Sierra's Valhalla

Sierra Quitiquit is part fashion model, part freeskier. This fall, she'll appear in the new ski film from Sweetgrass Productions, called "Valhalla." The latest trailer for the film was just released. Quitiquit didn't get a chance to ski in the film, but she acts in it. (Yes, the film is partly scripted.) We spoke to Quitiquit about being true to herself, skiing naked (which she didn't do) and why she thinks skiing needs more femininity. How did you get involved with the Sweetgrass crew?
Sierra Quitiquit: Last December, I got this creepy French email from some guy named Nick Waggoner. I don't speak French and I didn't bother to translate it. At the time, I just thought it was some creepy dude. A few weeks later the name Nick Waggoner came up in a conversation that he was the Sweetgrass director. I went back and translated the email online and it was actually an invitation from Nick to come up and film.

I watched a couple of early cuts of the film and I see that you have a starring role. Are you a character? Or are you playing yourself?
I play Ayla, this free-spirited chick who is super connected with nature. She's on her own program and living life to the fullest. She loves to ski. She's really confident and knows what she wants in life. The concept of the film wasn't quite clear until I got up to Canada and experienced the Sweetgrass program, which is an ever-developing process day to day.

Is the part based on you?
No. I don't think they wrote it for me. Any parallels between the character and me are coincidental.

Sierra Quitiquit

So there's a naked skiing segment in "Valhalla." Let's talk naked skiing.
I didn't do any naked skiing. It was super cold when I was up there. The naked skiing didn't happen while I was up there, or I probably would have participated. I did film one scene standing naked at the top of a hill, celebrating nature and it was awesome. I've never done any naked skiing, though I've done my fair share of bikini skiing.

What kind of skiing did you do for the film?
I actually didn't do any skiing in the film for a couple of reasons. I like to be up front about it. The conditions were beyond the worst ever and I had blown my shoulder out in January. I was stoked for the opportunity to not be at home.

Is this a fully scripted film?
There's a storyline and there's narration happening as well. It's very unique. I think the ski industry needs to be shaken up a little bit. I come at it a little differently because I work in two different industries with the fashion and skiing. The amount of creativity and progressive ideas that comes out of the world is so awesome. Then you come back to the ski world and things are a little more formatted. They're more by the book and safe, if you will. I applaud Nick and the Sweetgrass boys for reaching outside the safety zone and doing something unique.

You're heavily involved in both modeling and skiing. What's the difference between the two?
In the fashion world, you're encouraged to be yourself and let out those weird feelings you have. In the ski world, they just want to package you and say, 'Oh, you're the gnarly chick,' but what about the 50 million other parts of myself? Can I be those, too? Sure, I'm a model. Sure, I'm a skier. I'm also obsessed with a million other things.

What are your goals in skiing?
I feel there's a huge window of opportunity for women's skiing right now. There are talented players out there, but if you look at the disparity between men and women, women have a really long way to go. That's not to say there aren't girls out there that are really setting the bar. I just think there's a lot of room for improvement in my own skiing. I'm not going to be happy unless I reach my highest potential.

You put out an edit last summer that caused quite a stir because you were dancing around and doing yoga poses. Some would call it polarizing. It was very untraditional.
I'm not a traditional girl. I am who I am. There's no reason why I should apologize for that. I think it take a lot more confidence to put 100 percent of yourself out there even though you know people have their own insecurities and they are judging and saying things. I think the ski industry suffers because a lot of our ambassadors are embarrassed to show their feminine side. I was watching an interview with three girls skiing and they're all wearing big baggy pants, big hoodies and beanies. And I was like, where is the incentive for girls to get into the sport if those are the leaders? We don't ski like dudes. We don't look like dudes. We're women and so what if you want to throw on a pair of heels after skiing? That's awesome. Embrace it.

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