The Story Behind Chairlift Chats
My name is Ella Haverkampf, and I am a skier. I have been for most of my life. I have also been a competitive skier for about seven years. There’s no doubt about it, I’m part of the “in” group in the skiing community. I have the experience, and recently, a platform to influence others in the community. However, I am only “in” to an extent. I am not a cishet white male. There are parts of me that are not openly celebrated by my peers. I have witnessed it happen to not only myself, but others too. It can be something as simple as never truly being one of “the boys,” because of gender identity, and it can be more complex with gatekeeping the entire sport or aspects of it just because of ability or financial barriers.
Since the release of “Novia”, I have realized that I have the ability to leave an impact on the community in a positive way, and I can challenge the norms that make the skiing community toxic in some respects. Making this community a better place has been a dream of mine since I was about twelve, so this is pretty exciting for me. I’m only nineteen and I’ve already helped to produce a film that over 2,000 people have seen. I’ve received instagram DMs from people that have thanked me for inspiring them, something I never thought would ever happen. And yet here we are, one film down and two currently in the making. I have the privilege to continue to inspire people and change the ecosystem of the skiing community.
So, that leads to Chairlift Chats, a film series about overlooked topics in the community. It’s the biggest little pet project I’ve ever worked on, and it’s amazing. Our first episode is about what it means to be queer in the skiing community, and how those two identities interact with each other. I picked it as our first topic because I haven’t personally seen it addressed much in snowsports media, and because it’s easiest to write what you know. I know how being queer has impacted my skiing and vice versa, so I figured it’s impacted others as well.
I want folks to feel seen and heard by the community they are a part of. I want kids to grow up knowing it’s okay to be who they are and that there’s a place for them here. I guess the bottom line is that I want to make the content I never saw when I was a kid. I’m in a unique position and I cannot wait to see what kind of impact I can make in it. So if you are so inclined, come join me and the rest of the Novia family on this journey to celebrate the skiing community in all its forms.