Look up Snow Bunny in the dictionary and under it you will see a picture of Liz Daley. Well, maybe not, but her picture SHOULD be there. As a Jones-sponsored rider and Patagonia Ambassador, Liz can regularly be found climbing rocks, mountains, or crushing it on the slopes. Her climbing, mountaineering and general bad-assery on a snowboard have given her a well-respected presence in the snowboarding community, and has given our staff a MAJOR girl crush. Liz is not only cool, but her resume of “Hot Bunnyness” also includes many notable accomplishments, including the first female snowboard descent of the Coleman Headwall, Mt. Baker, the first female descent of NFNWR, Mt. Adams, and the fact that she is a certified instructor and guide for the American Alpine Institute. And did we mention she is COOL?
Now 28, Liz has been shredding since she was 10. Her love of the outdoors and passion for snowboarding has led not only to sponsorship, but has opened doors for her to travel to some pretty amazing locations in search of big, steep lines, and epic pow.
Here is why we LOVE Liz Daley!
SB: You started riding at age 10, was this a family affair?
Liz: Nope, no one in my family was into snow sports. I grew up in the city and the mountain was an hour and a half away. For years I begged my parents to go up to the mountains and shred but we never went. My auntie bought me my first snowboard set-up and signed me up for the ski bus and lessons every weekend. I was hooked. Every weekend throughout middle and high school I ventured up to the hill.
SB: You have been spending a lot of time riding in Chamonix. Tell us why you love it!
Liz: I’ve spent four winters in Chamonix. The mountains are huge and there’s any kind of riding you want. In bounds, out of bounds, steep skiing, tree skiing, alpine glacier tours, big lines, super technical descents or you can stay in bounds and shred groomers. The opportunities are endless. If the snow’s not good, the ice is usually good in the alpine and the rocks warm in the valley. A seasons pass is good to over five resorts with a bunch of perks and free passes in Italy and Switzerland. I can’t bring myself to buy a pass anywhere else I’ve ridden, Chamonix’s value is simply the best.
SB: You are in to mountain climbing, rock climbing and snow boarding. What else do you love to do?
Liz: I love to hang with my friends in the city, go to shows and eat out and drink cocktails. I love karaoke and dancing. I like to cook and eat, ride my mountain bike and spend time with my family.
SB: What it is it about the outdoors that you love?
Liz: I love the feeling of accomplishment that climbing a mountain and shredding down gives me. It doesn’t get much better than bonding with friends in the mountains, having great conversations, telling jokes, sharing the experience and challenge with your homies and having beers at the end of the day. I think the mountains brings out the best in me and makes me feel empowered in all other aspects of my life.
SB: I first heard about you through Jones Snowboards. What is it like to be able to ride with such huge names in the industry?
Liz: I’ve never ridden with Jeremy, hopefully I will someday! But riding with guys like Josh Dirksen, Forrest Shearer, Alex Yoder and Kye Peterson is really humbling. They’re all amazing riders! Dirksen was my childhood hero and crush so it was pretty awesome to be shredding around with him last winter.
SB: The progression of backcountry riding on snowboards seems to be moving at lightening speed. Do you think that is due to newer technology or something else?
Liz: I think technology is growing because the popularity of backcountry riding in the movies and advertising. Because of the demand for backcountry equipment more companies are developing new technologies, which is making the market more competitive. Everyone wants to market the newest, lightest, fastest, most efficient piece of equipment. The competition is enhancing the pace of technology and driving the prices down.
SB: Do you have a circle of girls that ride at the same ability level and push themselves the way you do?
Liz: Not really in Chamonix, and it’s super sad. I ride with girls occasionally when I’m in Washington but most of season I ride with all dudes. I have a pussy posse of girls I climb with and it’s the best! We really push each other and have a ton of fun!
SB: What’s the major difference between a day riding with the girls and a day riding with the boys?
Liz: When I ride with boys it seems like it’s all about one-uping your bro. Everyone wants to go the biggest, ride the fastest, ride the steepest most dangerous line and ski the longest and hardest, especially in a macho place such as Chamonix. In a way it feels really competitive which can be good and it really helps my progression as a rider and climber. Riding and climbing with chicks is totally different. A good group of girls is really positive, encouraging and FUN! Women are just less competitive and more supportive in nature, it’s a totally different vibe. We’re not afraid to be silly, dance and have a good time, I really miss that about riding with girls.
SB: Big mountain riding is certainly a fascination for us girls at Snow Bunny, what is the appeal of climbing mountains and snowboarding off of them.
Liz: The satisfaction I get from having an objective, planning it out, overcoming fear and seeing it come to fruition is the most rewarding thing to me. It takes a ton of work, but at the end of the day you’re worked, you’ve had a really fulfilling day with friends, you’ve shredded the shit out of a big line and you’ve accomplished a huge goal. The climb is always difficult but getting to the top is such a relief. Being terrified to drop into a steep line, feeling so alive in body and mind with every turn, then finding out it’s nothing you can’t handle, then ripping the shit out of it! It’s like nothing I’ve experienced anywhere but in that experience. It’s addictive. When in life do you truly experience fear and hold the power to exterminate it? It’s pretty powerful stuff.
SB: Do you have any major projects/challenges that you have set your sights on when it comes to riding?
Liz: I just want to keep doing what I’ve been doing the last couple years, climb and ride big lines, learn new things, accomplish new goals, improve my skills and strength and have fun! I have a bunch of big lines in mind I want to ride and if the time and conditions are right, I’ll make it happen!
SB: What was the craziest epic you have had on the mountains and where were you?
Liz: My first year in Chamonix we rode the Col des Cristaux in the Argentiere Basin. We broke trail the entire way up the glacier and bootpacked up the face in thigh deep snow. We didn’t make it to the top until almost dusk, the sun was setting over Mont Blanc. We shredded the steep face only to find our tracks had been blown in and I had to skate out of the flat glacier in knee deep snow in the dark, my stomach eating itself and my mind bordering on delirious I was so worked. We didn’t bring headlamps and navigating the broken up glacier in the dark was really sketchy and stupid. We finally got to the piste of the Grandes Montes and rode 2,000 feet of perfect corn down to the car. I’ve ridden it since and was out by 1pm because conditions out of the glacier were fast. Looking back on this it seems pretty dumb but it was my first year in Chamonix and all epics are a learning experience.
SB: What is your advice to girls wanting to get out in the backcountry and do the type of riding you are doing?
Liz: Take avy courses, go on some guided trips if you can afford it. Ride with people who are older, smarter and with more experience than yourself who do the type of riding you want to do more of. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into so not too much is unexpected and try to enjoy the suffer fest.
Answers to the Liz Daley home page quiz:
Liz’s favorite meal after a day of shredding is a Burger, Fries, and Beer.
Liz’s favorite song on her iPod right now is Fuckin Problems by ASAP Rocky
The highest mountain Liz has climbed and shredded is Mt. Blanc 4810m