The once male-dominated sport of snowboarding is becoming saturated with female riders who can rip up the powder just like the guys.
Snowboarding companies and manufacturers of board accessories are beginning to take notice. Snowboard shops in Steamboat Springs also have become aware of an increase in the number of female shredders.
Liza Scudder, sales associate and buyer at Terry Sports, said she has seen a surge in the number of female snowboarders in the last three years. Scudder said one attraction to snowboarding, whether male or female, is the shorter learning curve boarding has over skiing.
"You can take two lessons and actually be snowboarding. It's great instant gratification," Scudder said.
Scudder said it's important for women to have their own gear and equipment because they are becoming more aggressive riders.
"It used to be like you were in your big brother's clothes," Scudder said. "(Snowboarding companies) are taking into consideration that women are shaped different."
Dave Krats, assistant manager of Christy Sports, said companies such as K2, Burton and Salomon, have designed snowboarding gear especially suited for women. The boards are narrower and lighter, and clothing is tailored to fit a woman's body shape.
"Generally, women are lighter than men. They have smaller feet and it's easier to get on a board's edge if it's narrower," Krats said.
It could be a marketing ploy by snowboarding companies but local shops are seeing an increase in revenues and greater customer satisfaction from their female patrons.
"Women are really appreciative of it," Scudder said.
K2, Burton and Salomon make boards that are lady specific and also activity specific, such as free ride boards versus pipe
and park boards. Krats said no lady-specific bindings have been made yet but some are better suited for women because of the lower high backs.
"Boots are lower and narrower because a lady's calf is cut lower down toward the Achilles," Krats said.
Krats said he has seen snowboarding companies gear equipment and attire for women's needs during the past two years. Before that, companies would just make smaller versions of the men's gear.
Companies may use the same material and same products for men and women but Krats said it may depend on how much of the material, where and how it's used that will make the difference to women.Much of the women's clothing has been tailored to fit a woman's physique.
Obermeyer, Burton and m girl make better fitting jackets and pants for women.
Burton has designed a jacket that allows for a woman's thumb to fit through a Lycra lining keeping the material fitted to hold in heat.
Krats said women tend to have poorer circulation than men.
A woman's circulation is directed to different areas of the body since they bear children. Women's hands and feet tend to get colder because their blood circulation is targeted at the womb, while men's circulation is more evenly dispersed.
"Girls don't want pants hanging down on them like the guys," Krats said. "More ladies like clothes that fit.
"It's more sensible."