Bad Ass Women Redux

It’s been a disappointing start to the winter here, to say the least.  Endorphin hunting has trumped powder hunting, at least for now.  So while I wait until my secret mission takes me to powder snow, I’ve been finding inspiration in Lynsey Dyer’s all-women ski movie fundraiser on Kickstarter.  As well as in Rachael Burke’s Female Wolfpack video (below).

I’m not a fundraiser or group-hug type typically, but Lynsey’s project is something that resonates with me, after having seen many, MANY ski movies over the years that offer a single token female skier/snowboarder at best.  If you’re a skier, or a woman,  both, or neither, I ask you to consider supporting this project at whatever level you can.

And if you can, a snow dance (or six) would be appreciated too!

Skiing with Badass Women

SAFEAS womens avy clinic

Scenes from the S.A.F.E.A.S. womens avy clinic.

There are a lot of badass women in this part of the world.  I’m talking professional skiers & riders, the types that win the Freeskiing World Tour, guide in Alaska, and that you see onscreen when you watch the latest TGR/Warren Miller/etc. production.  There are also a ton of badass women here who aren’t pros, but simply ski, ride, jump off things and go big in the park because they love it.

This past weekend I had a chance to meet a ton of these badass chicks at two separate events.  And I left both feeling inspired.  Inspired to push myself, to learn more, and most importantly, to have fun, whether on my own or with a posse of friends.

On Saturday, my friend Meghan and I drove up to Squaw Valley for the S.A.F.E.A.S. Women’s Avalanche Clinic.  It was a fundraiser for local non-profit, the High Fives Foundation, and was organized by professional skiers Elyse Saugstad and her friends Ingrid Backstrom, Michelle Parker, Jackie Paaso, Sherry McConkey and Squaw avalanche forecaster and ski guide Lel Tone.   This one day event was designed to provide women with basic avalanche awareness training.  It included a morning in the classroom, with lectures on snow safety, communication and proper travel techniques, and an afternoon on-snow practicing what we’d learned.

I’ve taken avalanche awareness courses in the past, but this felt different – in a very good way. Lel, Elyse and the other women made the concepts accessible, kept the pace moving, and were so supportive of all the women there, regardless of backcountry experience – or the clumsiness of their (read: my) shoveling skills.   While this was an overview course, Lel provided us with lots of additional resources for further follow up, and certainly inspired me to belatedly sign up for my AIAIRE Level 1 certification.  I can say without hesitation that it’s a course I would sign up for again in a heartbeat.

After an inspiring day with badass women, it was fortuitous that Meghan, who is involved with SheJumps, an organization whose mission is to encourage women to get outside, had planned the first ‘Get the Girls Out’ meet up the next day, at both Kirkwood and Squaw Valley.  I hit up the Kirkwood event and ended up skiing around with a group of women that kept growing.  I’ll let Meghan tell the story (and share her fun photos), but I’ll say this much – I love to ski, and I love to ski with my boyfriend, but skiing with a group of women is entirely different in a very good way.  And it’s a standing date I’m already looking forward to next month.  All women are welcome, so if you’re interested, the next one will be on January 13th.  You can find out more on Facebook.

I may never be truly badass (snarky seems to come a whole lot easier to me), but hanging out with such women sure encourages me to give it a go.

Wannabe Badass

A  few weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to play roller derby by a guy who’s in the swim class I coach.  While I first thought it was because I have big shoulders (good for shoving?) it was more because I play sports. Apparently the team is always looking for more players with athletic backgrounds.   His wife is on the team, and he figured that since I have bleached hair and silver Dr. Marten boots, I’d maybe be more interested in it than some of the more jam-band loving hippie types that tend to populate mountain towns, who might not find appeal in derby.

I got on skates for the first time in 20+ years on Tuesday, and was surprised by how quickly it came back and how much damn fun it was.  Today’s practice was only my second, but instead of being relegated to wobbling around the perimeter of the track I was invited to try to keep up with the Tahoe Derby Dames as they practiced for their upcoming bout next Saturday.  This involved skating fast around the track as they scrimmaged, pushed and occasionally fell.  I skated relatively fast, but avoided the whole pushing and falling thing, as that’s a bit beyond my comfort zone.

To be honest I’m more scared of the tiny shorts that comprise the team uniform than the actually contact sport part of it.  I fall skiing and mountain biking, but I don’t tend to embrace tight things on my bottom half.  Heck, even my speedo swimsuit is baggy.  So that will my mental hurdle to overcome.