When you first think of snowboarding you probably think of a bunch of long haired chaps with panda tans, wearing clashing neons and calling each other ‘Dude’.
British Olympic snowboarder Aimee Fuller, who has been plummeting down ski slopes since the tender age of four, came to Manchester to try and challenge that view.
The Team GB boarder insisted that her sport isn’t just for boys and that she wants to encourage more girls to get involved as she to hit the slopes in a GO SKI GO BOARD and This Girl Can event at the Chill Factore.
“The sport is welcoming newcomers with open arms,” she told Mancunian Matters.
“The girls that are out there riding want to find more girls to ride with so you can go to your local indoor or dry slope and I can guarantee that there will be a girl there looking for someone to shred with.”
Having been supported through her career by Sport England, Fuller was keen to emphasise the opportunities available to other keen boarders.
“There’s a great pathway in place now with Go Ski Go Board and you can start at a young age.
“There is a route through Sport England that will bring you up through the ranks so you can compete at Olympic level and it’s just such an amazing sport and a great challenge and it can lead to a really unique amazing lifestyle for anyone that’s choose to pursue it.”
And it’s not only for those at an elite level, Fuller emphasised, snowboarding is a sport which can also be enjoyed by just getting out and having some fun riding with friends.
“There are no boundaries or age limits just get out there and get involved,” she enthused.
Fearless Fuller got started in the sport after seeing a snowboarder at her local dry ski slope and, being a self-confessed adrenaline junkie, she knew she had to give it a go.
“The thing I love about snowboarding is there are no boundaries, no rules, no-one telling you what is right or wrong,” she said.
“It’s a blank page for you to get as creative as you want and what I love about it is every day on the mountain something new or different can happen, it’s never the same, no day is the same.
“I just love the fact that it is constantly changing and there are new challenges every day.”
Fuller was quick to add that injuries happen in the high-octane sport but that should not put people off.
The Winter Olympian, who made her debut in Sochi 2014, described how coming back after injury fuels boarders’ desire to come back better and stronger.
“You’ve just got to get back up and keep going – that’s part of the challenge to battle through that and tackle that thing that threw you off the path,” she said.
She went on to describe how female boarders can thrive in the British Olympic team and on the snowboarding tour scene.
“We have such a great group of girls on tour, within the whole Olympic selection I think there were around 50 to 60 girls trying to qualify for the team so Britain is definitely not shy of females.
“The characters within the sport are all very welcoming and we’re all quite dominant so there’s not real macho side that we have to come up against
“The boys are really cool, we all ride the same courses, and they often help us get through the bigger courses on those days when it is a bit trickier.”
“What’s so unique about our sport is the danger element. When you see a friend or a teammate succeed you’re equally as happy for them as if it was you. There’s a lot of respect among your peers.”
Skiing and snowboarding can be taken up at any age, and an indoor centre like the Chill Factore is the perfect place to do it.
Snowsport England’s GO SKI GO BOARD website lists taster sessions and longer courses for beginners, and at the moment, several of Snowsport England’s 30 Days of Snowsport events are taking place at Chill Factore.
Sun, Oct 11: The Brits – Chill Factore
Wed, Oct 14: Breakfast Club at Chill Factore
Thu, Oct 15: Moguls are back at Chill Factore
Mon, Oct 19: 50 Plus Morning at Chill Factore