?
Climate change is becoming more noticeable every year. It’s real. Glaciers are receding, weather patterns have changed drastically, and consistent snowfall has been temperamental. Chasing winter for a living has really impacted my view of how real climate change is.
What’s your single most important advice to young female wintersport athletes?
Do what you love to do. If you’re chasing your dreams, do it with pure passion and drive. You will be successful. Other tips are keep a positive attitude, work hard, and give just as much as you take. We are all capable of accomplishing whatever we put our minds to.
How do you work with your sponsors? How do you decide who you want to work with?
I like aligning myself with sponsors who are like-minded, dedicated to snowboarding, and support me for who I am. Each of my sponsors trusts that I will work hard, and in trade they will benefit from the exposure and message I am portraying.
Tell us briefly about a few of your projects that are helping women stay involved with snowboarding these days?
I have created an all-women’s photo-shoot-inspired event called Amusement Park. This week-long, springtime, session brings about 15 female snowboarders together, both pros and amateurs, to celebrate women in snowboarding. I designed this event to give female riders a platform to progress their riding in a non-competitive environment. This season, I also added in a Burton Girls Ride Day, which invites women of all ages, from anywhere in the world, to come and ride at Mammoth Mountain with the pros who attend Amusement Park. The day is all about bringing our community of women together on the hill to show everyone that progression can be at all different levels of your passion for snowboarding. Overall, I want women to walk away from these events feeling accomplished, happy and excited for their next day on the hill knowing that they have a great group of women out there to support them.
With all of your successes and accolades, how do you keep it real?
Snowboarding brings me so much happiness, so even though the success and accolades have been special and part of my career, more than anything I just like doing what I love and spending time in the mountains. I try to spend as much time as possible in nature, trail running, hiking, biking and rock climbing with my husband. Having a partner in life that has the same passions makes it easy to balance both my passion for snowboarding and adventuring in the off season.
What’s cooler, skiing or snowboarding, and do you and Chris argue about it?
We both respect each other’s avenues and have never had any issues with picking one or the other. I encourage people to snowboard, and he encourages people to ski. Either way, we both love seeing people enjoying winter and, most of all, being out in the mountains.