Crested Butte's Ripping Female Freeride Blog


Let’s just go get some!

I was born and raised in Colorado Springs CO.  Grew up chasing my brothers around on skateboards and eventually snowboards. I put the first board on my feet at the age of 12 and was stoked from the start. We didn’t get up to the Mtns. in the winter as much as we would all have liked, but as soon as I could drive I was going every weekend. I then graduated high school and was able to go maybe a day more than normal, but still wanted more. So it was an obvious choice to move to a ski town.  The plan was to go up for a season then back to Denver for school. Well,  six years later  still shredding and loving the life style.

Snowboarding has become a serious addiction for me. An addiction that has changed my life in a way that is truly understood by fellow ski bums.  In  the last three years I’ve been turned on to competitive big Mtn. snowboarding. I travel to all three stops of the North Face Masters of Snowboarding. The thing that is so amazing about these comps are the people you meet, the places you see and the mountains you get to ride. That to me is more the attraction than the actual comp. The people that I’ve met and the friendships that I’ve  made,  have really help my riding and way of life  improve.  In my very first comp here in CB, I met Susan Mol who now is a dear friend, but then I didn’t know at all,  just knew she was a bad ass.  I qualified in 1st place on day one and was just high on life. The next day the nerves kicked in. Susan said to me at the top of Staircase, day 2, ” so your gonna win this right” I was so blown away because Susan was ranked the #1 woman in the world, and to me , was obviously going to win. It was the way she nudged me and and said those words so calmly that made me realize that maybe I can do this and maybe stand a chance next to these women who have been competing for a long time. This was so major for my mental,  even still. It put all these dreams that seamed so out of reach right there in front of me. This is what I hope I can pass on to other shredders that don’t realize that we just need to get up there and drop in. Comps or no comps,  let’s just go get some.



Down the Jackson Hole We Go!

Jackson Hole is the rabbit hole of all ski resorts. Things, and people, tend to just disappear down there. It all started with Hillari and I packing up her old-man car, a jeep named Baxter, and heading into the dawn towards the land unknown, Wyoming! Pillow? Check. Lucky tank top? Check. Our heads? Eh… check again later.

After a couple of wrong turns, we passed through Wyoming, land of antelope (locals call ‘em speed goats) and road kill (cause they weren’t speedy enough)! We found our way in the dark to our lodging, the famed hostel. It’s one of the only original buildings remaining and the scribbles on every wall hold decades of inside jokes and stories. It’s exactly what you imagine a hostel to be like. Lost wayward ski bums, black sheep of the family skiing all day and holing up in the hostel playing ping-pong after the tram has stopped loading. It was all those kids, and then enters Edie, our roommate. Of all the rooms we could have been assigned to, we walked into the room looking at a white haired grandma-steeze lady, who let’s just say, has made her home down in the rabbit hole quite nicely for some time now. Claiming to be an ex Heli-guide and backcountry expert, I was quite impressed, that is until about two hours later she was still jabbering away in our room, now turned prison cell. Needless to say, we were scared to spend much time with crazy lady on the bottom bunk. The only good thing to come from trying to avoid all interaction was that it meant we were on the mountain skiing as much as possible…an Edie free zone.

The mountain was the Taj Mahal of all mountains. It rose out of the flat plains below, beautiful and majestic. We were blessed with new snow and blue skies. As this was our first Adult Comp, my nerves were getting a hold of me, but once my run started on the final day, it was just me and my boy, Stevie Wonder! I grooved down the slope, nailed my line, and met all my friends, old and new, down at the finish.

Yes, this was a ski trip, but it was also a life trip. As Americans, we were the minority at the hostel and spent the nights cracking up with Euro’s and Aussie’s about our cultural differences. There is so much to explore and so many things to try and experience. Jackson was just the tip of the iceberg.

We left the night after the comp, packing up as quickly as possible, and pulled an all-nighter drive (candy and coffee!). I can only think Edie is right where we left her, on that bottom bunk waiting for new arrivals to her room. Let us pray!


Flyin Ryan

It has been a week since the Kirkwood Competition where my friend Ryan Hawks passed away. I have been thinking about what to say for a while, but I have just decided to put something down in remembrance even if it is not perfect, which it never will be.  Here goes…

Ryan was quite possibly the nicest person I have ever met. Even if you only knew Ryan for a short while, he made you feel like you were good friends. He never uttered a mean word, and always had a shit eating grin on his face. He was a beautiful skier to watch, and was always humble about his ability.

I will always be thankful that I had the pleasure of knowing him, and I will strive to emulate his love of life, love of skiing, and his kindness towards others. My thoughts are with his family and the thousands of friends he had.

There has been a memorial fund set up in Ryan’s name and I encourage everyone to check it out at


“Not all those who wander are lost”

View of Targhee

…this quote has seemed to outline my life lately. Two weeks ago I left Crested Butte in a packed car full of telemark skiers and parental units bound for Grand Targhee, Wy. It was a smooth yet long 12 hour drive, and it seemed to take forever when we remembered Targhee had just gotten awesome amounts of snow. Pulling into Driggs, ID made our dreams of powder seem a little far fetched as there was absolutely no snow on the ground. When we got to the ski area, though, all of the rumors became true. The snow was amazing! The massive ridge line where the comp was set to take place isn’t open usually and the snow had accumulated. During inspection and the actual comp runs we ended up getting even more snow, it was amazing, you could land anything and everything, and you were sure to get more than one face shot. After an incredible comp at Targhee, we drove the seemingly millions of miles home. The very next day was inspection for the Junior Freeskiing competition here in Crested Butte, so of course I went skiing, just for inspection, I swear! The first day of the competition the Headwall venue got destroyed while the juniors absolutely killed it. Moving on to the next day we got to compete on one of my favorite runs, Pheonix Chute. It was fun snow and fast skiing. Overall I think it is safe to say everyone had a blast. After spending the weekend watching some of the best skiers in the world throw down in Crested Butte for the Freeskiing World Tour, I am getting ready to head to Alpine Meadows CA for a telemark comp where I hear it’s so deep it’s almost impossible to turn. I’m just a little excited! Hopefully everyone else is finding pow pow as well!


Natalie Barefield, Line of a Lifetime

View of the North Baldy venue at Snowbird

One line that I will always keep in my memory was at the 2010 Junior Freeskiing Nationals in Snowbird. I made it to the finals, and when I was at the top of North Baldy I wasn’t 100% sure about the location of certain features and technical areas I was going to ski down due to visibility. Despite this, I had the most exhilarating run I had ever done in a competition.  While skiing down North Baldy I was thinking about where my landmark was, but unfortunately I could not find it. I ended up skiing through a more technical part which I never would have thought of doing for the actual competition. Reminding myself not to even stop for a split second, I had to keep on hop turning through rocks that were just longing to eat me up.  After a couple turns I came across a mandatory air and spotted the judges in the middle of the run, so I knew I had to give it my all. Stomping the unexpected air and coming across my next landmark fluidly was an awesome feeling. This time, improvisation awarded me with a thrilling run.

Natalie after her run on North Baldy

Mont Blanc lines of a lifetime

(All photos by Dana Allen)


In 2007, after I had just graduated from College, my boyfriend and I decided to move to a little town called Entreves on the flanks of Mont Blanc. Our plan was to ski as much as we could and then go home every night and eat amazing cured meats and cheeses (If you haven’t had fresh Burrata, you don’t know what you are missing). On Mont Blanc, no line is considered small. We looked up in awe at famous lines like the Gervasutti and the Dames Anglaises. Sadly, I am no Sylvain Saudan, but I did get the opportunity to ski a line visible from the Helbronner tram called the Canale Del Cesso, (in English, the Toilet Canal).This line does no boast huge features, but it is incredibly aesthetic. My boyfriend Dana, my friend Russ, and I skied in to the top of the line and dug a pit. We determined that the snow conditions were favorable, and then dropped in one at a time and popped out onto the Toula Glacier below.

Not much compares to skiing between two giant cliffs like in ‘Il Cesso.’ My future ski descent goals definitely include going back to Mont Blanc and skiing this line again. Now that I am older and bolder, I would also like to ski the Passarella Couloir, the Col d’Entreves, and many others. I will never pass up the opportunity to ski Alaskan spines, but in my opinion, there is no place more striking than Mont Blanc. Also, if you are ever in the Entreves area, you must eat at La Maison De Filippo. You will never eat so well after a hard day of skiing.


Snowbird and Mary Boddington!

I know it is a little late but nice work to Mary Boddington on her awesome fourth place finish at the Bird!!!! Mad Props girl! You Rock!


Susan Mol, Line of a Lifetime

NZ Face

A line that stands out in my competitive history is one I did for the 2009 World Heli Challenge in New Zealand.  It stands out because of the wow factor, the pow factor, and most of all the suprise factor.  We didn’t get a photograph or a hint or ANYTHING that precluded what the contest face would be or look like.  All we knew is that it had just snowed 2-3 meters with no wind onto an already stable snowpack.  Did I mention the word Heli?  Yeah, everyone’s first look at the mountain was when the heli rose up out of the valley and in our face was this amazing spine covered, freshly painted playground. After studying the venue I developed a plan of attack.  Ride the ridge-down, flat, down and then hurl myself up to to highest point of the false summit, drop in, ride the short spine, big turns fall line looking for 4th shadow on right, roll over and make sure it’s the right cliff, huck, stomp, shred to the bottom.  All went as planned except for the stomp and regardless, I was happy to nail the exact descent I was going for.

Wanaka New Zealand - September 4th 2009: Susan Mol from Crested Butte in Colorado competes in the Big Mountain Day of the World Heli Challenge 2009

These are some big mountains, eh?

after I finished my qualifying run

I am back to work at the spa, and frankly, I am glad to be sitting around for a little while. I just spent a week in Revelstoke, British Columbia, where I was competing in the Canadian Freeskiing Championships. Now, I know that people here in the U.S. of A like to think that we have the best mountains on earth, but every dedicated ski bum really needs to set the time aside to go to British Columbia at some point in their lives.

This is the second time I have been skiing in B.C., the first being when I went cat skiing at Mustang Powder which is right down the road from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Yet again, I was incredibly impressed by the terrain. Revelstoke mountain has 5,620 vertical feet of drop and 3,121 acres of skiable (if you feel up to the challenge) area. Let’s just say that gumbi legs doesn’t even come close to describing the feeling you have by the end of the day. This mountain is also home to my new and all-time favorite lift-serve run called ‘Kill the Banker.’ This run is probably a little under 2,000 vertical feet of endless pillows and perfect drops. When I arrived, it had just snowed two feet, so I was like a pig in &!$%. This run was the best thing to happen to me since the invention of double rocker.

In addition to frolicking around the mountain, I had to inspect my lines for the comp on the venues Separate Reality, North Bowl, and the famous Mackenzie Face. My qualifying run went well on Separate Reality.  I played it safe and stuck to skiing fast and only hit 1 8 ft. air and one 5 ft. air.  I placed third and was able to advance to the next day. Day one of the official competition was delayed due to weather but when it finally came time for my to ski, I picked a fast fluid line.

Inspecting my line on Mack Face to no availMy run was not as technical as the judges may have wanted, but I had a few good drops and finished in 7th place which allowed me to go on to the finial day on Mackenzie (a.k.a. Mack) Face. For our final run, we were dropped off on a ridge via a helicopter ride (way cool!), and as the first person to go, I served as a guinea pig of sorts. I was expecting powder turns, but as it turned out, Mack face was one giant lump of windslab. I was three big turns in when the snow literally ripped my ski off of my foot (As a 5’2 girl with my DINs at 11, this was a little strange). I was able to self arrest quickly, but took a conservative line down to the finish after I got my ski back on.

In the end, I placed 5th overall, which I am pleased with, but what I will remember more than the competition are the beautiful mountains, and my epic pillow runs I took with my boyfriend/photographer Dana and my younger brother Will.

A Trip with Vlade

Vlade the dinosaur

My butt is numb. I have been sitting in the car for about 15 hours now and am hoping that my legs will not have atrophied completely by the time I get to Revelstoke, BC.  Vlade, my brother’s soccer mom van, and I are bonding, literaly, as I am sitting in something sticky.

Vlade is named after a toy Triceratops my brother Will found in a Walmart parking lot who now sits on the dashboard, and despite what some people might think, Vlade proves that minivans are rad. We can fit at least 7 pairs of skis in here along with everything else, and I get my own bucket seat! Vlade is my new hero. In addition to lots of leg room, we get to listen to hours and hours of books on tape, and are slowly working our way through the Orson Scott Card series.

Other fun features of Vlade are:

  • At least 9 cup holders
  • my own bucket seat heating and cooling
  • windows that actually go up and down on command!!!! Even for my bucket seat!!!!!
  • electric doors (these don’t work anymore, but they once did and they were cool. I remember)

For all of you people out there who say to yourselves ‘ everyone knows that cool outdoorsy people should own a Subaru Outback’ (no offense FWT),  I challenge you to take a look in your rearview mirror. Do you have coffee splattered all over you? Are your knees around your ears? Just know that Vlade laughs at you as he travels majestically on towards the mountains of Canada.