Ski / Snowboard
Krista’s husband, Park Beutler, was at the event as well, honoring his late wife. His reverence for the situation was apparent, and each question I asked him about Krista was hard for him to answer. He paused and let a few tears fall with every mention of her. “How would Krista have responded to this terrain park if she were here today?” I asked, knowing it would be another tough question. As he wiped his cheeks, he said, “She would have been embarrassed. She was a modest person.” He wiped his cheeks again, looked to the ground and smiled. “She was beautiful and amazing,” he said. “We met right here, right where this park is. This used to be a half pipe; this couldn’t have been a better location for Krista’s Park.” I smiled as I listened to Beutler reminisce about his late wife.
Krista fought cancer hard and, like many cases, the cancer moved to other areas of her body, and eventually took her life in the spring of 2010. “She was an unbelievable person—my boss, my mentor and my friend,” says Stacey Adams, former SLUG Games coordinator and one of Krista’s besties who was there to share her love and support.
Krista’s Park came about this last July when Doyle, longtime associate of Brighton (her family owns and operates the resort), realized how very few events were around for women and how very few women even entered contests. She called Fisher and told him the idea of creating a women-only terrain park at Brighton in honor of Krista. Anticipating how well received this would be by female athletes, as well as the entire sports community, Doyle and Fisher then collaborated with Burton and Boarding For Breast Cancer (B4BC), a non-profit organization, to make it happen. Krista’s Park opened Dec. 21, 2013. “The park will always just be for women. Not only can we honor one of our dear friends by building this, but it is a chance for females to approach park obstacles without feeling the intimidation of male snowboarders. The features are smaller, and for beginning to intermediate riders, but really, the best part about the park is giving females this opportunity to progress and feel safe exploring their talents,” says Doyle.
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.”