Recap: REI Outessa Summit

The REI Outessa Summit invited SheJumps to send someone to check out their all-women’s camping retreat and we decided to send a graduate from one of our youth programs. We first met Diana Zuniga when she was an attendee to one of Salt Lake’s Boys & Girl’s clubs. Diana participated in our (S)heJumps into the Canyon youth initiative between 2011-2014 and has since become an avid skier. We love that Diana has maintained friendships with the SheJumps volunteer crew in Utah after graduating high school, running into her on trails around the Wasatch and on chairlifts. Here’s her experience at the Outessa event at Powder Mountain in Utah where she continued to learn more about the outdoors, expand her community, and have a blast at this unique event. – Claire Smallwood, Executive Director

Words & Photos: Diana Zuniga

Outessa, was AMAZING! Everyone at the event made it epically indescribable! From our instructors to the event hosts and all the ladies who attended. When I received the opportunity to attend I was mainly excited to learn some new techniques and discover new hobbies. Soon after arriving I knew I was going to enjoy much more than just the new hobbies.

I love the outdoors and I’m not the only one. Everyone I talked to shared their love for the outdoors, too. It’s where we can find peace in a crazy world, an absolute utopia. I enjoyed it so much; the activities, the wonderful inspiring ladies I got to meet, and not to mention the scrumptious food! In the end the experience that was shared with me was wonderful in every aspect. I’m now fortunate enough to say I met some ladies who I can contact to have a good time with. Yes! More people to relate to and enjoy their company in the outdoors.

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Then there’s the few heroes who made the adventure possible: my SheJumpers of course, REI’s Linda Curzon and her team, and the wonderful sponsorship organizer, Julia Mallon.

First up: Mountain biking vs road biking… I choose mountain biking hands down! You cannot beat this beautiful chilly scenic mountain view. It was so accelerating and challenging! We had a few ladies including myself that had never ridden a mountain trail before but we all did great. We all declared mountain biking as one of our hobbies.

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Saturday morning, I woke up around 6 am, got some fresh brewed coffee and sat out by the edge next to our campground on a calm log with some kind ladies. One who was Martina, she told me about her life. She went to school and finished with her degree. She said she had a good desk job but it wasn’t ideal for her. She ended up showing her photography to the boss and now she is doing what she loves: taking amazing photos and managing the finances. It gives me hope that one day I’ll be able to relate my education with something I enjoy doing like skiing. Check out the sunrise she helped me capture!

Outessa Sunrise

After a mesmerizing Saturday morning, I went climbing. I got to try climbing shoes for the first time and wow, they work wonders! Our RAD group of climbers all made it to the top and learned to belay!

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Look at the wonderful community!

Here, at the (portable) mini Ikea fireplace I developed killer friendships! Cheyenne from the University of Utah; she was so fearless. I can’t wait for our first adventure. Maybe we’ll go rock climbing or skiing because she does both! I even met some girls from Colorado who are in a women’s group called the Bold Bettys.

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More beautiful views! Our last dinner was a couple miles from campground the group walked there. Here’s a photo of dandy deer I met on my way.

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Our last meal together a delicious arugula salad with King crab scattered all over the table, potatoes, yams, corn bread, and baked cauliflower. And did I say King crab scattered everywhere? It was so yummy, Linda and I ate as much as our tummies allowed us. What an unforgettable weekend!

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This little guy greeted me when I got home. Too bad he didn’t have as much fun as I did this weekend!

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Diana Zuniga is a mountain biker, climber, skier, future pilot, & SheJumper from SLC.