zoe in corbets

Q&A: Zoë Vernon

We caught up with Zoë Vernon, a friend of Smartwool and Kings and Queens of Corbets Competitor, to get the scoop on her love of snowboarding and competition experience. 

 Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm 28. I was born and raised in Bellingham, WA. After finishing my high school credits by winter break of my senior year, I moved to Glacier, WA (the closest town to Mt. Baker) so I could snowboard every day. I've been there since and bought a house about four years ago, so I guess you could say I'm pretty rooted in the Pacific NW. More recently I've shifted gears a little bit—I bought a sled and have been doing some filming, which has been really fun. There's also a handful of banked slaloms around the northwest that I love going to with my friends. I also like to skate, mountain bike, draw, forage for mushrooms and work on my house.

How did you start snowboarding, and what made you fall in love with it?

In the county I grew up in, all 5th graders got a free pass at Baker, so I got into snowboarding when my dad capitalized on that free pass and bought me a kids Salomon board with a polar bear on it.

We never went up that much as a family, but the following year I was old enough for ski bus, which I was stoked on because some of my friends who were older than me did it, so it felt like it was this cool, more independent thing as a 12-year-old. I actually remember the day that I really fell in love with shredding.

One day, during my first season, I was in group lessons, and none of the other kids showed up. It was also a pow day, and my instructor wanted to ride this run called the Canyon and get some turns. But I didn't know how to link turns yet. He took me down this run, and I was wallowing in the snow, so frustrated. I forgot what he said, but he got me to keep going, and I figured out how to link turns in powder, and it was the best feeling ever — hooked ever since.


We know you love banked slaloms. Do you have a favorite to compete in and why?

I do love Banked slaloms! LBS is very dear to my heart and always will be a highlight. Blair Habinechts Last Ditch Effort is a close tie though. It's built by a group of volunteers over a week. The course ends up being fast, powerful, with overhead turns and mandatory jumps. It's pretty epic.

So far, what has been your most memorable moment in snowboarding?

Favorite moment in snowboard, that's a hard one. Getting to go to Alaska this spring to snowboard and snowmobile was incredibly eye-opening. I've never been surrounded by mountains of that magnitude. It was inspiring, and I can't wait to get back up there and ride some big lines!

Word on the snow is this your first time competing at Corbets. What made you want to enter?

Yep, first time at Kings and Queens of Corbets. I received an invite from the organizer, Jess McMillan and of course I had to accept! I’m pretty sure Hana (Beaman) dropped my name to Jess when they asked if she knew of any females who would be a good fit for the event. So really I have Hana to thank for this awesome opportunity! 

zoe sending

Tell us how it went?!

It's over! And it was rowdy. I really wanted to air in, because that's what you do, right? But it was huge, to a fairly flat landing and pretty compacted snow. So I didn't ride away from that, which kind of threw me off for the rest of my first run, where I proceeded to fall after everything I hit. But hey, I was give'n her. The anxiety and stress of airing in was kind of intense, and I was really glad to get it over with. My second run, I just wanted to cruise and have fun, which I did, and it felt great.

What was the most challenging part of Corbets for you?

The most challenging part of the venue, for me, was the park jump at the bottom. I'm not a park rider (we don't even have one at my home mountain), and I'm pretty uncomfortable landing on a groomed landing. If it's pow on the other side, I'm pretty down, but make it a firm landing, and I get freaked out. Plus this jump had a really off-kilter angle to the landing. I got pretty tossed on it.

The women’s roster for Corbets this year is stacked! How did it feel having a strong female presence at the comp?

There were a lot of heavy-hitting females this year. I think it's super inspiring to see more women really going for it at any event. The women skiers were absolutely sending! Veronica Paulson made history, being the first woman to ride away from a backflip into Corbetts. The female snowboarders have been hanging tough this whole week which has been super fun. All the ladies are not only rippers but rad humans who are really fun to hang out with and get to know.

zoe and gals

Sum up your experience at Corbets in 3 words.

Scary, exciting, rowdy.

 What else is on deck for you this year?

I'm in the Tetons for a week and a half or so then I'm driving up to Nelson, BC to compete in the inaugural powder Crown freeride comp at Whitewater. After that, I'm hoping to meander back through Canada and do some sledding and shredding before heading home to Baker. Trying to do some filming this spring and maybe find me in Alaska if the stars align! There's also a couple of banked slaloms that I would love to make it to like Blair Habenicht's Last Ditch Effort Banked Slalom at Crystal and the Nate Chute at Whitefish.

Favorite piece of Smartwool clothing you own and why?

My favorite Smartwool item right now is the Merino 250 base layer onesie. I’ve been wearing it almost everyday snowboarding. It's cozy and warm and has a super convenient butt flap for when nature calls. It's celebrated around the house as cozy wear too.


Thanks to Zoë for taking the time to catch up. Follow @zoefloweee for more wintery adventures. 


Thanks to Alex Rupp and Jacqui Shaffer for the photos. 




kings and queens of corbets