Women in the Industry: Rian Rhoe
How did you get involved in the snowboard industry? What about Salomon/Bonfire?
I started snowboarding on my 15th birthday and fell in love with it. It might sound weird, but I thought it looked graceful and cool. I began working in snowboard shops at the age of 17 and moved to the mountains at 18. My parents were worried I wouldn’t go to college, but I knew that I would eventually make it there and after two years of competing locally and through the USASA, I went back to school (only during fall and spring quarter). I worked away at a degree in journalism and communications at the University of Oregon while coaching at HCSC in the summer and snowboarding and coaching for OISA.org in the winter. Eventually I graduated, started doing a little bit of writing for Transworld and Future Snowboarding magazine and I was hired at Bonfire in March of 2007. It’s a total dream job. I work with awesome people and I’ve been able to travel, snowboard and continue to do something I’m passionate about. I feel really lucky.
Coolest place you’ve traveled to snowboard?
French and Italian Alps. No question.
I really want a Sick Stick - is it as awesome as it looks? What’s your favorite Salomon board?
Oh man, it is SO FUN! I ride a 53 on pow days and it is unlike anything else, although I have to say that Annie Boulanger worked with our design team for a new board coming out next season called the Idol and I think that it’s the most fun all mountain board I’ve ever ridden. I think I’ll give up my Sick Stick for it. For park and jibs I’ve been riding the Gypsy. For boots it’s the Kiana and Absolute Premium bindings. If I was held up at gunpoint and told I could only keep one piece of my kit, I’d pick my boots. Hands down, Salomon makes the best fitting boots on the planet.
Backcountry or park?
What’s the best thing about your job?
Going to work every single day and liking the people around me—and knowing that what we do helps people have fun through snowboarding. Travel is an amazing perk as well.
Product testing at Wolf Creek
Would you be more likely to survive a 40 foot gap over a lake of crocodiles or a 40 foot rail over a pit of lava?
The rail, for sure. Just look at the end, right?
Do you still have much time for riding? Where’s your favorite place to go?
I ride less than I used to, but I have so many more days in new places, exploring new terrain and meeting new people. My favorite place to ride is still Mt. Hood. I always run into friends and it rarely stops snowing.
I’m digging Bonfire’s longer jacket cuts this year. What’s up for next year?
Ooh! Good, then you will like what’s next! Only Bonfire would do this, but we have a 20K stretch twill pant with a slim fitting high waist for next season that is super flattering and incredibly functional for powder. Desiree Melancon has even been wearing them and they are great. Mahogany is a color I’m super hyped on and Marine. Lots of rich natural looking colors and versatile fits. At the end of the day, the best thing about Bonfire is that it keeps me warm and dry.
Pirates or Ninjas?
Pirates if they’re kidnapping me, Ninjas if I get to be one.
You mentioned you were headed to the WIB luncheon at ISPO - how was it?
Women in Boardsports is a totally amazing group of women started by Daniella from Popcorn shop in Saas Fe and Carmela Fleurry from Les Ettes. It was so cool to be in the presence of so many quality people who care about snowboarding. It was also motivating. I’m working with Carmela, Circe Wallace (+ her awesome team) and Fabia Gruebler to bring WIB to the USA in May of 2012. We’re just starting to plan and I think it’s going to be a great event for women who work in the industry or would like to some day. Stay tuned!
The ladies of Women in Boardsports. Photo: Alba Pardo
What do you think is the biggest challenge for women in the snowboard industry? The biggest success?
The biggest challenge for women in snowboarding is simply that women are a minority in terms participation numbers and products purchased. The biggest success is that girls continue to take the path less traveled and pursue their dreams. The formula for being a pro rider is finally diversifying and there are more opportunities for pursuing snowboarding than there ever were before. When I look at the Salomon women’s team and I see Annie Boulanger killing it in the backcountry and filming with Absinthe every year, Jenny Jones beating the odds as a girl from the UK, winning X Games Slopestyle 3 times in a row and Desiree Melancon having the ender part in Peep Show and celebrating by getting a job as a digger at HCSC, I am so proud of where snowboarding is going. There isn’t one style or way to be. Each girl has the opportunity to pursue the part of snowboarding that she thinks is the coolest and that level of individuality is awesome.
Rian raffling a board at the Peep Show premiere in Saas Fe. Photo: Saeny Blaser
Up-and-coming riders we should look out for?
Nicki Slechta, Terra Michelot, pretty much the whole Peep Show crew is killing it.
Anything else I missed?
I’d just say that it’s important to listen to yourself and follow your instincts. When I started snowboarding there were people in my life who considered it to be a total waste of time. I’m so glad that I trusted myself and had faith and followed my heart. If you do that, I think you’ll always be okay.
Also thanks to Brad and Amy for believing in me and hiring me.
Rian and Amy organizing Pipe to Pipe 2010.
I’m slightly addicted to Tumblr. If you are too, you can find me here: http://18thandhoyt.tumblr.com/
Posted by Kelly Vance on 03/11/2011