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What: Slacklining for women

When: 3 to 5 p.m. Thursdays

Where: Norlin Quad, in front of Old Main

Slackliner Hayley Ashburn is doing tricks that people told her girls just don't do.

Like the butt bounce.

"To get taught by the boys, I had to follow them around, and beg, and watch all their videos," Ashburn said.

So Ashburn, a CU student who competes internationally and is sponsored by local slackline distributor Gibbon, hopes she's making it easier for other women to learn to slackline. Every Thursday afternoon, she sets up slacklines on CU's Norlin Quad and teaches the women who show up to stand, walk, and eventually, do tricks on the line -- like the butt bounce.

"The slacklining world is dominated by guys, it seems like," said Cassandra Miertschin, who was slacklining with the group on a recent Thursday. She learned how to slackline at The Spot climbing gym, but Ashburn taught her all of her tricks.

"She's very good at explaining it," she said, just before Ashburn taught her how to do a drop-knee.

This year, Ashburn won the women's division in the Gibbon Slackline World Cup in Stuttgart, Germany, and came in second at the Humboldt Classic. She said she wishes there were more women tricklining at high levels to compete with. But she has decided that next year, if there's a competition she wants to do that doesn't have a women's division (which happened this year), she's going to sign up in the men's division.

Hayley Ashburn balances on a slackline Thursday on the University of Colorado campus.
Hayley Ashburn balances on a slackline Thursday on the University of Colorado campus. ( Cameron Redwine )

"She definitely will go head to head with the boys, and she can hang," said Jaime Klinetob, of Gibbon Slacklines.

While anyone can slackline, Klinetob said, men are sometimes more likely to try aggressive tricks.

"It's just a different mindset," Klinetob said. "I think a woman is less inclined to start diving off it and hurt herself."

Ashburn said she still has a hard time getting on a line if there's a big group of men who are acting aggressive.

"It's intimidating, it's embarrassing to fall," she said.

But Ashburn certainly seems bold when she's jumping on the line, or talking about the highline she recently set up with some girls atop the Elephant Buttresses in Boulder Canyon.

And on Monday, Ashburn set up a 500-foot line in Boulder's Columbine Park with sister Gibbon athlete Emily Sukiennik so they could try to break the female longline record.

"Its far more wobbly," she said. "They become exponentially more difficult as they get longer."

But park rangers asked them to take the line down before they could have a go at the current record for a woman walking a line end-to-end, which is 450 feet.

Taryn Edmonds, who slacklines with the group on Thursdays, said her first exposure to slacklining was when Ashburn set up a highline in Yosemite National Park this summer. She was afraid to try the highline, but she started slacklining closer to the ground in Boulder in July.

"It's empowering to learn from a girl who is already really good at it," she said. "Because I know I can become good at it."

That's why Ashburn offers classes on Thursdays.

"Aside from promoting a healthy lifestyle, it teaches confidence," Ashburn said. "You take a bunch of girls and get them strong and agile and confident on the line, and they start believing in themselves."