Hey Maria! How did you get involved with Karakoram?
I got my first pair of bindings through gnu, and they changed the whole splitboarding game for me. Never looked back.
What does splitboard product evolution mean to you, and how has binding design impacted your mountain experience?
The better your gear in the mountains, the less you have to worry about it and the farther you can go. My first splitboard setup was a 162 burton s with voile puck/plate binding. It was so heavy! Id say its come a long way since then.
What do you feel is the holistic impact of having a local Washington supply base, and riding bindings that are hand built in the USA by snowboarders with passion?
I’ve got endless Washington pride, so I’m stoked to have my bindings AND snowboards built in this great state. Its nice to be able to drop by the factories to see exactly what goes into construction and hang out with the people who build the products I ride.
So I’ve been talking a lot with that woman Liz Daley, and I think we’re on to some pretty rad marketing ideas. For the women’s model, what if we made a binding that had a glow-in-the dark fluorescent pink (or green) heelcup, with a few glittery sparkles mixed in? Would you ride it? Or is that way too over the top?
Liz is pretty over the top afterall…
I have no problem with pink, throw some sparkles and glitter in there, I would proudly rock that. Got to represent the prettier half of our species!
Where’s the next big product evolution going to happen?
Skins with jet packs.
How has splitboarding evolved your snowboarding as a whole?
Quality over quantity. I would much rather take a more laid back approach to snowboarding-spending time in the mountains with a few of my friends instead of waiting in liftlines and racing everyone and their mother to get fresh lines that I’ve ridden a hundred times already.
Growing up with your brother Lucas at Mount Baker, did you guys push each other’s riding? Do you two ride together now, as adults?
I trust my brother’s opinion of my snowboarding capabilities more than my own so he pushed me to ride a lot of things I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. We’re both pretty busy in the winters now, but we usually get at least of few days of solid riding in together.
Maria, your riding is absolutely incredible! Most people think of guys as the more powerful shredders, but you totally, and completely blow this thought pattern out of the water. In terms of empowering the upcoming female generation, is there any wisdom would you like to pass along?
Wow, thank you, that is very flattering of you to say. I think as long as you love snowboarding and are having a good time, that’s all that matters, gender stereotypes aside.
A few months ago we were chatting about your experiences competing in the Freeride World Tour. Do you see yourself competing in the future, or are you wanting to grow into other areas?
My dad always told me if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I’m grateful for the experience and the amazing people I met, but it’s not for me.
You recently went on a splitboard mountaineering trip with that Liz Daley (she’s so hot right now) in the French Alps. How was that experience?
? I admire Liz’s confidence in the mountains, she is a real life mountaineer. She managed to scare the shit out of me a few times. It’s always fun to mix it up a little and try out new types of snowboarding.
Speaking of risk management, we’ve recently gone through the loss of some close friends in a Colorado Avalanche. These friends were industry and mountain professionals themselves. What do you think is the most important factor in making sure you come home?
Humility. I feel that sometimes people get caught up and are hesitant to back down after all of the effort/energy/money/sweat they’ve put into making it to the top of whatever line. It’s a battle, but I am a firm believer in better safe than sorry.
What part of the process of human powered big mountain riding excites you the most?
I love being out in the mountains with only a few of my friends. No rush, or distractions. Not to sound like a hippie, but it’s really a much more pure experience.
Any interest in more icy steep Liz Daley European craziness?
Ha! Ice is for figure skaters! I think I’ll stick with powder.
In regards to sports nutrition, how do you fuel your splitboard vs. resort riding days?
When I ride the resort I usually don’t eat that much after breakfast until I get home. Doesn’t work like that with splitboarding. Packing food for a tour is one of my favorite things. I love to have smoked salmon, dried mangoes, and snickers in my pack.
How do you see yourself evolving into the future? Do you see yourself continuing your snowboarding career for a long time? What other passions excite you?
Ive been skiing and snowboarding for my whole life and I don’t plan to stop until my body makes me.
Exploration is an interesting thing. On one hand, we can travel the globe looking for unknown experiences. On the other hand, our own backyard (the Cascades) has an incredible amount to offer. Where do your dreams lay?
There is a lifetime of terrain to explore right here at home. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to check out other mountains in different countries, but I am partial to the cascades. They have everything I’m looking for.
I recently had a chance to catch up with this year’s Freeride World Champion, Ralph Backstrom. We were discussing off season training techniques for total snowboard domination and crushing, particularly in celebration of the upcoming winter Olympics. How do you feel about Olympic Weight Lifting? If you think of it as “training” it takes the fun out of it. And snowboarding is fun, right?
My lifestyle makes me in shape so it all works out. Lifting weights at the gym makes you a jock. But hey, to each their own.