Athletes Giving Back: Ashley Battersby
November 27, 2015
When freeskier Ashley Battersby found herself without an apparel sponsor in 2008, she took matters into her own hands. Instead of searching around for another brand to associate herself with, she decided to do things her own way.
"I said, ‘I’m not riding anybody’s gear for free — I’m going to make my own,’" she said. "I bought a sewing machine at Walmart and taught myself how to sew."
She started by making herself a couple of colorful hooded sweatshirts, which quickly drew attention out on the slopes.
"The creativity part is super huge for me," she said. "I really like to have bright, crazy colors and stand out. Now that I have my own thing, I can create whatever I want."
When she started making hoodies for other people, A-Bomb Apparel was born. The name comes from a nickname Battersby acquired in the terrain parks.
"Every time I fell skiing while trying to ride park, I’d explode — like yard sale — so that’s where A-Bomb came from," she said.
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Now she’s so busy she’s considering expanding the operation.
"I have just had a ton of orders because everybody is trying to get stuff ready for Christmas," she said. "I’m actually trying to find somebody to sew for me because I can’t keep up with orders anymore. It’s become too much for one woman, so I’m definitely looking to expand."
She’s since grown beyond making just hoodies, too.
"I was so sick of paying a ton of money for expensive black tights," she said. "I was also sick of seeing the same colors. I wanted to stand out, so I started making yoga leggings and it progressed from there. Now I say, ‘if you can think it, I can make it.’ I make headbands, beanies, scarves, mittens — but my main sellers are hoodies and active wear."
It took a lot of practice, but now Battersby feels comfortable making almost anything.
"It’s a lot of trial and error," she said. "I would sew something together and be like, ‘I just put the hood onto the arm.’ It was really frustrating, but now I’ve got it down to where it’s a Zen thing for me. Sewing is really, really mellow."
Eventually, Battersby realized she could use her apparel to help make a difference. As she rehabs from her sixth knee surgery — the fifth ACL surgery — she reflected on how much help she’s received throughout the years.
"I started this because mainly I wanted to give back somehow," she said. "I’ve had so many knee injuries and I’ve always had people give to me. I’ve had so much help in my life and my ski career, this is the least I could do to help."
Under the "Giving Back" tab on abomb-apparel.com, Battersby has a number of causes she supports. The "I Support Kelly Rice" campaign is for a childhood friend battling leukemia. The "Jeremy Would" campaign is for a local firefighter who was in a serious accident. Then there are a couple campaigns to help winter athletes, including one to honor Sarah Burke, who died during a halfpipe training accident in Park City in 2012.
"The last one I’ve done was ‘Celebrate Sarah,’" she said. "That one hits close to me. She was my hero, then my competitor, then my friend. [The Sarah Burke Foundation is] going to start raising money for scholarships for kids and that’s where I think the [apparel sale] money is going. These are not super big foundations or charities, but anything I can do to give back, I want to do it. Every time I get an order for one of those, I send the money straight to the organization. They get 75-85 percent just so I can cover my cost and material."
Battersby said she’ll continue her work with A-Bomb Apparel as much as she can through the winter. She’ll also coach with Team Park City United and continue rehabbing her injured knee. She’s scheduled to be back on snow in about three weeks and said she wants to get back into competitions next winter.
"I’ve been doing this since I was 14, so about 13 years now competitively," she said. "Through all those knee injuries, I still have that passion and fire. There’s a lot of unfinished business for me in the freeskiing world. My fingers are crossed for [the Winter Olympics in] Pyeongchang in 2018."
To view Battersby’s line of apparel, visit http://www.abomb-apparel.com .
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