ShredMaiden – Outside Extreme is Not Just for Boys
By Jeannine Stafford-Jabaay
Two Girdwood women are redefining what it means for ladies to be hardcore.
Emily Lonkhurst and Lisa Miles have set a goal to create an all-female shred community that encourages other women to get outdoors and live extreme. Launching their new business, ShredMaiden, is the culmination of a lifetime of “trying to blend with the boys” while embracing femininity.
“When I first started riding, the boys were the ones hucking it,” says Miles. “The guys still go bigger in the park, and I have to work really hard to get air time. Every time I’d meet a woman who could rip in the outdoors, it would inspire me, and I want to celebrate and applaud and share with others these amazing women out there.”
Both Lonkhurst and Miles grew up in the snow during an era where girls were few and far between on the mountain. That sense of alienation drove the idea that women can and should have more opportunities for greater adventure.
“When I was growing up riding, the only ones out there were the boys. I had to choose between time with my female friends and snowboarding, which tore me apart. I started teaching just so I had other girls to ride with,” says Lonkhurst.
Both Lonkhurst and Miles are instructors for the Mountain Learning Center at Alyeska which, although separate from ShredMaiden, has fueled some of the inspiration for this new brand.
“We’ve noted that our feminine students are uniquely aware of the consequences of extreme sports, and we want to promote courage in the outdoors and celebrate it,” continues Miles. “Now as an instructor, I want to help other women and girls to discover what they can do, which might be more than they realized. And right now, I believe the world needs a place to celebrate women who are discovering their strength and independence in the outdoors – and who love wild places.”
ShredMaiden is a brand – a mindset. “Shreducation,” support and swag. From stickers, gear, and the promotion of outdoor opportunities for women, ShredMaiden is retraining and educating others that women belong outdoors. It is creating a community of like-minded women who want to push past their fears and limits.
“We hope to make ShredMaiden a cool way to represent passions in a uniquely feminine way,” explains Lonkhurst. She describes ShredMaiden as a “snow-roots, homegrown campaign for girls and women and their tribe.”
ShredMaiden offers a line of stickers and clothing that was enthused through non-conventional means.
“When we designed our logo, the font that inspired the ‘S’ came from a wine bottle that had the word ‘Si’ on it, which has pretty much been our experience since this idea was born,” explains Miles. “It’s like this wave of ‘Yes, we need this. It needs to happen’ has come up, and now we’re trying to surf this wave of community enthusiasm and positivity.”
Although ShredMaiden was originally inspired by a recognized need for more women on snowboards, it has quickly become much more encompassing of other outdoor activities, such as rock and ice climbing, mountain biking, hiking, camping, kayaking and skiing.
“Once we got comfortable snowboarding, we started diving into other outdoor recreation sports, and through this we realized our strengths,” says Lonkhurst. “We enjoy spreading our passions and being creative in ways to support others, so we have more friends we can share what we love with in the outdoors.”
Lonkhurst and Miles are committed to encouraging women to becoming comfortable outside, going big, pushing their limits. As teachers and coaches, they promote safety both in their classes and by marketing other community learning opportunities.
“I know that when human beings take on new experiences and develop new skills, it can change their whole perspective on life,” shares Miles. “Our instincts as teachers have driven us to protect the people and the wild places that inspire our hearts. We not only play in the wild lands we love, but we grow in them, we lead and we strive to protect them.”
ShredMaiden will be hosting a Women’s Shred Film at the Powder Hound Ski Shop in Girdwood on Fri., Jan. 19 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. The event has no cover charge and is described as a “free night of women’s shred films, wine and swag.” In Anchorage, ShredMaiden is holding a women’s snowboard film fest at Blue and Gold on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 8 p.m. Follow them on Facebook.com/ShredMaiden for more upcoming events.
Additional extreme local adventure opportunities for Alaska’s ladies:
– Women’s Wednesdays Ski and Snowboard Clinics at the Mountain Learning Center: https://www.alyeskaresort.com/mountain/learning-center-womens-clinics
– Rockin’ Women’s rock climbing group on Thursday evenings at the Alaska Rock Gym: http://www.alaskarockgym.com/programs/base-mountain-conditioning-for-women
– REI educational opportunities for women (and some for men, too): https://www.rei.com/stores/anchorage.html
– Mountain Chicks outdoor women’s adventure group (Alaska chapter)