A chilly Tuesday evening in Jackson Hole found SheJumpers of the Tetons gathered at the Teton County Search & Rescue facility for our annual Ladies Avalanche Awareness Clinic. Taught by Jackson Hole Outdoor Leadership Institute’s Jacob Urban and Nancy Bockino, this year’s clinic brought a record number of women together, with over fifty women in attendance!
Participants ranged from new backcountry users to ladies with years of experience, a perfect audience for an evening of avalanche safety basics that served as a great introduction or a great refresher, depending on individual backcountry experience. Indeed, Bockino provided a detailed overview of the local avalanche bulletin, including the various information presented on the site and how to interpret information to best inform backcountry travel on an ongoing basis. A favorite aspect of the evening for many women, this provided new backcountry users with an invaluable resource and the ability to utilize the resource while those who have been using the bulletin for years were exposed to some new sources of information on the website.
Urban followed this detailed breakdown by presenting some mapping and routing resources and a “Whats In Your Pack” bit, both of which provided new ideas to women in the crowd. This was followed by a Q&A open discussion that traversed an array of topics of interest to participants.
The evening wrapped up with perhaps the most valuable aspect of the clinic—Bockino’s honest look at what it means to be a female group member in adventure groups. Both personal and pertinent, Bockino discussed the importance of finding your voice in backcountry travel groups and believing that your opinion matters. She discussed the necessity of both finding a mentor but developing the confidence to lead yourself; the confidence to voice opinions and safety concerns that assure you make it home at the end of the day. As those of us in girafficorn nation know, we often find ourselves as the sole female voice in our adventure groups, which can be intimidating, so Bockino’s closing focus on this was powerful and illustrative of why females need to come together in these empowering learning spaces. Indeed, it’s no wonder we had record attendance—we know women want to join us in such spaces and we are glad to provide them.
Thank you to all who joined us and a huge shoutout to Jackson Hole Outdoor Leadership Institute for their time and Teton County Search & Rescue for providing us with a space. Here’s to a safe, snowy winter of pushing ourselves, embracing our femininity and building our female communities in the mountains!