Wild Skills Junior Wildland Firefighter: Hood River RECAP

Kickstarted by an idea to spin off our successful Junior Ski Patrol program, SheJumps Wild Skills along with the help of dedicated volunteer Meaghan Gaffney, USDA and Oregon Wildland Firefighters created Junior Wildland Firefighter; a day camp that introduces girls to the facets of wildland firefighting while interacting with the strong women of the firefighting community.

The day camp mimicked the experience of a hand crew throughout the day. In a real fire situation, a hand crew of 20 or so people is broken into squads of 5-7 people.  Each hand crew has a “crew boss.” In the mornings the crew boss attends an incident briefing and then comes back to the crew to brief the rest of the crew on expected weather, current and expected behavior of the fire and what the mission for the day is. From there the crew hikes onto the fire line.  Once on the line, the squads will breakout from each other. Each squad has a specially trained “type one firefighter” in command; we call this person the squad boss. Sometimes the squads will have similar assignments or other times completely different.

First thing in the morning, girls were divided into squads by age, the lead firefighter acted as their squad boss and SheJumps volunteers helped manage the group. All teams took part in the morning briefing lead by Lauren Clark who explained the weather outlook, day’s mission and goals for the day. Next up, Loretta Duke (who’s been fighting fires since 1989!) discussed and demonstrated how to properly build a fire. Ranger Cat jumped in and had the girls identify burnable, small diameter fuel for the fire and taught them about the fire triangle. The triangle illustrates the three elements a fire needs to ignite: heat, fuel, and an oxidizing agent (usually oxygen). A fire naturally occurs when the elements are present and combined in the right mixture.

In no time, the fire was blazing and Loretta called on Lidi from the Central Oregon unit to put it out. During this time, Lidi and the rest of the squad leaders introduced themselves and shared how they got into fighting fires. Many didn’t even know it was a possible career when they stumbled into it. Thanks to events like this, young girls not only gain fire safety and outdoor skills but have first hand experience with women who are truly leading by example in their field.

After the meeting, we were treated to a surprise visit from the local wildland fire engine. Each team got a tour of the engine, it’s components and even got to spray the engine hose!

After touring the engine and spraying the hose, the squads hiked out to the ‘fire line’ which were the stations that we set up. Each team spent approximately 1 hour at each station learning vital outdoor skills.

Navigation was headed up by Kati Santini. The girls learned directional basics, familiarized with topographic maps, how to shoot a bearing and then follow that line until they reach the flagging that has the next bearing. For this station we set up two different compass courses each ending in a surprise treasure.

First Aid led by Adrienne Vought & Danielle Lipsky. At this station, girls learned about first responder practices, minor splinting ideas, how to stop bleeding, and basic first aid kit supplies. It’s also very important for firefighters to know about hydration and electrolytes so we talked about that and what to do if someone is displaying signs of heat stress. A favorite of the teams was creating a make-believe injury and the team responding to it with the correct remedy. Injuries range from being ran over by a truck to bear attacks – it gets pretty wacky!

Team Building & Communication was directed by each squad. They worked through many variations of the Hot Fire Game where each team worked together to find a way across the hot fire (the ground) using only the boards they were provided with to make a bridge. If they step off the boards they must go back to start line! This prompted talk about times where they have experienced challenge and triumph as a teammate and individual. Girls also learned about radio communication and the important role it plays in wildland fires.

Weather & Fire Behavior led by Meaghann Gaffney taught weather basics, how weather & environment affects fire behavior, and situational awareness. The teams started off by discussing what types of weather and terrain affect fires. Then walked through the trees, tuning into nature to notice the slightest chances in wind direction, speed, temperature change and cloud cover. They studied fire weather cloud charts, identified the clouds in the skies, talked about lightning’s role in starting wildfires and discussed what to do if we get caught in one. The station wrapped up with a dynamic fire board demonstration, placing matches on two boards to demonstration a ‘thin’ and ‘dense’ forest. Then lighting them and increasing the slope to see the effect to each.

The day was supposed to wrap up with a group demo of line construction and chainsaw demonstration but 4 of our all-stars were called out to an area fire! The all lady engine crew promptly responded to the Lambert Road fire. The next available resources would have come from Portland to fill out the engine for this fire. The fire ended up being 7 acres and needed lots of ‘mop up’ to be completely put out. We were bummed to miss out on the planned demonstrations but stoked to watch these strong women roll out and get the job done!

Sticking true to the Wild Skills moto of ‘work with what you got’ we shifted gears and fit in a few extras: a colorful lesson in the 10 Essentials, review of Leave No Trace principles and a focused sound mapping exercise that required the girls to observe their surrounding only by what they could hear.

The day wrapped with a AAR ‘After Action Review’ that recapped the day of learning, challenges and rewarding experiences. For some, their favorite part was the fire board experiment and others it was their first encounter with using a compass. Each participant was presented with a Wild Skills Junior Wildland Firefighter certificate & congratulatory handshake!

This event was made possible thanks to the commitment of longtime SheJumps volunteer, Meaghann Gaffney, who put in the time & effort to create the curriculum with Wild Skills Director, Christy Pelland. Gaffney also reached out to her contacts at the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (CRGNSA) who were already looking for opportunities to create more youth education programs in response to last year’s devastating Eagle Creek Fire. Gaffney’s desire to provide outdoor adventures and educational opportunities for young girls continues to inspire all of us at SheJumps. We are incredibly grateful to have her as a teammate.

If you think this program is as RAD as we do and want to bring it to your area. Contact Wild Skills Director, Christy Pelland, for more details: cpelland@shejumps.org

Special thanks to our presenting partner: Clif Bar

Event Partners United States Forest Service and United States Department of Agriculture,

Supporting partners Adventure Medical Kits & GoGo Squeez

The Seventh Annual Alpine Finishing School presented by Arc’teryx

Words: Beth Lopez

The seventh annual Alpine Finishing School went off without a hitch, with two sessions of about twelve mountaineering girafficorns assembling at the Selkirk Lodge outside Revelstoke, British Columbia. A huge thank you to our presenting partner, Arc’teryx, for their continued support of this women’s ski and splitboard mountaineering course. 

The first session and the first summit. Primrose Peak! Photo by Abby Cooper

The Alpine Finishing School aims to teach women well versed in backcountry skiing how to properly up their game in mountaineering. (When we say “properly” we mean with professionally guided seriousness sprinkled with inside jokes and fireside giggle-fits.) Each participant spends a week on glacial terrain learning advanced terrain management, glacier travel, crevasse rescue, navigation, anchor-building, and the finer details of mountain adventure.

The girafficorns go marching in, one by one. Photo by Abby Cooper

The Selkirk Lodge is perched high above a convergence of ice fields in the rugged Canadian alpine. It was built thirty years ago by the matriarch of the Selkirks, Grania Devine, who still oversees lodge operations today. Her daughter, Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) certified ski guide Kate Devine, leads the Alpine Finishing School instruction.

Photo by Abby Cooper

SJ Executive Director Claire Smallwood and the legendary Grania Devine, owner and operator of the Selkirk Lodge. Photo: Claire Smallwood

Each day included focused instruction both indoors and out, with the day’s curriculum depending on the weather. Each participant filed downstairs from the cozy upstairs bunks each morning at 7am sharp for a classic Claire Smallwood breakfast, a sack-lunch assembly line, and a discussion of the day’s curriculum. In the mountains of British Columbia, the weather can turn on a dime, so each day’s plan was fine-tuned on the morning of.

Photos by Abby Cooper

After a debrief on the weather and the day’s expectations, each girl filed upstairs to prepare her gear and layers for the day, then meet for instruction. Some days included a little more classroom time, but every day included adventure time. Even the mellow explorational tours filled the slower-paced vibe with discussion on route selection, avalanche risk assessment, trip planning, and navigation. Meanwhile, the bigger tours were exhilarating — topping out with the full gang on Primrose Peak or ascending the Albert Icefield glacier in a methodical procession.

The final summit push to Primrose Peak (above) Guides Kate Devine (right) and Shannon Werner (left) demonstrate crevasse rescue. Photos by Abby Cooper

By halfway through the week, each participant was able to jump in on tasks they may not have managed as handily before: coiling a rope for backpack carry, charting a compass course across low-visibility terrain, or burying a pair of skis to serve as a rappel anchor.

Practicing rope ascension inside the lodge’s basement. Photo by Abby Cooper

The mood varied from occasional jitters to outright exuberance, with the all-female atmosphere making it comfortable for everyone to feel what they felt and talk about where they were. Grania and her sister Reinet took turns supervising the lodge for week one and week two of the Finishing School, and they did more than make sure the lodge was cozy and warm. They served as the most experienced mountain women in the group’s midst, dishing out sage advice and wry laughs.

The Alpine Finishing School provides goggle tans, endless laughs, and rope-untangling 101. Photo by Stella Liechty

At the beginning of the week, freshly exhilarated from the stunning helicopter ride into the lodge, the group sat down around the hand-crafted wooden dining table and shared their intentions. The goals included feeling more confident touring in new parts of the mountains, building leadership skills in a group outdoor setting, or even skiing a certain objective someday. (The AFS Session II Class of 2018 has its sights set on Denali now.)

The group spends time practicing crevasse rescue scenarios. Photo by Stella Liechty

Every attendee mentioned a desire to build more confidence through practice and instruction in an atmosphere where everyone felt safe and heard. The guides were intent on lifting everyone up, giving an ear to every question and concern, and building each girl’s confidence that she, too, could lead a group and make decisions she could stand by.

Over the course of the week, every participant built a stronger sense of self-assuredness along with rote skills like knot-tying, anchor-building, self-arresting, compass navigation, and even the generally hilarious act of glacier-skiing while roped up with a group.

Skiing while roped up might not be that fun, but knowing how to do it is crucial. Photo by Stella Liechty

Dress code: Hawaiian shirt with matching (perfectly coiled) rope. Photo by Beth Lopez

Nights were filled with the exceptional multi-course meals only Claire Smallwood could prepare, followed by wine, laughter, Hawaiian shirts, a Kangaroo outfit, unicorn headpieces, and dad-dancing to party jams.

Session two had no fun at all, as you can plainly see. Photo by Stella Liechty

But in addition to all the evening levity and daily corn-turn whoops, the Alpine Finishing School left each participant changed on a deeper level too. Each woman learned more about the mountains and more about herself too. As the helicopter came by on the final day to pick up the newly graduated girafficorns, there were a few tears and lots of long hugs. The Alpine Finishing School had made its mark in this, the prettiest place in the world. And the graduates were ready to venture out in it with greater strength and sharper skill.

The 2018 Liz Daley scholarship recipient, Steph Mawson. Photo by Abby Cooper


Photo by Beth Lopez

Thank you Munk Packs for all your SheJumps support! (Photo Abby Cooper)

Thank you Abby Cooper for your beautiful photography and to Beth Lopez for taking the time to pen this piece. 

Partner Profile: Outdoor Research

Have you noticed on our Outdoor Education flyers this spring that we quietly announced our new presenting partnership with Outdoor Research? Well now we’re ready to share the big news! We are so excited to be working together in a much bigger way this year with Outdoor Research as a title partnership for SheJumps Outdoor Education Initiatives.

Outdoor Research already has been supporting our annual Rainer Climb which raises money for our Wild Skills Program. Now they are contributing financially to our organization to help us continue to grow our Outdoor Education programming. Additionally, Outdoor Research is always working to develop better products for women so stay tuned for an opportunity to take part in a product development collaboration in the coming months!

We recently chatted with Kjersti Gedde, Field Marketing Coordinator at Outdoor Research and she shared more about their broader commitment to supporting women in the outdoor arena.

SheJumps: Give us a little background on Outdoor Research’s community commitments

Kjersti: Increasing access to the outdoors individuals is a huge part of our company and culture platform at Outdoor Research – we work diligently to create better access for all through: supporting land access, improving the outdoor experience, and supporting organizations that work with underrepresented communities in the outdoors.

SheJumps: What campaigns do you already participate in that support female athletes?

Kjersti: Five years ago, we started #SheAdventures to celebrate women of the outdoors… fast forward some years and it’s become a celebration that empowers through an outdoor-focused scholarship, creates dialogue with women empowerment at the center, and helps foster a supportive community.

To learn more about the #SheAdventures, read about it here.

SheJumps: What drives Outdoor Research to support SheJumps?

Kjersti: The partnership with SheJumps was such a “no-brainer”! We’ve been “un-officially” supporting SheJumps events ever since our staff experienced some of the early PNW ski events. SheJumps mission to “increase the participation of women and girls in outdoor activities” directly aligns with our missions and passions as well. We were psyched to “officially” sponsor the Rainier fundraising climb last year and look forward to supporting this year’s fundraising climb, SheJumps education events, and collaborate further.

Make sure to sign up for our email newsletter to claim a great discount for Outdoor Research and to participate in our product development collaboration.

Summer Raffles 2018

Announcing Our Summer Raffle Partners

This June, SheJumps is kicking off another season filled with fun and educational outdoor programs. Everyone who’s been to a SheJumps event, knows our raffles are not to be missed! This summer we are grateful for the continued support of partners we’ve worked with already like Deuter, Hestra, Mountain Khakis, Rumpl, and Western Rise. We’re over the moon to bring new raffle partners as we announce working with Flylow, Orvis, She Emerges and Shredly.

Our raffle partners support SheJumps ability to bring outdoor education to communities across the country. These companies believe in creating opportunities for women of all ages and backgrounds to get outside and take a jump! We hope you win some of their sweet gear at our events, or look to them the next time you need an upgrade.


Deuter has been making packs since 1898. Even from the beginning, the company was built on technical function, precise fit, and passion for being in the wilderness. We’ve been making women’s packs for decades and believe in celebrating differences in women’s fit. Just as functional, just as radical, but with a fit that’s designed for women. Cheers to that! This summer, Deuter will be sending out packs to our mountain biking events.


Moab, Utah

Flylow has been a long supporter of SheJumps and we are excited to have them on our raffle roster! As SheJumps has been rolling out its new strategic plan, a major tenant is environmental stewardship and sustainability. That goes from reducing single use plastics to our events, to the decisions we make on our partnerships. We we read about Flylow’s Remnant Tote, we thought these would be perfect. The tote is made from fabric scraps from the production of their jackets and pants. Flylow is also including a Flylow Ecovessel and some sweet ski socks in their prize pack. Learn more about the Remnant Tote and the Flylow Spring line here.

Hestra Gloves

“Hestra is proud to support SheJumps and getting more girls and women involved in the outdoors and the activities that we love.”

Hestra Gloves is a family-owned company that was started in 1936. In the beginning, with the help of his family, Martin Magunusson produced gloves for the local lumberjacks. He used the best leathers he could find. Over 80 years later, the technical possibilities are greater, but Martin’s legacy lives on – warm, durable gloves made of the finest leathers.

Today, they make gloves for snow sports, mountaineering, biking, golf, dress, work, and gardening. Great care is taken in designing our women’s styles to specifically to fit a women’s hand. For Hestra, gloves will always be a craft.

Hestra is showcasing it’s new line of gloves for mountain biking at our events this summer.

Mountain Khakis

We are having a hard time picking our favorite Mountain Khakis items – from adventure ready pants and skirts, to jackets and cute beanies, to a wide array of adventure lifestyle wear. Lucky for us, we don’t have to! Mountain Khakis is donating $75 gift cards to events this summer.

“As the MK brand has evolved, so has the need to get everyone is comfortable and functional outdoor apparel. With this said, MK is proud to partner with SheJumps to help women and girls get outside! Education, knowledge and adventure are key functions of this partnership and we look forward to helping these folks reach their highest potential through the outdoors.”

Orvis 50/50 on the Water

SheJumps is excited to work with Orvis this summer at our Flyfishing events. Orvis will be supporting raffles and sending out swag from their 50/50 on the water campaign. We’re stoked on this campaign, as our events have long been trying to lower barriers for women in fly-fishing.

50/50 On the Water aims to inspire and celebrate women in the sport we all love. The campaign embodies three main goals: 1) making it easy for women to participate in the sport, 2) celebrating the unique connection between women and conservation and 3) showcasing authentic experiences of real women fly-fishing.

ORVIS commits to lowering barriers for women in fly-fishing by acknowledging safety concerns and instigating solutions like increased access to group excursions. Taking the mystery out of selecting gear and offering pathways to skill- & community-building will also provide greater confidence. More options for families and children will also be an important focus as ORVIS makes fly-fishing an easier sport for women to adopt. Finally, social media will be leveraged to foster a community of women anglers, providing a venue for addressing topics of interest on a consistent, grass-roots basis.


If you get yourself wrapped up in a RUMPL blanket you will literally never want to go without. From van life, to camping, to hammock time, Rumpl’s are the snuggliest thing going. Think your softest puffy jacket made into a blanket. Win one at an event or grab your own on their site.

She Emerges

She Emerges’ mission is to empower females to do the things they love and show the world their limitless potential. “We create lifestyle apparel that enables you to make a statement from your heart to the street and every adventure in between. Organizations like SheJumps embody the very spirit of our brand. Together we can inspire women and girls to challenge themselves, embrace new experiences, and create a sisterhood of strong females that lift each other up during a lifetime of unforgettable moments.”

Founder Nicole Hardy wanted to create a brand that ignited a feeling of confidence in every woman to fearlessly show the world what she’s made of.

“I spent 15 years in corporate America but always knew something was missing. She Emerges essentially was born during my journey of self-discovery and I wanted to inspire other women to live a life filled with purpose, excitement and fulfillment.”


Fun prints, great function, and a lot of attitude – that’s what we love about SHREDLY. This summer at our Mountain Biking events a lucky gal get’s to sass up her kit if she wins these shorts.

In 2012 SHREDLY was created to bring a burst of fresh style and color into the world of women’s mountain biking and beyond. Each collection is thoughtfully designed to be fun and beautiful, while carefully engineered to be used for the many outdoor (sometimes indoor) activities that we all love. SHREDLY is a woman-owned and operated company that only designs apparel specifically for…you guessed it, women. Our goal is to make the fun of every adventure begin the moment you get dressed.

“As a women’s-specific apparel brand whose purpose is to outfit women for adventure and enhance their outdoor experiences in every way possible, we could not align more in mission, passion, and reason for being than with SheJumps. Having a connection with nature, embracing community, and empowering ourselves with outdoor education are all matters near and dear to our hearts. We are thrilled to partner with SheJumps to further their mission of increasing the participation of women and girls in outdoor activities and look forward to growing our communities together.” – Ashley Rankin, SHREDLY Founder and Designer

Western Rise

“At Western Rise, we value the preservation of our public lands and outdoor education. We are pleased to support the efforts of SheJumps female-focused Outdoor education programs.” -Kelly Waters

Western Rise’s Kelly Watters was named by Outside Magazine as one of the coolest new small brands. We’re grateful for Kelly’s support in our raffle program this summer. All mountain-town girls appreciate that fact that quality layers keep her warm, happy and active. Western Rise as donated 100$ gift cards at select events.

Wild Skills Junior Ski Patrol: Sun Valley

On March 31st, 27 young girls between the ages of 8 and 15 gathered at River Run Lodge dressed in ski boots and unicorn onesies, ready to spend the day learning what it’s like to be a Ski Patroller at Sun Valley. 9 female ski patrollers met the girls with a contagious energy and an eagerness to share their passion for their profession, one that has historically been dominated by a male presence.

The women of Sun Valley Ski Patrol led the participants through several stations including learning how to safely package a patient in a tobogan, basic first aid, and snow and avalanche safety. The teams broke for lunch at the top of Bald Mountain in the Lookout Lodge to enjoy a beautiful spread provided generously by Sun Valley. After lunch the young girafficorns participated in an example dog search where girls got to hide in “snow holes” used for dog training. The Ski Patrol’s search dogs used their scent to locate them, representing how the dogs would work in a real avalanche situation.

To conclude the day each team used beacons, shovels and probes (standard avalanche safety equipment) to find a treasure buried underneath the snow. The girls new skills and hard work led them to a delicious dessert of donut holes!

There was also plenty of hot chocolate, dancing and high fiving throughout the day. Every girl left with a new vocabulary, many new friends, and possibly, newfound aspirations.

A HUGE thank you to the women of the Sun Valley Ski Patrol for their time and effort to make this day fun and educational, to the volunteers who brought great energy and mentorship and to Sun Valley for providing lunch, lift tickets and a videographer/photographer so that we can all remember such an awesome day!

Wild Skills Jr Ski Patrol at Big Sky Resort

Participants skied in groups lead by female ski patrollers

On April 14, 2018, SheJumps Wild Skills hosted Junior Ski Patrol at Big Sky Resort, a day camp where girls learned mountain safety and first aid while working with the strong women of the ski patrol community and SheJumps volunteers. Throughout the day, participants were taught a range of outdoor skills that are utilized by ski patrollers to keep the mountain safe. Topics included first aid, avalanche control, snow science, weather stations, toboggans, avalanche rescue techniques, avalanche dogs and much more.

Pro Patrollers introduce themselves to the Wild Skills participants

The day started at 9:30am with registration, meeting team members and making Junior Ski Patroller cards. Teams consisted of 8-9 participants, 3 SheJumps volunteers and 1-2 Big Sky pro patrollers.

At 10am, the teams participated in a morning meeting lead by Amy who informed the girls about what ski patrol does and reviewed the day’s schedule. Next up, Carolyn recapped what conditions have been like on the mountain and decoded the weather forecast for the girls. Both of these topics are covered in the Big Sky Ski Patrol’s morning meetings each day before going out for control work.

By 10:30 am, the teams were headed up Swifty to start the morning station set which included Patroller led demonstrations in prevention and care of injuries – role playing situations which included making splints and stopping bleeding.

Patroller, Amy, demonstrates how she would care for someone with a leg injury

Next up, teams learned about snowmobiles, toboggans and why patrollers cache gear on the mountain. This station set included finding caches and learning how to load & maneuver the toboggans. Driving toboggans was undoubtedly their favorite part of the day!

This event had 33 participants, 11 volunteers and 8 pro patrollers.

Lunch was hosted in the North Mammoth Room and consisted of everyone’s favorite: PIZZA! Plus fruit, veggies and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!

Patroller, Katie, gets her group ready for their next activity.

After lunch, all teams headed to the top of Powder Seeker for the Hasty Search demonstration. A lead patroller called out the scene as others sprung to action searching with beacons, probing and digging. At one point, rescuers called for more help including a request for an avalanche rescue dog. Boogie and his handler, Tom Kulesza, arrived on scene and within seconds Boogie had recovered the victim, SheJumps Ambassador Rachel Stewart, who had been buried in the dog hole since before the girls arrived at the site.

Many of the girls were surprised to see a person was buried there and couldn’t wait to try out the dog hole for themselves!

Boogie loved the SheJumps girls so much he even wore a tutu!

Patrol continued to search as there was the possibility of multiple burials. The team formed a probe line and conducted a thorough search of the area recovering one more item from the slide path. After the search wrapped, girls were allowed to meet Boogie and greet him with pets. Remember when encountering working dogs like Boogie on the mountain – always ask before greeting them.

Next up, the teams proceeded to their Buried Treasure Hunt locations that were spread throughout the mountain. Patrollers lead the team in how to properly conduct a search utilizing a beacon, probe and shovel. At SheJumps, we strongly believe in education and fun – our events blend both of these elements to make for the safest and most entertaining adventure possible. After tracking down the buried treasure each team uncovered their booty: a beacon & bag full of donut holes.

JulieAnn demonstrates the proper way to use an avalanche beacon

At 3:30pm, all teams gathered for wrap up which included certificates for completing the day and a sweet swag bag filled with goodies from Clif Bar, EcoLips, and the National Ski Patrol Association.

Our goal with SheJumps Wild Skills is to see girls learning, having fun and connecting in an encouraging environment with amazing instruction and support from female mentors. We want Wild Skills to be an experience they will remember, one that will spark a lifetime of passion for the outdoors and will remind them that they are capable of anything. Giving participants, young and old, the opportunity to learn skills in a fun yet challenging setting develops perseverance and fosters confidence. Thanks to all that helped make this program come to life!

A very happy Wild Skills camper

If you’re interested in bringing Junior Ski Patrol to your local hill – contact Wild Skills Director, Christy Pelland cpelland@shejumps.org

Special thanks to our presenting partner:
Clif Bar: http://www.clifbar.com/

Supporting partners:
Big Sky Resort: https://bigskyresort.com/
Big Sky Ski Patrol: https://bsvsp.com/
Ortovox: https://www.ortovox.com/us/
National Ski Patrol Association: https://www.nsp.org/

SUPER High fives to:
Montana Regional Coordinator –
Hailey Leonardson: hleonardson@shejumps.org 

Big Sky Ski Patroller – Rachael Efta!
Big Sky Events Coordinator & SheJumps Ambassador, Rachel Stewart!
For making this event happen! We look forward to hosting many more Wild Skills events in the Big Sky/Bozeman area!

Rockies Region Facebook Group: Montana and Wyoming! 

Honoring our adventure moms

SheJumps is proud to honor adventure mom’s this month in collaboration with our partners at Toad&Co! We took some time to connect with some of our hardworking volunteers. These women not only mentor and inspire women and girls through their work at SheJumps, but also manage to find time to inspire the next generation: their kids.

This Mother’s Day, Toad&Co is giving back to women’s outdoor adventure’s by supporting SheJumps. Toad&Co will be donating 10% of their dress and skirt sales for Mother’s Day weekend to SheJumps.

What adventures will you plan for Mother’s Day weekend? Read on to learn how some of the mom’s of SheJumps jump out.

Cheryl Kockevar

Enumclaw, WA
SheJumps Amabssador: Washington

I spend my winters at Crystal Mountain Ski Resort as the RV Host and SheJumps Representative helping out with hosting ridiculously fun events! Adventure means pushing limits, seeing and experiencing new things and having a blast along the way.

My adventures have changed as a mom in going full circle from sharing my love of the outdoors with my daughter Kristen from the time of her birth when people were pretty critical to mothers taking small children on adventures – to now seeing the adventures being introduced to me by that same daughter! I am beyond thrilled that she still is my “Adventure Buddy” and that moms today getting out there with their kiddos is so much more common. I love that SheJumps allows me to help mentor mothers and daughters in that lifestyle.

Mel Matz

Loveland, CO
Rockies Regional Director

Pre-Wally (my son) I was more of an epic-quester. Each trip had to be bigger, more gnarly, a mountain or route I hadn’t climbed before to check off the list. Since motherhood I’ve learned to appreciate EVERY moment I get out, even if just for one ski run.

When I began exploring, with each activity I picked up I saw my world differently and parenting is no exception, it’s added an incredible new dimension to my life. I’ve never experienced as much happy, sad, mad, preparing, unpreparedness, triumph and failure. I’m forever indebted to my mommy-mentors who have showed me their ways. It’s work to raise a wild child, in itself an adventure, but along the way I’ve had an opportunity to rediscover and redefine myself and I’m grateful for that.

Vanessa Pierce

Salt Lake City, UT
Co-founder of SheJumps, Digital Marketing Director

I’ve always loved adventure, from skiing around the world to getting my pilot’s license. In fact, I liked it so much that it took a while to “settle down.” At 37, I had my first baby, Everett, who is now 15 months old. Everything is just a little tougher with a baby/toddler … but our adventures don’t go away, they just evolve. Everett has been on six airplane trips, one international … went camping at 3 months and this summer I’ll probably be able to put a fishing rod in his hands. We’re a bit more soft core than hard core now when it comes to adventures, but each family is different and needs to do what they need to do. We just go with the flow. I never thought I’d be a mom, but it was the best decision I ever made.

Kelly Drewnowski

Richmond, VA
Southeast Regional Director

Adventure means showing my son the amazing opportunities that await us in the outdoors!  As a mom adventures have become even more important and a vital means to keep our son on his bike or skis, and happily away from screens.





Lauren Hugo

Driggs, ID
Wyoming Regional Coordinator

I’d be lying if I said my sense of adventure hasn’t changed since becoming a mother…it certainly has, but not necessarily as a negative. My level of risk acceptance is totally different and I’m certainly not willing to accept the same amount of risk as I once was. Being a mom has been the biggest and most profound adventure of my life and no line, no ride, or route is worth sacrificing this ultimate privilege.

Being a mother has enabled me to find adventure in the everyday with my son, be it a playground epic, pump track session, or lift-serviced day with my favorite little ski partner. Sharing the stoke, passion, and finding the adventure in everyday pursuits has been the most rewarding adventure of my life!

Partner Profile: Ortovox

At SheJumps, we are committed to promoting safety in the backcountry. From our collaborations like the Snowpack Ale, to bringing women’s only AIARE classes all across the west to our Alpine Finishing School. This winter we’ve added a new element, teaching young girls early on the skills they need through our Wild Skills Junior Ski Patrol.

Our courses teach women and girls how to use their beacon’s, probes and shovels for companion rescue. Our Alpine Finishing School attendees learn Crevasse Rescue, and our young girls learn to find donuts!

As our backcountry Outdoor Education Initiatives have grown, we’re excited to announce our new partnership with Ortovox.

ORTOVOX’s mission, first and foremost, is to promote safety and protection in the backcountry. “We can outfit your whole system, from baselayer to beacon to backpack to education. The ORTOVOX brand believes in organizations like She Jumps because we believe in building skills and education for all winter backcountry users. Together, we can connect these dots, have fun with our friends, and stay safe!” Becky Marcelliano.

In the coming year, Ortovox will be building demo kits for each region to have the gear we need for women and girls to gain hands on experience and gain confidence in their abilities. This spring our Wild Skills Junior Ski Patrol girls kicked off the partnership at Crystal Mountain.

Wild Skills Junior Ski Patrol: Crystal Mountain

On March 31, 2018, SheJumps Wild Skills hosted Junior Ski Patrol at Crystal Mountain a day camp where girls learned mountain safety and first aid while working with the strong women of the ski patrol community and SheJumps volunteers. Throughout the day, participants were taught a range of outdoor skills that are utilized by ski patrollers to keep the mountain safe. Topics included first aid, avalanche control, snow science, weather stations, toboggans, avalanche rescue techniques, avalanche dogs and much more. There was also plenty of snack breaks, high fives and unicorns delivering hot cocoa!

The day started at 9:30am with registration, meeting team members and making Junior Ski Patroller cards. Teams consisted of 8 participants, 3 SheJumps volunteers and 1 Crystal Mountain pro patroller.

At 10am, the teams headed to ski patrol headquarters located at the base of Crystal Mountain. Teams entered in through the ‘Ski Patrol Only’ entrance and cozied up in the patrol locker room for a briefing by ski patrol director, Kim Kircher. Kim talked about what ski patrol does, how they educate the community, the skier’s responsibility code and Q & A. Next teams joined Michelle Longstreth outside the aid room for a demonstration of the vacuum splint system which has replaced the traditional backboard used to transport patients with potential spinal injuries. Girls were taught why the system is used, how to use it and some lucky ones were even wrapped up in it! 

By 11am, Half the teams were headed to the summit and the other half over to Campbell Basin. All teams started the morning station set with First Aid which was housed in tents provided by our generous partner, Big Agnes. Patrollers led demonstrations in prevention and care of injuries – role playing situations which included making splints and stopping bleeding. A big thank you to our program partner, Adventure Medical Kits for providing all the gear needed in order to create this part of the event. 

Next up, teams learned about snowmobiles, toboggans and why patrollers cache gear on the mountain. This station set included finding caches and learning how to load & maneuver the toboggans. Driving toboggans was undoubtedly their favorite part of the day!    

You just can’t go wrong with UNICORNS DELIVERING HOT COCOA! Our team of 5 unicorns delivered piping hot cocoa complete with whipped cream & sprinkles to our 48 participants, 24 volunteers and 6 pro patrollers.

Lunch was included in this event and consisted of everyone’s favorite: PIZZA! Crystal Mountain recently installed a wood fire pizza oven in Campbell Basin Lodge and OH is it amazing!

After lunch, each team was greeted by a unicorn carrying avalanche beacons, probes and shovels. The unicorns gave instructions about the Buried Treasure Hunt and patrollers lead the team in how to properly conduct a search. At SheJumps, we strongly believe in education and fun – our events blend both of these elements to make for the safest and most entertaining adventure possible. After tracking down the buried treasure each team uncovered their booty: a Ortovox beacon & box full of donut holes. Special thanks to Ortovox for providing all the beacons, probes, and shovels for this event.

Once the girls had their fill of donuts, all teams traveled to the runout of Campbell Basin. Christina Dale led a presentation on the avalanche dog program at Crystal Mountain sharing many interesting aspects about the dogs such as how they are trained and how to act around them. Then Kim Haft and Darwin took the stage! At Kim’s command Darwin began his search of the slope – quickly locating the buried item and rescuing it from the snow. Everyone was impressed with his speed and enthusiasm upon recovery!

The afternoon station sets included touring the weather stations and avalanche prevention. At the weather stations, teams learned how data is gathered and how to find & read weather reports. This station also included lessons on snow crystals and the science behind them. The avalanche prevention set included seeing the different control routes at Crystal Mountain as well as stories of past avalanches. Teams discussed terrain assessment, the human factor and the importance of making good decisions.

At 3:30pm, all teams gathered for wrap up which included certificates for completing the day and a sweet swag bag filled with goodies from Clif Bar, Adventure Medical Kits, EcoLips, and the National Ski Patrol Association. Special thanks to our stellar SheJumps ambassador, Cheryl Kochevar, for hand crafting the swag bags for all participants!

Our goal with SheJumps Wild Skills is to see girls learning, having fun and connecting in an encouraging environment with amazing instruction and support from female mentors. We want Wild Skills to be an experience they will remember, one that will spark a lifetime of passion for the outdoors and will remind them that they are capable of anything. Giving participants, young and old, the opportunity to learn skills in a fun yet challenging setting develops perseverance and fosters confidence. Thanks to all that helped make this program come to life!


If you’re interested in bringing Junior Ski Patrol to your local hill – contact Wild Skills Director, Christy Pelland cpelland@shejumps.org


Super high five to our Presenting Partner:

Clif Bar


Special thanks to our supporting partners:

Crystal Mountain Resort

Crystal Mountain Ski Patrol


National Ski Patrol Association

Big Agnes


High fives to our photographers:

Ryan French


Big up to our videographer, Max Chesnut for capturing the magic!


GET THE GIRLS OUT @ Grand Targhee Resort

Written by Rockies Ambassador Mya Akins

SheJumps hosted our first ever Get the Girls Out (GTGO) at Grand Targhee Resort on St. Paddy’s Day. Our GTGO succeeded in gathering girls and women of all ages to celebrate sisterhood, skiing, and unite the women girls of the Tetons. The ladies of Grand Targhee’s Ski School and Patrol volunteered to help SheJumps provide a day filled with learning, skiing, hiking, and, most importantly, having fun. Throughout the day, different events were hosted to inspire all age groups, skill levels, and interests. The main goal of this event was to help cultivate communities for women to support, mentor, challenge, and inspire each other in the outdoor sports world.

The day began shortly after registration with a pep talk from Lauren Hugo and a group picture. Lauren decked herself out in festive garb and got our participants stoked for the day. The ladies and girls had the option of either breaking into different groups to participate in instructional clinics or joining forces for a big group ski together. Of course, these go-getters all wanted to do mini clinics to improve their skiing abilities and work on their foundational skills to become stronger and more confident skiers and riders.

After breaking into groups based on ability, I followed the crew who were focusing on off-piste moguls in a more difficult area. Right as our clinic began, the sun broke out and we had brilliant blue bird skies with a few clouds. The entrance to the run happens to be a mini cornice that you can jump off of, slide into, or go around. Our instructor, Beth, gave tips, tricks, and some advice before showing our group how to properly go off the cornice. To my surprise, every lady (even our younger girls), in the group jumped off! It was so incredible to see how with just a little bit of positive coaching and support, we can improve our own abilities and gain more confidence. At the end of the clinic, we all skied down to the bottom hooting and hollering where we met in front of the ski instructors shack to do a little chant.

Around noon, cloud cover arrived and the snow began to fall! It was chilly for those of us at the tent but the ladies of SheJumps managed to stay warm dancing Irish jigs to the festive music playing over the stereo system in the Plaza.

The day’s next event was led by the ladies of Grand Targhee’s ski patrol. It was open to all ages, however, aimed at younger girls and based off of our Wild Skills Jr. Ski Patrol program. The event consisted of a tour of the patrol shack, an introduction into the everyday life of a patroller, and a beacon search. We wanted to give younger girls a look at possible careers in this area, open them up to build on their passions, and teach them survival and technical skills for safe and fun outdoor adventuring.

The last adventure event of the day was a group hike and ski off “Mary’s Nipple.”Mary’s Nipple is an in-bounds area that is hike-only terrain at Grand Targhee. Before going, we chowed on some snacks from our wonderful partners, Munk Pack, who makes real, healthy, and energizing food. We grouped up at the trailhead and had a quick chat to make sure everyone was informed, ready, and on the same page. I led the charge up the boot pack, while one of Grand Targhee’s instructors and dazzling manicorn, Alex, helped to tail the group. Before shredding the fresh few inches of snow that fell throughout the day, we took a break to catch our breath. We made sure everyone was ready, talked about our plan of action, and then headed towards our next meeting spot. After shredding some fresh powder, sharing giggles and excitement, we headed down to the bottom to begin the raffle and apres party.

Lauren kicked off the raffle with a thank you to all of our sponsors, partners, volunteers and participants. She explained the purpose of SheJumps and Get the Girls Out itself. We had raffle prizes from Sego Ski Co., K2 Skis, Forage restaurant, Teton Rock Gym, Coalition Snow, Darn Tough socks, and so many other wonderful gifts from our sponsors.

Our goal of this event was to create opportunities for women to inspire younger generations and ensure that they have the opportunity to develop life skills necessary to succeed in the mountains. Throughout the day, participants exclaimed how inspiring and exciting this event was. One of them even said that this is the first time she’s really felt comfortable skiing powder, thanks to our wonderful instructors from Targhee. She also stated how she wanted to cry tears of joy from the confidence and experience she gained. This made my heart so happy to see how this event made women feel. It felt great to see how with just a little bit of encouragement and love, the power and confidence that you have inside can come to surface. I felt so lucky to be able to share what gives me joy with others and inspire them to accomplish goals.