The Luminaries Series is about shining a light on some of the most inspirational people in our industry, documenting their rise in their given professions, and sharing some of their insights from along the way.
They say don’t meet your heroes, and though my ‘meeting’ with Barrett Christy was purely through a laptop screen and earmarked by my shoddy wifi, I have to say I disagree wholeheartedly with the sentiment. Y’know, I get it, maybe Micheal Jordan isn’t as tall in real life, maybe a close-up concert with Mariah Carey actually sounds like a cacophony of shite and maybe Sir Ian McKellen doesn’t exude immaculate warlock vibes in person, but I can assure you that Barrett Christy is every bit as engaging, humble and downright inspiring in ‘person’ as she appears.
“Snowboarding, especially women’s snowboarding, wouldn’t exist in the state it is today without her”
The story of Barrett’s success as a professional athlete has been told often, and usually by those who know her better, friends or teammates who could wax poetic about the phenomenal impact she’s had on snowboarding first-hand and who have shared experiences and memories with her. I’m not sure I have anything to add in that regard, but as a young girl snowboarding, Barrett Christy was always the epitome of everything I wanted to grow up to be. She’s one of the few people who transcends the sport, they seem to be in a semi-symbiotic relationship where snowboarding, especially women’s snowboarding, wouldn’t exist in the state it is today without her.
Though Barrett’s accomplishments on the hill are numerous and tantamount to one of the greatest snowboarders to ever do it, it’s actually her work behind the scenes with Mervin over the last two decades that’s been the fuel for my fangirl fire of late. As someone who spends hours poring over brand catalogues, devouring any new gear and tech, I’ve been following her work with Gnu Girls, Roxy, and more recently, Lib Women’s closely.
Does Barrett Christy have feet of clay? Quite possibly. She might snore like a jackhammer or chew with her mouth open, but for now I’ll rest easy knowing that she’s every bit the hero I had her out to be. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, and for everything you’ve done for women in snowboarding.
Tell us a bit about your job – what’s a typical day in the life for Barrett Christy?
Well, this year for 2020 a day in the life has been a bit different as it has for everybody, because it included home-schooling kids and working from home probably more than I usually do. I’m lucky because I live a few miles from our factory, so we make our boards here in Sequim, Washington so I have a factory office I can go to. I don’t even have a neat title to sum it all up but basically, I’m the women’s programme manager. That encompasses product design and creative direction for the women’s product and then I work on marketing and overall brand plans for Gnu and taking care of the women’s team, everybody wears a lot of hats here at Mervin.
“I have such an awesome crew of women and girls that I work with, you know from regional locals to Jamie Anderson and Chloe Kim”
Right now, we’re diving into design season, so there’s a lot of ideas and shaping, looking at graphics and thinking about what the line should look like going forward given that we’ve got some sales numbers in now from 21/22 product line, we’re diving into 22/23 season products now, yeah that’s the fun part. I mean it’s all fun if you take it separately, but I enjoy the creative process and looking at what else is out on the market. I have such an awesome crew of women and girls that I work with, you know from regional locals to Jamie Anderson and Chloe Kim on the Roxy side so it’s pretty fun to put the puzzle together and find something that works for everybody and also answers to the market needs.