Q&A with Natalie Segal, Australian skier behind ‘Finding the Line’ film screening in Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Explore Steamboat caught up with Freeride World Tour skier Natalie Segal, whose new film “Finding the Line,” created with her sister Anna Segal, explores their understanding of fear.
The film — which will also premiere in Whistler this weekend — will be shown along with “Full Moon,” which focuses on the past, present and future of women’s snowboarding, during a screening at 7 p.m. Friday at Bud Werner Memorial Library as part of the weekend celebration of International Women’s Ski and Snowboard Day.
Explore Steamboat asked Segal for her advice on embarking on new outdoor pursuits, especially as a female, and how fear manifested itself as the sisters explored British Columbia’s coastal mountains, the French Alps and the towering peaks of Alaska.
Explore Steamboat: Where did the inspiration to create this film come from?
Natalie Segal: Fear is something that we all experience, and for some people, it can be crippling and hold them back from achieving their dreams or goals. Once Anna and I started to look at how fear was affecting our lives, we realized that it was a universal struggle.
Anna and I had discussed working on a ski project together for several months prior to forming the concept for “Finding the Line.” It was born out of a desire to discuss something that we have both really struggled with and believe is relevant to people both in and outside the ski community.
ES: What was a significant moment in filming when you really had to face fear head on?
NS: There were a few times. I get very scared flying. We didn’t use helicopters very often, but we spent a week at Points North Heli-skiing Adventures and setting out every morning in the heli was a weird mix of excitement and absolute terror. I would spend the longer flights counting my breath.
The production side of things also caused a lot of daily anxiety that was based on our fears of failure. Over the last two years, I think this was something that both Anna and I had to face head on, quite often in our own ways. In saying that, I don’t think I would have been able to do it alone, without Anna. She helped me work through a lot of my fears.
ES: How do you determine facing fears and taking risk? How do you personally differentiate the two? Is it different for everyone?
NS: It’s complicated territory. Fear is a natural emotion that we all feel. Risk taking is different, but it has an important relationship with fear, which differs from person to person.
What I learned during the making of “Finding The Line” is that everyone has their own way of dealing with fear and risk, and that there is not one way to do it. What’s important is understanding your own fears and the risks that you are taking. But it is never a bad idea to take a leaf out of someone else’s book and try something new. Anna pushed me to look at fear and risk in a much different way than I had before, which helped me grow and understand my fears a lot better.
ES: What is fear for you? Is it something that pushes you outside your comfort zone to discover what you’re really made of?
NS: In the past, fear was something that held me back. It was in my head, telling me I couldn’t do things, that I wasn’t good enough, that I was out of my league. It held me back. I always stand by the idea that your comfort zone is there for a reason. You might push against it to progress, but if you go too far, you are going to find yourself in territory for which you are not prepared and will have a bad experience.
If you can’t visualize yourself doing something, it usually means you aren’t ready to try — that goes for skiing or life. I think your imagination is a great tool for helping you reach your potential and discover what you’re really made of.
ES: What is it that initially drew you to pursue big mountain skiing? Would you say that’s still the same thing that gets you out there even today?
NS: I find this the most difficult question to answer. I was drawn to big mountain skiing, because it required a whole different way of approaching skiing and the outdoors in comparison to mogul skiing. Freeride competitions led me to backcountry skiing, which has opened up a whole world of exploration, travel and community. But I still love skiing for the rush, the speed and dynamic movements.
ES: What is it about “Finding the Line” that you think will resonate with viewers? Fear? Overcoming that?
NS: I think every viewer will take something different away from the screening. Too often fear is not discussed and seen as shameful and negative, which is ironic given that it is a natural emotion. One of Anna and my goals in making this film is to have our viewers in discussion about fear and how they approach it.
ES: Going into this weekend’s festivities, what advice would you give to women who attempt to get into new outdoor pursuits who might have a bit of resistance due to whatever reason?
NS: I think finding a mentor, female or male, and people who are more experienced than you is very important. You may be slower or less experienced, but you will have your own skills to bring to the table — bringing good snacks is an important part of being an outdoor partner. When I couldn’t find friends to teach me so I could progress, I invested in my education, and it made a big difference.
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