There’s a pretty frank article today on EXPN about the state of women’s competitive snowboarding, particularly in the pipe. I’m a little surprised (and impressed) at how up-front it is, given it’s written by the network which broadcasts the X Games; networks don’t typically knock their own events. But they bring an important issue to the table, so props to them.
According to the article, fewer women ride the pipe competitively than men, the availability of superpipes kind of sucks, and women don’t get much attention at events like the X Games in general. The end result? Women are becoming marginalized in areas like the superpipe, as organizers cut the number of female qualifiers. “We’re not men, and just because we don’t ride like them doesn’t mean we suck or that our field is not competitive,” pipe rider Tricia Byrnes says in the piece.
Regardless of gender, this is not good news for snowboarding. According to the National Sporting Goods Association, only 27 percent of snowboarders in 2006 were female (there was a slightly better rate – 36 percent – in alpine skiing). A decline in exposure for women is not going to help the situation; according to the NSGA, the situation wasn’t much better in 2004, either. Clearly there hasn’t been any significant growth in participation.
The bottom line: support women’s snowboarding! You can start by checking out these sites:
Got more? Let’s hear about ’em in the comments.