Upcoming SheJumps Events—and why they matter to girls who love mountains.
We at Geartrade are a co-ed team of dudes and ladies who love to get after it outside, and we encourage and empower one another regardless of age, gender, skill level, or background. But, outside this happy work bubble, we know inequality and lack of diversity still run rampant in the outdoor sports world.
There are far fewer women than men in outdoor sports leadership, guiding positions, and recreationists—and it’s due to a vicious cycle. Girls don’t see very many women represented in ski movies, on ski patrol, on brands’ athlete/ambassador teams, or among professional guides. They see ski marketing focused more on looks than achievement. They see that many brands don’t even manufacture their most expert-level equipment in women’s sizes.
Even if they push to go far in an outdoor sport, they have to persist through layer after layer of discouragement ranging from subtle exclusion to intense sexual harassment. Plagued by a blend of external resistance and internal self-doubt, they lower their aspirations or give up entirely. The cycle continues.
But, SheJumps is here to break the cycle, open doors of opportunity, and add a hell of a lot more colorfulness to mountain sports.
Because the good news is, the theory of critical mass applies to outdoor sports—just as it’s been proven effective in combating gender and race disparities in corporate leadership, in schools, and even in the military. The idea is that if a minority is only present in tiny numbers—say, one woman on a corporate board—they remain an outlier. But once a minority comprises 20-30% of an institution, they don’t feel so alone and feel empowered by one another’s presence. Finally, they begin to have an influence and a voice.
SheJumps fuels the buildup of critical mass in mountain sports in the most fun (and effective) way possible—through events, camps, seminars, and scholarships designed to teach and empower women and girls of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and ages in the outdoors. A national team of volunteers and guides teach everything from glacier crevasse rescue to route-finding, tuning a mountain bike, waxing skis, building a rock climbing anchor, and tying fly fishing knots.
It’s serious skills, with just enough space for silliness so everyone feels at ease.
This winter, the organization has a standout roster of events, camps, and skills-building clinics expertly designed to build confidence and leadership among women and girls in the outdoors. Here are a few we’re looking forward to:
Outdoor education programs
Over the course of the coming winter, SheJumps is facilitating educational programs ranging from easy-to-attend online seminars to in-person avalanche safety clinics, all taught by female instructors who foster a friendly, welcoming yet informative atmosphere.
Courses range from ski-waxing clinics to avalanche rescue clinics, backcountry ski seminars, and AIARE Level 1 avalanche certification courses. They’re held in multiple towns and regions so you can find something that works for you. And some classes don’t even depend on in-person attendance, such as the online Transitioning From Gym to Crag rock climbing seminar and a Backcountry 101 seminar perfect for backcountry newbies.
Check out the events calendar here >
Alpine Development School
There’s been an influx of backcountry skiers as the sport has gained popularity in the last few years, and plenty of women have joined the ranks. But, given the male-dominated culture of backcountry skiing, many women don’t feel comfortable asserting themselves in leading tours, or chmining in confidently in route-finding and risk-management decisions. The Alpine Development School, a series of online seminars, is designed for exactly that. Offering hours of incredibly useful and insightful instruction from ACMG guide Christine Feleki, attendees walk away feeling much more prepared to assert themselves in backcountry group settings—and have more fun, and ensure better safety for all involved.
Courses are available pre-recorded for purchase and viewing, and they focus on:
- Risk management and decision making
- Terrain identification and management
- Building your process
The great thing about these curriculums is that they’ll benefit any level of backcountry skier, from novice to expert, with a variety of takeaways that will make any day for any group safer (and more equitable for the female and BIPOC people in the group).
Alpine Finishing School
A holy-grail bucket-list item for any aspiring female ski or splitboard mountaineer, SheJumps’ Alpine Finishing School has a legendary reputation for its multi-day alpine courses “in the field,” high in the mountains of British Columbia.
Historically, this course has been based in a mountain hut participants heli into, but amid increasing popular demand, SheJumps is offering three different ways to take the course this year. All of them are led by amazing female guides and instructors, covering topics like glacier travel, crevasse rescue, route planning, navigation, terrain management, companion rescue, rappelling, belaying, and more.
- Backcountry Basecamp is a five-day, four-night helicopter-accessed winter camping adventure in a remote area north of Whistler, British Columbia. This camp stays in the same “base camp” location for the entire trip, with participants making ski excursions from that central location daily. Participants will gain a wealth of knowledge and experience as they ski amazing glaciers and climb impressive summits for five days. It’s perfect for intermediate to advanced backcountry skiers and splitboarders looking to up their game.
- SheJumps is also offering two classic multi-day alpine traverses; the Spearhead Traverse is sold out already, but the Currie to Wedge Traverse has just a few slots left. It’s a three-day-long, helicopter-accessed alpine traverse on the remote and wild Mystery Glacier, with lots of learning built in as participants ski and camp over a 27-kilometer alpine trek. This course is amazing for more advanced backcountry skiers and splitboarders who want a next-level, skills-building experience.
Last but certainly not least, SheJumps already has several “fundraising climbs” on the books for this coming spring and summer. These climbs are an incredible way to have a bucket-list mountain summit experience with a knowledgeable guide who quite literally shows you the ropes. You agree to fundraise a set amount for SheJumps, then you get to go on a multi-day fully guided climb/course ascending a famed summit like Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, or the Grand Teton. You walk away with not only a life-changing, mountain-confidence-building experience, but also having made a difference for an organization that gives so much to girls.
It all goes toward something even bigger.
Because all the paid educational programs SheJumps offers (which, in our opinions, are very reasonably priced) put this money toward offering free and low-cost programs to women and girls who couldn’t afford it otherwise. Things like free ski lessons (and gear) for girls in underserved communities, scholarships for ski passes and backcountry avalanche courses for women facing financial hardship, and Wild Skills camps teaching little girls about being ski patrollers and wildland firefighters.
Find all the latest on the SheJumps event calendar, and follow their regional Facebook group for your part of the country to stay on top of things. Geartrade is proud to partner with and support this amazing organization.
Beth Lopez is a seasoned writer and creative director who loves to tell tales of adventure and discovery—and finds writing a powerful way to give a voice to people, causes, and places. Beth runs amok in the Wasatch mountains when untethered from her computer. She believes there’s no such thing as a bad ski day and considers animals her favorite people. Don’t tell her mother about her Instagram mountaineering photos.
Follow us on Instagram + Facebook: Tag us @geartrade with the hashtag #unnewoutdoor #wearitout on your post or story for a chance to be featured on our page.
It is now easier than ever to sell your gear on Geartrade. With our new Consignment Selling option you can finally reclaim your gear closet. Send it in. We take care of the rest.