In front of a standing-room only audience in Boulder, Colorado, on Tuesday, big-mountain skier Lynsey Dyer fueled ski stoke with the premiere of her all-female film Pretty Faces: The Story of a SkierGirl. The film didn’t just light a match, it burned down the house, eliciting elated cheers from women who were fired up to celebrate the power of double-x chromosomes nailing double-diamond+ terrain. If the exuberant crowd is any indication, then this flick feeds a hunger that’s been gnawing at the guts of women for years.
Women generally see scant representation in ski movies: only 14 percent of athletes in major films are female. It’s so refreshing to see a movie showcase the women on center stage.
Pretty Faces explodes at the seams with badass chicks ripping badass lines in dreamy places, yet it’s far more than just action shots. Created with the goal of inspiring girls to push their boundaries, believe in themselves, and pursue their dreams, the film showcases hard-charging professionals, yet still manages to exude a nurturing spirit that emphasizes community support.
In addition to nailing big-mountain terrain, athletes in the film reflect on what inspired them to pursue skiing careers, recalling movies they saw and an encouraging support network. Naysayers and hardship didn’t discourage them, but rather fueled them to push even harder.
“I wanted to give young girls something positive to look up to … but done in a way that also shows elegance, grace, community, and style that is unique to women in the mountains,” says Dyer, , who co-founded SheJumps, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing female participation in outdoor activities.
In Pretty Faces, the pros share how they faced challenges and self-doubt, and can hardly believe the lives they’re living now. Hearing them talk about their vulnerability and fear contributes an authenticity sometimes lacking in ski films.
What came through for me was an overwhelming sense of gratitude among the stars. The women of Pretty Faces are where they are because someone, somehow, helped them believe they can do anything—which made them believe in themselves.
In one scene, a little girl pauses, perched on top of a big drop. “Are you scared?” someone asks. The girl replies, “No!” before launching in the air and landing with a gleeful smile. The scene then flashes to GoPro footage of a skiing Dyer, grinning from ear to ear.
As the films winds to a close, the theme of community is underlined with a stretch of crowdsourced footage of women talking about how skiing has enriched their lives. We see normal people who have been empowered by the sport. One woman recalls feeling emboldened to land her first back flip in her 40s. “Who does that?” she exclaims, in awe of her own feat.
Pretty Faces seems poised to inspire women the world over to push past hurdles and give themselves permission to chase rainbows. The film tells us that “life as a skier is about following a dream, wherever it leads.” Skiing, it seems, has the potential to propel women beyond their wildest dreams.
In a ski film world dominated by men, Pretty Faces is a refreshing reprieve. The emphatic message is, “You can do anything.”
Pretty Faces is screening across the nation for the next few months. Find a show near you.
Avery Stonich is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colo., who has traveled to more than 40 countries in search of adventure. Visit her website at averystonich.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @averystonich.