As the winter season begins, it’s appropriate that we continue our series on women in powersports by introducing an exceptional woman who thrives in snow, Ashley Chaffin. A Ski-Doo ambassador and highly-skilled snowmobiler, Ashley is a profile in determination, leadership, and commitment to advancement of the industry.
Born and raised in Valdez, Alaska, the snow capital of the United States, Ashley is the youngest of three sisters. When Ashley was a child, her father raced in the legendary Iron Dog, “the world’s longest toughest snowmobile race”. She was given her first snowmobile at just five years old and has been on sleds and snowmobiles ever since. Now an accomplished rider, Ashley also teaches clinics for other riders and spends as much time as possible riding. Being a part of the BRP and Ski-Doo families means Ashley has access to the most advanced products while working with likeminded people.
Let’s meet Ashley and hear about her vision of women in the powersports industry.
What’s it like to be a woman in the powersports industry?
Being women in the powersports industry means we must demonstrate that we share the same passion and expertise as men. In my case, because some men see a physically smaller woman and doubt my knowledge, they won’t come to me for advice about riding. We need to fix this situation by showing that we can do everything men can do and want it just as much. It’s not about proving that you’re better, because in some cases you might not be better. It’s all about commitment and passion.
How have things changed for women since you entered this industry?
Things have changed a lot since I started in the industry. I consider myself fortunate to be one of the pioneers that helped build it and watched it grow. Still being part of the industry has been rewarding, and it’s amazing to see how many women are getting involved and are growing our sport.
What still needs to be done?
The industry is already figuring this out. I’m very happy to see a determination to improve the market for women long term. Trail grooming, rider setup, riding gear, women’s clinics, avalanche safety training ─ these tips and tricks help women be more comfortable and ride safely. All of this is helping evolve our industry, and I see our sport growing for women in the future.
What advice do you have for women in business?
You never know what you’re fully capable of until you try. Never be embarrassed to try new things. I always set two types of goals each year. One set includes goals I know I can achieve, and the other set challenges me to raise the bar for myself.
“You never know what you’re fully capable of until you try.”