Instructor: Rachel “Ratty” Shedow

When we wanted to talk to an instructor for our Women in the Industry series to find out what it was like to travel the world and teach snowboarding full time, we asked girls we knew who had taken clinics and lessons. One of our writers introduced us to Ratty, who teaches at the Jackson Hole women’s snowboarding camp. An experienced Aussie rider, who instructs year round, following winter around the globe, Ratty is a great inspiration to those of us who daydream of skipping summer altogether and riding nearly every day of the year.

Your nickname is Ratty? Does that mean you’re rat-like?
I hope not, I haven’t bitten anyone for years! I got the nickname Ratty when I was in primary school, my friend Kate and I decided we needed our own names, so Kat and Rat it was. It stuck, I like it luckily!

Is there any aspect of snowboarding that you really hate?
The only thing that frustrates me is when the weather does not behave as we would like it to! Seasons where we hardly get any snow can be a real bummer,. There is nothing better than the feeling around a resort which is having a great season!

How many snowboards do you go through in a year?
Just one a year, although my boards do get very trashed from being run into while teaching. After 2 seasons in the year it’s time for a new one.

Pirates or ninjas?

Mittens or gloves? What about if you were a pirate?
Arrrr matey. Mittens for warmth, gloves for spring….I think a ninja could wear mittens! Although if i were a pirate, I wouldn’t care about gloves or mittens I’d be chasing Johnny Depp around!

How big is women’s snowboarding in Australia? Are there a lot of other chicks?
Women’s snowboarding is getting to be huge in Australia. We have more and more women taking it up as their sport instead of just trying it because the boyfriends want them to. Lately it’s been the boys who are getting dropped off at Boardriding school for their first lesson by their girlfriends who want them to learn. I love seeing that. There a lot of awesome female riders in Australia. Look at Torah Bright she kicks ass!

What advice would you give to a girl who’s interested in trying snowboarding?
Do it! Just don’t let your boyfriend or mate teach you. Get a beginner lesson to learn the basics. It will make the learning experience much easier without you getting frustrated or frustrating your mate or loved one.

You’re lucky enough to ride year round, instructing in both hemispheres… do you ever get sick of the snow?
Not a chance.

What’s the coolest place you’ve traveled to? Ever snowboard anywhere really exotic? Like, I mean with squat toilets?
I have experienced them before, but not that I remember at the snow! As far as cool places to snowboard, my favorite place is Jackson Hole, but I would have to say my coolest snowboarding trip was to Japan. That place rocks, awesome snow and fantastic food…mmmm.

How can you tell the difference between someone from New Zealand and someone from Australia?
One of our editors is confused by this. There are many great Kiwi (New Zealander) jokes that I could tell to explain this. Teasing Kiwis has always been a favorite past time of Aussies, and visa versa they give it to us just as much! New Zealand does have bigger mountains than us so I’m not going to bag them. The easiest way to pick an Aussie or a Kiwi without risking insult (as either can get offended)… with Kiwis listen for the i…it’ll sound like an e. Such as six will sound like….well you know.

Do you find it rewarding to be an instructor?
It gives you the opportunity to work year round in the snow, to travel and to work in some great places. We work hard and we play harder! We also get to meet some fantastic people and share with them a passion for an awesome sport. No complaints from my end!

What kind of instructing do you do the most?
Working between the 2 resorts I get a good mix of every type of lesson. I teach all levels, all ages, private lessons and groups, and once a year I get to coach in a fantastic women’s snowboard camp at Jackson Hole.

How’s the snow down under? What’s the best place for a girl to go if she’s jonesing for some snow when it’s summer up north?
The snow down under can be a little hit and miss, we don’t have the consistent snowfall like you guys. Having come out of the worst season ever last year we are thankfully off to a huge start this year so we hope it will continue. After working here for 12 winters I’ll have to support my home mountain Mt Buller as the place to come for a southern winter fix! We have great terrain, if the snow is lacking a little we still have lots of snowmaking, our park crew make sure we have plenty to play on. What makes Mt Buller the best for me is good people…good times!

Do you like vegemite? What does that taste like anyway? And don’t lie to us, if it tastes like crap, we’ll know.
No way! I love vegemite, on toast with lots of butter. Not to mention Vegemite scrolls from the bakery, so good. It is definitely an acquired taste though. It is made from beer so it can’t be bad right???

What lens do you tend to use the most?
It depends on the spot I have to shoot. I often use my 70-200mm and also my fisheye and wide angle lenses.

Posted by staff on 02/11/08

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