This year, the Inland Northwest region of SheJumps hosted its third annual Avalanche Awareness Clinic in Spokane, WA in partnership with Gonzaga Outdoors and Gonzaga University. SheJumps partnered with our local avalanche experts Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center (IPAC) and Idaho Panhandle Backcountry to provide an introduction to avalanche safety in the backcountry. Our event focuses on safety and awareness for those venturing into backcountry skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. While full of education, this clinic is designed to be fun and encouraging, not scary or overwhelming. Travelling into the backcountry can be intimidating and this clinic gives both basic knowledge and refreshers for the experienced, giving some the courage they need to jump into the unknown!
Our clinic is the regional highlight of introduction to avalanche safety in large part to our sponsors, whose donations make our individual goodie bags and grand prizes one of the best raffles in area!
The SheJumps national sponsors, Treeline Coffee Roasters, Eco Lips, and Essential Wipes do an incredible job hooking up the first 10 ladies with goodie bags full of their great products! Kind Snacks once again provided a table full of their latest snacks to sample and take home; a few lucky raffle winners even walked away with boxes of Kind bars to help fuel their backcountry adventures!
SheJumps events are women-specific, but it always makes me glad to see the amount of support our events receive from dads, sons and brothers – this year was no exception! Avalanche safety is not a singular pursuit, and the more families, friends and partnerships who partake make the experience fun and meaningful! Our events, while focusing on the importance of increasing the engagements of young girls and women in outdoor pursuits and education, are not exclusive but inclusive.
This year we were excited to showcase Annie the avalanche rescue dog who melted the hearts of everyone. SheJumps events strive to be fun and engaging, yet avalanche safety is no joke. Our instructors make our avalanche clinic rewarding and educational. This year we were lucky to once again welcome Larry Banks from Panhandle Backcountry, a company promoting backcountry skiing and splitboarding in Eastern Washington, North Idaho and Northwestern Montana. We also welcomed back Jeff Thompson, the Director at Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center (IPAC).
It is inspiring to see so many women of all ages (our youngest attendee was only 2 weeks old!) absorb the significance of backcountry safety with eagerness. For many of our attendees this was their first exposure to the curriculum. Their responsiveness to the videos and engaging questions to expand on the already extensive material was impressive!
Attendees were able to see first hand how Recco search devices work, live demonstrations of airbags, and how to use beacons, shovels and probes.
Amongst all the seriousness, we had a bit of fun. Once again, our sponsors provided the goods to make this the best raffle yet!
The support from these local businesses was spectacular: The Sports Creel, Wild Walls, Spokane Alpine Haus, Physical Therapy Associates, SOLE, IPAC, Panhandle Backcountry, Gonzaga Outdoors, Gonzaga University, and Longleaf Wilderness Medicine. Our local sponsors give a genuine touch and show just how important avalanche safety is to our local community.
We also received a received an extraordinary amount of support and prizes from our national and international sponsors at Outdoor Research, Mervin Manufacturing, Genuine Guide Gear (G3), Arbor, Tailgate Industries, One-Ball, Spark R&D, Warren Miller Entertainment, Athleta, and Kind Snacks! There were bags, jackets, goggles, shirts, and even a cotton candy Roxy splitboard (thanks Mervin MFG!) that were raffled off! Proceeds of the event went to SheJumps.org to aid in keeping our youth events free and a portion of proceeds also benefited our local avalanche center Friends of Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center so they can continue to help keep us all safe in the backcountry!
One thing we like to do at this event is to provide an avenue for those who would like to continue their backcountry education. This year, Jamie Terry with Selkirk Outdoor Leadership and Education (SOLE) set up a table to promote several continuing classes in avalanche safety. SOLE generously donated a scholarship for a youth’s specific AIARE Level 1, highlighting that our youth should be fully knowledgeable in the backcountry as well. Our next local SheJumps event is a women-specific AIARE Level 1 taught in collaboration with SOLE on January 19th-21, 2018 in Libby, Montana. You can learn more about the course here.
These events don’t just happen on their own! To our instructors who have made this a yearly service to our community, the outstanding generosity of our sponsors in support of our event and raffle, and especially our volunteers, who without their enthusiasm and love for the SheJumps mission, events like this just wouldn’t happen; Thank You!
Big Thanks to our sponsors!
As well as: The Sports Creel, Wild Walls, Spokane Alpine Haus, Physical Therapy Associates, SOLE, IPAC, Longleaf Wilderness Medicine, Genuine Guide Gear (G3), Arbor, Tailgate Industries, One-Ball, Spark R&D, Warren Miller Entertainment, Athleta.