Last month, X Games Tignes Women's Snowboard SuperPipe competitor Elena Hight teamed up with her sponsors to launch the Essence Of Women's Snowboarding photo contest, which invited amateur shredders to submit images that define the female experience on the hill. A panel of industry folks selected a photo uploaded by Abbie Berg, 22, from Pocatello, Idaho, as the best spokes-image, gaining Berg an exclusive interview by Hight herself and a sweet prize pack from Hight's sponsors.
Elena Hight: Tell me about the photo -- where and when it was taken and why you think it is a good representation of women's snowboarding.
Abbie Berg: That picture was taken a couple years ago at an elementary school in Pocatello and it was a challenge to get that rail. My husband Andy shot the photo. It took me all day to get it; at the end of the day I got that rail.
I thought the sunset looked really awesome; it was a good representation of how I felt after getting that rail. I love the lighting. It was really exciting for me.
I know how you feel about getting something you've been working on for a long time. What is your favorite part of snowboarding? You said you've been snowboarding for six years; is that right?
Yeah, six years on and off. My favorite part? Definitely the feeling of snowboarding. That feeling you get when you ride. It's unexplainable.
I know exactly what you mean; it's the best feeling ever -- not many words to describe it. I heard that you have a baby girl; do you think you'll be putting her on a board someday?
Yes, I have a daughter. I made her a snowboard out of one of my old snowboards. I cut out a smaller shape and put some small bindings on it. She is only a year old but she's really getting it. It's fun teaching her and seeing how much she likes it.
I'd love to see photos of that! She's going to be a little shredder if she's already snowboarding! Tell me about your husband: Is he a snowboarder too?
Yes, he's really good.
One of the reasons I wanted to do this [photo contest] is [that] sports in general, but snowboarding specifically, has helped me in a lot of ways. So I'm wondering: Do you think snowboarding has helped empower you as a woman?
Yes, definitely. I snowboarded for a couple years before I met my husband. When I met him, he went all the time and I went with him a lot. Just progressing in the sport gave me so much confidence as a person. I was really shy -- still am pretty shy -- and it's given me a lot of confidence in all aspects of my life. I'm a lot stronger person. I feel like I can be more of myself now because of snowboarding.
As a pro, I want to show people that exact thing. It's so powerful, mastering a skill; that's really cool to hear you say that very thing. What other things in life keep you motivated? What else do you do?
Probably my family. They're a really big inspiration and very supportive. My religion, too. I get a lot of inspiration from my heavenly father. It gives me more confidence when I try snowboarding because I know someone is watching over me.
I also really enjoy woodworking.
Yeah, I heard you do chainsaw carving. That sounds so cool! What do you make?
I do a lot of those welcome bears that you see. It's a pretty good way to make extra money. I have been carving for a long time, since I was little.
It's a cool hobby to have. Do you like to ride the rails and parks best? What do you like to ride?
Definitely street riding and hiking to ride. I really like the creativity of building your own features.