An integral player in Krista’s Park is Boarding For Breast Cancer (B4BC), whose name is alongside Burton’s on the terrain park sign. The group started in 1996 when snowboarder Monica Steward was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 26. Because of complications surrounding delayed diagnosis (doctors thought she was too young to have breast cancer), Steward passed away from the disease two years later. “It’s very unlikely that any female in her 20s or 30s is at all thinking about breast cancer prevention and awareness. That is why B4BC is here: to help young women get educated about cancer and know how to properly detect the disease and take the right steps that could eventually save their life,” says Blair Young, Outreach Director of the organization. B4BC doesn’t just focus their efforts on female snowboarders—their education extends to girls involved in any action sport, like surfing, skateboarding and wakeboarding. At events, not only is B4BC passing out breast cancer literature and talking to females face to face on the subject, but they also actively encourage and support ladies to participate in sports that promote a healthy lifestyle, which naturally moves them beyond their comfort zone to build confidence. “It’s also imperative to involve a female’s partner in education,” says Young. “Often, men can be the person to notice something different about their girlfriend’s body before it has come to the female’s attention.”
Being at the opening of Krista’s Park, and meeting Krista’s close friends, business associates and family was a moving experience. Of course, I’m thrilled that female snowboarding and winter sports in general seem to be gaining a lot more attention than they have had in a while with the construction of this park, but more than that, it was great learning about a female athlete who took initiative and got involved. So often, females become inhibited in the outdoor sports community, and there are a lot of talented girls out there who need the prime circumstance to shine. Sports in general have never been a hotbed for females to assert their skills, which is why women like Krista, who are not afraid to go after life, make such a difference in niche communities. Interestingly, through Krista’s Park, Krista herself is still giving back.
To help generate the momentum of Krista’s Park and get more females involved, Brighton plans on partnering with companies like Burton, K2 and Gnu to sponsor weekend and day-long events that will help get females on the slopes. “This park is definitely a permanent feature at Brighton,” says Doyle. “The resort has never honored anyone like this before and we are so happy to announce Krista’s Park, the very first women-only terrain park, to the world.”
It was a bitter-cold morning. I exited the Majestic lift at Brighton and rode my board into a quiet scene atop the hill. A couple tents were set up, and a few people were around—some parkies still shoveling the loose snow—but no crowds yet. I didn’t know what to expect when I was asked to cover the opening of the very first women-only terrain park: Krista’s Park. After doing some research online, I began to grasp who the late Krista Moroge was and why a women’s terrain park at Brighton, the longstanding “locals” mountain, bears her name and honor. Krista was an essential and respected member of the action sports community as a businesswoman and a rep for Burton. She was also a talented athlete in a variety of activities, including skateboarding and, most prominently, snowboarding. Her passing from cancer in 2010 shook the winter sports community. She was a pioneer for action sports in Utah and the Intermountain West and had an unmistakable zeal and passion for life that was contagious enough to earn her the respect of the snowboarding world.
Naturally, I arrived at the event early to prepare myself for the opening and grab some interviews from those who were closely acquainted with Krista. After a short while, the impact she had on her surroundings during her life became evident. Not only was I hearing how amazing and talented she was from her friends directly, but I also caught conversations between others about her beauty, camaraderie and athleticism. As I kept talking with people about Krista and learning about her positivity, unique personality and giving nature, I felt humbled. I believe a lot of “tomboyish” females feel like me: So often, in our years of sports, we end up “playing with the boys” because finding a female friend whom you can compete with, joke with and have fun with enough to actually call a friend (sans jealousy) is hard to come by. To be honest, getting to know Krista vicariously through the stories I was hearing made me wish I had a role model like that in my life—a good friend to share in the journey of the sometimes-uncomfortable territory of male-dominated sports. During her life, Krista was that role model for fellow females as well as males. “She was such a good friend and leader. She showed me the ropes of the industry,” said Josh Fisher, owner of Four Horsemen Sales, the distributing company for Burton and predecessor of Krista’s SLCK sales agency. Inspiration and love for life set Krista apart from others. She didn’t seem to be arrogant about her talents and popularity in the outdoor recreation scene. She just seemed to be a very kind person, which is why she was so well liked. “I never heard her say a bad word about anyone,” said Krista’s snowboarding friend, Jenna Waite.
Krista was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2007, after deciding to go see a doctor when a snowboarding injury wouldn’t heal. It was a hard question to ask, but I had to get the details on Krista’s cancer—not only for the sake of the article, but for the sake of the many women out there who could find themselves in a similar situation. “So, please tell me, from the beginning, about Krista’s battle with cancer,” I asked Kim Doyle, Director of Retail at Brighton, good friend of Krista’s and brainchild behind Krista’s Park. Doyle began explaining how one day, Krista was snowboarding a terrain park in Park City. “She hit a rail but missed her landing and fell on her chest. The bruise was unusually large and the pain seemed unusual, too. She was worried and went to see a doctor. They initially dismissed the injury, but the pain and severity never subsided. She went back again and found breast cancer. She was in her early 30s, and healthy!” My heart sank, knowing that breast cancer is every female’s fear. It is a scary thought that you keep in the back of your head in order to not let it worry you, because the experts tell us we don’t need to think about it until our late 40s. “The cancer metastasized quickly,” Doyle went on to say. “Krista kept her condition quiet for as long as she could, but eventually, it was changing her life, [and] she couldn’t participate in the activities she once loved. [Friends] didn’t understand what was going on.”