Babes & Bruises: Giulia Lach de Bere

We talked to the Dutch snowboarder about dealing with bailing, self-doubt and puffy faces.

Let’s be frank. When you ride, sometimes it’s best of times—and sometimes it’s the absolute worst. After a couple of epic bails in a row, when your confidence has been smashed to the ground along with your dignity, it can be real hard to pick up that beloved board of yours, put your game face back on and try again.

This time around we caught up with 20-year-old snowboarder Giulia Lach de Bere. Originally from the Netherlands, Giulia spends her winters in Laax, Switzerland in pursuit of her passion for parks, pipes and fresh powder. Not one to shy away from risk, Giulia discloses how she bailed a quarter pipe in California and dishes out some insight on how to deal with crashes and that crippling self-doubt. Spoiler alert: It’s ok to cry from time to time.

GIRLS ARE AWESOME: Hi Giulia. How did you get into snowboarding and how long have you been riding?

Giulia Lach de Bere: I’ve snowboarded for almost 10 years now. I got into snowboarding when I was on a ski holiday with my family; I took a lesson to try it out and I haven’t stopped since. I live in Holland, five minutes from one of the best indoor ski places called SnowWorld Zoetermeer, so I started to go there like every day.

What do you like to ride (powder, pipe or park) and why?

I’m a park freak—I absolutely love to cruise around and do my thing, especially in good company. Last season I got really into halfpipe riding, and I was lucky to live in beautiful Laax where they have the best halfpipe. It felt so good to get over my fear and to ride something I never felt comfortable with.
At the end of the day, I guess I’m a little bit in love with everything. Who doesn’t like a good, fresh powder run?! You can’t say no to that!

So tell us about your latest crash. Where and how did go down?

It’s a risky sport but I like to take risks in my life. This spring I went to Superpark 17, a special snow park that runs for a week in Mammoth, California. I was cruising around that massive park and just took a side hit, which is super small and easy. Of course, on something easy like that, I caught my edges; I knocked my face on the icy ground and my goggles flew straight off.

Because I caught my edges and my binding was really loose, I twisted my ankle as well. I was lying on the ground, not knowing what had just happened. After a few minutes I started to cry. I thought I was bleeding, but luckily I wasn’t. One of my friends who was with me told me to straightaway put some ice on my face. I calmed down pretty quickly, stood up and sat down somewhere safe before riding down to the lift. I didn’t feel too bad, but I still decided to go down and rest for a little bit with some ice on my face and my ankle.

I knew that I was riding the sickest park of my life, and I realised that I still had lots of time before the lifts would close. So I decided to go up again. I went to a quarter pipe, where I wanted to take a shot. I felt a little bit weak, so I told myself “take it easy.” But since I didn’t listen to my body, I fell and hit my face as soon as I started riding the quarter pipe. My face was already swollen from the crash before, so it was really painful. I couldn’t just lie there; there were so many people around riding. So I went to the side and sat down with some ice again. I was hurting a lot and felt so sore. This was obviously a sign that this day was over for me. That night I went to bed early with pain killers, hoping the next day I wouldn’t wake up too swollen.

How long were you out?

I didn’t really get knocked out. I was just very confused, especially after the first crash that day and straightaway I started worrying about my ankle. Luckily, it only took me a week to feel 100 percent again and I was lucky to ride the rest of that week without fear and without too much pain.
But I think in general, it’s always hard to get back on your board even after a small crash. Mentally, it can be really hard and of course ‘scary’ to try to hit the obstacle that you just had a crash on. And there is also the pressure you put on yourself, like, “I don’t want to be stuck or scared after I crashed.” So I try to be as positive as possible, especially after a small crash. It may sound stupid, but many times I’ve literally talked to myself and said: “Come on, Giulia, you can do this.” The risk of snowboarding will give you the best feeling in the world—but it can also give you the worst.

Once you got back on your board, did you make that quarter pipe?

The sad thing about the crash was that it happened during the Superpark set up, which was only on for a week. So I wasn’t able to hit that quarter pipe again (although I would have, if it still had been there.) But this didn’t hold me back, of course! Over the next days, I went back to the normal park and tried out the big jump (finally!) I was so scared of that one, so I was stoked about hitting it. So even though it wasn’t the same obstacle, I still got over my fear of, “what if I fall again.” But after finally hitting that big jump, there was no fear at all.

Do you have any healing tips or advice for our fellow riders out there?

For me it’s super important to be around friends who can push or help me in a positive direction. Sometimes I really need that extra bit of “come on Giulia, you got this” or just the knowledge that should I fall, I have friends around to help me.

To stay strong and physically able to hold out on most crashes, it’s important for me to go to the gym and eat very healthy. After all, that really helps. You only have one body. So I really try to take good care of mine. Also never forget to believe in yourself. Failing is part of life, I would say. Every crash is different. And one thing is to listen to your body when it’s telling you enough is enough. Its still really hard for me to do that.

Thanks Giulia!