Sorry I’ve gone missing in the past few weeks. In addition to some new work projects that have kept me busy in the 9-to-5 sense, I am now serving as the head instructor for an OEC (ski-patrol medical) class in our area—a task that is equal parts inspiring and exhausting. So rather than writing about all the cool and interesting experiences I’ve been having on the trails and on the slopes (no snow yet, but it won’t be long!), I’ve been putting together slide presentations and skill sessions for that class. Like I said: Inspiring and exhausting.
Now that I’ve managed to carve out a few extra minutes, I want to share an experience I had at the ski-patrol refresher at Gore, where we will be patrolling this winter.
Everyone at the day-long training session was warm and welcoming. But I felt a special sense of inclusion from the other women patrollers, most of whom made a special point of introducing themselves and welcoming me to the mountain. In one instance, a brief introduction led to a long, impassioned discussion about how giving young girls the opportunity to play outside can change the world.
It left me with a warm, fuzzy feeling, and the sense that we may be approaching a sort of tipping point in the world of women’s participation in outdoor and adventure sports. Sure, we’re still a minority. But all over the place, I see signs of progress. At a screening of this year’s Warren Miller movie, Ticket to Ride, last Saturday, I was thrilled to see multiple scenes featuring only female skiers—not just scenes with a token girl skiing in a sea of dudes. There are big-mountain ski camps geared exclusively toward women, such as the one pro skier Ingrid Backstrom holds in Chile every summer (anyone wanna sponsor my attendance there?).
Organizations such as She Jumps are encouraging women and girls to get outside and play. And then there’s She Jumps founder Lynsey Dyer’s all-female ski movie. I’m inspired every time I watch the trailer, which is set to a song whose lyrics ask: “Have I ever really helped/anybody but myself/to believe in the power of songs/to believe in the power of girls?”
That new OEC class I’m teaching has several girls and young women in it. Who knows—maybe simply by believing in their power, I can help push us closer to that tipping point.