Alpine Finishing School Celebrates Year 5!

Photo by Re Wikstrom

It’s hard to believe that this year will be the 5th Annual SheJumps Alpine Finishing School–an all-women’s ski mountaineering course held at the Selkirk Lodge outside of Revelstoke, British Columbia. Last year, ski superstar and Girls Do Ski founder, Leah Evans, joined us for the trip. Here’s what she had to say about it. We still have a few spots open for the week of April 30-May 7, sign up and more info here.  -Claire Smallwood

We can all learn something from each other, we all posses the ability to be a student and a teacher. However, sometimes you are surrounded by a group of females that have spent their entire lives dedicated to moving, learning and simply being in the mountains. This past winter I attended the Alpine Finishing School put on by Shejumps to be surrounded by the likes of the legendary Diny Harrison, Kate Devine, co-founder Claire Smallwood and 10 fellow students at Selkirk Lodge.  I had the pleasure of being a pupil of these amazing teachers:

Teacher number one, Diny Harrison.

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Cabbage, figure eight knot, techno and dirty jokes… what do they all have in common? Diny Harrison. She is one of the most amazing females in the world; her positive attitude is reflected in her (sometimes crude) sense of humor and her ability to accomplish any goal is unbeatable. She was a pioneer in the guiding world, becoming one of the first females to complete the ACMG program – she did it sporting a Girl Guide’s uniform – and furthermore to be diagnosed with breast cancer and commit to a holistic treatment of improving her diet and sleep patterns. Diny is a mountain animal. I like to think of her as a wolverine, climbing into areas that take skill, precision and the mindset of fluidity. I believe I speak on behalf of the other girls who attended camp when I say that to simply be in the presence of Diny and pick up any small amount of mountain knowledge is truly the greatest gift.

Teacher number two, Kate Devine

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If Kate Devine got her blood tested it would read ski positive. Kate has grown up at the Selkirk Lodge, just north of Revelstoke, where her mother and role model Grannia Devine demonstrates that any task can be completed by a female including lodge plumbing, helicopter shuttles and setting a skin track. At the age of 25 Kate completed her ACMG ski guide certification making her one of the most bad-ass accomplished females. “I always knew I’d be a guide,” she’ll tell you. Kate’s mentorship in the avalanche scenarios, crevasse rescue, map and compass work and overall terrain navigation was inspiring. Kate’s mileage and ski DNA was the envy of every girl at the course.

Teacher number three, Claire Smallwood (pictured right)

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What does pork with fennel have to do with skiing? It has everything to do with skiing because that was one of the amazing meals cooked from the soulful hands of Shejumps co-founder, camp organizer and chef Claire Smallwood. Never have I been to a lodge and eaten such healthy, clean and delicious food. All the way up the skin track people kept finding pieces of kale in their backpacks, hair and lunches until our slogan became “More Kale”. Claire has been on a selfless mission to make this camp happen and her passion shone through with from meals, pre camp course work, activities and overall care.

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As I move forward into another winter season the tips these ladies have taught me now live within me. I thank them for there dedication to the mountains, creating opportunities like this for other females and helping me learn from there mistakes and success. Jump out of your comfort zone and into the Alpine Finishing School!

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