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Episode 22: Broken Collarbones and the Pain Behind the Stoke with Katie Lozancich

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

Welcome back to Outside by Design! This week on the podcast: TGR's very own Katie Lozancich! Katie, digital content contributor at Teton Gravity Research, shares her thoughts on digging deep in subject interviews, her transition from photography to journalism, and telling stories of the pain behind the stoke in mountain communities. Leave your thoughts about this latest episode in the comments below!

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episode transcript

Lisa: What's up, all you marketing managers and writers and photographers and creative people in the outdoor industry. Welcome back to another episode of Outside by Design. I am your host Lisa Slagle and I own a creative agency called Wheelie and we are a branding agency for people who thrive outside. So be sure to check us out

Today on the podcast I'm talking to Katie Lozancich. Most people just call her Katie Lo and she's a photographer and digital content contributor at Teton Gravity Research. We talked all about what brands can do to tell deeper stories than spreading the stoke and tackling tough conversations and we kind of talk about the difference between branded content and editorial content and how that those lines are getting blurred. We talk about what makes a good story and all the progressive things that Teton Gravity Research is doing when it comes to being an action sports media house that tells bigger stories and addressing what people are really going through in mountain towns other than catching air and going fast. So it's an interesting discussion. Katie is a really, really smart person who is always getting after it and is a very hard worker who cares a lot about her craft. She cares so much about the people that she interviews and Katie's just one of the all-around coolest people that I've ever met. So enjoy the conversation and I hope you get something out of it.

Lisa: Hey Katie, thank you so much for being here today.

Katie: Hey Lisa. It's awesome to be on the show.

Lisa: Yeah, so the first question that we ask everybody is to describe their setting and what's going on. So, where are you at right now?

Katie: I'm currently in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Yeah, right at the Tetons. I love it out here. I've been calling this home for about the past three years off and on so just recently in February I moved out here full-time and I think this is like one of the beautiful spots in the country.

Lisa: Awesome. Are you recording from your house or work or what are you doing?

Katie: Yeah. I'm recording from my room at the moment because I recently broke my collarbone. So I'm a little bit bedridden for the next week.

Lisa: Oh shit!

Katie: Oh, did you know that?

Lisa: No!

Katie: Oh, yeah. So I'm like, I'm actually not on any medication right now, but I’ve been relaxing because I can't really do much at the moment.

Lisa: No, what happened?

Katie: Yeah, great story. I was racing my first Enduro this weekend and something I was really excited about and on stage two, close to the end my chain... this is what I think happened because it happened so fast, but it like locked up. I got sent over the handlebars and landed square on my shoulder and with a clean break. And I thought I was okay and was really stubborn and wanted to finish so I kept biking for a couple minutes. It was like this is not okay, something's wrong. So yeah, that's a that's the gist of it.

Lisa: Where was that? Where was the Enduro?

Katie: Grand Targhee, which is about 40 minutes from here. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has a bike park and then Grand Targhee is the one that's close to Victor and Driggs which is on the other side of Teton Pass. Their bike park is much bigger and it's probably one of my favorite places to ride around here.

Lisa: Until now.

Katie: I know right? Well, it's funny ‘cause I got through the super gnarly part of the race, which was what I was scared about. And then this ended up happening on one of my favorite drills, which I had ridden a number of times. So that's how it goes with mountain biking, right?

Lisa: Yeah. So how long are you out?

Katie: The ER doc says about four weeks. So I'm not too bummed because that gives me enough time to heal before ski season, which is like a priority, but I'm going with the ortho this week. And that will kind of confirm if I don't need surgery, which is like fingers crossed. That's what I really don't want to have to do right now. So. Yeah, I'm in pretty high spirits because collarbones... I've had a lot of friends get injured recently and like ACL, hip surgery, like the whole gamut and I'm like well, collar bones heal. It'll be okay. So it's just kind of interesting.

Lisa: Yeah. And you just got back from Crankworx, right?

Katie: Yeah, and that's what's kind of funny. I mean, obviously I was there for media, so I was riding my bike here and there. But I was with some friends who raced the EWS and they like took me on some other trails and I was riding like a good portion of it. But it was some gnarly gnarly stuff. And just seeing like what those athletes are putting their body through and coming back from that and being unscathed and then just to like getting hurt on my local trails. That’s kind of ironic I guess. But I don't know with mountain biking this just so part of our culture. I'm not saying like I'm stoked that it happened, but I'm just kind of like okay, you know, this is just kind of the risks that we accept when we want to do this sport.

Lisa: Yes and skiing and really any of the adventure sports, I guess.

Katie: Yeah. It's very interesting.

Lisa: Yeah. How did the media side of Crankworx go for you?

Katie: It was awesome Crankworx. So this is my second time going. And the first time I went I was an intern with Free Hub magazine and I really liked mountain biking but I wasn't like a huge mountain bike rider at the time. It was honestly super overwhelming because I was meeting like professional athletes and Industry Representatives and I just didn't... like wasn't able to speak the language and didn't really know what was going on. And now since I've been at TGR and my internship with Free Hub I just feel so much more in the loop and having photographed a bunch of different events. I felt like really confident going to the different events and feeling like I can own it. So it was really cool to kind of see my growth in the year and feel like I could bring all those skills that I learned to the table and actually produce a lot of really good work. I still think I have a lot to learn get better, but looking back through my photos that I kind of... I wish I could go back a year and be like Katie, like look what you've done. It's cool just to see growth since that time.

Lisa: Yeah, that is a super cool thing to be able to do from a creative... I don't know, like the creative profession and growing as a person and growing as a creative. So that's really exciting for you.

Katie: Yeah, and I feel like Crankworx, like those kind of events are really cool standards to use almost. Because you know, yeah the courses change but it's kind of like a lot of the same athletes. So seeing how I photograph, for example, Joyride last year compared to this year. It's like really cool to see what I did differently and where I think I improved and there's still things I feel like I could do better. So my hope is to keep going each year and I can kind of just look back and see the progression which is really exciting as a creative.

Lisa: What did you do better? What do you stoked on?

Katie: Um, yeah, I think that one thing and it sounds really silly saying it but I was more mobile. Like I really like... so the cool thing with Joyride is like, they practice I'm going to say four or five times before the main event. So as a photographer it’s really great because you can just really practice your shots and kind of get a sense of like the framing. Especially if you go the same time of day.

Granted it really mattered this year because it was so smoky so you can practice lighting and just really get a sense of what you're doing. So I did that and then I just really worked hard to keep changing where I was. My first year photographing it I found a shot that I really liked and then just sat there and kept shooting it over and over seeing how I could do it better. Which is not bad necessarily, but then when I looked back on the event, I realized I didn't really have a story essentially. So now I kind of shoot with the mindset of like, how can I tell the story of this event? And that means like having two cameras on my shoulder - one's wide and one has a zoom lens so I can quickly switch from one another and tell the same shot from a different perspective. And then it also means just like being ready to run from one job to the next while the riders are changing so that way you know, you have so many different shots versus just like one. Because you can't sell a story if you just only have one location, if that makes sense.

Lisa: Totally.

Katie: Yeah, so it's cool. And that was one thing I realized after the fact last year. Because it was like, oh like I wish I had played around more, especially... these events are just such good opportunities to practice with your shooting because you have like these elite athletes and they're all doing the same thing, you know, they're very new tricks, but they're all going on the same course so you can really experiment with panning or experiment with like a different angle. And it's like a really cool way to practice that way. Now I can take those skills for like other projects I want to pursue.

Lisa: Yeah, and also it helps when they're all hitting the same features so you can see like how big someone goes and you can plan out... I don't know, like, how to frame them in the shot because when you're in a natural habitat with less repetition, it's so hard to gauge how big an athlete will go or how they'll hit something if it's someone that you don't normally bike or ski with.

Katie: Yeah, definitely and I think for myself, like, we have jumps out here on Teton Pass and they're decent and I can practice with those, but the kind of things that they're throwing at events like this there's just really no way to practice that. And I know the more I do this I'll have like a better... I think that's one thing I know that I need to work more on and that's only going to come with practice but is the spatial awareness of like what you're talking about. Yeah, if you're not constantly looking through your viewfinder and kind of getting a sense of like how much a person's filling the frame it's really hard to get creative and compose a shot. That's like, that's the basic requirement of action sports photography is like making sure you get the athlete doing what they're supposed to be doing.

Lisa: Exactly.

Katie: Which, I feel like, that was that was step one for me. Now it's like, okay, I can do that. They're in focus now, can I like add foreground or add blur and that's where I get super excited and geek out about this.

Lisa: Yeah.

Katie: Yeah.

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Lisa: Yes, so you recently got promoted into a new position with TGR? So now you are a digital content contributor. What what does that involve for you?

Katie: Yeah. Yeah. It's really exciting. So since February I have been a contracted staff writer, which that itself has been really exciting because writing is a newer skill or newer thing that I've been doing. So for the past couple months, I've been focusing on that, but my formal background on the creative side is with photography. So any opportunity I could, I was trying to work in my photo skills. And so it's been really cool because like the people up top have seen that and it's obviously as an action sports media house like a really valuable skill to be bringing to the table. And for those who don't really know what we do at TGR. I mean. It's like everyone is pretty aware of the films that we produce, that's like our staple thing. But we have a website and like an editorial feed that we update. Like that's my biggest contribution to the team is through editorial needs.

And so what we're trying to move forward into is doing more multimedia features, and we're already kind of doing it. Like if you go on our site right now, we have this series called the Far Out Ones, which is pretty rad and it's going to profile the 21 different athletes in our upcoming movie, which I didn't realize we had that many athletes but we do, it's really cool. And so what we mean by multimedia is you know, where we have like the standard written story and then a collection of photos from the trip, but now we're working in, like, video that may be either from the film or extra. And then we're trying to do more podcast-style integration. So it's kind of cool. There's all these like, little extra pieces to it. And so and then I helped kind of curate and push out a series that is going to come to an end in the next month and it's called Shifting Gears and it's about a selection of women in the mountain bike industry that are kind of shaking things up and making a name for themselves. And so that's been multimedia in the sense that we have done podcast interviews and collected the photos and video content for that too.

So right now my job day-to-day is mostly going to be writing, but like I went up to Crankworx as we just talked about and I was collecting photos and doing our social so that title now allows me to kind of integrate those other skills. And depending on how we grow with this kind of new format of storytelling, I'm excited to see what that means for my job, I guess.

Lisa: Yeah, I love in Shifting Gears how it's almost like a landing page with like tons of different media elements, you know from photo to video. And then yeah, I think you're right. There's a podcast in there. So I think I think TGR is doing some innovative stuff on the digital front.

Katie: Yeah. It's really cool to be part of it. I mean, I will always love print and I definitely miss writing for print but I think that it kind of seems silly not to be pushing boundaries when it comes to the digital side because there's always going to be power in written word and really good photographs. But if we can integrate these extra elements to elevate a story and kind of... I don't know like for example, when I did the Sara Jarell piece about the women's coordinator position at Sram, it was really cool to record this kind of.. like the podcast, you feel like you're just sitting there with her and having like a conversation. So it's cool to feel like you're integrated into that if that makes sense, you know, you're hitting every sense. If that made any sense at all.

Lisa: Yeah, totally. Yes, and it's really fun having you on the podcast because you do so much interviewing for TGR that it's fun to have you as the interviewee. Not on my side.

Katie: Yeah, it's definitely different.

Lisa: You know, I think one interesting thing from my perspective is that we as an agency spend a lot of time working with brands and telling brand stories and it's not really editorial like TGR. So what's your experience? What do you like better, working on the editorial or do you prefer working working on the brand side of things? I guess like, you know, the cliche word is storytelling, but you know, do you do you prefer that on the brand or the editorial side?

Katie: Um, yeah, that's a really good question. Because before I got my job with TGR, granted I was interning at Free Hub, but I was actually working at a creative agency. And so we worked with a bunch of different Seattle-based outdoor brands like Stanle, Thermarest, I'm trying to remember. So it's really interesting working from that perspective. So I feel like I have like kind of like a solid taste of both. I think I'm always going to prefer editorial because I think... I don't know. I think they like you're just satisfying different needs. And at first, I think when I worked with the creative agency, it was a little jarring at first because it felt like a little bit too commercial to me, but I think that when you step back and realize like brands need to have their story told. And I think if you're working for brands that you believe in and you really support their cause then that's really cool to get to be that middleman and figure out the most effective way to tell their story. But I think I would just gravitate more towards the editorial side because I feel like I get the opportunity to work with people more on the day-to-day side versus brands. But yeah, it's been really cool to test both and get the experience from either.

Lisa: Absolutely and I think those lines get blurred a little bit with all like the paid content out there and paid editorial, you know, so yeah just doing the best to honor the humans on the side of a brand and the humans in a, you know, journalistic setting. And I think it's exciting and fun.

Katie: Yeah, I guess that's a really good point too. I've, you know on that editorial side, it's not purely organic. Like I've done my fair share of advertorial and I think we've made a good job of showing that this is like an integrated thing. Like we're not just organically highlighting this ski pass or this Resort. But yeah, I think at the end the day with any of those situations, I definitely come back to the thought of like, well is this a story that I believe in? Is this a brand that I feel okay supporting? And if those boxes are checked then I get excited because at the end the day, it's just another story that I get to tell which is pretty cool.

Lisa: Yeah, absolutely. So what in your opinion what makes a good story?

Katie: Oh my God, these are good questions. I really love stories that are just like multi-layered, I guess. Like for myself, I feel like I have a problem where I over interview when I like probably could get all the answers in maybe like a 10 or 20 minute interview. But for example, like one of the stories that I really loved that I got a chance to work on was with this professional split border named Amanda Hankinson, and she basically opened up to us about her struggle with mental illness and addiction. And for that, I just kind of felt that it had to happen really organically and I had to just let her speak about her life. And it obviously, like I dictated the interview here and there but God, I think our conversation was like an hour and a half to two hours... and not to say every interview I do is like that, but I think that when you really are trying to get a good story you just kind of have to let the person really open up and dig for those extra questions. And you know, granted, I don't even think I needed to hear all of that, but it really helped me understand who she was and where she was coming from. And so, you know, not everything I get to do it TGR gets to be this like really in-depth multi-layer thing. But when I have those opportunities to pursue stories like that, I think it just takes the extra effort to really sit down and kind of like dig deeper, respectfully, as you can and try to find that extra stuff.

Lisa: Yeah and like finding some type of overarching like really big, lofty concept that everyone can relate to and kind of like using one person as a catalyst for that story and that concept so that everybody can be like, oh, wow, you know... identify with. Even though it's one person telling their point of view. It kind of relates to a bigger concept.

Katie: Yeah, definitely and I think that you know as a journalist, I definitely I have this really big head problem of just kind of always thinking in my head like, okay could that be a story? Which I guess is not bad because I'm curious I'm always thinking something out, but I also think it needs to happen... like and it also needs to come to me. The reason why I feel like Amanda and I were able to have such a really honest and open conversation because we had been able to... we met through No Man's land Film Festival, which was actually really cool and we were able to like build this relationship over time. And and she made it clear that she's like, I want to be an advocate for this and and almost use this story to be something that people can come back to and relate to in a broader sense for mental illness, which was really cool. So I think you know, if I went up to someone who I didn't know at all it would be so much harder to find or really dig deep and get that really multi-layered story that I'm looking for, if I make sense.

Lisa: Yeah, what do you mean by multi-layered?

Katie: Um, I think like... a lot of the stories I write, I just I want to do, you know, like, your background and just really go through the course of someone's life. I got to really do that with Sara Jarell. And you know, I don't know if it was completely necessary, but it was really cool too.

So for those who don't know, I guess I should preface it too, and Shifting Gears. The first part of that series was about Sara Jarell who is the women's program coordinator for Sram, but she's also this just master mechanic, phenomenal mechanic. Which, she used to be the mechanic for the paralympic team in 2012 for the London Olympics and I just basically was like, you know, let's start from youth, like what was your childhood like? Because I think that it's really cool to kind of see the trends that are kind of things that like lead you to where you are today, and I think that's important. I think that's interesting. And so, you know, she talked about how she used mountain biking really early on as like a sense of freedom and a way to explore her tiny home town of North Carolina. And for her, mountain biking was always like a way of empowerment and I think that when you look at the course of her life and to now how she's really advocating to get more women on bikes. It's cool to see how these really early on things such as just recognizing that mountain biking is something that can get her outside and with her friends exploring. It’s cool to see kind of that paralleled and continued through her life.

Lisa: Yeah, that's a really human approach to journalism. I tell you.

Katie: Yeah, I guess I don't know if that's unique or normal, but I guess that's kind of like how I'm approaching it. And it seems to... I don't know, I seem to enjoy it.

Lisa: Yeah, I think it's pretty unique to you. I've done a lot of interviews throughout different things that I've done in my life and I think the interview that you did for our Wheelhouse Workshops event was like, I think I was the best interview anyone ever done that I had been a part of. I was like, holy shit. That's amazing.

Katie: That's awesome. What I guess I should run as a disclaimer, I didn't go to school for journalism. So I think that... I guess I am bringing such a unique perspective to it and kind of just carving out my own path and so. You know for those who are in the creative world that want to do something that they don't really feel completely qualified for, like, not to say it doesn't matter and if you want to be a writer you should probably take a couple of English classes. But like, don't feel like because you aren't formally trained in something that limits you. Because you can bring in these other skills. And I think that's probably one of my biggest strengths is, you know, I come from such a creative world. I majored mostly in photography and graphic design. And in other forms of visual communication, and so now when I think of storytelling I think more like how can I craft this story? And what are the elements I want to bring into it. And then I've been learning through my colleagues of like oh, these are maybe like the formal things I should think about. So yeah, like, you don't have to be quote unquote like trained in something to thrive. You can still learn those skills by doing. At least I believe.

Lisa: Yes. I think yeah, I think you have to have curiosity. Like, I think curiosity is the most important thing a creative person can bring to work with them, because then you're examining things. Like whether it’s design and arranging things differently or journalism and you're trying to tell a different story or ask different questions. Like I just think curiosity is the most valuable thing you can have.

Katie: Definitely.

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Lisa: Here's a good question for you. What's your advice to marketing managers when they go to work with photographers or you know, digital media companies such as TGR. What's your advice in general?

Katie: Hmm, like a how to do it better or?

Lisa: Yeah, what kind of stories to tell or the best way to work with a photographer? Just anything you've learned along the way on like how marketing managers in the outdoor industry can carry themselves in a creative situation.

Katie: Yeah, I think… I would… oh sorry. I'm like trying to... this is a really good question. So I feel like I'll have like three answers and they may not all be concise. I definitely think that marketing managers should be challenged to pursue stories that make them uncomfortable. Yeah, that's probably it and I think that we're seeing that trend in the action sports community, but you know, like you're seeing this huge surge of female content, which I think is really awesome. And I think that definitely a lot of brands are waking up to the fact like we have not really served this need and there's like definitely this part of our audience that hasn't been marketed to which is really awesome. And I think that we could be pushing that more in terms of diversity and LGTBQ communities as well. I feel like I've seen a lot of content in the outdoor world focusing on women but I think that we could even push that even more and be a little more aggressive about it and have it just feel authentic. It's really tricky because I feel like you know, we're seeing all this come about and we're seeing all these really awesome initiatives like REI had the Force of Nature which is really really cool. And then the North Face is doing I think I believe it's She Moves Mountains. But it's I guess it's interesting being on the side of like, I'm part of this, like I'm with TGR, and we're helping promote more content in that sense.

But also as a consumer, it's interesting because I'm like, it's still like a marketing scheme. So like I really want to push, I guess marketers to like at least have it be authentic. Like don't do it just because it's trendy if that makes sense. I say that in the sense of like, actually just include more voices and like get more... this is such a like important thing to be talking about. So I want to make sure I'm talking about it right. But yeah, I just, I really want to see marketers, I guess, have it be authentic, you know. And I say that by actually getting more female athletes in front of consumers, more people of color in front of consumers, and not just say like this is something I'm doing but actually having someone present more so in their advertisements and in their media. And I think that you're seeing like with the She Moves Mountains campaign, I think they're doing a really good job because they're highlighting not only just athletes like Hillary Nelson or Margo Hayes. But they... and I can't remember her name, but they profiled an African American scientist, which is really cool and told her story of how she's trying to design rockets for going to Mars. And that's really rad that you know, they were expanding the conversation just not just to athletes but to these people who have these other really incredible roles that women can aspire to, in a sense. I think that's a really relevant discussion that we need to be having. Does that make any sense?

Lisa: Yeah! Absolutely. I think like just presenting women as the you know, the main character in a story. Just having them be present with speaking roles and you know, be featured in things and be the protagonist, like just giving women or you know, people people of diverse backgrounds, like let them be the protagonist.

Katie: Yeah, there's a difference with just throwing someone in an advertisement, you know, and like, oh now some of our advertisements like have more women versus actually giving that person a voice and showing them in this position of leadership. And as you're saying, being that protagonist. And it's interesting seeing marketing kind of move towards this kind of like experiential based storytelling like, you know. I’ve noticed especially with a lot of brands we're working with, like, we're including them because they want to feel like they're part of this adventure. They're helping fuel this awesome expedition. And so, you know, if we have these brands helping fund this film that we're doing and that film features more women, like, that says so much more than just having a woman in an advertisement.

And one thing I thought about where I see this actually ring true is with the brand Juliana. The mountain biking brand, they have this really awesome team called the Juliana free agents and it's a team that the brand supports which is essentially a bunch of privateers, but they race together and they're competing in Enduro World Series events throughout the country. And they were just in Canada and there also compete up in Quebec but... by Juliana supporting those women, it just shows like there's more of a story to their brand. So these women who are athletes, but they're also you know, they're not full-time athletes, which I think is really interesting. Like my friend Alex who’s on the team. She's getting ready to go to med school and she works in the ER. So it's really cool because me as a consumer can look at Juliana and be like, wow, this is a bike that's for this top-performing athlete but it's also for a woman who has a full-time job. And I feel like it just brings more character and more personality to their brand versus if I look at some other bike brands that don't really have anything similar and I see... for example a bike that only has like these Role Models as top-level Elite athletes. It makes it a little bit harder for women who want to get into the sport to relate to almost. Because you know, like I can't I can't jump off of a 20-foot jump or you know do a backflip like, that that's not me. And so it's really interesting to see how I really… Juliana, kudos, because I think that it's really awesome to highlight women in that sense of not just being this rad athlete - which is definitely valuable and needed in the industry - but also, you know, highlighting the fact that they're also doing these incredible things day to day too.

Lisa: Yes. Yeah. I know Alex is well, she's hilarious.

Katie: Oh, yeah. Did meet her at Roam?

Lisa: Yeah, I met her at Roam Fest.

Katie: Yeah. She's awesome.

Lisa: Yeah, that's why I think events like Roam Fest are so important to like an entire category of women's mountain biking because you get to meet all these incredible women and from all over the country in like a pretty low pressure atmosphere and just have a good time.

Katie: Mmhmm Yeah, and I think it was interesting chatting with Ash and Andy about that and I think that's probably one of the most powerful things about their Festival is... you know, you bring in all these women and they get to actually have like a face-to-face relationship with brands. Like, for example, when Janette Sherman's there with Yeti, like, you get to know Yeti through Janette and she's awesome and it becomes... when I go and look at Yeti bikes like I think of her. And I think of all the incredible women I met through Roam. And I think that is probably something brands should consider more is how do we do these like direct face to face interactions to kind of tell our story.

And I had a really interesting chat with Sara from Sram... I feel like I keep bringing her up because she's just so awesome. But you know, at Crankworx she hosts these women's clinics and are a whole range of things but there's women's riding clinics which are free, which is awesome. And you get to sign up for these clinics and go for a trail ride or downhill riding and get… I think it's two hours of free coaching with these incredible ambassador's which are either former athletes or professional coaches and get to just work on your skills. And then also she has these technical clinics and when she talks about Sram products and how to adjust your suspension like all these really daunting things in mountain biking that she makes really not that scary anymore. And when I think of Sram I think of that, you know. I mean obviously they make really great products and I'm excited to have them on my bike. But I'm also personally going to be a Sram customer for the rest of my life because I see what they're doing and I think of Sara and all the incredible women that I met at that event. So I think that it's really cool to see companies kind of move into that direction and it's something I think that they should explore more.

Lisa: Heck. Yeah. That's a good answer.

Katie: Yeah. [laughs] Sweet.

Lisa: Is there anything I haven't asked you about that you that you want to cover?

Katie: Um, I'm trying to think of what else... I would love to talk about, kind of some of the things that we’re doing at TGR.

Lisa: Yeah. Tell me tell me what you guys have going on at TGR.

Katie: Yeah, so we have four films out. Well actually, okay, so we have two films that are out. Andy Irons Kissed by God and then Mountain in the Hallway and then we have also, with our snow film tour coming out is our annual ski film Far Out and then we'll also have this little sleeper project that... it's kind of fun that we put it out because I feel like it caught people off guard, but it's called Ode to Muir. And it's been really exciting to be with the company because, for example, with Andy Irons Kissed by God, it's about Andy Irons who is a three-time world champion surfer who passed away from overdose, and it's been really cool to see the project finally get out there and come to life. Because you know, it's about his incredible life and you know, the struggles he dealt with in his life and how he suffered with addiction and bipolar disease but was still able to be a three-time world champion surfer.

And I think that it is kind of really setting the standard for action sports as far as how we need to start pushing into handling these heavier issues. It’s really a responsibility that we need to have as those in the media because I think that the trend for so long in action sports has been to kind of just produce something really rad and sick and you know, almost just focus on stoke. But in reality, there's like a lot of pain and there's a lot of struggle and it's been really exciting to be part of a company that values that discussion. And recognizes that through these stories we can connect with people who may not even be surfers, right, or may not even be professional athletes and they can find solace and comfort through someone else's story. And I think that's that's the most impactful and powerful thing that stories can do, right.

And we have another film that we just released and it's just it's available online so you can watch it anytime and it's called Mountain in the Hallway And it deals with these two gentlemen’s struggle with colon cancer and their desire to climb the Grand Teton. It’s kind of like this motivating factor to overcome that struggle and I won't reveal too much of the movie, but it's some pretty heavy stuff and you know, you will cry watching. And it's really exciting just to be part of that and be able to think of like, how can we with our day-to-day work integrate stories like that and maybe use the platform that we have to really like make a change and make a difference. And so, you know, I've only been with TGR since February, but for me, something that's really motivating me is like trying to tell more stories of women. And it's been awesome to be part of a team that sees the value in that and is really supportive of that and I think that we can only just continue to grow and we can do a better job as far as not only continuing those narratives of women but including more stories of diversity and yeah, I'm really excited to see what is on the horizon.

Lisa: That's so cool.

Katie: Yeah.

Lisa: That's nice. That's like a very deep duality of man kind of thing, to show all the stoke but show, you know, the reality of being human as well.

Katie: Yeah, I think like, you know, the stoke is not going to go away. It's always gonna be part of what we do and I think there's definitely a place for it. But you know, in actuality, there's a lot of pain that people haven't really talked about. And it even boils down to the simplicity of like, you know, what about these athletes that get hurt and they're not able to compete anymore, like who talks about that? Or there's a lot of depression in mountain communities and there's a lot of struggle with that in these sports and I think that for so long we’ve kind of turned a blind eye to it. And we’ve only focused on who's doing the biggest trick or who's catching the most air but in reality, there's a lot of these real human elements that we're not really addressing and I think we need to kind of start talking about the whole picture and so it's really cool. I think that not just at TGR, or even in the outdoor community, I think that people are finally starting to realize that we needed to have like a more open discussion about things like mental illness. And we obviously have ways to go but it is really cool to see this progression, at least from my opinion.

Lisa: Yeah, absolutely. At least you'll have lots of time to think about that while you're sitting around with a broken collarbone.

Katie: [laughs] Yeah. Well, I mean, it's I think that's like probably like the biggest thing we need to weigh by participating in these sports. And I mean, I don't have to weigh it too much because I want to be a photographer. But if I was an athlete, like, oh God, how do you deal with getting an injury all the time? Like that's just rough.

Lisa: Oh, yeah. You know, I just, I think also like working in an environment and in a place where you're not happy and in the mountains and doing what makes you feel alive would be just as painful as a broken collarbone, so.

Katie: Yeah, definitely.

Lisa: You’ve just kind of got to do what makes you happy. Even if it means getting hurt sometimes.

Katie: Yeah, I would agree.

Lisa: Awesome Katie, well have an awesome day and thanks for making the time.

Katie: Yeah, awesome chatting with you. Talk soon.

Lisa: You can follow Katie on Instagram I recommend you follow her if you like mountain biking because her photos are sick, and you can also go to her website or follow her on Teton Gravity Research’s website and she writes all the time. You'll see her there all the time. And yeah, thanks so much for being here.

Tune in next week when we have my friend Jen Gurecki from Coalition Snow. Jen is someone I feel that I can talk to you about whatever and she's amazing and I think you're gonna love Jen. She's tough. She's a good, good, good person.

Jen: So we are a ski and snowboard company, but very fair question of how does a snowboarder even get into skis? And I would say that it was probably the best and worst decision I've ever made in my life to do this because it is really hard. I mean, just everything that you think about is difficult. But I was out on a Backcountry ski trip. I was on my splitboard, there were skiers, and we were just talking about what was happening in the industry and going on with women and things were starting to feel like they were changing a little bit. So we were just talking about the representation of women in media, the way that they were being portrayed through photography, and it just sort of created this larger conversation about what would be a way to really shake up the industry. And also, for forever we've known that women just need to have more choices when it comes to their equipment. And when we were having this conversation six years ago, like this was way before the whole, you know, #shrink it and pink it and Lady boss, like ski and snowboard companies weren't having these discussions about women.

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