Filling the well of positive vibes.
One of our very own, and a Kitsbow brand champion, Stefanie Walters found her escape in the outdoors. She has been creating positive outdoor experiences through backcountry skiing, hiking, and now mountain biking.
Growing up as an avid ski racer, I quickly learned that spending time in the mountains was where I was the happiest. After I was finished competing, I dove headfirst into the world of backcountry skiing. It provided an escape from crowded resorts. It was a new way to experience the outdoors—humbling, peaceful, and a whole lot of fun. A winter enthusiast at heart, I always counted down the days until winter was in full swing, yearning for those early morning ascents and first tracks.
Not to say that I didn’t equally enjoy summer—as I love hiking, backpacking, and camping with friends—but the stoke just wasn’t quite the same. I had dipped my toes into mountain biking before with friends and coworkers, but constantly made up excuses to not fully make the leap. Bikes are expensive, and entry to the sport was pretty intimidating as a woman with little to no experience. After the COVID-19 pandemic struck this spring, I was in need of a new outlet. So, along with thousands of other people, I jumped on the bike boom bandwagon and pulled the trigger on my first-ever mountain bike. Fast forward a couple of months, and to say I’m hooked would be a huge understatement. #BrownPow
To give some beginner tips, what have been some essential bits of knowledge you found helpful?
Being a newbie at any sport can be intimidating, but mountain biking felt especially so with the dictionary’s worth of jargon that came with it. Luckily I had a handful of colleagues, friends, and the passionate folks at Kitsbow to give me some pointers and ease the transition.
The best piece of advice I’ve gotten so far is to look where you want to go. Seems obvious, right? That’s how it goes in skiing, too, but for some reason, I struggled to get past the mental block of not staring directly at the rocks and roots I hoped to avoid. Turns out your bike goes where your eyes go, and if you want to stay upright on your bike, it’s best to look forward and down the trail as far as possible.
As a Kitsbow brand champion with a multi-sport background, what are your favorite pieces of Kitsbow of gear that you use for all your sports?
I’ve been wearing Kitsbow gear long before I started mountain biking. The Moraine Longsleeve Tee is my go-to ski touring shirt because it stays cool, wicks sweat, and doesn’t get smelly. It’s my favorite base layer hands down. I also love the Gronk Merino Toque and wear it all winter long.
What are some positive words to help encourage other women to get into mountain biking?
As someone who was nervous to get into the sport for years, my best advice would be to just do the dang thing. You won’t regret it. I’ve been lucky enough to have a solid community of girl shredders, some avid bikers who have helped push me, and some also new to the sport who are great to get out and learn the ropes with. The more you go, the more comfortable you’ll get, and the more fun you’ll have!
Do you have any favorite Kitsbow pieces you wear for travel and not sport?
I have a slight obsession with flannels and now own the Icon in every color. Not only is it durable for high-intensity activity but it looks great for travel, camping, après drinks, and hitting the brewery.
Top three favorite items from Kitsbow?Moraine Longsleeve