Article by Tennille Barber, Photos by D.L Adventure Photography
If there is one chick who I know could represent the word rad to the fullest, it’s Nadine Overwater. Sledding her entire life starting in the prairies, she moved to Revelstoke and immediately resumed challenging herself 10 years ago. She loves the fact that the machines take you so far into the backcountry. “It’s unreal to be on top of a mountain, surrounded by peaks and snow and nobody else,” she starts by describing her love of our terrain. It’s obvious she loves to be outside. She surfs and works in forestry in the summer, and works guiding at Great Canadian Snowmobile Tours in the winter.
She’s riding a 2011 Skidoo Summit X right now, backed by Motorfist and Boulder Mountain Sled Shed. Riding 100 days a year with over 10 years of mountain sledding experience, her aim is to get her own women’s sled camps public this year. Riding with Julie-Ann Chapman in She Shreds as one of the coaches in the January women’s sled camp, she had intended to get started with this project awhile ago and got motivated to do it this year. Her personal experience with the way that women learn to sled seems to echo mine with skiing. “I’ve seen the way that male female dynamics work when learning,” she and I both. She makes a good point that a women’s weight is in different spots, with less muscle mass on top. “I like to say, we can use our ass to throw our machine around,” somehow I think that statement alone will make it clear to most ladies starting out. She likens the first day of sledding in powder to skiing in powder, it’s really challenging, but fun.
When I asked her what she would say to a new chick shredder, she started by saying, “It depends which sled they’re on, because all the brands perform a bit differently.” I get the feeling she’s a gearhead like everyone else I know who’s pushing it in Revy. She boils it down and specifies that, “For the most part, build your confidence and use progression, get used to just being on your machine. Start small, nothing’s ever too small because every second, every minute you spend on your machine, you just get more comfortable on it. Utilize all the time you have. For example, when you’re pow carving pretend there’s a tree in front of you, even when there isn’t so that the time when there is a tree in front of you it’s that much easier.” Muscle has a memory. It remembers when it was huge or small and the quick movements you might have done in repetition years ago. My kingdom to skip to the part where my muscle remembers how to ride a sled like Nadine.
Her favorite is to ride with girls “squirrel” (in front) to teach them to pow carve. She breaks it down for me and explains that most girls are so used to the machine tipping over when they attempt it that when she demonstrates it by riding with them, they understand how it feels and can usually do it themselves after that. When I ask her about the best piece of gear she could recommend for a chick shredder, she obviously has safety on her mind. A good transceiver that you’re comfortable using, and a light helmet are her recommendations. “If you can spend the money and get a lightweight carbon fibre helmet, it can really help ease the pressure on your neck.” She rocks out the Dominator, super lightweight at 1250g.
Nadine’s camps will be 6 people at a time, keeping the numbers low and allowing her to focus attention on some one on one in the classes. Restrictions state 8 people max per guide. She loves how excited girls get and how girls support and push each other in the classes. “The sisterhood right?” she says, I can’t agree more. Cruising into this with team experience having played hockey for many years and being present with her in a dressing room, I know she has the leadership qualities to deliver a quality product. She has always been supportive, there with enthusiasm, willing to chat with others and give pointers, and able to look on the bright side of any situation. I caught a glance of an epic picture of her sled stuck the other day and she still had a smile on her face. I know she can handle those situations with grace whether it’s her sled or another girl’s, living with 3 sisters will do that to you.
The newest opportunity she’s offering these days is an exciting Beginner’s Day for ladies on April 6th. Check out her site and stay tuned because she’s delivering chick friendly ride reports. This girl knows her stuff and by the time you get done my guess is that you’ll want to come back for more. I can’t wish her enough luck.