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Riding the all-women wave

Adia Waldburger of the Record staff
Australian Torah Bright launches a wedge in Park City Mountain Resort's Pick 'n Shovel terrain park at last year's inaugural Roxy Chicken Jam,
0Sports

For anyone looking for a little girl power and a lot of fun, this weekend’s Roxy Chicken Jam may provide the answer.

The all-female, slope-style snowboarding competition will be held Friday, Dec. 16 through Sunday, Dec. 18 at the Park City Mountain Resort and welcomes some of the best female riders in the world.

In its second year, the event kicks off the women’s snowboarding season and, for many female riders, is becoming the event that sets the tone for the season. Roxy riders and Park City All-Stars Erin Comstock and Jessica Dalpiaz are both looking forward to the event as an opportunity to spend time with friends and see what is new for the season.

It’s also a chance to continue to tap into a sport and market that continues to grow. I think an all-women contest is really important," pro snowboarder Erin Comstock said. She says that females riders are an inspiration for young girls and older women alike.

"We’re making sure that girls have someone to look up to," Comstock said

Comstock said that last year’s inaugural contest garnered a lot more coverage than anyone expected.

"I think people are really impressed by where women are going," Comstock said. "I think people have put women on the back burner. They don’t realize we can really snowboard."

Comstock says that women are constantly performing bigger and better maneuvers and using venues like the Jam and snowboarding movies to show how talented they are. Comstock says that fans at the Chicken Jam will likely see tricks like 540s, 720s, front and backside nines and 270 degree spins onto the rails.

"Last year was very important and showed a lot of people and there will be even more this year," Comstock said.

Dalpiaz says that in the last year, the level of women’s riding has taken a big jump.

"There’s been a real influx of talent and everyone’s having to push it. It’s a reaction of supply and demand. It’s pushed the level of riding so far," Dalpiaz said.

Part of the draw stems from the fact that Jam was one the first large-scale events that put women in the spotlight, focusing on their talents and abilities, and leaving men, except those in the audience as supporters, entirely out the equation.

"It’s a different outlook on things," Comstock said. "I always like to see women succeed." Dalpiaz, a Utah native, agrees.

"The Chicken Jam is important, because the level of movement taking place in the industry and girls getting involved is on the rise," Dalpiaz said.

Traditionally, in dual gender snowboarding competitions, women’s competitions were held during the day, and the men competed at night. This meant that the men garnered all of the fans and television coverage. The emergence of the Roxy event has helped bring the growing female product to the winter masses.

"I think it’s the coverage women are getting in general, and how prevalent the women’s voice is getting," Dalpiaz said. Comstock says that competition was part of a growing shift in the industry to focus more on female riders and their attractiveness in the snowboarding market. "I think a lot of different areas of snowboarding are being pushed in different ways," Comstock said.

Comstock helps Roxy design an all-women’s line and gives a feminine touch to the edgy sport.

"With Roxy equipment, its fits a woman’s body and how she rides. It’s cute more feminine designs and more appealing to all women," Dalpiaz said.

"Women like to shop. They are going to see all of the Roxy," Comstock said. "Roxy lets us design the line. We’re able to grow a hard-core style but keep it in the style that Roxy wants. It allows us to mix fashion and snowboarding. We’ve seen females be happy that the sport is being pushed."

The actual competition is also a more feminine, fun product.

Dalpiaz explains that the Chicken Jam offers a family-friendly experience, with good-natured sports personalities and a relaxed atmosphere.

" I tend to think girls have more fun. Everyone on the hill is a big family and we’re out here meeting new people," Dalpiaz said. "We’re more fun and personable than the guys and we’re cuter and smell better."

Dalpiaz also thinks that fans are more inspired by female snowboarders. She says they may see a skill at a competition and feel if these women can master a difficult trick, then maybe they can too. Dalpaiz says that this year the competitors will have to be able to switch up their performance on the hill. "The young girls are gunning for the top spot," Dalpiaz said. Dalpiaz is returning from an injury last season and is ready to make her return and thank all of those of her supported her in the last year. She doesn’t plan on testing the limits of her recovery too much but is eager to see how high the bar will be set for skill and talent this season. Comstock shares her excitement.

"Women are taking off. It’s been a really good roller coaster I’ve been on," Comstock said. The Roxy Chicken Jam Presented by Boost Mobile will take place December 16-18 at the Park City Mountain Resort. For more details, log onto http://www.pcride.com/on_the_mountain/events_chicken_jam05.html.


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