Images by Andres Beregovich
The two snowboard professionals Aline Bock/GER and Anne-Flore Marxer/SUI are on their way to Iceland to get to know the country combining it with their passion for snowboarding and surfing during the next six weeks. Additionally they will meet strong women along the way to learn more about Iceland’s leadership role when it comes to gender equality and women’s rights.
Iceland has always been high on our adventure list. We’ve long wanted to immerse ourselves in its otherworldly landscape. We’ve ached to chase the snow and swell around the island. To carve fresh lines in snowy spines while staring at the blue sea below; to ride beautifully shaped waves to a backdrop of jagged white peaks. We even dreamed of doing them both in the same place on the same day.
But as is often the case, life got in the way. Then this year, as gender inequality pushed its way to the top of the news cycle in ever-scarier and more pressing ways, our need to experience Iceland first-hand became too intense to ignore. The pull of the mountains and the sea remained the same of course but what was drawing us to this unique sea-faring nation at this moment in time was the progressive, feminist culture that underpinned it all.
Iceland has a long and distinguished history when it comes to gender equality and women’s rights, both in the workplace and at home. On October 24th 1975 a staggering 90 per cent of the female labour force went on strike to prove to the rest of the country how vital their contribution to the workplace was. It’s no coincidence that five years later they elected the first female president in the world. A single mother, who was hugely popular and re-elected for four terms, holding the role for a historic 16 years.
For the last nine years Iceland has topped the World Economic Forum’s index for gender equality, thanks to its world-leading policies including teaching pre-school girls how to be more assertive. There really is a fascinating and wholly admirable national mind-set when it comes to gender equality in the country.
As professional snowboarders who’ve fought hard for gender parity in a male-dominated sport throughout our careers, we wanted to dig deeper into this amazing mentality while combining it with our love of adventure. So on International Women’s Day we want to announce that we’re going to Iceland in a camper van for six weeks to snowboard, surf, and camp amid this magical landscape. The sun, the snow, the wind and the waves will guide us, and we will meet some of the incredible outdoors-loving women who live there along the way.
We’ll go splitboarding with Heida Birgisdottir, Iceland’s first female surfer, one of its first female snowboarders, and the founder of iconic women’s board sports brand Nikita. We’ll hook up with an all-women hiking crew to hear how empowering their group adventures have been and experience a mountain rescue programme designed specifically for schoolgirls.
While we’re there we’ll be making a movie about our experience. We will show how magical and ethereal Iceland is and how special it feels to snowboard and surf here. We’ll stop and pause amongst this amazing nature to tell a different story in a fresh and more feminine way.
We want to bask in the positive vibes of the Icelandic women’s movement and inspire to embrace a new mind-set to a different kind of adventure.
We will experience a land shaped by women.
Our film will come out this autumn and be screened in mountain festivals across Europe.
This journey is possible thanks to the incredible support of our amazing sponsors Swatch, Sunlight, Thule and Vaude.
To keep up with our Icelandic travels along the way head to our social platforms @alinebock @annefloremarxer #dare #alandshapedbywomen