As Mona Seraji prepares to compete professionally in one of snowboarding’s premier events, she has a chance to change the sport forever. When the Freeride World Qualifier commences in Alaska, Seraji hopes to be recognized as a top athlete, but more importantly, a trailblazer. Without a doubt, the Iranian female snowboarder has put herself in a unique position that most athletics have never seen. Coming from a country with such strict rules for women, Mona’s impact can surely go beyond the sport.
Although skiing may have begun in the late 1930’s, her home country of Iran still remains in a state of oppression towards women like Seraji. Females can be arrested for showing too much skin or hair. They are not even allowed inside of sports stadiums. Needless to say, Seraji has overcome sizable odds in her journey to the top of the sport.
Her voyage into boarding began when she was barely a teenager. Mona instantly fell in love with the sport, quitting her job as a designer in 2008 to focus solely on her craft. Seraji quickly added to her credibility in the sport as an international snowboard instructor and coach. It wasn’t long until she became a local legend and inspiration for women throughout her country.
The World Qualifier is not her only concern these days though. While focusing on the present, Mona has also kept an eye on the future. She is currently looking for young athletes to train for the 2022 Olympic Games. Mona hopes her experiences can serve as a guide for the next generation of boarders. After suffering a serious back injury a year ago, she realized she is not invincible, and passing on her message is the best way to stay involved in the sport.
Regardless of how she fairs at the Freeride World Qualifier, Mona Seraji’s impact will stretch far beyond the mountains in Alaska.