Top 5 Snowboarding MumsTaking Super-Mum to the next level...

Katie Blundell

7 years ago in News

A lot of people think that when you become a parent that snowboarding has to stop. This really isn’t the case. There are some amazing snowboarding mums out there that have defied the odds and are still totally living the dream. Having a baby hasn’t changed their skill level or style AT ALL. They are such an inspiration to me, proving that it IS possible to have it all (Although I’m still trying to figure it out myself!). Since becoming a mother myself, I have so much admiration for these female shredders. These ladies just go to show that your snowboard life doesn’t have to stop and they have made their transition into motherhood so graciously. So here are my top 5 snowboarding mums!

Tara Dakides

Tara is such an iconic figure in the snowboarding world. For many years she reigned supreme on the mountain, matching the guys with her rail riding skills and charging jumps. When people think of the first female shredder that paved the way for many girls to come, they think of Tara. She dominated both on the competition circuit and through video parts. She left the industry in 2011 and is now married and a full time mum to daughter Meadow (4) and son Bowie (1). She works from home on her 2 businesses and is with her kids 100% of the time. Her mum had to work when she was growing up so Tara always promised herself that if she became a mum that she would stay at home. She is raising her family with her husband Jake (ex-professional ski racer) in Colorado. She travels a lot as she loves exposing her kids to adventures. She still rides but not that much, but she doesn’t mind as she feels fulfilled with her new adventures and taking her daughter snowboarding. She made the decision to detach herself from the snowboard industry as having family was really important to her and it sounds like she is happy she got out when she did. She feels it’s not what it used to be and has lost its community and “lacks soul”. She now just rides for fun and for her kids, hoping to inspire them one day to follow their dreams. I admire her as she just sounds completely content and happy with life and her choices. No one can ever take what she has done for female snowboarding away from her.

Maria Thompson

She was born in Denmark but now lives in Whistler year round (lucky girl!). Not only does she snowboard like a boss, have amazing style and rides street rails with complete ease, SHE’S A FULL TIME MUM! Now, being a mum myself, I have so much appreciation for this girl as she is the epitome of “having it all”. Even though she must be exhausted, her snowboarding hasn’t suffered at all. Even when she was pregnant she was still hitting the park! I don’t think I could have even reached my bindings when I was pregnant! She is still very much involved in the snowboard industry. She still goes on all these street rail trips and laps the park and gets lots of video parts. She actually went on a rail trip to Quebec with 2 of my friends and her 5 month old baby. She wanted to get the shot and wouldn’t give up, even though she kept having to go to the car and breast feed her baby. She’s a machine! Thats why I like to follow her journey from athlete to motherhood, not only for her snowboarding, but her mountain life in general with her partner and child. She represents the fact that your life doesn’t have to change when you have children.

Erin Comstock

Mum, wife, snowboarder and former Roxy rider. She has so many accomplishments under her snowboarding belt: 5x X-Games athlete, countless video parts and one of the first girls EVER to start pushing the boundaries of female urban riding. I remember riding with her (well not so much “with” her, but admiring her from a far!) at Miss Super Park in 2013 so it must have been just after that she became pregnant. She had her first child, Kaius, in Febuary 2014 and then retired just afterwards to focus on her family so I feel privileged to have been a part of what must have been one of her last snowboard events as a pro. She filmed her last video part at the age of 35 and is now 39, living in Colorado and still riding quite a bit, with a very active, outdoor lifestyle. She has just had another baby, a girl.

Erin hopes that being a snowboarder has given her a fun side which will mean she can relate to her children and be a really energetic mum. After her first birth, she got really into Cross Fit and working out in the gym. She has now re-trained as a Personal Trainer and made a conscious effort to continue working out into her pregnancy and throughout, no matter how rough she was feeling. She was the most hardcore pregnant person I know! She said that she felt so much better in her second pregnancy because of it. She must have got this determination from her snowboarding. Erin is still pretty involved in the snowboard industry but Cross Fit is her new focus. And good on her, she has been a massive inspiration for me to get my self pitying body off the sofa and to the gym throughout my second pregnancy. She has shown me (and many others I’m sure) that fitness and snowboarding can continue into motherhood. Thanks Erin!

Cheryl Maas

Dutch rider and Olympian, along with many more snowboarding titles and achievements, Cheryl is now a family of two mothers and two daughters (Lara 6 and Mila 3). She still snowboards professionally and supports her family with her income. I feel there must be a lot of pressure on her to perform well to put dinner on the table! But she says her life as mother and athlete is just very busy. Cheryl has always wanted to become a mum, and feels bad leaving her girls so much in the winter but she knows she is doing it for them. She rides now with a smarter head, tries to take less risks and is safer as she doesn’t want to get injured. On the other hand, she is grateful for snowboarding a lot more now as its the only thing she gets to do for herself. Anyone that is a mum will know that you don’t really get time to do much for yourself, its all about you children.

She really wants to teach her daughters to grow up freely and follow their hearts, not worry about school and qualifications too much as there is a whole world out there to explore. Her wife is an ex pro snowboarder so has been really supportive of Cheryl to carry on doing what she loves, and she stays home with the kids. The snowboard industry is tough, and Cheryl thinks she was still “written off” a little when she became a mum and she had a lot to prove to maintain her status. In the end, she has earned a lot of respect because of it. She still competes on the Freestyle Circuit and is heavily involved in film projects and still has lots to give to professional snowboarding. She also recognises it’s hard for women in snowboarding to become mums, as normally you have to go through pregnancy and child birth, but she didn’t have to do this. Although I feel it must be hard for her to balance her life as she can’t give 100% to snowboarding OR her family. She’s competing against younger girls who can give 110% to their riding and ride all year round, whereas Cheryl’s summers are for her family. Now both of her daughters shred and I definitely reckon they are heading in both their mothers footsteps. Coolest mums ever!

Vera Janssen

She has the most amazing life. Nikita rider and back country queen, this Whistler local’s life doesn’t seem to have changed much at all since having a baby. She is known as “Super Mum” and has had a long career in snowboarding, being pro since she was only 14 years old. She moved to a backcountry focus when she got bored of the competition circuit. Coming from Sweden originally, she has been riding sleds since she was 8 years old with her dad and is so passionate about riding backcountry and exploring. She definitely wasn’t ready to give that all up when she became a mum. As soon as she found out she was pregnant she was wondering about snowboarding and how being a Mum would affect it. Just 6 days after delivering her baby girl Nika in 2012, she was back on the hill. Then just a few weeks after giving birth, she was back on the filming, putting out 6 episodes on Mahfia TV (an online all-girls video content based magazine).

She took her husband (also pro back country rider) and baby on a road trip to Alaska, living out of a camper van for a month, touring the back country and getting the shots. Pretty hardcore ESPECIALLY with a kid in tow. What an amazing start in life for her little one. How cool would it be to see your mum and dad drop massive cliffs whilst you chill in the van! Vera has A LOT going on in her life: awesome mum, cooking 3 gluten-free meals a day, photographer, filmer, video producer. Her days just aren’t long enough. She’s been able to hold it all together though as she has the most amazing support system around her, with both sets of family flying out from Europe to babysit Nika on powder days so she can go ride. In the early days she would do laps and then stop in the breast feed the baby on the way through. Plus Nika sounds like she was the most mellow baby ever, which must help. Vera and her partner also take it in turns, so they both score some powder. She says its pretty easy to be a mum in Whistler. Down in Pemberton where she lives, there are so many other new mums and they all take it in turns with babysitting duties. She loves her life and reckons having a baby has just enriched it and made her more grateful for everything everyday. Her daughter has been getting used to being on the snowmobile from a VERY young age of course, and I don’t think she will have much choice in following in her parents footsteps.

I think it is really difficult as a female athlete in any sport if you want that elite status, but also want to have a family, especially as ladies have that biological clock ticking. It must feel unfair sometimes that there is a life span on your career. There might become a point where you have to chose between your sport and motherhood. This can be a really tough decision, especially if you LOVE your sport more than life itself. Personally, I miss my snowboard life SO MUCH you would not believe, but I would never change my decision not to have my little boy in my life. I just have to figure out how to blend motherhood and snowboarding together better. I think moving back to the mountains is a pretty sensible option!