As a professional female snowboarder, I struggled to find the right time to start a family. My husband, Chris Benchetler, is a professional skier and our careers have gone through so many transitions, and momentum kept building as we evolved from contests to big mountains riders. I entered my 30’s knowing there was going to be a moment where I was going to have to decide to end my career to become a mom. At least that’s what I thought, because all my peers were forced to choose career or family. I had not seen a women in snowboarding become a mom and maintain her career.
After winning rider of the year in December of 2016, my mom passed away from an aggressive cancer. I quickly realized I would be entering parenthood without my parents to share the experience with us. A shift in perspective fell over me, what were we waiting for? Chris and I decided to try to start a family. Thankfully, in just a few months I was pregnant.
Then I had to navigate telling my sponsors that I was starting a family and didn’t want to retire from snowboarding. Would they support me as I learned to balance my career and family?
All of my contracts were up, and majority of my sponsors were supportive, especially Burton. The owner, Donna Carpenter, has been a huge advocate of supporting women at her company pursue career and family, so enabling me, an athlete, the same opportunities was a pretty effortless. Adjustments were made to the verbiage of my contract, and within a year of me having my baby, that verbiage was added to all female athletes contracts at Burton. A huge milestone for women in sports to feel like there career doesn’t expire, when they start a family!