The Wild Ones: An Interview with Alexa Hohenberg

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Alexa Hohenberg is the owner ofStill Stoked, the raddest website and blog out there dedicated to travel and women in adventure sports. I always find myself checking back to her website, whether I’m after travel inspiration, resort reviews, snowboarding advice or to read the latest news in women’s boardsports. What inspires me so much about Alexa is that as well as running Still Stoked, she’s also an award winning digital producer when she’s in Australia (her current home), as well as an epic backcountry rider, working as a snowboard guide and big mountain snowboarder during the Winter months. Living the dream right? She’s stepped away from the mundane, creating a life for herself based on her passions and dedicates her website to inspiring women around the World, smashing down gender barriers so often seen in the sporting industry. I caught up with Alexa last month as she arrived in Canada from Alaska, in search of that fluffy white stuff!

Hey Alexa! You’re based in Australia, but your love of travel and adventure has taken you all over the World! Where are you right now and what are you up to?I just got to Canada! The snow was pretty terrible in Alaska so I pulled the pin and came down here. I’m going on my first snow-camping mission tomorrow with my oldest snowboard friend. We’ve been riding together since we were 13. It’s so cool how we are still both on the same path.

Can you tell me a bit about your snowboard history? You’re British born, how did you get into the sport?  I grew up in London surrounded by concrete but got to go school trips to learn to snowboard (with my friend I mentioned above!). I was hooked immediately & begged my parents to let me go on whatever cheap ski package I could find! When I turned 16 I worked 5 shifts a week in the local restaurant to afford to go away in the summers as well winter school holidays. I made Les Deux Alpes in France my unofficial home and later bought a place there in 2005.

How did you make the progression to become a pro snowboarder and the decision to ultimately leave the pro circuit?  To snowboard all the time and travel was always my number one goal. I moved to Whistler in Canada aged 18, started competing and did really well in the rail and jump competitions. Returning to the UK, I competed there and in France getting points on the TTR circuit (what sadly later became the world cup circuit when the Olympics got hold of it). At 23, had already has 2 knee surgeries and later needed a shoulder reconstruction – the jumping and falls was wrecking my body. Now my focus is on big mountain, technical snowboarding. I’m not interested in being better than someone else in a competitive sense, I never have been. Snowboarding for me has always been about art, individual challenges and shared experiences. I’m incredibly lucky that a number of awesome brands still support me and my endeavours to bring more women into the sport.

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What’s your profession now?  I live two very different but complimentary lives! Adult Alexa is an award winning digital producer and strategist – working with brands, production companies and advertising agencies in Sydney, Australia. Not only is it great fun to work in the creative industry, it also pays really well and I can do some tasks while traveling. Playtime Alexa also works as a professional snowboard guide and big mountain snowboarder. I just finished 3 months working as a cat ski guide in Japan. My big goal in this area is to one day work in Alaska as a heli guide. I’m aiming for a balance of 6 months doing both jobs. I work on my website Still Stoked all the time so I guess that makes me a writer and photographer as well.

Are there any other sports you take part in?  I’m an avid surfer, having made my home base in Sydney Australia. I love surfing almost as much as snowboarding, finding it incredibly challenging and humbling. Vinyasa and Yin styles of yoga are also key in my daily routines. I love to wakeboard too and play tennis.

I love your blog and how empowering it is to women, especially in the action sport community! What inspired you to start the blog? What do you hope to achieve with it?  Thank you so much! I wanted to give women a place where they could share their stories & find content that challenged inspired them. Mainstream magazines and publications never gave us ladies a fair ratio of coverage compared to the men so it was something I felt compelled to create. One day I would love to be in the position to just work on Still Stoked! I have met the most incredible ladies the world over through the website.

You’ve travelled and lived all over the World – how many countries have you been to now and where’s your favourite?  I counted the countries the other day and it came to 32 or 17% of the planet! Pretty cool! My favourite place is Alaska. There is just something about the way the mountains drive straight into the ocean and the shape of the peaks that I find completely captivating. I absolutely love New Zealand too. Such a magical place.

You’re also a qualified backcountry snowboard guide, where’s your favourite place to ride?  Alaska wins this one hands down! It was my 4th time going there this year and I can say in full confidence that I will be back every year, no excuses! The mountains there are the real deal. Impressive, terrifying and humbling. I love how they make me think, how they make me ride and how they have changed me as a person. My big goal is to work as a heli guide there one day. I’m working on my skills to one day be good enough.

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You totally live out your dreams, having quit a high flying job to pursue your passions and love of snowboarding and adventure. How did you get the courage to do it? Do you have any advice for those wanting to take the plunge and follow their own dreams?  One of the hardest things to do in life is to simplify. The more money you make and the more successful you become, the harder it is to live simply. You get more stuff, you get more bills, you get more responsibilities. You spend a lot of energy just ‘keeping up with the Jones”. For me, the really successful people weren’t the ones with the Audi, the shoes or the big diamond engagement ring, they were the ones with rosy cheeks, living and sharing their passions. They were living simply. It took just one spring in Alaska for me to realise my happiness is and has always been in snowboarding. So I chose to challenge myself in a new direction and take the courses to become a guide. For anyone with that sinking feeling that you are not on the right path, start introducing more of the things that make you happy. Eventually you just may ask yourself why you spend so much time doing things that makes you unhappy.

Is there a motto that you live by?  Stay curious. The more you know, the less you need. I also love the quote by Yvonne Chouinard, the CEO of Patagonia and avid environmentalist: “If you want to understand the entrepreneur, study the juvenile delinquent. The delinquent is saying with his actions, “This sucks. I’m going to do my own thing.” A lot of people I respect are the juvenile delinquents!

What’s next for you?  After a quick trip to France, I’m heading back to Australia for their winter to work back in production .. and surf! I’m really excited to work with some of the snowboard guides in the Snowy Mountains to hopefully run a women’s Still Stoked avalanche introductory AST1 course. Fingers crossed I can make it happen!

Thanks Alexa! Here’s to adventure and mountain happiness!

Follow Alexa’s adventures and updates here:

www.stillstoked.com

Instagram: @Still_Stoked

Facebook: @StillStokedSports

Twitter: @Still_Stoked