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Full Moon snowboarding film shines light on female riders

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Jenni Sheppard Oct 25, 2016 4:52 am

A new Canadian snowboarding film, Full Moon, is showcasing some of the best female riders in the world – and taking on the male-dominated genre of snowboarding movies.

Full Moon is the work of Whistler producer, director and pro snowboarder Leanne Pelosi, who joined forces with seven other epic female riders to make the film.

Part homage to the pioneers of the sport, part big mountain snowboarding showcase; the film was shot all over British Columbia, as well as Alaska and Italy.

Daily Hive spoke to Pelosi as she tours Full Moon, to discuss wild rides, majestic backdrops, and the macho world of snowboarding films.

“There’s a lack of light shone on strong, talented, amazing women, and there definitely should be more for sure,” said Pelosi.

“There are women who want to see other women snowboarding at a high level and get inspired. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be in those films.”

Leanne Pelosi filming Full Moon (Leanne Pelosi)

Leanne Pelosi filming Full Moon (Leanne Pelosi)

Pelosi was born in Calgary, and initially dreamed of playing pro soccer, even making it on to the Canadian Junior national team. But after a car accident left her unable to play, her passion switched to her other favourite pastime – snowboarding.

She gave herself a year to spend in Whistler and become a pro snowboarder. More than a decade later, she’s still there and loving it.

“I love it in British Columbia,” she said. “There’s so much nature around, whether it’s Tofino surfing, or all the mountains on the Sea To Sky. It’s awesome. I never get sick of it.”

Over the years, not only has Pelosi appeared in endless sponsor videos, she also co-produced two snowboarding movies of her own – See What I See and La La Land.

Almost a decade later, after a lengthy hiatus from filmmaking, Full Moon is the realization of a dream for the pro snowboarder.

“I’d always had this dream to one day resurrect all this old footage and make a film that showcased the past and present and future of women’s snowboarding,” said Pelosi.

“To create a little bit of a storyline and portrait of the culture, because it doesn’t happen on the women’s side, as much as it does on the men’s.”

‘The terrain is insane’

Of course, as well as rider interviews and vintage footage, Full Moon also features some seriously impressive big mountain riding from its all female crew. Filming in Alaska was particularly interesting, says Pelosi, given that most of the snowboarding industry were competing to shooting there at the same time.

“You’re fighting for the helicopter, you can’t get on certain lines because everybody is filming and focused on that, and then the terrain is insane,” she said.

“It’s the most perfect zone for snowboarding, because the snow just sticks onto the spines at the perfect angle and it’s really fun to ride down.”

But each of the Full Moon locations offered up its own advantages, said Pelosi.

“Mica Heli was a dreamy zone for pillow riding. It was pillows everywhere you look,” she said. “Bella Coola was just majestic and beautiful.”

“They’re some of the biggest mountains in British Columbia and they’re just so pretty – and vast and big and scary. Bigger mountain lines than Alaska even.”

Whistler’s backcountry mountains have a special place in Pelosi’s heart.

“We’ve got to know them very well over the last 10 years that we’ve explored those mountains,” she said. “As far as progressive snowboarding goes – it’s Whistler.”

‘Token’ female riders?

Pelosi’s crew of female snowboarders included Helen Schettini, Robin van Gyn, Marie-France Roy, Annie Boulanger, and Hana Beaman to name just a few.

Marie-France Roy is one of the female snowboarders featured in Full Moon (Marie-France Roy)

Marie-France Roy is one of the female snowboarders featured in Full Moon (Marie-France Roy)

Some of them, including Pelosi, have previously appeared as what she calls the “token” female rider in the few male-dominated snowboarding films that include women. But Pelosi says female snowboarders are often sidelined – no one asks what they want to do, they go wherever the guys go and they get last picks of the lines.

Full Moon was a completely different experience, says Pelosi.

“It was nice to create a film where we were the priority and able to do what we want, when we want.”

Even when the men riding in those movies are supportive, says Pelosi, it can still be difficult to overcome the level of competition and testosterone flowing.

“I’m not saying they’re not going for it any harder than us. Definitely we are pushing our boundaries, pushing our mentality – the mental side of the sport – as far as we can.

“But sometimes it’s overpowering when you live in a culture where it’s always the man first, when you’re the odd one out. And Full Moon was the reverse.”

Even in the sponsorship world, says Pelosi, getting equal representation can be difficult, with many brands thinking a “token” woman is enough.

“I don’t want to be just the one girl, the token female represented on a brand,” she said.

Pelosi says there is a guys vs. girls mentality in the snowboarding industry – but she’s trying to change that.

“It’s a big circle. There’s no girls in the spotlight, so nobody thinks there are any girls that are pushing it in the sport,” she said.

“So as a collective, we need to change that mentality and it starts with putting your money where your mouth is.”

Strong, independent women

@jamieanderson speechless 😶🙏🏿💛

A photo posted by Full Moon • 🌚🌛 • Out Now (@fullmoonfilm) on

Pelosi isn’t shying away from that statement – she’s planning to use part of the profits from Full Moon to take a promising female snowboarder riding in Alaska.

“When projects like this happen in our sport, it’s beneficial, it just shows that we are capable of reaching our goals and pushing snowboarding on the female front,” she said. “I hope that other women are inspired by this and do the same thing, because it would be awesome to see more professional women in our sport.”

And as far as riding level goes, Pelosi says female snowboarders are at an all time high right now.

“It’s so good. You look at all the girls on the contest tour, they’re doing insane tricks on insane jumps – the same tricks as the guys.”

Pelosi emphasizes that point with an anecdote about how, while filming in Alaska, her female crew inadvertently laid the groundwork for the men who came after them.

“It’s not easy riding big mountain lines fluidly and our crew killed it in Alaska,” she said. “Some of the lines that we did in our film, you can see our tracks in another film. The guys went there and filmed right after us on the same lines.

“That made me feel good to see our old tracks in some of their lines in the film. We are riding the same s**t.”

@hibeams is loving it here in Haines! 📷 @robinvangyn @vanssnow #sfd #steepanddeep #rickrollingtoalaska @twsnow

A photo posted by Full Moon • 🌚🌛 • Out Now (@fullmoonfilm) on

To all women out there dreaming of becoming pro snowboarders, Pelosi simply advises you to move to the mountains and keep pushing it.

“Our entire crew, there’s a reason why they are where they are, because they are strong, independent women who won’t take no for an answer,” she said. “We’ve all nudged our way into the industry as professional snowboarders and tried to stake our claim.”

Now, says Pelosi, she’s simply super proud of Full Moon.

“I wanted to make this about the community and what snowboarding is for all of us – riding together and enjoying the moments with your friends.”

“We ride together, and we have fun.”

Full Moon is available to stream on iTunes, Google Play and Vimeo On Demand.

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Jenni Sheppard
Jenni is a former Senior Staff Writer at Daily Hive. Happy Vancouverite. Traveller, snowboarder, foodie, film fan, feminist, geek, cheesemaker, curler.

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