POTM MARCH: STINA SJÖGREN
21|22 March Pro of the Month : Stina Sjögren
Our Pro of the Month column celebrates the remarkable individuals within The Pro Collective. Enjoy inspirational stories shared by your fellow mountain professionals and see how Faction Skis allow them to thrive on the front lines. To be featured as a Pro of the Month, fill out the form linked here.
Our March Pro of the Month is Stina Sjögren, snow park shaper in Kläppen, Sweden. Stina shares some behind the scenes detail of what goes into making a gold standard snowpark and the importance of normalizing women being in the park.
WHAT'S YOUR JOB ON THE MOUNTAIN? AND WHAT DOES YOUR JOB ENTAIL?
I am a park shaper at Kläppen snowpark, one of the best parks in Sweden, well-known for the build quality of the snowpark features. Together with the park groomers, my shaper colleagues and I build the park from scratch based on our own shared ideas of what we believe is a well-designed playground for all types of riders. Already from the start I was amazed about how detailed a park can be built. Angles, degrees, straight lines, vertical cuts and much more that results in a quality snowpark with a wide variety of features. Throughout the season each working day is about maintaining the park and keeping it in good shape for the skiers and snowboarders out there.
In Kläppen we have three snowparks of different levels; a so-called junior park (green and blue lines), a blue park and the big main park with red and black lines. With these three options to choose from, I think that Kläppen ski resort manages to offer all different kinds of riders a way into the park world. There are the youngest ones cruising over rollers or sliding over wide boxes in the junior park and there are the Swedish national team throwing doubles on the black jumps. You get to see people throwing their first 360’s and others throwing their first double 10s and that is wild.
I’ve been skiing since I was 4 years old and in my late teens, I experienced the joy of freeskiing. I love the creativity and playfulness that park skiing can bring you. Whether it is challenging yourself to learn new tricks or just cruising around doing “small jibs”. Kläppen is my home mountain and last season some of my friends started working in the park which got me hyped to try it myself. I applied for the job as a park shaper this season and got it. Happy about that!
WHAT ARE THE ASPECTS OF YOUR JOB THAT MAKE YOU FEEL PROUD TO WORK IN THIS ROLE, AND IN THIS INDUSTRY?
It is everything that I mentioned earlier, knowing that the park crew and I are creating and maintaining both a playground and a training ground for all the stoked riders out there. Whether it is pushing their skills or just having fun being on the mountain together with friends and family.
This year is also the first season where Kläppen snowpark’s crew is 50% women, showing that we girls are also interested in getting more involved in the park industry and learning what makes a great park. Me and the other two girls hope to inspire more girls and women into the park environment. Seeing women, not only riding in the park but also working there might give a push for curious girls to enter the park. Not only for themselves but to show the boys too that we girls want to be here and that we belong here. Normalizing the idea that park riding is not “only for the boys”.
There is still unfortunately a lot of inequality and bad attitudes out there towards female riders and I try every day to make the park a more open and welcoming space for everyone, regardless of gender, race, age, sexuality and so on. Just being in the park, riding or working, I hope that it shows that we women have as much right as anyone else to be respected for who we are and what we choose to do.
DO YOU HAVE ONE OR TWO SHORT STORIES TO DEMONSTRATE HAPPY OR NOTEWORTHY MOMENTS ON THE JOB?
The first day of the season where me and the two other girls in the park crew started working together. In a way, I wished that it would not be that big of a deal having only females working in the park but in the current world we live in, it is. Like I mentioned before, I hope that we normalize seeing women in the park without it being either a negative or positive thing. It is of course positive for girls to shred but I don’t want it to be anything abnormal. Sometimes it feels like there is a stereotype with people thinking; “Hey it’s a girl in the park?”, “What is she doing here?”, “Can she actually ski?”. These are the kind of thoughts that can arise when you see something that you don’t view as a “normal thing”. So yeah, for me it was a noteworthy milestone having Johanna, Anna and I working in the park together.
WHAT DO YOU SKI ON AT WORK & "AT PLAY"?
The Prodigy 1.0x! I usually ride a snowmobile more than skis at work but sometimes you get to squeeze in one or two laps. I love the floaty feeling that the slightly wider waist of the ski gives. It's poppy and playful, giving me joy in the park while also performing pretty well on piste too with a shorter turn radius than I’m used to. It’s really fun to put pressure on the edges and do fast turns.
I’m a park rat. I’ll just leave it there! Sometimes I try to go carving or ride my snowboard but geesh the park is always so good.
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR WORK DURING THE OFF-SEASON?
I’m usually employed all-year round at a warehouse called Lyko but I got the opportunity to take some time off to do a winter season at Kläppen. I’m really thankful for that.
LASTLY, WHAT SUMMER SPORTS ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?
Crossfit and Olympic lifting, it is so much fun and the bonus is that I also get decent pre-season training for the upcoming winter. Disc golf is also a new passion, I recommend everyone to try it. 😊
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