Female Inspiration: Stio Athletes on the Heroes Who Came Before Them

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Too often we don’t take the opportunity to recognize those that have inspired us to become the people we are today. Especially women.

Curious about the women who influenced my fellow, women skier Stio Ambassadors, I asked them who was their female inspiration?


Brittany Mumma, Jackson Hole, WY – Picabo Street

Eat, sleep, breathe, race. Repeat. That is all I could think of growing up as a ski racer. I didn’t enjoy going off piste. Banging gates was all I ever wanted to do and I wanted to be the best so I looked up to the best – Picabo Street. At that time Picabo was on top, she was unrivaled in the US and a leader on the world stage in speed events. Picabo was proof that little girls from small towns that weren’t super wealthy, could make all of their dreams come true as long as you were dedicated.


Kelly Hapin, Jackson Hole, WY – Julie Zell

I would say the woman I look up to the most in snowboarding is Julie Zell. She is an incredibly strong athlete with a burly attitude. I used to hear stories about her dropping insane lines then shouting back up to the boys, “Come on Scaredy cat!” Julie is disciplined in various aspects of the sport, from big mountain riding to racing slalom. She also began snowboarding when very few people participated in the sport in Jackson. She is a true snowboard pioneer and an inspiration to riders everywhere.


Julie Zell, Photo by Tony Harrington


Ann Driggers, Carbondale, CO – Alison Hargreaves

Alison Hargreaves was a huge inspiration to me, in part because of our similar upbringings. We both hail from Northern England, where we shared a love of adventuring in the hills, fells and moors. As I worked my way through school, university and then became a desk jockey in London, Alison moved further afield and was busy making her name as one of the mountaineering greats. She was a true alpinist, committed to completing her climbs without help and support from others, bucking the norm of the expedition style climbing typical of the day. Sadly her life was cut short, her death coming on the descent of K2, after being the first woman to summit without supplemental oxygen.  To me she seemed to be an ordinary woman with extraordinary talent and determination, and a fierce passion for the mountains. Her badassery inspired me to break the mold, leave the rat race of London and escape to the mountains permanently, and with that forever changed the course of my life.


Ellen Miller, Photo courtesy of Christy Mahon


Christy Mahon, Aspen, CO – Ellen Miller

With her boundless energy and motivational enthusiasm, Ellen Miller of Vail, Colorado, elevates herself by lifting everyone else up around her. From accomplished mountaineers, to young readers in Nepal, or anyone trying to meet their personal fitness goals, Ellen is there to cheer them on while continually pushing herself to new heights. For almost 20 years, she has been inspiring me with this generous spirit and her commitment to give back to her community, both locally and globally. All of this, on top of being first American woman to summit Everest from both sides, or the first American woman to summit the Himalayan “Triple Crown”—Everest (29,029 ft), Lhotse (27,940 feet) and Nuptse (25,791 feet). She has been named Colorado Woman of the Year, has climbed every fourteener in the state, and continues to inspire me to take on new challenges and adventures in the high alpine.


Role models come in many shapes and sizes.

Some are well-known heroes,

Some have no idea how much they inspire,

Some might be you…..


Who is your role model? #spreadthelove #lettheoutsidein