Town: Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote: “What if I fall? Oh but my darling what if you fly?” – Erink Hanson
About Ashley: I grew up in a small town in central Maine, skiing was what my family did, it was what bonded us. There are multiple baby pictures of me where my parents are on skis and I am in a backpack on my father’s back. I don’t remember learning to ski; it was something that I always did. From adventuring deep into the Maine woods to racing at Sugarloaf mountain- winter was my favorite and snow was the best thing in the world. Bad days were always made better by skiing.
Aside from skiing, I never grew up in a world where my parents took me camping. In fact it wasn’t until high school, when I lived in the central coast of California, on a random weekend surf trip that I had my first camping experience. I was completely hooked. I knew from then on that the life of shopping and Santa Barbara were not for me. I had to move to the mountains.
Gunnison Colorado was where I really found myself. There I dove headfirst into the outdoor life, rock climbing, camping, anything outdoors. I joined the Mountain Rescue team and fell in love. While I often felt out of place due to my lack of knowledge, I overcame so many fears and did things I never imagined. I became a ski instructor at Crested Butte and from then on I was hooked. I loved adventure.
My love of adventure somehow landed me on a plane to Melbourne Australia. Mid-flight I realized I had $20 to my name – and a job at a ski resort in Australia that I had never heard of. I thought I was crazy and half wished for the pilot to turn the plane around, but I was so excited. Working at Mt. Buller was a complete world turner for me – I didn’t understand this culture that had never seen snow, it was so foreign to me. I’ve never been one to back down so I learned how to adapt. I also knew that failure wasn’t an option as I had no money and little parental support. I learned so much that first year that I ended up staying in Australia for another 6 years! I wound up getting this group of six year old little girls – when I first met them they were scared and timid, much like I was my first flight to Australia. Throughout the season we learned from each other, I taught them how to ski, they taught me how to love winter again. Together we learned how to be fearless and a group of girls who could rip.
I now live in Las Vegas Nevada and while I don’t have access to the mountains every day I play a lot of tennis, and am hoping to one day teach and empower girls like I did years ago. I am often found skiing Lee Canyon in Las Vegas or Eagle Point in Utah, with a big smile on my face.