WELCOME TO THE TEAM CHRISTINE SAVAGE
Interview by Danielle Kirsebom
It’s no well-kept secret that the women’s scene in snowboarding is exploding – with more ladies hitting streets, filming parts, and creating safe spaces in the backcountry – and it’s also no secret that Christine Savage is helping make that happen. With inspiring parts and integral roles in films like Powanoia, The Uninvited, and Too Hard, Christine is actively transforming women’s snowboarding through her style, creativity, and passion for teaching the next generation of snowboarders.
As co-founder of Beyond the Boundaries (@btbounds on Instagram), a women’s snowboarding progression camp, Christine is a magnet for bringing more women onto the mountain and into snow sports. We admire Christine for her lady-focused mission to make the mountain an inclusive space, her passion for snow safety in the backcountry, and the stoke she brings with her wherever she goes. Her drive to empower women on and off the mountain is just the cherry on top.
We are excited to warmly welcome the Street Queen and Tahoe-transplant, Christine Savage, to the Nikita team! We caught up with her this week to see what she’s getting up to this season, what her favorite Nikita kit is, how she’s getting her turns in with the pandemic still in full swing, and if she has any advice to the next gen of lady shredders:
First and foremost, where are you from and what mountain did you call home growing up?
I grew up in Northern New Jersey. My home resort is Mountain Creek, which is about a mile away from the house I grew up in. I actually didn’t start boarding until my Junior year of high school, but Creek is definitely where my love of snowboarding started and I still try to get back there as much as possible. The park laps there are always SO fun. Love that place.
We know you’re currently riding in The Sierra on the West Coast. What brought you out to California and how are you enjoying it?
The year after I started snowboarding, I went up to High Cascade Snowboard Camp in Mt. Hood in the summer for a week. My coach kept raving about this town in the Tahoe area called Truckee. He said it was the place to be if you wanted to snowboard. I ended up going to college in Vermont, but this thought of Truckee always stuck with me. When I graduated, I convinced all my college roommates to move out to Tahoe with me. We actually couldn’t find a place in Truckee at the time, but two years later I moved to Truckee and I’ve called it home ever since. It’s just an incredible place. It checks all the boxes for me, personally. Lots of snow, tons of sun, so many resorts within a short drive, great parks, easy backcountry access, and a beautiful lake to top it all off.
The COVID-19 pandemic cut last season short and has limited resort riding this season. How are you getting your turns in? Has this pushed you to be more creative in the streets or in the backcountry?
Absolutely! I think the COVID situation has pushed us all to be more creative in all aspects of life, and this is certainly true for snowboarding. I’d say the main impact so far has been that I’ve been more motivated than ever to get out in the streets on weekends and holidays in order to avoid the crowds at the resorts. If it’s looking too busy at the resort, it’s time to find another place to strap into my snowboard that day. This year in Tahoe there seems to be more people in town than ever before, which sometimes makes some of the classic spots inaccessible. You’ve got to think outside of the box, but you can almost always make it work. With enough creativity (and as long as there is speed and snow) you can kind of snowboard on anything.
What are some fun trips and events you have planned for this season?
Well, I actually just landed in New Jersey! We saw that New Jersey/New York has been getting a ton of snow, so Ari Morrone and I headed here last minute!
We’re hoping to be here for a couple weeks (weather permitting) and get a good chunk of our street shots for the year here, hopefully. Aside from this trip, I’ve also got a trip planned to Silverton, Colorado with Summer Fenton and some other girlfriends later in the Spring. We bought the Spring Silverton pass on a whim this Fall knowing that we likely wouldn’t be leaving the country this year and I’m so glad we did! We also booked a heli run for while we are there, so I am super excited. After that, I’m hoping for some spring road trips to Mammoth and Hood, fingers crossed.
What advice would you offer to girls looking to get into the backcountry?
First and foremost, I would say to start slow and prioritize safety and education above everything else. The backcountry is an incredible playground that has so much to offer, but it also a place without a safety net. You are 100% responsible for your own safety in the backcountry, as well as the responsibility of the group you choose to go out with.
It’s important that you put the time in to learn Search and Rescue techniques in avalanche terrain before you start spending time in the backcountry. You should also be sure to hold the other people you go out with to the same standard – and getting your AAIRE 1 is a great place to start.
Surround yourself with knowledge and a good crew, one that you trust and can speak up comfortably to. Those are the two most important things in my eyes when it comes to entering the backcountry.
What advice would you offer to girls looking to get into hitting urban?
I’d say to find a crew if you can!
Even if it’s just you and another friend, street is something that you really can’t do alone. If you’re interested in getting into riding street and you know some other girls who have already been doing it, mention to them that you’re interested and see if they’d let you join them at some spots.
There’s a lot to learn and it’s helpful to have someone take you under their wing and show you the ways. I know I would have never gotten into riding street if Fancy Rutherford and Danyale Patterson hadn’t encouraged me to try and helped me along the way.
On that note, if you are a girl who is riding street stuff already, I believe it’s your responsibility to help pass that on to others. We all know we didn’t get into this without help.
We absolutely love your commitment to creating space in the mountains for more women to be comfortable on boards. What inspired you to co-found Beyond the Boundaries and how would you describe the experience one gets at a women’s snowboard progression camp?
Mary Walsh and I founded Beyond the Boundaries (BTB) because we saw a real disparity between the number of women versus men riding in the park, and we were hoping to change that. Since then, we’ve expanded to non-park events and [backcountry] tours as well. Our main goal is to connect like-minded women who share a passion for snowboarding, and to help them gain confidence in any type of terrain they want to ride. Honestly, we just help to show them what they are capable of.
As for the experience, imagine a private park filled with features catering to progression, a bunch of rad coaches who want to share their knowledge, and a huge squad of women who are passionate about snowboarding. It’s the most positive learning environment I’ve ever experienced and I think that shows in the insane progression we witness among the women at every BTB camp.
How has coaching others shaped your outlook on the snowboarding community as a whole?
Mainly, it’s just reaffirmed to me that women in snowboarding are more passionate than ever before! Seeing the turnout for these camps has been incredible. When you see fifty to sixty women show up to one of the BTB camps, you’ll see that the women’s scene is alive and well in snowboarding – we just need to make the space to really see it.
We are stoked to have you on the Nikita team and we’d love to hear what you’re wearing this winter. What are some of your favorite pieces that we’ll see you rockin’ this season?
I am so stoked to be on the Nikita team as well! I absolutely love the Laurel Jacket for days lapping the park and also filming in the streets. On pow days my go-to is the Willow Jacket. And for any day on my board, you can catch me wearing the White Pine pant.
We can’t wait to see what you get up to this season! Do you have any projects you’re currently working on?
As I mentioned, I’m currently in New Jersey filming some street stuff. It’s crazy to see this much snow here, so Ari Morrone and I had to come seize the opportunity! As far as projects go, my goal is to get some clips in the final Uninvited film (an all-women’s snowboard feature produced by Jess Kimura) which is coming out in the fall. But, for now, the focus is just on filming the best clips that I can and then finding a home for them after.