I met Kim Peterson for the first time in 2002 when she hopped in a car I was in headed to Slam City Jam, a big yearly skateboarding competition in Vancouver BC. With my genius knack for comedy, I nicknamed her “Kim Peets” as she was the only one of us planning to actually “compete” there. Ha!
Like most soon-to-be classic nicknames, this one has just gotten better with time and a boost of irony, as Kim is now dedicated to sharing her love for skateboarding with the non-trad contingent at clinics throughout Montana, Idaho and Western Washington through her non-profit, Girls On Shred. This generous, non-competitive pursuit makes the joke even funnier, am I right or am I not wrong?
The organization was started by Sam Veysey via skateboarding’s gateway drug- snowboarding. An employee beloved skate shop, Board of Missoula, Sam joined forces with Kim a few years ago to get non-trad locals to start shredding at the many incredible skate parks that have popped up throughout the state in the last decade, with help from local skater and Pearl Jam bassist, Jeff Ament. His advocacy group, Montana Pool Service, has orchestrated the construction of over 25 skate parks with focus on rural and native lands, creating a world class skateboarding destination featuring concrete attractions speckled throughout the region’s jaw-dropping natural landscape. Beauty like this distracts attention from Montana’s red state status, which adds obstacles to pulling off events that cater specifically to young people defying cultural norms of gender and sexuality.
Kim Peets couldn’t make it because as a kindergarten teacher, she was in the middle of an intense race to graduation with a bunch of little kids. Every student crossed the finish line, receiving entry to first grade from her. But ultimately, Kim was victorious, simultaneously earning her master’s in education. We ventured out to a season-opening Girls on Shred clinic at the Coal Pad DIY in Glacier, Washington anyway.
A perfect skate clinic has a few elements: plenty of room for beginners to work on fundamentals like dropping in and kick turns, shredders who show up and rip, encouraging the newcomers to stick it out, and a stacked raffle that raises funds for the next one and sends people home with some sweet, sweet swag. Glacier local Shawna Paoli stepped in to run the show, and pulled off the smooth trifecta.
If you haven’t, try to make the quest out to this Montana skate mecca, and if you can, catch a session with the Girls on Shred. Find the info on their instagram account @girlsonshred! ◆ -Migz