FOR THE FIRST TIME in five years, Alexis Waite is romantically unattached. "I just got dumped last week," she says matter-of-factly. Musing on her breakup with Finnish rider Wille Yli-Luoma, the 23-year-old pro snowboarder adds, "I think it's going to blow me away how much I can get done now."
Even with her new single lifestyle, Waite doesn't have much free time. Since turning pro two years ago, she has had to learn to juggle all her varying athletic and business interests. Her snowboarding career has steadily evolved, taking her from halfpipe to slopestyle and landing her a sexy photo spread in Maxim. In 2002 she drew on her passion for sewing to start a clothing company, Wize Design, with former high school buddies Chatham Baker and Shaun Kelly. This year Waite and two other riders, Leanne Pelosi and Amber Stackhouse (along with business coordinator Fabia Grubler), cofounded Misschief Productions, an all-female snowboarding film company, in response to the lack of women featured in DVDs of the sport. Says Waite, "Doing a lot of things is fun, but sometimes I feel like my head is spinning off."
The biggest challenge for Waite will be scraping together $100,000 to fund the film company. Misschief--whose featured riders include five-time X Games champion Tara Dakides, 2002 Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark and halfpipe queen Gretchen Bleiler--will release its first film in the fall of '05. "There've been a few other all-female [snowboard] films, but they stick with girl power and all that crap," Waite says. "We just want to go out and have fun on the mountain."
In '02 Waite was scheduled to film a clip for Neoproto, a small film company. She drove 10 hours, hauling her snowmobile from her current residence in Bend, Ore., to Lake Tahoe, Calif., for the shoot, only to get a call that her part would be cut. "This happens to so many girls. We get dissed," she says. "All those top snowboard film companies are run by guys, and the guys just want to have guy films." Not that she hasn't learned from her male counterparts: Last month Waite wrapped a photo shoot in the Wasatch Mountains near Brighton, Utah, for Snowboarder while also shooting footage for Misschief. "That's how the guys do it," she says.
She is also following the path of the many male pro riders who start their own clothing companies. Waite, who put in one semester at the University of Washington before bailing to ride full time, had always considered a career in fashion design. She got her chance last season, helping to design the fall '04 women's outerwear collection for Planet Earth, a skateboarding and snowboard clothing company. She left the company this year and joined Roxy. Meanwhile she gets to churn out funky T-shirt prints and sell them to boutiques in Portland and in Sun Valley, Idaho, for Wize Design. "We haven't seen any profits yet," Waite says. "I'd like to do some truly creative pieces. Hopefully, we'll get it going soon." --Y.Y.
Waite hopes her film company will give women boarders a voice.
JOHANNES DACHGRUBER/THIRTYTWO BOOTS & ETNIES (INSET)
¬†[See caption above]