Miriam Hanna Deller loves snowboarding. “It’s freedom,” she says. “For me, that’s the ultimate feeling; you’re in nature, you’re usually surrounded by beautiful scenery, you’re with friends.” Now, she and her husband, former professional snowboarder Wang Lei, are bringing that passion to China.
Five years ago, the two of them founded Core Power Asia, a public relations and marketing company that focuses on promoting board sports in China. Since then, they’ve collaborated with international boarding brands on events, publications, even snow parks. All with a singular goal in mind: to let other people experience what snowboarding means to them—fun.
Core Power Asia is just a natural extension of who Deller is. She has a history in PR and journalism, she knows the Chinese market because she’s lived in Beijing for years, not to mention the fact that her husband is largely known as the face of snowboarding in China. “It’s kind of a coming together,” she says. “I think one of my roles is to build a bridge between Chinese snowboarding and other parts of the world.”
And it doesn’t hurt that Deller, who grew up in a town of 2,000 people in the Austrian Alps, has been snowboarding since childhood. “It’s kind of in my blood,” she says. “When you grow up in that area, it’s just natural that you start skiing at the age of 3.” Deller wasn’t much older when she strapped into her first snowboard, under her older brother’s influence. She’s still fond of her original set of boots and bindings.
However, she didn’t start her professional career on the slopes; in fact, in college she studied a mix of fashion and Asian studies. In her 20s, she moved to Vienna and trained as a make-up artist, doing work on Vienna Fashion Week.
She did PR for Proctor and Gamble, wrote for the Austrian Press Agency and various international magazines, yet continued to find herself drawn to China, a country that fascinated her ever since she saw a photo of the famous Guilin mountains as a little girl. When an opportunity for a marketing job arose in Beijing, it was “a perfect mix of everything” for Deller.
Little did she know that it would be a perfect mix for her professional and personal lives as well. In her new post, she helped manage a team of professional athletes, one of whom was, of course, Wang Lei. She remembers him as being very kind and taking her out for dinner all the time. One day, they were standing in front of a snow park, with different obstacles for boarders. “I told him it would be amazing if the obstacles were painted pink, and the next day they were pink!” she says. “That’s when I knew I kind of liked this guy.”
Eventually, Wang decreased his time spent on competitions and expanded his role as sport ambassador. Now, he travels all over China to teach snowboard instructors how to better help their students, makes videos promoting the love of the sport, and works with Deller on projects for Core Power Asia. In the past, their company has published magazines and a book, A Decade of Snowboarding in China. It has built several snow parks located all over the country, and aspires to do even more for local budding boarders.
“We’re setting up a snowboard academy in Wang Lei’s name this winter because we believe a person’s first experience is crucial,” Deller says. The aim of "The Academy" will be to provide students with top equipment and high-quality instruction to achieve a higher rate of conversion to the sport.
Because that would be Deller’s dream—more snowboarders having fun in China. Although the sport doesn’t enjoy the same level of popularity that it does in other countries, it’s getting there. “It just takes time. I’ve seen tremendous changes in the past years,” she says.
She’s looking forward to sharing snowboarding with her son, who’s almost 2. “I think he will love it,” she says. “He’s already hooked on all the skateboards we have at home … and loves skating around in Daddy’s arms.”
Snowboarding, and promoting the love of snowboarding in China, will surely continue to be a driving force in Deller’s future.
“It’s definitely something I can spend every day of my life working for,” she says. “And I won’t regret it.”
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