MilkBox Girls, next generation of skiers

Meet Addie, Ella and Josie, 3 next generation skiers who founded MilkBox Girls (aka MBG) to share their passion and style. They have a lot of energy on and off the skis, and started filming the experiences and fun moments they have all together. The world should probably get to have a taste as well, they thought. MilkBox Girls is a demonstration of strong female friendships and support system, as well as bringing a non-serious approach to an all too serious world, making the best of every moment.

Tell us me about the team: what does MBG stand for? how did you join the club? and what does it means to you?  

Ella: The name itself has no crazy backstory or real literal meaning. It sounded funny, no one had used the name before and it had a very non-serious ring to it, which was exactly the aim.  

We all met during our freshman year at Montana State University and began to hangout, party, ski and overall have the best time of our lives together. We moved in all together after covid in a big, six person house and lived there for 2 years.  

Josie: We started out just trying to capture our miscellaneous hobbies and make a fun yet badass video to introduce the group. To me, MBG represents a fun and encouraging environment and a group of women who like doing a random variety of activities and encouraging other females to do new stuff and crash and just have fun with it!  

When I skied back at home, I mostly was with my guy friends, because not that many of my girl friends skied to the same extent. So it was really refreshing and motivating to meet Addie and Ella. The first time we ever skied together, they thought that since I raced I would gonna suck at skiing. They were pretty afraid to ski with me and said they were pleasantly surprised, but they both told me after the fact. 

Addie: I saw the potential in the girls I was surrounding myself with. They had no fear. I had grown up surrounded by boys and constantly saw this approach to life, but rarely if ever had seen it from females. They were hucking themselves off the biggest cliffs, throwing dubs off rope swings, skateboarding everywhere, jumping off roofs. It was complete chaos, life with no rules. And by rules I mean the ones society puts on girls at our age. That we spend 2 hours getting ready to go out and then take selfies only to hang out in the corner or sit around and watch the boys.  

I am not arguing we don’t take a long time to get ready, and we for sure capture it when we know we look good, but when we go out, whether it’s for some laps or to a party, it’s to do just that. Not to watch, and we make it known to everyone around we are there to do so. We are the ones that people are watching. 

We all have weird strengths and weaknesses. It’s a really good balance, and it’s perfect for skiing, because if we were all good at one thing and none of us could do anything else I don’t think we would learn as much from each other.

Tell us about yourself: how would you describe the woman and the skier you are today? How did one shape the other? 

Josie: I’m majoring in Cellular Biology and Neuroscience at MSU, graduating this May. I have always been interested in science, I wanted to be a neurosurgeon since I was little. But now I think I wanna go into gynecology, it’s a really growing field, and I also love the idea of working with mostly women. I grew up in Hood River, Oregon, kiteboarding in the summer and skiing in the winter. I was on a club race team and skied 4 days a week, with night skiing on Wednesdays and Thursdays it was night skiing on Mt Hood Meadows. My senior year I won state for slalom which was cool for my last race ever. 

I had never really skied “big mountain” before moving to Montana for college. I was too busy training for racing all of my life that I never really learned any tricks, hit cliffs, or skied chutes until skiing at Bridger Bowl.  

Ella: I am a senior mechanical engineering student I grew up and was taught by both my parents a very problem solving mindset, they did not just tell me how to do things they let me figure out on my own. I’ve always worked hard when it came to school and work, this shaped my skiing as I learned that things don’t just get handed to you, I knew what I was passionate about and followed through with it. 

Both my parents had their sides of inspiring me. My mom was the more outdoorsy one, she was the one mountain biking by herself, or going to ski alone if I was not up to it. No one could tell her what to do. She would outbadass my dad 100%.  

I grew up skiing in Mt Baker, mostly with snowboarders, and took a 3 year break as a teenager as I started getting into school sports more. I was really big into gymnastics, I was a competitive dancer, and you add soccer on top of that. Skiing was more of a weekend thing. Then I started getting back to it during my sophomore year of high school. I never did racing or moguls, so I just tried new tricks and stuff, tagging along this big group of teenage boys that were really into jumping cliffs and doing tricks. I did not have a skiing education background, I strictly just did it when I could, there were no rules, no one was looking at us.  

Addie: I’m born on the east coast in Vermont, moved to Jackson Hole when I was really young, then my mom got a job in a private school in Sun Valley, Idaho. I still have a storage unit here. I had not had a stable place for 2 years now. I park my car in the girl’s house, so my truck is in Bozeman and my storage unit in Sun Valley.  

I started out mogul skiing, because it was the loosest organization of them all. Alpine was super strict, you had to be up at 6am, wearing skin tight suits for racing, with really rigid training schedule. With the freestyle team, we went riding with the snowboarders, park skiers, there was no discipline until I got a little bit older. It was so loose, there were no rules. We were the only team that got drug tested. I think I did my first drug test when I was a 4th grader. I was freaking up, because I ate poppy seeds the day before and I was afraid it may come up like meth. 

What would you not be able to do if you were a guy? what makes you particularly proud or self conscious to be a girl?  

Josie: I think guys can do whatever and could do anything women do if they have the confidence to do so. For example, men don’t commonly wear womens style clothing but that is not to say they can’t.  

Ella: I wouldn’t be able to live as many lives as I do. The duality of being a woman is what is so beautiful. I would be self-conscious about my appearance when being in a primarily male environment, such as my engineering classrooms or on the ski hill. Either you look good and it seems like you care too much and you’re thought of as a “snow bunny” or you tuck your hair in with your baggy ski outerwear and you get misgendered all day.  

Gender is a very important and prominent topic in the  world right now. I think about it quite a bit because I put myself in a lot of male dominated areas. I am a mechanical engineering student, I’m in my last year of school, and my classrooms are about 90% men, I’m constantly surrounded by a very intense male energy.  

There is definitely a big hurdle to get over with being a women in male dominated industry, but there is also a lot of advantages. You can look at it a certain angle that is beneficial and also nondestructive to your own mental health. Because if you focus on being a women too hard, then it’s just a spiral into nothing. 

Addie: I think nowadays it’s becoming more normalized that guys do suffer from a lot of the same insecurities that girls do. I have wished I was a guy many times in my life, but in recent years I haven’t thought that once. Women are fucking killing it and proving superior day after day. Just always thought they had it easier, until I found a crew that completely proved that wrong. I was envious that things appeared to be easier for them when it came to progression, particularly in skiing. I think that when you have a strong crew that backs you and is confident in your abilities, it shows, and you progress the fastest. 

What are the most stupid questions/remarks you got, being an “action sports girl”? 

Addie: The classic- “that was sick! *pause* for a girl…” To be completely honest, I have definitely said this before. I have said it about my own progression many times. It’s self deprecating, and I don’t say it anymore. I think the need to add “for a girl” at the end diminishes whatever statement came before it. It is just a prime example of instant comparison. 

Josie: “You are a good skier for a girl”, “That one of the sickest backflips I’ve seen a girl do”, and “do you triple your sled?”  

Ella: “Who is the best skier girl in your group?” ITS NOT A COMPETITION, I am so tired of people constantly trying to rate women in skiing, like there has to be one at the top and the rest aren’t as good and aren’t worthy of taking up space. It’s crazy how many men skiers are out there, and it’s obvious that they all have their own style/tricks/skills so no one tries to rank them. For some reason, because there are less women than men in skiing, people want to figure out who is on top and only highlight them as if the rest are not worthy enough.  

You wear male+female apparel, how does it fit your own style? Is this one of those things you can do guys would not dare to do? 

Addie: I usually can’t stand the way the women’s apparel is fitted. This goes beyond just skiing. I wear mostly men’s clothing as well. This being said, there are plenty of girls and women who do like the way that apparel and clothing is fitted and I think that’s perfectly fine. 

One of my favorite elements of sports aside from the actual action of it, is to see the trends and style change and develop and go back to the old and then so far forward into the future all at the same time. 

Josie: I don’t love the feeling of my clothes being too tight against me when I am doing an activity that involves a lot of movement. I think similarly to how hip-hop dancers wear baggy clothes, it allows for a bit more style while skiing.  

Ella: I tend to only wear male apparel, this is mostly due to the shape and fit, I hate feeling constricted by my gear and wearing the male apparel ensures that doesn’t happen. I don’t have a preference on colors, whatever catches my eye is what I tend toward, so feminine or masculine designs/colors are all fair game when it comes to choosing my fit.  

I know plenty of girls who do the same, especially where we live in Montana, it’s very common for women to wear male ski outerwear.  

For us we came to a consensus that the male’s outerwear is just more comfortable and allows more movability. It’s not a statement, it’s just the fact that it fits way better and we want to wear baggy outfits. It can go both ways, there are plenty of men out there that want to wear some tighter fitting stuff, or outrageously feminine color, and that’s OK. 

There is a movement toward genderless outerwear and skis, which I think is the next step making the ski world more of a community than a split-down-the-middle thing.  

I don’t think that there should be labelled type of gear, it should just be based on how it fits, because when you label it by gender it just makes it uncomfortable for the opposite gender. 

It’s become more acceptable for women to shop in the men’s section of the store, but it takes some courage and confidence for men to shop in the women’s section.  

Is there a difference between male and female skiing? 

Addie: If you just ask me if there is a difference between male and female at any level, I would say absolutely there is. Saying that super bluntly today could get you canceled, but you would have to be blind and just plain stupid to not think there is a difference between male and female in any sort of action sport. You can watch what I do on the Freeride World Tour, watch men and women, they are not comparable but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. 

What I think is the most interesting is the progression. The sport is excelling on such an insane level, both male and female trajectories point straight up, not on the same track but I would not be surprised, after seeing what the younger generation is doing, that those lines start to intersect in the next ten years. 

I could be skiing with a guy and do things he can’t do because he’s bigger, but then he could do a massive road gap that I’m not able to do because I can’t get enough speed.  

I think it is super cool to be on the track that I’m on in women skiing, and anyone who is making any sort of progression in the sport should be proud because they are contributing. 

But comparing the two does not do much for the sport, it only causes conflict. Men are crushing it, women are crushing it, and they both are going straight up. 

I grew up skiing only with guys, and we never stopped, it was always « who is going to hit the bigger feature ». I did things I would maybe not have done otherwise. Skiing with girls you progress in different ways, because then you can focus more.  

Ella: It is not deniable that males are born with testosterone and the ability to have greater strength naturally, this then translates to skiing ability and greater strength, in most cases. 

Now, if we are talking about skiing as an experience, I see no difference, skiing can bring equal amounts of joy, grounding, sense of community and peace to both male and female skiers alike, and if you want my opinion, this is the only thing that f’ing matters… 

Part of the reason why it can be scary or intimidating for a women to put ourselves out there in the skiing industry, is because it gets a lot of focus, because people are so used to women being boring. the competitive runs were not exciting to watch, so if you wanted some action you had to watch the men. I’m a victim of having that mentality growing up.  

But more recently, with the progression, with more media and inspiration, there has been more focus, and that’s why we progress to a higher level. 

Highlighting more women is important even if they are not doing anything crazy, because there are hundred and thousands of men out there that are being highlighted every single day for doing tricks that a lot of women can also do, and I think the ratio is a little bit off. 

Josie: the physical differences are undeniable. you can see a difference in trick ability level, like when you are watching competition such as X-Games, but it’s insane how quickly it’s closing. There used to be a much bigger difference, but this year was the first that it is not so big anymore, with the first women’s triple for example. It’s awesome and very motivating for all the girls in the industry.  

I think there is a stereotypical difference but again, it is starting to go away as women are pushing themselves more and taking female skiing to the next level.  

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