spreading the SLAG. | Shannon Corsi photo.
Ski Like a Girl founder Kimmie Geer arrived in Bozeman, MT with only a raincoat to survive the winter, not knowing the first thing about skiing. As a graphic design major at Montana State University, she secured a job at a store in downtown Bozeman called Heyday in 2011. After a few seasons of learning to ski, and discovering her passion for social media marketing she began printing private label items for the store. ‘Ski Like a Girl’ ended up on a shirt, and it stuck.
It rolled off the tongue, had a cool ‘girl power’ gusto to it, and after some time, it became clear that it needed to be more than a slogan on a shirt. It had the potential to carry a more meaningful message.
Geer found herself not only falling in love with skiing in her late 20’s, but transitioning from an employee at Heyday to a fully-fledged marketing wiz, and Ski Like a Girl continued to grow. There was a demand for more products and Greer answered. She officially launched the brand in the winter of 2019 with little more than an Instagram account and a yearning for the community she felt like she lacked as an adult trying to break into the ski community.
Ski Like a Girl (SLAG) started as an idea, a need for inclusivity in the outdoor industry, and a way to make it seem less daunting to those on the outside of the ski community.
We sat down with Kimmie Geer, the Ski Like a Girl one-woman-show, to hear more about the inspiration for the brand, and the journey in creating a community based brand, with the mission of getting more girls on the slopes, at its core.
Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to start Ski Like a Girl?
Kimmie Geer: Over the years of being a beginner skier as an adult, I learned from a lot of guys. I love skiing with the guys, but I was a scared skier in the beginning. — It was always so intimidating and I had that feeling like I needed to impress them. If I cried, or crashed, or didn’t make it down, I’d be so embarrassed. And, it was hard to find girls to ski with, one because they’re not as prevalent as guys on the mountain, but I was almost more intimidated by a good girl skier than a good guy skier.
But I went skiing a couple of times with my friend Cass, who is now my best friend, and it just clicked. It was like ‘wait this is super fun, really low pressure, and having aprés or lunch was so fun, and there were so many laughs of giggles.’
And I realized that when I would see a guy do something I’d be like ‘I can’t do that,’ but when I saw a girl do something I’d think ‘I can do that.’ That shift really changed my skiing — I realized I am in an encouraging environment with the girls — so the inspiration for Ski Like a Girl I think, is when you can find some girls to ski with, it feels different, fun, and empowering.
Geer and the dogs. | Shannon Corsi photo.
What has been the biggest impact you’ve seen Ski Like a Girl and the brand's message have?
KG: The biggest impact is simply a sense of community for people. I think when someone puts a hat or shirt on that says ‘Ski Like a Girl’ they feel cool. They feel proud, some girl power, and I think that provides a connection point. From instagram, to imperson, to around town, I think Ski Like a Girl is providing a space for people to feel empowered.
I think it’s important for people who are new to something, to feel like they have something to look to or some way to find inspiration.— I think the impact of community, feeling some sense of belonging and encouragement is huge and a big part of what Ski Like a Girl stands for.
Something I didn’t plan for was the impact that it has on young girls. — There’s something cool about connecting when you're an adult, but there are so many young girls who are just stoked about Ski Like a Girl. Putting a sticker on their helmet or wearing a pink Ski Like a Girl T-Shirt. — I think it’s cool that a community like Ski Like a Girl could get these younger girls more excited.
So you launched a Ski Like a Girl Ambassador program this season, can you tell us a bit about that?
KG: We just launched it last fall and decided to go with five ambassadors. I had over 260 applicants which is just insane, and really showed me that so many people want to rep this brand. — I didn’t put out that many guidelines beforehand so just to see the excitement behind that was really mind-blowing!
My goal was not only to have some girls out there in the ski community that are repping gear, but it was to spread the mission of getting more girls on the mountain. So we provided our ambassadors with the ability to take five new girls skiing with the support of Ski Like a Girl. Whether that was a girl that had been skiing a few times but didn’t have all the gear or someone that had never been skiing, providing them with what they needed for a day and then getting them out skiing with one of the ambassadors. — it ended up being smaller-scale than I had initially thought — but we were able to get some girls out who were excited about skiing and do some meetups with our ambassadors!
Check out the Ski Like A Girl summer drop. | Shannon Corsi photo.
KG: I first want to reimagine the ambassador program in the future, more of a large ambassador team with girls who connect with Ski Like a Girl in some way and who are wanting to spread the message in some way, and then hopefully have an athlete program of athletes who are sponsored by Ski Like a Girl, — working with the people we’ve been able to position ourselves with, to help provide these athletes with what they need.
I can’t stop the momentum and growth of Ski Like a Girl, so I am embracing the idea of letting it grow organically. — Getting it to more people is one goal, maybe traveling to Europe or Australia. Trying to spread the message to other cultures and communities.
One thing I would love to continue doing is pop up events in large ski communities. One of the most impactful events last year was in Salt Lake City, I did a panel discussion along with a pop up shop. It was three girls from the Utah ski community, — everyone was asking questions, and getting the panel involved in real life stuff, and shared experiences that we have as girls who love to ski.
What has been your favorite part of this journey?
KG: I think my favorite part and something I am most proud of is how it has gotten me so far out of my comfort zone and at the same time made me feel so comfortable. — From wanting this to be a community based brand, to then be like wow I have helped create this community that I myself needed so badly, that has changed my life. — I have connected with so many people through Ski Like a Girl, from brand connections like Outer Range Brewery in Frisco, to meeting girls on chairlifts, skiing with them all day and becoming friends. It's these people who have quite literally changed my life and had so much impact on the brand.
I've been continuing to learn that if you keep putting one foot in front of the other and take one step at a time, soon your life (or brand or business) could, and will, look so different as time goes on. And that's true for Ski Like a Girl. So buy the ski pass, book the trip, ask someone to go skiing with you, put yourself out there, and just go for it!