SheJumps Alpine Finishing School
Posted on by Vierra Reid
Our good friend, Abby Stanford, traveled to British Columbia for the 2014 SheJumps Alpine Finishing School. We were happy to support this SheJumps program especially after seeing the positive mission of the organization.
The Alpine Finishing School is an all-women’s ski mountaineering course taught by Diny Harrison, the first North American female to be certified as an IFMGA guide. This course is an opportunity for advanced skiers to learn the skills of big-mountain backcountry skiing in a supportive and encouraging environment. Topics covered included glacier travel, crevasse rescue, avalanche safety, route planning, and navigation.
Below, Abby explains her experience:
14 girls getting rad in the backcountry for 7 days straight is what the SheJumps Alpine Finishing School is all about. The girls were helicoptered deep into the Selkirk Mountains (Revelstoke, BC Canada) to the beautiful Selkirk Lodge with skis, ice axes, harnesses, ropes and a notebook ready to fill. Over the course of the week the girls gained knowledge of avalanche safety, rescue techniques, glacier travel, rappelling, crevasse rescue, route planning and so much more. Each day was a unique combo of class discussion and getting hands on both inside and out. The experience alone wasn't just about learning proper ski mountaineering techniques, but learning them in a all female environment. The goal is to set yourself up to be a leader and to feel confident in the decisions you make before entering the backcountry and those you make one the spot.
As you can image, there were a lot of dance parties, skiing and uncontrollable giggles. Something about being just a spec in a mountain range of beautiful peaks and the constant endorphin high repels drama and selfishness. SheJumps is big on building female communities for outdoor lovers of all types, and its pretty magical what can happen when there is a common goal. I mean the logo is a mystical Girafficon, it has to be magical right?! The teamwork was jaw dropping on day one and by day two it was the norm and continued this way through out the trip. Girls wrote encouraging messages in the snow on long tours, helped each other remember that "oh so crazy" knot you just learnt but already forgot (#mountaingirlproblems), and were always checking to make sure your harness was high and tight (prussik included). Claire Smallwood, the SheJumps executive director has the daunting yearly task of organizing the trip, cooking amazing meals that never disappoint (they don't, ever!) and regulating group dynamics. Let's just say this is no easy task and she nailed it. All of the Alpine Finishing School ladies of 2014 cannot thank Claire, our incredible guides (Kate Devine, Diny Harrison & Christine Feleki) and the Lodge Ladies (Grania Devine and Reinet Shaw) for all their hard work.
Speaking on behalf of all the ladies, we were beyond stoked to have Proof Eyewear as a sponsor for the trip. After unloading the heli and trekking into the lodge the girls had a short debriefing and were surprised with new Proof sunnies for our first bluebird tour to Prim Rose bowl - so glorious! They became part of our daily touring kit and the girls didn't go far with out them.
SheJumps has year round events across North America, so if you're chick looking to experience the outdoors for the first time, find some fellow shredders or push your skill set check them out at SheJumps.org!