Taking On The Mountain With Alexa Hohenberg
Hey Alexa, thanks so much for agreeing to share some thoughts with us today. To start things off, can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself? When did you get into snowboarding?
Snowboarding is my thing. It’s been my main motivation for everything since the age of 11. I worked hard in school so I could finish early to earn money to snowboard. I got a place at university, just to turn it down after using it to get a visa to work and snowboard in Canada. At 31, I just quit my to retrain as a backcountry guide and spend more time in the mountains. The list goes on…
Strangely, I now live in Sydney Australia but I travel a lot to snowier places. Sydney gives me that balance of the beach, warm water and the rest that I crave. I’m originally from London, England which is a place not known for it’s snow or surf!
What’s your main motivation for what you do, what are you seeking? Fitness? Adrenaline? Freedom?
Currently, my main motivation with snowboarding is to push myself to ride the most challenging terrain and hopefully take a fearless, fluid approach to my lines. To me, drawing those lines as I flow down the mountain is an art. Cheesy I know but when you look back up a slope, you see your work and it is so satisfying! So basically I want to draw beautiful lines on big mountains.
As the mountains get bigger and more remote, I am forced to focus more on technique and strength for the uphill. Splitboarding uphill is very different to snowboarding and it is a huge challenge for me.
When it comes to snowboarding, what has been your biggest accomplishment?
Far from the competitive wins I had when I was younger, the achievements I hold closest to my heart are some of the big lines in Alaska I have ridden. Last year, whilst on my guide training with Points North Heli and HelSkiUS, I got a first snowboard decent on a line we got to name ‘Pyroknees’. It was a steep 55 degree gash in the mountain side. I also got to guide my fellow US Heliski students down a famous film line called Scarsdell while Grant Kaye shot pictures from the glacier. I’m proud of how I rode both of those lines.
Favourite place to snowboard in the world? Why?
Alaska. I talk about it a lot because it REALLY is the real deal. It is everything you could want it to be and everything you fear. It’s just like in all the ski films. It’s huge, your heart is in your mouth and it humbles you in a second.Those mountains don’t give a crap how good you think you are at skiing, they will beat you down in a second. I’m grateful for all the lessons I have learnt up in Alaska both with my riding and personal growth. It totally changed my life. This spring will be my fourth trip up there.
You recently did a heli trip in Alaska. How is heli skiing different to the back country trekking you do?
Helis aren’t for hobos! Well that’s what my boyfriend says and I guess he is right. It is an expensive way to access the mountains, not to mention dangerous. But for me, heliskiing is the ultimate rush. I enjoy the heli rides up almost as much as the snowboarding down. I think you should use helicopters to access terrain you can’t on foot. So for Alaska it is the ultimate magic carpet ride as some of those peaks are so remote. Ski touring or splitboarding for me is pretty chill:quiet, slower pace and requires more stamina and skill (for the uphills). Both have a place in my life and after working with clients for weeks on end guiding at a cat ski operation, there is nothing I love more then going into the mountains with friends, splitboarding in silence, uphill.
Here is a video I made on Alaska a few years ago:
You run an online platform called Still Stoked, how did this come about and tell us a little about what you do.
When I was younger, the women looked up to were the girls in the snowboard video parts or the women mentioned in the magazines. Sadly, I can count those women on one hand, they simply didn’t get much media coverage.
Through Still Stoked I wanted to create a platform for the future generation to read and discover more about the strong women out their progressing our favourite actions sports. I wanted to make the role models that I had to search so far and wide to discover as a kid, more accessible to girls growing up today.
So Still Stoked is a platform I have build that gives women in action sports and adventure, a place to tell their stories and share their experiences in the hopes of inspiring others. We also cover gear, travel, fashion and other lifestyle stuff that is relevant to our lives.
There’s no doubt about it. You push the limits with your sporting pursuits. Do you have any advice for women wanting to break out of their comfort zones?
Comfort zones vary.
As you read this, put you arm out in front of you. That space right there is your comfort zone. Now take a step forward. Where you now, stand is on the edge of your comfort zone. All that new space right in-front of you, that’s where growth in your life will happen. It doesn’t happen behind you, in that space you just left.
So my question to you is, when given an opportunity to do something new, something that challenges you, why say no? If you know you will grow as a person why not chose to grow? A ship in the harbor is safe but that is not what ships were built for.
The worst thing that can happen is start off again where you left off. But trust me, you won’t want to go back.
When you’re not snowboarding, what do you like to do?
I’m a keen surfer. I love taking photos and making films and also working in my other job as a producer. I really enjoy going back to work in Sydney to join really creative teams of amazing people, sometimes to work on TV shows, sometimes, web films sometimes an advert. It’s fun and keeps me creative!
Not only can you snowboard, but your talent for surfing has taken you to many incredible places around the world. Is there a similarity between the two sports that has you hooked?
It’s been interesting to see how surfing has influenced my snowboarding. I look for banks in the snow now, and for things to slash and blow my tail out from! I’m hooked on surfing because it is this whole new world of progression for me. It is the hardest thing I have ever done and I just want to get better. I want to do what the girls on the tour do just once! Haha. I wrote an article about if you can love two sports equally, referring to how snowboarding and surfing pull me in opposite directions but I need both equally. Have a read!
Surfing or Snowboarding? Can you love two sports equally?
Before we let you go, what other social platforms are you active on besides Instagram? I’m sure our readers would love to know where else they can connect with you on the web.
I love to share women in action sports news and content on the Still Stoked Facebook page as well as lots of cool images we post on the website on Pinterest so definitely check those out!