Micah Lee has got it figured out. A resident of Ogden, Utah, she and her husband Cody live at the mouth of the canyon that leads up to both Snowbasin and Powder Mountain, ensuring easy access to both powder days and park laps all winter no matter how busy work gets, how often she travels, and where life takes her—she’s rooted firmly in the mountains. Micah grew up in the heart of Summit County, where sunny days in the area’s legendary parks cemented her love of riding during high school. Since then, snowboarding has been Micah’s North Star, influencing all aspects of her life. She’s spent summers at Mt. Hood and winters filming with friends, including with bff Kelsey Boyer. Nowadays, Micah balances a day job as the senior content marketing strategist at Kodiak Cakes—or as she puts it, “Pancake marketing, baby!”—with maintaining a deep contribution to the snowboard community, as well. As a member of the Save A Brain staff, Micah is working diligently proliferating awareness and knowledge about TBI and brain health, and as a long-time coach for Beyond the Boundaries, she is dedicated to welcoming women further into the community and sharing her love of riding through the park and beyond. In her free time (her time management skills are on point, btw), she has been continually exploring further into the backcountry on her splitboard. Micah is not only an incredible friend to everyone around her, caring, considerate, and genuine, but she is a true snowboarder’s snowboarder—an individual for whom the mountains are at the center of their being and her personal dedication to spending time snowboarding reverberates outward into the community in the many ways she continues to give back. – Mary T. Walsh
What is your favorite place you have snowboarded?
Each place is different, but the most memorable would have to be Japan. I feel that if any stories, experiences, and a majority of photos that come out of Japan have a common theme, it is endless pow. That naturally sets a high expectation, which I consciously tried to dial back, but you can set those expectations high because Japan will STILL blow them out of the water. It’s unreal.
A few years ago, you and Cody went on a trip there in a tiny RV, right?
HA! That tiny RV was the shit. Picture a Barbie Jeep and times it by three and that was about the size of our RV. When we arrived at the rental spot we laughed and genuinely didn’t think we could fit in it with all of our stuff. Fortunately, we were able to store a bunch of our boardbags at the first resort of the trip. After freeing up eight cubic feet of space we hit the road. I was the only girl in the crew with eight guys, living in two tiny RVs for two weeks exploring Hokkaido, alternating backcountry and resort days, and playing tourist in the cities. The coolest part of that trip was the fact that we were trying to get some filming done, but it was mostly a vacation allowing us to be present in the experience.
What role does snowboarding play in your life, if you had to sum it up?
I remember reading an article in Transworld a long time ago with a boarder (I can’t remember who) talking about how everything that they had in their life was due to snowboarding. I still have that article in my mega nerdy, old Snowboard + Transworld compilation book of ripped-out pages in page protectors. I remember how impactful it was when I initially read it, and thinking back on the article, it’s spot on. Most every decision I’ve made has been based around snowboarding, so in turn my friends are because of snowboarding, I met my husband because of snowboarding, and chose where to live and buy a home because of snowboarding. At most crossroads in life, I’ve chosen to follow the one that is closer to snowboarding. Beyond the Boundaries, Save A Brain, etc. are all built on this foundation and are an incredible opportunity to give back to the community. When you have such a deep love for something that has impacted you to the point of shaping your life, I feel as if the best thing you can do is pass the torch and help foster that same love within others. It took a long time for me personally to work through the imposter syndrome once I was no longer a snowboarder “first.” Through that journey and life change-up of having a 9-to-5, I’ve realized that giving back to the community is more fulfilling for me than any personal accomplishments from the sport.
Can you share a little about what you do with Save A Brain?
We all wear a lot of hats that are ever-changing at Save A Brain. Technically, my title is marketing, but Melissa Riitano has been doing a lot of the heavy lifting and crushing it on that front. I handle a bunch of the backend pieces, such as pitching materials, ideation of campaign logistics, fluffing up our copy, writing our newsletters, and I recently wrote our first grant. Again, it’s all hands on deck, so everyone is constantly helping each other where it’s needed. Kelsey Boyer and I were joking the other day that I am the one that is called if there is a fire. Save A Brain is so precious to me because I watched the entire experience unfold with Kelsey and was there every step of the way throughout her injury and recovery. I took Kelsey to the hospital when she found out that she needed emergency brain surgery. I had to act as her guardian and sign her life away. It’s terrifying going through that with your best friend, being told the potential consequences of the surgery and having to be strong for them to keep them calm. I can’t even imagine what she was feeling during the time in the ICU. Kels is nothing short of a miracle child and Save A Brain is this giant beam of light that came out of her traumatic brain injury. Brain injuries and mental health go hand in hand, and the more we can do to bring awareness to that, along with prevention tactics and red flags to look out for the better we can equip people with a toolbox in case they or a loved one sustains a head injury.
You are also a coach for Beyond the Boundaries and at Nitro Ride Days. Why is fostering community in this way important to you?
When I was younger, there were no ride days or all-women’s specific anything, and holding these for the community is vital. These experiences bring the community together and they allow someone who is new to the sport or who boards alone to form friendships with other people that they can ride with beyond the ride day. This past season coaching for BTB, I heard time and time again from returning campers that they had met some of their closest friends at camp. It’s actually astonishing how many barriers a camp or ride day setting can break down, almost as if there is no longer an intimidation factor when trying a new trick. Suddenly no one is shy or too cool, and everyone is hyping each other up. As mentioned before, snowboarding has shaped my life and brought me some of my best friends, so why not pass the torch for someone else to experience that and work to share the love with others?
What makes you most stoked about snowboarding right now in terms of your own riding?
Recently I have been loving doing some backcountry exploration to unique natural features and steep zones. Working your ass off for a line just makes it that much sweeter—the juice is worth the squeeze. However, when there is no fresh snow, I’m a park rat at heart…perhaps that’s just the CO in me.
What makes you most excited within snowboarding as a whole right now?
I love watching videos that give glimpses into a rider’s personality or those organic, silly, group-dynamic shots. It’s a breath of fresh air to see the genuine energy as if you were there, rather than just constant hammers. I’m a big fan of that style coming back, which kind of ties into people being more open and willing to share their experiences, whether that is a TBI experience, being an advocate for LGBTQ+ communities, mental health, people of color, women’s experiences in a male dominated industry, or even backcountry lessons—we need these stories and advocates to learn and grow. I think it’s been amazing to see our little community really grow and mature from listening to each other’s experiences and paving a road for future generations.
Lastly, you also have two really rad dogs. Do they like the snow as much as you and Cody? Do they go splitboarding?
The pups might love snow more than we do! Every single time they see snow they get the zoomies, tunnel their faces into it, chomp at it, and roll around in it. Don’t get me wrong, Cody and I love snow, but you won’t find us tunneling our faces into it. We do bring the doggos splitboarding on mornings that we just want to make a quick resort lap before it opens or once they reopen the mountain in the spring to uphill traffic after the resort closes.