Professional snowmobiling sensation Nadine Overwater has inspired so many female sledders, she can’t keep up with demand for her brrahhp classes. By Cassidy Randall.
Much in line with most, modern-day motor sports, the images associated with the upper echelon of snowmobiling—the cliff jumpers, X-Games competitors and high-mark stars of the winter-born discipline—are unquestionably dominated by men. Not surprisingly, the associated mainstream imagery of women leans heavily on pink gear, bleached blond hair and bikinis.
Enter Nadine Overwater, the pro sled phenom based out of Revelstoke, British Columbia. Overwater is known for sending it big and leaving stereotypical imagery behind in favour of skills and all-around bravado. And she’s just getting started.
“I’m not peaking yet, I’m just reaching the crux,” says Overwater. “There’s still progression happening, so I’ll continue to push the limits of my ability until it’s not happening.”
The 36-year-old got her start as one of the first female snowmobile guides in BC, and her skill quickly landed her on the national scene. She’s now sponsored by the likes of 509 and Motorfist, in whose films her tricks and jumps are spotlighted. She’s also a sled safety ambassador for Avalanche Canada. But where she’s really shaking things up in the snowmobile world is growing the ranks of female sledders.
Overwater founded La Nina Sled Camp in 2012, which offers female-only, backcountry sled courses designed to teach women to hold their own in the mountains. Five years later, her backcountry and jump camps are selling out consistently and she’s training new coaches to keep up with demand. It used to be that seeing a female sledder in the mountains around Revelstoke was like spotting a unicorn, but thanks to her mentorship, groups of women are increasingly heading into the hills with newfound confidence.
So how challenging is it being an authentic, skill-focused athlete in a culture seductively full of hype? “It’s pretty easy to see whose heart and soul is in the sport and those are the people I want to surround myself with,” Overwater says. “They make it easy to decide what kind of role model to be.”