Get to know some of snowboarding’s royalty from Dew Tour this year.
Shannon Dunn Downing and Tina Basich Haller were on the scene and at the Boarding For Breast Cancer (B4BC) booth in the Dew Tour Experience zone all weekend. They led a group ride with more than 50 riders on Friday and had two rides planned on Saturday with B4BC, the nonprofit they co-founded, and that has been a Dew Tour partner since 2005. Riders met at the B4BC booth at 11am for the Pink Poker Run or 2pm for the Tribute Ride, honoring victims and survivors of breast cancer.
Unfamiliar with those names? Here’s a snowboard history lesson: Dunn and Basich were pioneers of snowboarding’s heyday in the 1980s and 1990s and were the first women with signature pro model snowboards. Dunn’s was the famous Dolphin graphic for Burton Snowboards, currently on view in the National Museum of American History and about to be reissued by Burton: she’s riding a prototype of the reissue deck this weekend. Basich’s first pro model, for Kemper Snowboards, came out the same year. This week she’s riding her signature Capita LTD Navigator board, released in 2021 and featuring her own artwork. Basich also rocked a patch on the back of her jacket that she designed: “Yes I ride like a girl, try to keep up.”
Dunn won the very first X Games snowboard halfpipe gold medal, at Big Bear in 1997 and another in 2001 at Mount Snow, where she also took silver in Slopestyle. She was the first American woman to earn an Olympic snowboarding medal, taking bronze in the sport’s Olympic debut in Nagano, Japan, in 1998. Basich won Big Air gold at X Games at Crested Butte in 1998, becoming the first woman to land a 720 in competition. At the time, she says, it was the biggest jump she’d ever seen.
Both women will be inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame next month, the first female competitors added to the Hall of Fame since it began, including snowboarders in 2022.
We caught up with them on Friday for the ride, to fan out, and to learn more about B4BC.
Colin Bane: B4BC has been a Dew Tour partner since 2005, but the organization dates back to long before then. Can you fill in some of that history?
Tina Bascih: We started the organization in 1996 because we had a fellow friend and industry peer in the snowboarding world that was diagnosed with breast cancer. There are a lot of strong women in the snowboarding industry, so we all pulled together to create an event because that’s what we knew how to do, and that became the first annual Boarding for Breast Cancer event at Sierra Tahoe. We had the Beastie Boys play and got a lot of attention and total support from the snowboard industry. That really launched us into realizing that there was a need for more outreach and education in our community, and we ended up developing our own nonprofit to continue our mission of spreading awareness among youth for the benefits of early detection and living a healthy lifestyle. We are so thankful that there are events like Dew Tour that are so supportive of us, because that allows us to reach a huge audience.
Shannon Dunn: To see it continue on from that first event in 1996 to right now and be so effective over so many years is pretty amazing. It’s really cool to have a grassroots organization that really touches a lot of lives in a personal way. You know, there are plenty of breast cancer research organizations, but this is really educating and supporting a demographic that we know and love. Our booth is welcoming, and B4BC has become a brand that people recognize. A lot of people tell us our booth at Dew Tour was where they first learned life-saving early detection skills for themselves or their partners. We have people that come up to our booth who are breast cancer survivors, or they’re on their first chemo treatment, or they have lost their mother to it, and it just gives us a place to talk about it openly because we all get it and understand the fight and the struggle and the sorrow that it brings. We meet everybody who comes to our booth with compassion for their story and let them share their story, and it’s really cool. On Saturday, we’re doing a Tribute Ride: We’ll put on pink capes and ride down the mountain all together, whoever wants to join, and you can wear a pink cape and ride in honor of somebody that you know that’s fighting the fight or that has been lost to breast cancer. It feels good to gather and ride down the mountain: snowboarding is such a freeing sport and being outdoors in nature is such an important part of being healthy.
Tina Basich: A lot of riders that have put a lot of effort into supporting B4BC over the decades and for a few of them – like Megan Pischke, Kimmy Fasani, and Tricia Byrnes – it has come full circle, where they’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer and this organization has been just a huge resource for them for information, for help, support, and to help them share their story to help others. It’s scary when you know the statistics of how many people were breast cancer affected when we started this foundation 25 years ago, and that it’s increased now. So it’s good to be able to talk about it openly and check in and even for men to remind the women in their life to feel for lumps.
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Colin Bane: I’ve been working at the Dew Tour for a long time and it seems like every year I meet some guy who tells me something like, “When I was a kid, I thought it was hilarious to touch the fake breasts in the B4BC booth and then years later it helped me identify my partner’s lump.” It’s pretty wild to think about how a small booth at the base area of an event can make that big of an impact.
Shannon Dunn: That’s why that hands-on aspect has always been important to us, where you actually learn to can feel the lumps. I think that’s so important. Even if you think you know what a cancerous lump feels like, it’s always good to stop by our booth and check it out.
Tina Basich: Shannon and I, driving out here listening to old music, it was like old times! Snowboarding just brings us together. We are all about finding our joys and continuing our journey, and we really want to continue to tell our story, as well. We’re feeling the love this year with the Hall of Fame induction happening on March 25. We’re so excited to be honored for our whole careers like that. It’s going to be a pretty cool moment for us.
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Shannon Dunn Downing: To be recognized for the Hall of Fame is the highest honor because it’s looking at our entire career as a whole: it’s not just that I went to the first snowboarding Olympics, for example, or for winning any of the other events. It’s a recognition of our careers and contributions as a whole. Looking back is sort of wild: Tina and I have been friends and snowboarding together since at least 1990. We always wanted to promote our sport because our sport was growing and we wanted to promote women. A lot of things weren’t available to us at the time and that didn’t stop us at all. We wanted to just have all the same opportunities as the men, and we kind of laughed our way through it, and when anybody said no, girls can’t do that, we were gonna beg to differ with them and prove them wrong.
Tina Basich: We’re thankful that the Hall of Fame has opened it up to include snowboarding. Getting to know the people behind the nonprofit and organization over the last couple of months since it was announced that we were being inducted, they are just hard workers, and they really are focused on making it our moment and making it a night that we will never forget and honoring our whole careers in an authentic way for snowboarding. They’re really learning quickly how to honor the snowboarders. I feel like it’s almost an endcap to this long journey and it’s really helped me see that my whole chapter of snowboarding made an impact on the sport and on the path for other women in the sport. Shannon and I launched our first pro models 25 years ago and now we’re both being inducted into the Hall of Fame on the same night. Like, how cool to share those honors!
Follow @b4bc, @tina_basich_haller, and @shannon_dunn__downing for more on their adventures this weekend and in the lead-up to the 2023 U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame induction ceremony on March 25.