Katherine Donnelly | 08.13.2018

As part of Outdoor Project's Women In the Wild series this summer, I have had the honor of working with outdoor women from all over the industry to dig a bit deeper into who they are, how they got to where they are now, how they approach the outdoors, and more. These women are all rad in their own right, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, or how "badass" they might be. Whether they're mothers, daughters, sisters, professional athletes, beginners, weekend warriors, "instafamous," or anywhere in-between, their unique stories, journeys, opinions, and perspectives are incredibly valuable and insightful as Outdoor Project - and the industry as a whole - progresses and evolves to become more inclusive to every type of outdoors person. 

Through in-depth and often thought-provoking interviews, I hope to highlight these women's stories, their work, their adventures, and so much more with an eye toward giving them their well-deserved share of the spotlight while inspiring and empowering even more women to get outside!

In this feature we talk to Kimmy Fasani.

An absolute legend in the world of snowboarding, this Woman In The Wild is a powerhouse both on and off the slopes. Strap her to a board both on and off-piste, give her a mountain bike and some singletrack, a pair of running shoes and a trail, or even challenge her to a triathlon - it doesn't matter, she'll take it all in stride and enjoy every moment. Get the full scoop below.

Photo courtesy of Liv Cycling.

OP: Give us the skinny on who Kimmy Fasani is.

Kimmy Fasani: I am a professional snowboarder who lives in Mammoth Lakes, California. I love being outside, and nature is my best playground. I love biking, hiking, trail running, and climbing. I am a new mom to a five-month old boy named Koa. I am currently on a month-long RV trip with my husband (who’s a professional skier named Chris Benchetler) and son in New Zealand. 

OP: When did you first know that you were going to spend your life in the outdoors?

Kimmy Fasani: I have always loved being outdoors since I was little. However, after losing my dad to cancer at 14 years old, I realized how spending time in nature helped me clear my head. I also lost my mom to cancer about one and a half years ago, and the outdoors has helped me cope. 

OP: What does it mean to you to be a woman in the outdoor industry?

Kimmy Fasani: I am happy to be an active woman, and I am constantly inspired by all the other rad women out there pushing their limits  

OP: What has the outdoors done for you and how do you pay it back?

Kimmy Fasani: The outdoors have given me space to think, breathe, and escape. The outdoors have let me run free with imagination and they have provided a passion for snowboarding so deep in me that I was able to make it my career. I give back to the outdoors by keeping them clean and leaving only footsteps.

OP: Conservation and protection of our public lands are central themes in today’s outdoor recreation narrative. As someone who spends a significant amount of time outdoors and on public lands, what role do you think bikers - and outdoor enthusiasts in general - should play in this evolving conversation and landscape?

Kimmy Fasani: Our public lands are the most important thing we have! Protecting these places, caring for them, and making sure they are around for the future generations is everyone's duty. Each time I am outside playing in these beautiful playgrounds I pick up trash, watch where I step to ensure I am not damaging delicate ecosystems, and being mindful of the wear and tear I have on them. We must collectively take care of Mother Nature because she is providing us with so much. 

OP: Who has inspired you along the way?

Kimmy Fasani: My mom was a huge inspiration for me to appreciate these wide open spaces. From an early age, she showed me the beauty they have. She took me skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking, and traveling. 

OP: What does adventure mean to you?

Kimmy Fasani: To me adventure means stepping outside your comfort zone and embracing the unknown. 

OP: What does the term "badass" mean to you?

Kimmy Fasani: Badass means that a person is pushing their limits and progressing their skill set to an inspiring level. They are being a leader and showing the rest of us what’s possible. 

OP: How have you managed to align your career with your passion for the outdoors?

Kimmy Fasani: I am passionate about snowboarding and about the outdoors, and I find when you’re truly passionate about something, you nurture it. Once I realized I was capable of taking my snowboarding to new heights with majority of my time spent in the backcountry, I knew I would also go to great lengths to protect the places we get to play. Furthermore, seeing how much winter is changing because of climate change makes me want to try even harder to protect our environment. 

OP: And do you have any advice for someone who is looking to do the same? 

Kimmy Fasani: Be authentic and find what drives you. Once you have your hands dipped into your passions, it is pretty incredible how motivated and determined we can become. Staying true to your goals and chasing your dreams can lead you to some wild places. Believe in your dreams and make them happen. 

OP: We are seeing a shift in what the term woman or female might bring to mind (LGBTQ), both in the outdoor community and throughout the world. What does being a woman mean to you? Femininity?

Kimmy Fasani: Gender aside, I think the most inspiring thing is to see people being themselves and being passionate. I stand proud as a woman who is powerful, loving, and determined, and I support everyone who chooses to own their identity and change the status quo. 

OP: What mantra or set of words do you live by?

Kimmy Fasani: Fly like an eagle, land like a bird.

OP: In a perfect world, what does the outdoors (the people, the places, the community as a whole, etc.) look like to you? And what can outdoor brands and mediacompanies, such as Outdoor Project, do better to help get us there?

Kimmy Fasani: The outdoors are a place to roam free and let all of our wild energy out. I use the outdoors to bring space back into my life when I’m feeling cluttered and confined. As a community we need to protect these places by picking up trash, leaving only footsteps, and sharing them with the younger generations to inspire more children to get outside to use their imagination. If we keep instilling the importance of nature in the youth there will be a bigger army out there to care for our outdoors and public lands. 

OP: What is one thing that you never leave home without?

Kimmy Fasani: My Hoka One One running shoes. I may not find time to go to the gym on the road, but I can always put on my running shoes and check out a city by logging miles sightseeing or find a beautiful trail in a new range of mountains to explore. 

OP: Let’s talk gear: What are your thoughts on women-specific gear? Love it, hate it? Are there any companies out there doing it right? And how so? When does it matter to you most to have gear specific to women versus unisex products?

Kimmy Fasani: I am a huge believer in women-specific gear, and I am so passionate about helping Burton design women's products that speak to being outdoors and active. I believe all products designed for women should be thoroughly thought out instead of shrinking men's products to make them small enough for women. Burton does a great job at creating products that are for women and designed by women. I am also a huge advocate in that for biking as well, and LIV bikes does a great job at designing wome-specific bikes that are meant for our bodies to handle them. I have so much more confidence on a bike that I know has been designed for my build and frame. 

OP: What is the greatest piece of advice or direction that you’ve ever received and what’s the story behind it?

Kimmy Fasani: Be authentic and find what really speaks to you…once you know who you are, your passions will be transparent. 

OP: If you could give one piece of advice to yourself when you were just starting out with biking, what would it be?

Kimmy Fasani: Go with the flow. I was a little intimidated at trying the trails my husband was riding, but I quickly realized that if I just took them slower and relaxed on my bike, they would be a lot easier to navigate. I have also learned not to be afraid or embarrassed to get off my bike and walk around sections. 

OP: In a world seemingly run by online personas, how do you approach social media, and how does it play into your lifestyle - both work and play?

Kimmy Fasani: Social media is such a double-edged sword. It’s become such a beacon for communication and networking, but I try not to be on my phone all the time. For me personally, I try to showcase who I am in the most authentic voice possible with the hope that it helps to get more people inspired to get outdoors and play in nature. 

OP: The world of biking is rapidly progressing. How are you stepping things up to stand out from the crowd?

Kimmy Fasani: I love biking and I love pushing myself. The way I have stepped up my skills is by finding new trails that push me to be a better rider. I also have committed to doing a triathlon every year, which really keeps me motivated to better my techniques on a road bike. I love seeing how much I can push my body in both mountain biking and road biking.

OP: What’s next for you in the coming months and years?

Kimmy Fasani: As a new mom, I am hoping to spend the next year traveling with Koa and really embracing all the changes we are going through as a new family. 

OP: The title of your autobiography would be...

Kimmy Fasani: Follow The Sun

OP: In your next life, you will come back as... 

Kimmy Fasani: A farmer.

OP: Tell us one thing about yourself that no one knows.

Kimmy Fasani: I used to be a gymnast and I wanted to go to the Olympics for it. 

OP: If our readers were to take one thing from this interview, what would you like it to be?

Kimmy Fasani: There’s no dream to big to conquer, the only thing we have to conquer are the limits our minds put on our dreams. 

Learn more about Kimmy by following along on her adventures online and on Instagram, plus make sure to check out her work as an ambassador for Liv Cycling!

Featured photo by Meg Haywood Sullivan.


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