A New Beginning: The Kimmy Fasani Interview
Straying from the competition scene over the past few years, Kimmy Fasani has focused her attention on the backcountry. This year she marks her most significant full part in the history of her career filming for 2112, Standard’s latest full-length feature. Amidst major sponsor changes that have put her on Burton and Zeal Optics, Kimmy has pressed on finding new ways to film and conquer her ever-growing passion for the backcountry.
On a recent trip to Denver, for the premiere of Standard’s 2112, we caught up with Kimmy to see how these changes, including her first year of marriage, have changed her perspective on snowboarding and her plans to be one of the best female snowboarders of all time.
You just had your first anniversary, how did the first year go?
Being married is awesome and having that first year under your belt is great. You develop a new kind of confidence when you get married and the fact that Chris (Benchetler) and I have been together for almost nine years is such a gratifying feeling. It’s nice to be able to have the first year under our belts and move forward with someone who understands what you do.
What do people in the snowboard industry think of you marrying a skier?
[Laughs] Well there’s always a joke that comes when I tell people I married a skier. But at the same time it’s pretty cool because people really respect the fact that we balance the same lifestyle but in different industries, which is a hard thing to accomplish. But overall I think people are stoked.
How does it work with both of you having such a travel heavy lifestyle?
Our travel schedules are pretty hectic, but we’ve been able to keep a balance and try not to go more than three weeks without seeing each other. This balance helps keep our relationship wholesome and communication solid.
So you’re in Denver for the premiere of Standard’s 2112, are you stoked on your Part?
Yes. Standard does a good job of putting movies together and they do a good job of supporting their riders. While being a female makes you have to work a little harder for shots, I feel grateful that I have a part at all.
This year was a challenge with sponsorship changes, so finding my place filming was difficult. But Burton and Standard stepped up and made it all worth it. Also, my husband Chris is a huge reason that I have a video part this year. He stepped up when I didn’t have a crew and let me come out and shoot with the Nimbus guys. That made a big impact on why I have any shots for this year.
It’s different when you ride with your husband and he’s pushing you to hit something you think is too big. I mean, he’s the number one advocate for going big, so it really helps build my confidence.
Is this year’s Standard movie like years past where it’s one section for the ladies or do you have your own part?
This year I have my own part and it’s the most substantial video part I’ve ever had. My intro is long but my riding is strong, and this part is the best I could have done this year with conditions and everything else that was going on. I ‘ve become more comfortable with new tricks and going bigger along with riding as much deep pow as possible.
How did that go? I mean, you’re based in Mammoth, which didn’t have the greatest season.
Yeah, this season was tough for California so I moved up to Whistler and called that home for two and a half months. Once there everything had to line up. I had to find a crew and be cognoscente of the snow conditions as the avalanche danger was really high. So my days were numbered and I tried to make the most out of each one. The other days I spent in the trees getting creative.
You mention sponsor changes earlier. What were the biggest ones for you?
My biggest sponsor change would be moving to Burton, which has been awesome. I’m so grateful for the opportunity, and having other girls to ride with along with an amazing support system has been great. Also, being part of Zeal has been the best career change because it’s a company that believes in my passions. It’s a company that believes in being healthy and active and makes the products that I live the life for: having sunglasses that I can throw on for anything and having goggles that adapt to any condition helps me do my job and do it well.
So what goggles are you rocking?
With Zeal I wear the Slate and the Voyager, as they fit my face the best and have great peripheral vision. I can be out in any kind of weather, stormy or not, and never have an issue. Eyewear is one of the biggest things for riders because if you can’t see you’re not going to land, you know?
Zeal just signed Jussi Oksanen to the team. What’s it like having a legend like Jussi back the brand you’re on?
Having Jussi on the team completes the mission we are on. It rounds out our team so that people take us seriously. Not that they wouldn’t, but I feel like we have it now.
We have Austin (Sweetin) who is an amazing ripper as well, and if they don’t know about him yet, they will real soon. I’m so proud to be the female on the team and then there’s Jussi, the legendary figure who is still progressing snowboarding to a new level. There’s so much respect for him and I feel like we’re are well-rounded team now.
Yeah, his part in Burton’s new movie was fucking amazing and he’s what, like 34 years old?
It’s crazy, he’s probably ten years older than everybody pushing the limits of snowboarding right now and he’s not afraid of stepping up and showing us how it’s done. He’s been a really cool and supportive person for me on Burton as well, so to have him ask to be part of Zeal is amazing. It’s great to have a guy like Jussi support the same things I do.
What are your thoughts on Zeal’s new iON Camera Goggle? Did you use it at all for filming your part?
I didn’t use it for the movie but I was able to grab a sample and use it down in New Zealand this past summer. My perspective has totally change, not that I didn’t believe in it before, I did, but after using it and seeing how accurate and on point it is, I have a new respect for it. The colors, depth of field, everything, it films what you ride and you don’t have to worry about taking anything out of your pocket or have a friend check if something’s blinking or clicking. I can take a photo of my line with it, go up to the top and film my line coming down all without taking off my goggles.
Is it pretty easy to use?
So easy, all the buttons on right there on the goggle and it’s easy to recognize what button is which without taking off your gloves. Hands down, it’s the most creative tool I’ve used for snowboarding.
Let’s switch over to Burton. What are you riding now that you’re on the team?
For powder I’m riding the lipstick 149 and for park I’m riding the DejaVu 146. For outerwear I’m rocking the AK line, which has been great. The line is so reliable. I can go into any condition and not have to worry about getting wet, especially when I’m out filming for eight hours. Having that trust worthy product has made a huge difference when filming as I don’t have to pack extra of anything because I know my gear is going to do what it needs to do.
What are your plans this coming season?
I’m still working on my schedule right now but I hope to spend a couple months in Mammoth, and then work my way up north again. Hopefully we get a lot of great snow in Mammoth, as I’d love to film around that area and work on another film project. Other than that, just waiting for opportunities to present themselves.
This year is pretty big with Olympics; do you have any interest trying to make the team?
I’ve definitely thought about it. I plan on just seeing how the season starts, as I want to feel confident going into the year. I don’t want to promise anything but it’s definitely something I’ve thought about.
I just want to film and do my job; having the outlet that I have with AK and that whole backcountry line is what I want to focus on. But if people don’t think about the Olympics I think it’s wrong. It would be awesome to be able to represent your country.
What’s your opinion on the FIS control thing that’s going on in competitive snowboarding?
I’m not really educated on the whole FIS thing as I’ve been out of contests for a few years now. But I think it’s important for the riders who are committed to competitions that they voice their concerns; especially the ones winning, they need stand up for what they believe in.
Now that big mountain competitions are all under one tour, The Freeride World Tour, would you ever consider competing in those?
I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to figure out the backcountry and have pushed myself to learn as much as possible. I’ve surrounded myself with the right crews who can teach me the most about the backcountry. There’s just so much to learn about the backcountry and I don’t want to make any mistakes. I want to be able see my lines and see feature for myself without people around. So once I build up my confidence, maybe big mountain competitions would be a natural progression.