Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program


First Advisor

Lauren Kohut


Extreme sports, like skateboarding, whitewater kayaking, and skiing, have historically been male-dominated. As women’s participation in these sports grows, my research asks: how do women navigate sports spaces and cultures that have for so long been defined by men? To answer this question, I draw on ethnographic research on communities of skateboarders, whitewater kayakers and skiers conducted during the summer of 2021 in Bozeman, Montana. I found that the specific landscapes where these extreme sports take place are often conceptualized by participants as more masculine spaces. Within these spaces and communities, women participants often leverage gender performances associated with masculinity to gain entry into these male-dominated communities. Performing in more masculine ways mitigates feelings of hypervisibility, while also helping to build connections to established members of the community. More than simply fitting in, women find that these gendered performances also help them to build competence in the sport. At the same time, women are transforming skateboarding, whitewater kayaking, and skiing through their participation by creating opportunities for more dynamic and fluid gender performances.