Miss January 2010, 2011, 2014: FXR’s Newest Rider
FXR is growing in the backcountry. They’re lucky enough to have sledding rock stars Bret Rasmussen and Sahen Skinner as their top-tier sponsored riders, but in 2014, they started the hunt to find a female backcountry rider who could rep their brand. According to FXR marketing guru, Doug Rust, ” When asking who was the most well known female back country athlete we heard the same name over and over, the rest is history.” Enter Brandy Floyd.
Floyd is 40, straight outta the Northwest and shreds. Oh, and she’s just fine being Miss January. Or Miss February. FXR found their rider.
Rust claims that Brandy has a “strong pay-it-forward attitude” about the sledding industry, which is evidenced through her ride clinics and special women’s events. We sat down with Brandy (okay, we hung out with her on the internet) and found out what’s going on with FXR’s newest starchild.
Your new sponsor FXR calls you one of the most “accomplished female riders in the sport.” What are your favourite accomplishments as a sledder?
Getting signed with Yamaha (Factory baby!) this year is a pretty big deal to me! I’m a female rider, on a heavier machine. Tells me they believe in my skills enough to offer me a sled for the year and tell me to “go have fun”. I’m hoping that if/when you ask me this same question next year my answer will be: “successfully showing the industry just how fun this sled really is.. if a girl can ride it, so can you!”
Sledding isn’t a cheap sport – even for sponsored riders – how do you make it work?
First, I have a great full time job. I’m Operations Manager for a little nutritional supplement company. The best thing I did upon being hired 6 years ago was negotiate additional time off, paid. This is huge. Next biggest thing is not having anyone relying on me for meals… lol No kids! Next biggest step is partnering up with these great sponsors to provide them substance in return for their support/funding. If you just go ask for money.. you’re going to feel a door on your backside. Provide them with something of value and you’ll probably get something in return. And the other thing I’ve realized this summer is I don’t take glamorous beach type vacations, this summer was my first one since 2001! Sacrifices and compromises.
Tell us about your annual Ladies Ride – it’s been going on since 2001…how has it evolved?
For starters, it began with 4 women and was mostly a trail ride into Warren, Idaho with a few little blips up and off the trail. Fast forward to 2014 where we had 63 women attend, that is a pretty big evolution in itself. It has now branched off to other rides throughout the West, it isn’t just one ride anymore. Each year the girls get more adventurous, from the skills, to the terrain choices, to upgrading sleds. The main ride has gone from being one day of riding to 3 days of riding. And lastly, the women are forming relationships through the “Ladies Ride” and taking that on into summer time. It isn’t just about winter anymore, this summer we went white water rafting, house boating, lots of activities year round!
How did you get into snowmobiling? Do you still ride with the same crew?
An ex-boyfriend took me on a poker run, I think I was on an Exciter or Enticer? I went off trail by accident, but came back on trail thinking this is WAY COOL! I went to the local dealer that following Monday and snowchecked my first sled. Unfortunately by time my new sled arrived I had moved on. In to my life walked a couple, Bruce and Nancy, that adopted me and got me travelling, seeing, doing, off trail riding. At the end of that first season I met my next “crew” Julio and Cam who took me under their wing and taught me backcountry! Then in 2006 I moved on again… to Washington and had to find a new group. You see the pattern here right? I ride with lots of people. I still want to go back and ride with Bruce and Nancy someday though.
Where did you start out sledding? Where do you sled now?
McCall, Idaho was my backyard for 5 years. Now, I guess you’d say Washington is my backyard but I spend allot of time travelling. Revelstoke, Whistler, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming and I’m hoping to add Alaska to the list this year!
Top three favourite places to sled?
- Revelstoke, BC
- Halfway, OR
- McCall, Idaho
What was riding in McCall like?
It spoiled me! Incredible fluffy snow, short trails, great trees (burned areas are fun!) and amazing boulder fields. McCall is a great place for exploring and getting adventurous. We would look at a map, see a peak that looked interesting and GPS our way to it. Easy to do in theory, maps don’t quite show clearly enough cliff bands and open creek beds!
Do you ride much in Canada? What are the biggest differences between sledding in the US and Canada?
I try to get up into BC several times a winter. The biggest difference is probably the people. There is nothing like friendly Canucks! I’ve met so many welcoming peeps in the parking lot and then spent an amazing day on the hill with them which usually leads to dinner, drinks and stories. I often feel right at home with these strangers! And then there is the riding, especially in Revelstoke, it is just huge in all ways. From the vast amount of terrain, to the size of mountains, to the drops, to the 6’ it can dump in no time at all. The snow is fluffier, the terrain just that much more fun. It is where I want to retire!
What’s the biggest challenge presented to you in sledding right now?
There was a time when I thought being a female in a male sport was challenging but I have to say… I don’t feel like much of a “girl” anymore. Nice to get over that hurdle! Presently it would be having enough time off to do all the things I need to do and all the things I want to do this winter! Sledding is quickly becoming my 2nd full time job and maintaining a balance between work responsibilities, sledding responsibilities, sledding fun, other fun and then every once in a while maybe a moment to breath.. the balancing act can be a challenge!
Top 3 favourite people to ride with?
This is tough! There are different days and terrain for different riders and on any given day whoever I’m with is my most favorite! But if I must choose:
This year I have to say Luke Rohde moved way up on the list. The kid will do anything which allows me to capture incredible pictures of him and he is always smiling and laughing, even with a dislocated shoulder!
Brent Anderson, we have similar riding styles, he always pushes me, gets me out of trouble, takes incredible photos and we travel well together.
Then collectively the “girls”. They get into trouble, they giggle. They pull off a move, they giggle. They try something new and giggle. You get the gist…
It looks like you just went skydiving (in your FXR mono-suit!) How was that?
Everyone should do this! And yes in a monosuit! They make you wear these ugly jump suits and all of the instructors were drooling over my colors. But seriously, it was an incredible adrenaline hit that ended way too quickly.
Anyone whose sledding your especially admire?
I think I’d have to choose Bret Rasmussen. Compared to the rest of the industry, well, ya know…. he isn’t 20 and is still pushing it, fluid, humble, technical. (ed. note: We choose to go on believing that Bret is 20).
Your sponsors are:
This is changing a lot this year with riding a mostly stock sled and it is early in the contract signing process! At this time, it is Yamaha USA, FXR Racing, VanAmburg Enterprises, Backcountry Access, Iron Core Fit, FOX, North Cascade Sled Decks, Thin Air Powersports.