Not your average chick flick: ‘Pretty Faces’ spotlights female big-mountain skiers | AspenTimes.com

Not your average chick flick: ‘Pretty Faces’ spotlights female big-mountain skiers

Lynsey Dyer's ski film "Pretty Faces" highlights female skiers. It will screen tonight at the Wheeler Opera House. A discussion with local female skiers and a reception will follow.

Almost half of skiers and snowboarders are women, but you wouldn't know it based on the talent highlighted in most snow sports films. A talented group of young women are challenging the bro-heavy status quo with a celebratory, all-female ski movie, "Pretty Faces."

The film, which screens Friday at the Wheeler Opera House, is the brain child of Lynsey Dyer, a pro skier and founder of SheJumps, a Salt Lake City-based nonprofit that runs programs to increase female participation in outdoor activities.

"Pretty Faces" premiered this fall in Boulder, after Dyer worked on it for two years. It aims both to highlight the highest level of skiing – with segments featuring stars like Wendy Fischer, Ingrid Backstrom, Rachael Burks and Elyse Saugstad – but also to encapsulate the experience of women on snow and in ski towns.

"It's basically a collaborative film showcasing women in skiing and the kinds of fun we have," said Jacqui Edgerly, an Aspen native and competitive free skier featured in the film. "It doesn't have the competitive edge that you see with guys – it's a shared experience of spending time together in the mountains."

Edgerly, who has been on many a podium on the Freeskiing World Tour and this season began coaching young big mountain skiers for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, said she grew up looking up to pros like Backstrom, Dyer and Burks.

Dyer sought, in "Pretty Faces," to celebrate women devoted to big mountain skiing, and inspire girls to embrace their own path – snow-bound or otherwise – despite remaining societal norms that might hold them back. She has compared it to the "Blizzard of Aahhh's" and iconic ski flicks that celebrate men's on-mountain exploits, while highlighting the grace and community among today's female skiers.

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"Young girls need more positive role models to offer then an alternative to the world of skinny jeans, reality TV and fashion magazines," reads the mission statement of Dyer's production company, Unicorn Picnic, which made the film. "We aim to provide a positive source of inspiration for young girls first and foremost. The lessons learned on the mountain parallel those learned by many women who take the path less traveled."

According to Unicorn Picnic's stats, women make up 40 percent of the skiing population and 30 percent of audiences for adventure sports films, yet last winter just 14 percent of the athletes in major ski films were women. Out of films released during the 2012-13 ski season, just nine percent of athletes were women.

"There's always just the token female [in ski films]," Edgerly said when asked about the limited opportunities for women in the industry. "It's how it's always been, you have five athletes that are guys and one girl. Not to put down the guys – I learned from skiing with guys all the time and I am where I am today because of skiing around with guys."

Until 2008, the X Games paid lower purse prizes to women than men – a practice that ended after halfpipe skier Sarah Burke made a public issue of it. A handful of all-female ski movies have also emerged in the last few years, in response to the male-dominated ski film industry, including last year's "Shades of Winter."

"Pretty Faces" was made in an effort to give women more opportunities, more recognition in the industry, and bigger parts in ski films. But, moreso, Edgerly said, it's about inspiring the next generation of girls.

"I just hope it brings a good message to women," she said. "Lynsey's idea was to show women who have the confidence to ski and do what they do rather than hiding behind the guys, and stepping into their own power and doing what they love, whether it's skiing or biking or drawing or whatever."

Edgerly will join local pro snowboarder Jordie Karlinski and pro skiers Christy Mahon and Darcy Conover after the film for a question-and-answer session with the audience. A post-show reception will include artwork by Aspen area female artists and a ski gear silent auction benefitting SheJumps, Protect our Winters and the Chris Klug Foundation.

atravers@aspentimes.com

If You Go …

What: ‘Pretty Faces’

Where: Wheeler Opera House

When: Friday, Dec. 5, 7;30 p.m.

Tickets and more info: http://www.wheeleroperahouse.com

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