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Alta States

Lisa Lefroy: Embracing life to the fullest

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When Lisa turned 18, her parents decided to move the family full-time to Whistler. “It was a totally positive move,” she says. “We left a place where kids were openly hostile to adults — it was really an Us-and-Them thing — to come to a place where different generations mix it up all the time. I mean, if you meet your dad on the hill, you’re not going to ignore him. You’re probably going to go for a run with him.” Another happy laugh. “Honestly — it affected our family in such a healthy way. We started getting along so well. After a few months here, my dad told us: ‘We should have done this five years ago!’”

While her brother and sister became part of the first graduating class at the new high school, Lisa got a job at the IGA — in the bakery department. “It was great. I used to work with a cookie in my pocket all the time.” A knowing grin. “But seriously — the staff was really fun there. It was a totally positive experience.”

Like so many other kids in her generation, Lisa wasn’t just a “skier”. “I got turned on to riding when my J2 ski coach decided to take us all on a snowboarding lesson,” she explains. “My parents were sitting at Merlin’s that day. After my lesson, I came up to them and said: ‘I’m selling all my ski gear. This is the sport for me.’”

But though snowboarding became her passion, it was another sport that really opened her eyes to the wider world. One of only a handful of young women to immerse herself in the wild and crazy world of freeride mountain biking — “we got into it at a time when there were no other girls doing what we were doing,” she says. “So we’d go out riding with guys like Ritchie Schley and Brett Tippie” — Lisa got a terrific response from the industry when she and Kterina Strand started promoting themselves as “The Dirty Girls”. “It’s funny, you know,” she says. “We now have longstanding relationships with companies that, literally, saw us grow up. So now they’re looking to us as ‘experts’ who can help them develop the women’s freeriding market.” She smiles. “And that’s pretty cool…”

In the summer of 2002, Lisa met a young French rider at Whistler by the name of Cedric Gracia. One of the biggest names in mountain biking, Gracia was obviously intrigued by this Coast Mountain warrior girl. “We pretty much hit it off right from the beginning,” says Lisa. “We just seemed to get along really well.”