I’ve said it before. And I’ll say it again. Whistler women kick ass. Bold, confident, intelligent, funny — and totally unconcerned with societal expectations of female behaviour — the women of Whistler have always managed to march to the beat of their own drummers.
No matter that most of the men in this valley don’t get it. No matter that mainstream media still struggle with the concept. There is an estrogen-fuelled energy in Sea-to-Sky country that defies all explanations. And as the French say: Vive la difference!
Take the story of Lisa Lefroy. I mean, how many young women would willingly choose a tag like “The Dirty Girls” and proceed to promote herself and a friend to the mountain biking industry as “two fun-loving girls who love to ride and love to have a good time” (and do it successfully!)? How many females would accept the challenge of travelling to Central America to develop a mountain-bike-and-skateboard show with virtually no event management experience (and still do it successfully!)? Finally, how many could manage to go shopping for their own home before they turned 30 (and again, do it successfully)?
While she’s definitely raised the performance bar for those who choose to follow in her footsteps, Lisa’s story is not all that different from a lot of other young women who learned to ski and ride on the slopes of Whistler-Blackcomb. “I grew up in Tsawwassen,” says the 29 year old, “but Whistler was definitely the family’s home-away-from-home.” She laughs. “My parents were part of the old-school ski network here,” she adds. “In fact, Whistler is where my mom and dad first met…”
Introduced to skiing at the age of two, Lisa’s mountain credentials are gold-plated. “My godfather is (legendary national ski team coach) Glen Wurtele and my “uncles” were people like Dave Murray and YP (W/B event guru Peter Young). “Skiing was always a reason to leave the town that I grew up in.” she says. “But as a teenager, I started resisting it. I didn’t want to go to Whistler anymore. I wanted to stay in town and hang out with my friends.”
A bit of a rebel — OK, maybe more than just a “bit” — Lisa admits the lifestyle she was leading in Tsawwassen wasn’t all that healthy. “A lot of the kids I hung out with were bad apples,” she explains. “And I was right in there with ’em. You know — doing the full suburban thing. Hanging out with rich little white boys driving their low-riders that their dads had bought them…”