Mervin’s Barrett Christy on Shaping Women’s Snowboarding, Increasing Participation, & being honored with TW Snow’s Legend Award
Barrett Christy is well-known to most as the iconic women’s snowboarder who helped pioneer the sport in the ’90s, going on to be a member of the first U.S. Snowboarding team during the 1998 Winter Olympics, and hold the most medals for any woman athlete at the Winter X Games, to date.
It was only fitting then, that Barrett receive the 2016 Legend Award at this year’s TransWorld SNOWboarding Riders’ Poll Awards. Snowboarder’s Pat Bridges sat down with her directly after the fact to hear more about what this honor means, her perspective on shaping the women’s snowboarding market, and ways the industry can create more female riders.
“I hadn’t been on that stage in 15 years, and the last time I was, I dropped it on my foot and didn’t have anything eloquent to say,” laughs Christy about accepting her award. “So hopefully in 15 years I’ve learned a whole lot more about snowboarding, and learned about the people and companies involved in snowboarding. I just can’t seem to get away from it. I’m really stoked to still be in snowboarding, and stoked to be able to sit down with someone like you and talk about snowboarding shit.”
At her more recent role within the industry, Christy serves as Mervin Manufacturing’s women’s brand & product manager, a.k.a Director of Awesome, and continues to influence and help shape the future of women’s snowboarding through product innovation and working with the GNU and Roxy teams. “I naturally fell into this roll after years of competing,” Christy says. “Thankfully Mervin, Mike and Pete, had me take my influence from on the snow inside the company. I’m grateful for that because now I’m being able to influence the brand from the inside and build on our whole women’s program.”
Her passion for the sport, combined with an accumulated knowledge of product over the years, has solidified her role as both brand director and women’s team manager, she explains. She still sees a lot of growth opportunity for brands within snowboarding to build the women’s market, she says.
“I think there’s a place for X Games and the progressive competition athletes, and that’s something to aspire to, but realistically your average person buying a snowboard is going to be more inspired by beautiful turns and carving, and maybe something a little bit more accessible,” she says. “I guess the trick to increasing the women’s market, I would just say, is to speak more to them and make it more of a fun, accessible adventure.”
Watch the entire interview here, and stay tuned for more of The Sessions @ SIA, coming soon.