Yesterday, the OIWC presented Elana Chase, director of Vail’s freeride ski and snowboard club, with the Pioneering Women’s Award. The OIWC Pioneering Award recognizes women in the outdoor sports industry who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to mentoring other ladies. As one of the best coaches to both guys and gals, Elana has mentored many of freerides most talented athletes.
I met Elana a the ’07 Queen’s Cup. I knew her as Jen Hudak’s coach, mentor and friend. When I found out that I would be attending the If Ullr Was a Girl Competition that spring, I knew she was the person to call. I needed help in the park, and quick! I may not of won the Ullr Girl Competition, but Elana did introduce me to pipe, and reminded me that at the end of the day, it’s the hard work, not the medal that matters. Elana’s hard work is a demonstration of her mantra. As a coach, she is rarely recognized for all of her hard work. It is always the athletes on the podium. But where would we be as athletes without our coach’s?
I have been riding sans coach since mid-season 2008, and while I’ve had many coaches throughout my skiing career, I’ve missed E’s support. Yes, I can learn new spins and ski harder lines everyday by myself, but something it’s easier to do this with someone there. Someone telling us that we can do it; that it’s not our physical limitations holding us back, only our mental. E helped me push through those mental barriers, kept me motivated, and let me work through my inhibitions. As a coach, athlete and friend, I think that E was the perfect recipient for this award. And Jen’s 1080 at X the night before? A cherry on top of the sundae.