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Jessica Derlis, Skier/Equestrian/Photographer (IL)

by Joanna Brashear on May 26, 2017

Jessica Derlis - Skier/Equestrian/Photographer (IL)


Your Age: 18

Your Location (where do you ride mostly): Northern Illinois

Weapon(s) of choice: K2 Missconduct Skis, Canon Rebel t5i

What’s an average day for you like? I'm currently a college student so my days pretty busy. I'm in a film and photography program at Tribeca Flashpoint College in downtown Chicago. When i'm not working on school I'm spending every second I possibly can outside whether it be skiing, adventuring, or just hanging out. As often as possible I pack my car full of friends and he head to our local hill, which may be nothing compared to out west but we still make it work and always have a great time. My second sport is horseback riding, which fills my heart and also all of my time, haha.

What is the most difficult part of your activity/sports for a beginner? I think the most difficult part of skiing is getting over the fear aspect of it. When you just start skiing, seeing a sign for a run anything other than a green circle can be overwhelming. As you progress, its still nerve wracking to try new tricks or hit a big rail, but it's overcoming that fear that is so liberating. It's easy to want to be able to ski a certain run, or try a new feature, but the hard part is just sending it with no fear. The best part is that once you just give your all and practice your heart out the reward and accomplishment you feel is unlike anything else in the world, it's an amazing feeling.

What is the best and worst thing about being female in your sport? At my mountain at home, it's cool sometimes to be the only girl shredding it in the terrain park and keeping up with the guys, it makes you feel special and powerful. It gets lonely being one of the only female and sometimes guys are skeptical of your skills. However its amazing to connect with other girls out there, like we have an automatic connection. Females in winter sports have this unspoken friendship and always support each other no matter what.

What would you like to see change in your sport to make it better for you and other female athletes? I just wish more girls would get involved and stay involved. I think it's a confidence thing, or girls feel excluded. I want to make sure all females feel welcome in action sports.

Besides your ability and style factor as an athlete, how would you describe your personal style? I've always had kind of a skater vibe, always a little rebellious. I'm super into dark colors, I just wear whatever I like even if its not girly or stereotypical.

What are your favorite brands/designers for your sports apparel and for stepping out? Right now I have a coat from professional skier Maude Raymond's clothing line Maad Love which is super cool with a skier steeze to it, I'm really obsessed with her stuff. My go to stores are Tilly's and PacSun. Also OF COURSE sheshreds flannels and hoodies are a wardrobe essential :)

Let’s hear your thoughts on how important looking good is to feeling good. “Being” your personal best? When I look good I feel good and gives me the confidence and attitude I need to be my very best. Of course your personal worth isn't what you look like, but being the full package makes you feel amazing.

How dangerous do you really think it is compared to what people do in their regular activities? There's a lot of risk that comes with skiing, but there's also a huge risk that comes with something as simple as driving down the street. I think it can be dangerous, but with proper equipment, knowledge, and caution the risk factor is not a reason to be deterred from participating in action sports.

I bet in your experience you have seen some crazy crashes. Describe one. I took my best friend skiing for her first time a few years ago, we had her ego a little to hyped up and she went straight down a black diamond, effectively losing both skis, both poles, and rolling down the rest of the hill. Everyone was dying laughing.

What usually gets people hooked on your activity/sport? I think the adrenaline is a big part of why we do what we do, but the vibe and the support of other skiers and boarders is a huge plus. Everyone is so friendly.

What is your favorite trick? I'm hooked on nose butters in deep powder and basically anything involving a box.

Do you own any other toys? We have a Polaris jetski for the lake in the summer which is super fun. I also own a 1978 Puch Maxi moped which is a huge project all the time but so much fun to rip around on.

What gets you pumped up for the day? Music, good food, friends, my dog, and when I look out my window in the morning to see fresh snow :)

What are three things you could not live without? Food, water, shelter, duh. Just kidding, but really probably the support of my family and friends, my sports, and our beautiful earth.

What are your expectations for this activity/sport? I expect it to only grow from here on out. I am so excited to see all the progress the ski and snowboard industry has made, not only in equipment but in resorts as well.

Who have been your biggest supporters in getting you to where you are now? I wouldn't be here without my local friends and my friends at They have been endlessly supportive to me and I cannot thank them enough.

Who’s your favorite rider? Maude Raymond hands down, and Anna Segal.

What do you do in your spare time when you’re not riding/shooting/competing? I do a lot of art on the side, plus film projects and photo shoots.

How about in the off season to stay in shape? I love biking, road or mountain. I spent most of my summer and fall hiking, and also riding horses. Riding is a full body workout plus the ultimate lessons in patience and self discipline.

What is your biggest goal to accomplish this/next season? This season I am hoping to spend as much time on the snow as I can, and to learn and progress as much as possible!

What do you do to prep for a competition? A good night's sleep, healthy eating, and lots of practice. Plus some pump up music.

What competitions and other awards have you won? I won a rail jam at my home mountain in 2015, but other than that I have not competed much in skiing. In equestrian I won a big money class with my horse I trained, and got second in a year end medal final.

What’s your favorite “way” to ride? I ride the park most of the time, but I love to rip through powder in the back country as well.

Favorite conditions? I love the beginning of the season when its not freezing cold, but snow is falling, and of course bluebird days when it has just dumped snow overnight. Really any snow i'm super excited about.

Where would be your biggest dream place to ride and why? I have big dreams to ride out of the country someday, specifically in Japan, but Colorado and resorts we have here in the states are a dream come true themselves. We are so lucky to have such beautiful mountains in our country.

What song(s) do you listen to while riding that puts you in the zone? Anything rap or EDM gets me totally in the zone.

What turned you on to your sport? When I was a freshman in high school my best friend and her family invited me to go to our local hill with them, and ever since then I have been hooked. Thanks to her and her family I was able to learn to ski and take a few trips out to Colorado.

Any new tricks you’re working on? Im working on landing switch of rails, and 180's off anything bigger than a small roller.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done in your sport? I think its really cool to even be involved in SheShreds, but I was involved in my High School's ski club and I was able to help teach other 20 kids how to ski, and to get them hooked on the sport.

What other extreme/action sports are you into? I think BMX is the coolest thing ever, a lot of my friends ride BMX and I'm super supportive of that scene. Besides that, I also love skateboarding and longboarding.

If extreme/action sports didn’t exist, what would you be doing with all the free time you’d have? If I didn't do action sports I would probably just be focusing on art, writing, and poetry.

What’s your favorite board/bike/sled to ride and why? I have had a pair of skis by Atomic and K2, both were amazingly well made pieces of equipment, but by far the K2 Missconduct skis have been my all time favorite.

What’s the trick to riding features and not killing yourself? Practice practice practice! And don't hesitate! The worst thing you can do if doubt yourself, so just send it!

How would you describe your riding style? Pretty chill, I'm always just trying to have as much fun as possible, and I try not to put too much pressure on myself. I'm a huge goof on the mountain and always laughing, but hey that's the best way to have fun am I right?

What would you say is your signature trick? Nose butters in powder!

Favorite drink of choice to refresh yourself after a long day of riding? I love a hot cup of apple cider after a long day outside.

What do you want to be when you "grow up"? My dream is to be a filmaker in the music industry doing music videos, or to make promotional videos for outdoor brands.

Any of your own web pages or social media buttons you want links to? Instagram @plutoissaplanet / Twitter @frickfrackjess / Facebook / YouTube



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