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But Lang, who competed in tournaments at the regional and national levels before switching to solely coaching, points out that bigger money goes to bigger tricks. And a common stereotype in the sport is that men outperform women.
“The ads show men, the commercials show men. I don’t think it’s that they are trying to push women out, but to get the masses involved they want to show the biggest tricks,” Lang said.
Do men have natural physical advantages over women? That’s up for debate. Despite that notion, the snowboarding world has had its share of female stars. The decorated Kelly Clark first won Olympic gold on the halfpipe in 2002. Spencer O’Brien has been racking up medals, recently winning the women’s slopestyle at the FIS Snowboarding World Championships.
For McAlpin, it’s all about exposure.
“Give girls the time of day,” she said. “Don’t cut us short just because we’re girls.”
Shredding the future
Kurtz and Serres laughed about their recent snowboarding foray. Maybe a lesson would have been a good idea, they said. Snowboarding is frustrating. Skiing is easier.
Fristoe, whose report for RRC surprised some people in the snowboarding industry, says the sport needs more young girls to stick with it.
The two teens are on the fence, but optimistic.
“I think there’s a lot of girls that would be good at it,” Serres said.
If Kurtz stuck with snowboarding, Serres said she would, too. “We could help each other,” Kurtz said. Serres has a season pass at Welch Village, which comes with a discount on board rentals.
She’d like to try her luck again but her days on a snowboard might be numbered — especially since Kurtz is leaning toward sticking with skis.
Without her friend, Serres said, she’ll likely throw in the towel rather than go it alone.
Morgan Mercer is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.