Updated: Mar 23
We couldn’t do it without you.
Starting with a small beginning, the SheJumps Snowpack Scholarship launched in 2018 with 30 low-cost or fully paid-for avalanche courses for women in the Pacific Northwest. With an incredible response from the community, the program grew. In four years, the Snowpack Scholarship has more than doubled, in part, due to our amazing partners that want to support education and access to women in snowsports.
The initiative all began with three women passionate about increasing outdoor access and education in the snow industry–Krystin Norman, Yulia Dubinina, and Charlotte Guard. “A huge priority of the Snowpack Scholarship program is to create opportunities for underrepresented folks and folks who need financial assistance to afford to participate in snow sports,” Krystin stated. With this in mind, 60.2% of avalanche course scholarships were awarded to self-identified Women of Color this winter.
Left to Right: Krystin, Yulia, and Charlotte. Photos by Ryan French
There are two tracks to the Snowpack Scholarships: avalanche education scholarships and resort-skiing scholarships. In the winter of 2021-2022, SheJumps received 433 applications and awarded 68 avalanche education scholarships across six states–Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado for Level 1 Avalanche Courses and a Level 2 Companion Rescue Course. On top of that, 15 Ikon Passes with lessons and gear were provided to recipients of the resort-skiing scholarship.
“After this season, we will have helped 162 women get their AIARE L1 or L2 certification, and 33 women access resort snowboarding and skiing with an Ikon Pass,” stated Krystin. “This program has a HUGE impact on the snow sports community.”
With a passion for supporting community-led efforts and non-profits, the Seattle-based brewing company Fremont Brewing creates a new brew for the Snowpack Scholarship each year. In its fourth time around the sun, the 2022 beer is a Hazy Pale Ale (a perfect addition to any aprés).
Also founded in Washington State, K2 Skis is not shy about gender equity in the snowsports industry and is one of the first brands to create women-specific skis back in 1999. Two decades later, K2 Women’s Alliance still runs strong by supporting the creation of innovative gear along with the team of women skiing them.
Fremont, K2, and NWAC remain incredible supporters of the program. This winter, they sponsored 10 spots in the AIARE Level 1 course in Steven’s Pass in Washington and 10 in Mount Baker in Oregon, led by instructors from Alpine Ascents International. That’s not all. Expanding into Idaho’s Bogus Basin, they also provided financial assistance for 10 AIARE Level 1 spots through Sawtooth Mountain Guides with support from the Sawtooth Avalanche Center.
Wyoming and Montana
Photo by Siena Hester
In 2022, Montucky Cold Snacks sponsored 20 avalanche education scholarships in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and White Fish, Montana instructed by The Mountain Guides. “The Snowpack Scholarship invites women into the backcountry by offering classes that will help them make important decisions when venturing out into fascinating, but high consequence, spaces,” said Jeremy Gregory, co-founder of Montucky Cold Snacks. In 2021, the company also provided two spots in both California and New Hampshire courses through Backcountry Babes and SheJumps.
Part of Montucky Cold Snacks’ mission is to give 8% of the profits back to local causes. “We feel that by providing these classes, participants are able to garner the tools they need to feel more comfortable when entering the backcountry environment and enjoying all the wonders to behold there,” he added.
Photo by Alyssa Gonzalez
In the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Dynafit and Pomoca supported 12 avalanche education scholarships through Colorado Mountain School in 2022. Both companies have been pivotal in progressing the ski mountaineering world, with many of their female athletes shattering endurance records in the mountains.
Photo by Yasmine Hashemi
Another first for this winter, Weston Backcountry and AIARE supported six sports for the AIARE Level 2 + Companion Rescue, with 100% of the scholarships awarded to self-identified Women of Color. Guided by Alpine Ascents International in the Mount Baker Wilderness, the curriculum continues the Level 1 Avalanche Course. While not all participants may go on to become avalanche industry professionals, the certification is key to progression avalanche knowledge and decision making skills.
Since the company’s inception in 2012, Weston has been a massive supporter of fostering community and expanding avalanche education in the backcountry. The partnership with AIARE and SheJumps was a natural fit. In the process, Weston created a touring ski called ‘Summit Skis,’ with artist Brooklyn Bell and donated a portion of the proceeds to the Snowpack Scholarship.
Photo by Nora Cata
Understanding that avalanche education is secondary to learning how to ski, Alterra Mountain Company donated 15 Ikon Pass scholarships for the 21/22 winter season, along with a full-day ski or snowboard lesson and a one-day gear rental package. Nordica donated skis, boots, and bindings to all participants as well. Much like the AIARE Level 2 course, 100% of the scholarships were awarded to self-identified Women of Color.
“When SheJumps approached us about the Snowpack Scholarship, we were excited to partner with and support an organization dedicated to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in mountain communities,” stated Katie Steinharter of Alterra Mountain Company. “The Snowpack Scholarship, along with the Ikon Passes and lessons provided, allows women to enter the industry at a more accessible level and feel more comfortable exploring skiing or riding by lowering the financial barrier.”
To become involved with the SheJumps Snowpack Scholarship Program, reach out at email@example.com.
SheJumps is an inclusive organization. We welcome all women and girls (transgender and cisgender) as well as non-binary people who identify with the women’s community. SheJumps strives to be an ally in the fight against racism and acknowledges that our events and programs take place on traditional, unceded Indigenous lands.