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Top 50 Female Athletes in Action Sports

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17. Annie Boulanger

Photograph By Ashley Barker

The domains of halfpipe and slopestyle riding have seen women advance in skill and style with calculated regularity over the years. Yet in the more complicated arena of backcountry freestyle snowboarding -- a field still dominated by men, where sometimes just getting there is a feat unto itself -- few women have crossed the gender lines as successfully as Annie Boulanger has.

"There was a time when there were no girls going into the backcountry in Whistler," says Boulanger. "As a professional girl rider 10 years ago all I could do was competitions. But I didn't like the rules. I didn't like being judged on two runs."

Whistler legends Martin Gallant and JF Pelchat started taking her into the backcountry to film. "With the years, I got more confident," says Boulanger. "But it was hard to pull the filmer away when he's getting all this footage of someone like Romain De Marchi or DCP. That took a lot of confidence."

Boulanger's fortitude has led to a respected career as one of the only women who regularly gets segments in big mostly male snowboard movies, which has in turn given a new generation of up-and-coming female shredders the confidence to follow her footsteps into the backcountry instead of the contest circuit.