Winter 2011-12 Women's Adventure Magazine

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WINTER 2011/12

Happiness Is


Fresh Powder Blue Skies Friends

Why is

Kasha Rigby

a Wild Thing? See page 32

Woman of the World Helen Thayer THRIVE IN THE WILD™ $4.99 US $6.99 CAN V9N4

Great Tips for Solo Trips Make Tracks to a Backcountry Hut

WINTER 2011/12 Display Until February 29

Skate Skiing, Avalanche Awareness, Snowshoes, Snow Biking, and More!





Table of Contents



Features Gift Guide SPECIAL SECTION


Find the right gifts for active adventure women on your list. And take advantage of special offers!

Traveling to Teach Helen Thayer travels the world to immerse herself in its multitude of cultures and bring those experiences home to kids through Adventure Classroom.

Active Advocacy


Molly, Donna, and Michele are active philanthropists who help others get to the next level in their sporting endeavors and support good causes.




10 On the Map

A world of adventure awaits

12 Pinpoint

Backcountry bliss

14 Trends

Snow style

16 Manhandle Say what?

17 Media Reviews Winter reading







26 Dream Job

Founder of Las Olas Surf Safaris

28 I’m Proof

You’re never too young for adventure

30 Try This

32 Beyond

Being a wild thing

42 Roar

Peaks Foundation

20 It’s Personal

Women’s Adventure trip

22 Discuss


Closing the generation gap

Worthy of note

50 Avalanche


Why you should take a course

52 Skate Ski

How to glide like a pro

6 Marketplace 6 7 Partnerships 6 8 Musings 6

Snow biking

18 Psychobabble

Adventure travel alone?


44 Your Adventure

46 Destinations


Get ready for the white stuff! Snowshoes and layering systems for winter.

© Wolverine Outdoors 2011

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Isabel Eva Bohrer A freelance writer

and photographer, Isabel Eva has dispatched pieces from more than 20 countries across five continents. With over six years experience in the travel publishing industry, she has contributed to National Geographic, Vogue, W magazine, VegNews magazine, Private Clubs magazine, Luxury Home Quarterly, as well as numerous other print and online publications, including art catalogues for the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Whether teaching English at a bilingual school in Argentina, volunteering at an AIDS clinic in Tanzania, or participating in a sustainable tourism seminar in Morocco, Isabel Eva strongly believes in traveling with a purpose. She also currently serves as assistant to the Editorin-Chief at She aspires to share her adventures and advice through eloquent writing alongside eye-catching images. Learn more about her work at



Ski in the trees while it’s snowing.


Cook and sip wine with friends in a cozy cabin. Yahoo… snowshoe!


Jill Missal


Sit by the wood stove and knit.

EDITOR IN CHIEF REBECCA HEATON Art Director Rebecca Finkel Web Director Susan Hayse


Sing while I shovel snow.

Assistant Editor Jennifer Olson Copy Editor Mira Perrizo

Contributing Writers Adam Chase, Laura Binks, Isabel Eva Bohrer, Sally Francklyn, Melissa Gaskill, Jill Missal, Maggie Neal Doherty, Kasha Rigby, and Molly Sprayregen


I love to go sledding.

Raised on an Alaskan island, Jill Missal is as authentic as they come, and she still calls the frozen North her home. Her passion for the outdoors led her to launch, a website for women outdoor enthusiasts, and to pursue as much adventure as possible. While not working as CEO of her emergency management consulting firm, Missal LLC, Jill volunteers as an avalanche rescue dog handler—both endeavors have brought her to parts of Alaska that most people don’t even know exist. Tops on her list is the summer spent burning down illegal structures for the U.S. government in the wilds of Alaska. Jill’s next adventure is to parlay her travels and exploits into freelance writing, and her fat tire biking article in this issue is her first published work.

Editorial Intern Laura Binks

Contributing Photographers Andy Bardon, Guy Bell, John Dye, Susan L. Eckert, Daniel Folmar, Candace Horgan, Daniel Keebler, USSA/Tom Kelly, Kreutz Photography, Cameron Lawson, Brian Looney, Stephen Matera, Shaun McGrath, Brian Mohr, Michaela Precourt, Sandy Puc, Bernd Ritschel, Donnie Sexton, Lauren Shviraga, Michéle Taylor

SUBMISSIONS For contributor’s guidelines, visit Editorial queries or submissions should be sent to Photo queries should be sent to Women’s Adventure is always looking for new and innovative products for women. For consideration, please send non-returnable samples to 3360 Mitchell Lane, Suite E, Boulder, CO 80301




Snowshoe under a full moon.

Key Accounts Sue Sheerin Make first tracks after a new snowfall.

Laura Binks

After working as a research assistant and teacher, Laura decided to pursue her passion for writing about health, fitness, nutrition, food, and outdoor adventures. Laura earned a Bachelor’s degree in exercise science from North Dakota State University and a Master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado in exercise physiology. She wrote about the Peaks Foundation for this issue’s Roar piece, and interviewed an amazing ultra-runner for I’m Proof. She has been an editorial intern at Backpacker and is currently interning with Women’s Adventure. She has also written for Laura loves to explore, and recently spent time camping and canyoneering in Utah, as well as hiking, whitewater rafting, and fly-fishing in Montana. She’s looking forward to some winter adventures next.

2  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12

What is one of your favorite things to do in winter?

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Account Manager Lisa Sinclair 970 556 3279


Go ice-skating!

Multi-Tasker Extraordinaire Laura Brigham

Multi-Tasker Extraordinaire Meghan Maloney Sledding! You can never be too old.




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On December 4, Andrea Quigley and five other women will embark on a trans-Atlantic rowing race from the Canary Islands to Barbados. They are the first-ever six-woman crew to compete in the Woodvale Challenge Atlantic Rowing Race. Read our Q&A with Andrea as she and her team prepare for this ultimate adventure.

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At Women’s Adventure, we practice what we preach. Check out reviews of our favorite gear every Tuesday.



Gear Fridays



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From the Editor


grew up in New England, born in Vermont and then raised in New Hampshire. Every fall, when the trees would transform their leaves to vibrant red, orange, and gold, I would lament the influx of leaf-peeping tourists instead of taking the time to simply enjoy the beauty around me. I didn’t appreciate the reason why thousands of out-of-staters were making the trek to my home states... until I became one of them. This October, I had the opportunity to visit my old stomping grounds with my husband during foliage season on a special trip with Chevrolet. Why? To try out their new Volt electric car and tour New England’s spectacular foliage-lined roads. The Volt was a treat to experience. I currently drive a ’96 Subaru Outback, which gets me where I want to go. But it runs 100 percent on gas. In comparison, the Volt is a high-tech “computer with wheels” that runs smooth and silent with a mostly battery-powered engine. I like to think I have a light carbon footprint, because even though I have a car, it sits in my driveway because I bike to work. As one who spends a lot of time in the outdoors, I want the air to be as clean as possible. So I’m excited to see car companies build electric cars with lower emissions to lighten their carbon footprints.









When the battery ran out, our Volt’s engine automatically shifted to using gas. On our first day driving just under 60 miles, we barely used any fuel and averaged 68 miles per gallon because of our 35 battery miles. That’s pretty amazing.

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According to several transportation studies, 80 percent of car commutes are less than 40 miles. Our Volt had a battery charge for up to 35 miles. So if most people were driving a car like the Volt, the bulk of their drives would use zero gas. If they have solar panels, they could charge the car and drive these daily commutes both carbon- and guilt-free!

It’s been almost 20 years since I last experienced autumn in New England, and it was special to revisit there behind the wheel of a car of the future. I hope to one day own such a car and be part of the move to a clean energy future. I also hope to return sooner than later to those beautiful hues.




Have you ever pondered if “jorp� is a word?


Vicki Beaudoin and Emily Johnson warm up to a round of Boggle at the edge of the great northern Patagonia Ice Sheet, in Chile’s endangered Rio Baker watershed, during a month-long skiing adventure through the region.

On The Map

On the Map

Adventurous women and opportunities to create your own adventure this winter

Tubbs Snowshoes is celebrating 10 years of romping with the Romp to Stomp Breast Cancer Snowshoe Series in 2012. Since its inception in 2003, the series has raised more than $1.7 million for breast cancer awareness, education, and research. The series kicks off in January with stops in Oregon, New Jersey, Minnesota, Vermont, and Ontario, Canada, with four more stops in February and March. At each event, Tubbs offers free demo snowshoes and participants can choose from a 3K or 5K snowshoe walk or a 3K race.

The Swiss-style Alpine House in Jackson, Wyo., is hosting Backcountry Ski Weeks, with one week reserved just for women, March 11–17. Located in the heart of Jackson, the lodge is partnering with Exum Mountain Guides and professional ski guide Jessica Baker for this special backcountry experience in Grand Teton National Park. The week includes an afternoon of avalanche training, a day of in-bounds skiing at Jackson Hole Resort, a 60-minute massage, a yoga session, and more.

Anchorage, AK



Minnesota Jackson, WY


San Francisco

New Jersey

San Diego

The Alaska Ski for Women is North America’s largest women-only cross-country ski event. Celebrating its 16th year, the event will be held in Anchorage, Alaska, on February 12, 2012. Women of all ages and abilities participate in one of four events—skate/freestyle race, classic ski race, 8K duathlon (skate and classic race), or the un-timed funfor-all party wave. Costumes are encouraged! Ski for Women raises money for local non-profit organizations that help women and children who are victims of domestic abuse.

Canary Islands


Costa Rica

Expect loads of shiny bling, sassy feather boas, and a rainbow of colorful tutus when the SHAPE Diva Dash kicks off the 2012 season at Mission Bay in San Diego on January 21, 2012. This women-only 5K adventure-obstacle run requires running, jumping, climbing, splashing, and dashing to the finish line over a challenging course. Other cities in the 2012 SHAPE Diva Dash lineup include Austin, Denver, and Boston.

She has kayaked the Mississippi River, 2,300 miles from source to sea, and completed the 245-mile paddle-a-thon from the mountains to the San Francisco Bay. Now, Danielle Katz is focusing on 12 Rivers in 2012, her awareness campaign surrounding 12 critical California watersheds. The campaign begins January and involves paddling 12 rivers from their headwaters to the ocean—about 2,000 miles total—and events with local non-profits working on these watersheds to promote river conservation, recreation, and responsible use of water resources. 10  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12


Need an escape from the chill of winter? Then join Women’s Quest for an all-women’s Surf & Yoga Retreat, March 25–31, in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Retreat goers will experience the joy of surfing every morning at Playa Hermosa (“beautiful beach” in Spanish), and stretch their bodies and minds doing yoga every afternoon to the sounds of the ocean. There will also be plenty of down time to discover the true meaning of “Pura Vida,” or as Costa Rican’s say “Pure Life.”

For the first time ever, a six-woman crew will row across the Atlantic Ocean as part of the Woodvale Challenge Atlantic Rowing Race and have dubbed their journey Row of Freedom. The purpose: to break a world record and to raise money and awareness of human trafficking around the world. The race begins December 4, 2011, and travels 3,000 miles from the Canary Islands to Barbados. Ranging in age from 22 to 45 and hailing from four countries—the U.S., United Kingdom, Ireland, and UAE—the crew will be at their paddles 24x7, with three rowing at a time, switching out every two hours to eat and sleep.

Visit womensadventuremagazine. com for a Q&A with team skipper Andrea Quigley.



Ski Divas is hosting a women’s trip for advanced skiers to the southern French Alps in La Grave, France, March 4–10, 2012. Led by Jessica Baker, a former big mountain freeskiing champion, the camp will focus on steep skiing skills, along with alpine safety, glacial travel, and avalanche awareness. Being in France, the trip will of course include plenty of local wine and cheese and French language workshops, plus daily yoga. Très bien!

After an unsuccessful legal battle for inclusion at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, women’s ski jumping will be on the program for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) twice rejected women’s ski jumping for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, saying the sport lacked enough elite competitors. A documentary called “Ready to Fly” is coming out this winter about U.S. jumper Lindsey Van and the U.S. team’s successful battle to get into the Olympic Games.






Run 26.2 miles under the watchful eye of Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 meters), at the Kilimanjaro Marathon, February 26, 2012, in Tanzania. The mostly flat race, which also includes a half marathon and 5K, travels on paved roads with enthusiastic crowds cheering runners along. The route passes through farms, villages, banana and coffee plantations, and patches of forest. Combine this race with a Kilimanjaro climb, or a safari to the Serengeti; race organizers will help with travel packages.

REAL = regular exercise, active lives—that’s what the annual REAL Women’s Duathlon series is all about. Entering its 5th year, the nine-race series will once again host fun, noncompetitive races around New Zealand in 2012. Each duathlon is a 3.5K walk or run, 10K bike, and 1.5K walk or run, and women also have the option for just a 5K walk or run. The series kicks of February 12 in Auckland, with eight races to follow through April.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, AdventureWomen travel is leading an all-women’s trip to Burma and Laos, February 15–28, 2012. Participants will have a unique experience exploring these two Buddhist countries, which are the most exotic and least visited areas by tourists in southeast Asia. Stops include the city of Yangon, with its awe-inspiring Shwedagon Pagoda; the ancient ruins of Bagan, a remarkable archaeological site; and Inle Lake, home to a native tribe known for their floating vegetable gardens.

New Zealand

WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  11



Backcountry Bliss Hut trips are a good reason to say goodbye to that chairlift By Sally Francklyn


here’s a quiet noise unique to backcountry travel—your ski skins gliding across densely packed snowflakes, lungs heaving to move air, and Lodgepole pines bending beneath the wind’s gentle pressure. Your quads burn as you haul your heavy pack onwards and upwards, but the rewards are worth it: A cozy hut awaits, and expansive terrain, vacant of other skiers, begs to be explored. When the world’s first chairlift was installed in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 1936, Sun Valley skiers rejoiced. Today, there are more than 1,000 ski resorts in the world that use chairlifts to shuttle skiers uphill. Recent innovations in ski gear, however, are changing our reliance on the chairlift, and it’s easier than ever to reach the backcountry: telemark and alpine touring (AT) boots, skis, and bindings can adapt between uphill and downhill travel. So this winter, pencil in an international hut trip between ski resort visits. The digs are cheap, the snow is untracked, and evenings conclude with a plastic glass of wine enjoyed among friends. The energy expelled to reach the hut is always worth it—every day’s a powder day when no one else is around.

Tasman Saddle Hut Aoraki, New Zealand

New Zealand’s highest peak, Mt. Cook, tops out at over 12,000 feet, and the surrounding glacial terrain is home to some of the South Pacific’s best ski touring. Although it’s difficult to access (you must hire a ski plane or helicopter to access the glacier), the payoff is worth it; the Tasman Saddle hut accesses skiing on both the Murchison and Tasman glaciers. Spend a few days descending mellow snowy chutes and wind-buffed bowls, but make sure you’ve got the knowhow to navigate glacial terrain—the surrounding area is dotted with seracs (house-sized blocks of ice) and icefall. Go: From Queenstown, drive

north to Mt. Cook National Park. Stay at The Hermitage Hotel, the area’s only lodging, and reserve a ski plane to shuttle you to the glacier (round-trip flights start at just under $700 U.S.). Make sure the weather is favorable—New Zealand is prone to windy winters (and no-fly days). The Tasman Saddle hut (does not require reservations) is perched at over 7,000 feet, and holds 24 bunks, gas stoves, and pots and pans. Bring a sleeping bag, food, and a deck of cards.

Refugio Frey, Argentina More like a chalet than a true hut—a stay at Refugio Frey includes hot meal service (or use of the kitchen to cook for yourself) and cold beers—not to mention flushing toilets. Don’t be fooled by the luxe accommodations: the “refuge” is buried deep in the Andes backcountry, and the surrounding terrain is true Patagonia—steep, expert-only snow-choked spires that give way to wide-open aprons. As with any South American adventure, expect ample snow, good wine, and bright starry nights. GO: Start at Cerro Catedral, a ski

resort outside of Bariloche. From the top of the lift, ski down to the valley on the other side—from there, it’s a steep 45-minute skin up to Frey. Upon your arrival, you’ll be greeted with a hot bowl of soup, a cold beer, and smiling Argentinian hospitality. The granite hut costs less than $12 per night, and sleeps up to 40 people on beds complete with sheets and pillows. Groups of any size can book part, or all, of the hut.

Wapta Icefields

Banff, British Columbia

Canada’s classic ski traverse features four huts located along the Continental Divide, and is home to some of Western Canada’s best backcountry skiing. The big, open terrain is mellow (about as difficult as a blue run at a ski resort), but for more committing ascents and descents, the area’s 10,000-foot peaks beg to be summitted. Make sure you’ve got the savvy to handle glacier terrain, with its crevasses and seracs.

Bernese Oberland Interlaken, Switzerland

Europe’s Haute Route is iconic, yes—but it’s becoming increasingly well traveled. Beat the crowds on an equally celebrated hut-to-hut tour on the Swiss Berner Oberland. The intermediate six-day traverse among 12  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12

the Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger is a mountaineer’s paradise, and varied ski ascents and descents provide ample space for plowing through powder. GO: From Interlaken, Switzerland,

ride the train to the Jungfraujoch

Station, about a 2.5-hour ride on the highest railway system in the world. From there, you’ll begin the traverse between four alpine huts, known for their good food and hot showers. Just over $1,500 covers a guide, food, and the hut reservation.

car at Icefields parkway just outside of Banff. While guides aren’t necessary, use of one might make logistics and route finding a bit easier. The huts are fully stocked with dishes, lanterns, and outhouses (don’t forget your own TP), so all you’ll need is a sleeping bag. Insider tip: the Alpine Club of Canada will deliver food for you if you make arrangements in advance. The huts can be reserved for $36 a night per person.



GO: Fly into Calgary and leave a

WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  13



Snow Style When you’re stepping out on a snowy day, slide your tootsies into a pair of warm winter boots. These comfy, funky slip-ons will keep your feet protected from the snow and slush

Columbia McQueen, $140; Made of waterproof suede, these boots have a grippy rubber outsole for great traction in the white stuff. WARM FACTOR: Fleece lining with Omni-Heat insulation.

Keen Golden Boot, $140; The adjustable knit collar—fold it up or down—gives these winter boots some added style. WARM FACTOR: Microfleece lining.

Patagonia Fiona Quilted Mid, $160; This quilted boot is water-resistant and has a 100 percent recycled upper and lining. WARM FACTOR: Ultra-cozy PrimaLoft Eco insulation.

Timberland Crystal Mountain Waterproof Mid Pull-On Boot, $155; The fully waterproof leather and nylon upper will keep your feet dry. WARM FACTOR: 30 percent recycled fleece lining and moisture-wicking SmartWool foot bed.

Merrell Katia Waterproof, $180; These fashionable and (fake) furry slip-ons use Merrell’s hiking boot technology, making them extra sturdy in the snow. WARM FACTOR: Opti-warm low bulk insulation.

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Tecnica Moon Boot Classic, $100; These classic boots come in a rainbow of colors, including the actual Moon Boot Rainbow style ($150). WARM FACTOR: A puffy polyester lining.

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Say What? Looking to find Mr. Sporty Right? Here are three pick-up line strategies for athletic types By Adam W. Chase


’m the sort of small, skinny guy who feels like Woody Allen when it comes to using pick-up lines. That said, I did compose one for a humor column called “Boulder’s Best Pick-up Line” around 10 years ago that went something like, “I have an altitude chamber.” Picture all the sporty, wanna-be-pro women in my athletic town of Boulder, Colo., who would bite at that bait. Well, I never used that line. But I still do have the altitude chamber.

We stand for wildlife, thriving pines, hiking, fishing, boating, biking, climbing and camping out. We think that educating people is the key to land protection, and believe that when people know how to take care of their lands, they will forge the path to protect them. Because when it comes to healthy lands, we’re all in this together.

Should sporty women use pick-up lines? Some argue that we men aren’t too smart, so the line should merely serve to hit us over the head and alert us to your interest. Many a modern athletic woman has learned that a line can be a means to open the door, not merely seal the obvious deal. Once you’ve cracked it, a good man will come storming through. We may be dumb, but men can detect contrived pick-up lines as well as any woman, and the kind of guy you’d ensnare with a premeditated tactic isn’t really the type of guy you’d want, is it? For more spontaneous indicators of interest, I’ve divided the game of pick-up lines among athletic types into three strategies: 1. The Compliment.

Avoid the schmaltzy stuff like, “Dang, you must have really clean clothes ’cause that’s one heck of a washboard you’re sporting!” However, we guys tend to respond readily to well-placed assurances or acknowledgments. Male athletes or outdoorsmen may appear confident, but we suffer the same insecurities as anyone. Your encouragement is always wel16  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12

come, appreciated, and a great way to start things off if you’re intrigued. If you’re chatting with a guy who runs, for example, ask him about his recent race times and praise him for just getting out and competing. If he ran an exceptional race time, all the more to compliment him on. 2. Prestidigitation.

Use of the sleight of hand can get you where you want to be. Pick a topic that makes for an easy conversation starter. Gear is always safe. Ask about what type of wax he’s using on his skis, what bike he’s riding, what is his favorite brand of running shoe? If he has a dog, that’s an excellent source for an opener. Who doesn’t love talking about their four-legged friend? If you have a dog, that’s an added bonus to keep the conversation going and perhaps schedule a play date for the pups… and the owners. 3. Challenge.

A real man will appreciate a woman who makes him better, even one who can kick his ass. There’s always the phrase “on your left” that you say when passing someone on a bike ride or run to kick things off. Athletic men often appreciate a woman who is speedier than them, and, once passed, they may attempt to step it up a notch to keep up and start a conversation. Once, I was smitten by a woman doing a track stand on her road bike at a stoplight. As I rode up on her left side, she glanced at me over her mirrored sunglasses, gave me a precious “wanna race?” look, and then dusted me when the light changed to green. Of course, I never saw her again. n Author’s note: This is a humor column. I’m not a heterosexualist; just a male writing a men’s column in a women’s magazine.

Media Reviews


Winter Reading Tuck up under a cozy blanket with these three books

Running Tours for Adventurous Women!

Kilimanjaro Half Marathon & 5K

By Molly Sprayregen

When The Dust Settled


ollowing the death of her mother, Tamara Littrell travels with her sister and father to the many different places they lived during her childhood. Each location springs old and repressed memories to life, prompting Littrell and her sister to relive the feelings of growing up with a semiabusive, alcoholic father. When The Dust Settled is Littrell’s heart-wrenching story of what it’s like to both fear and love someone with all your heart. With straightforward, honest prose, Littrell will captivate any reader who joins her on her literal journey through the past. Littrell writes with a searing simplicity through which her complex emotions burst. Throughout the story, it’s almost impossible to decide whether to feel happy or heartbroken as Littrell’s adoration for her father overcomes her immense fear of his temper. As she visits each childhood home, she strings her flashbacks together with her feelings about her father in the present day, letting each story speak for itself about how it has shaped the woman she’s become. When their journey begins, Littrell and her sister lament that after years of trying to forget their past, they are suddenly forced to relive it. But, as Littrell begins to see a side of her father that she never has seen before, her story reveals that forgetting the past is never the right decision, because understanding it is the only way to help make sense of the present. (Brown Books Small Press, $14.99)

The Next 15 Minutes

Maya Roads



im Kircher has spent her life being the person in control. From her diabetes, to the skiers she rescues while on ski patrol, to the controlled avalanches she creates, she has always known exactly how to handle any situation. Until her husband got cancer, there was protocol for almost everything. The Next 15 Minutes chronicles when Kircher lost control, when all she could do was pray. She intertwines her agony of life in the hospital with her husband with stories from the mountain that taught her to cope with difficult situations. Kircher tells an inspiring tale filled with pure emotion, teaching readers that even heroes need heroes of their own, and that it’s best to take life 15 minutes at a time. (Behler Publications, $15.95)

or 30 years, Mary Jo McConahay traveled back and forth to the depths of the Southern Mexican/Northern Guatemalan jungle to study the lives of the Lacandón, descendants of the Maya civilization. In a miraculously organized fashion, McConahay’s story combines her personal journey with the political, ancestral, and archeological history of the jungle, stuffing her book to the brim with rich and enchanting detail. The people McConahay describes are so vivid that they feel almost tactile, as if they are telling us their story from our own living rooms instead of from decades away. McConahay will make you feel like you can smell the lush jungle air, and she will build connections between you and the natives that make you feel all of their beauty and all of their loss as your own. (Chicago Review Press, $16.95)

February 16 - 28, 2012 BASIC TOUR INCLUDES: 13 Days / 10 Nights • Game Safari in Tanzania including famous Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara • Deluxe Camping Safari • Most meals, Run Fee, Pasta and festive Farewell Dinner • Optional balloon safari From $5780.00 (sharing double room) from Minneapolis (other US cities avail.),plus air tax

Optional 6-day trekking extension to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro

Great Wall Half Marathon & 10K

May 13-22, 2012 BASIC TOUR INCLUDES: Air Fare from San Francisco Stay in 1st Class Capital Hotel in Beijing Run Site Inspection Day Event Entry Fee for the OFFICIAL Run Optional 2Day Xian Extension Tour Optional 2Day Xian/3Day Shanghai Extension Optional 2Day Xian/3Day Tibet/3Day Shanghai Extension From $3380 (sharing double room)

Programs to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Tibet.

Solar Eclipse Marathon / Half Marathon

November 8 - 19, 2012

Port Douglas on Great Barrier Reef, Australia PLEASE CONTACT:

Kathy Loper Events 619-298-7400 CST# 2080745-40

WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  17


Adventure Travel Alone? Absolutely. You just need to use some good ol’ common sense By Isabel Eva Bohrer


hen I proudly proclaimed to my family and friends that I was going to travel to South America alone, my enthusiasm was met with questioning looks and more than one objection. “Why?” was the general response. “Do you really think that’s a good idea?” “Isn’t it dangerous there as a 21-year-old blonde, alone?” But my thirst for adventure was not to be stopped. Moreover, as my travels unraveled, I began to realize that I wasn’t the only girl going abroad by herself. In fact, solo female travel is a phenomenon that has been around for quite some time. Heather Gibson, a professor in the recreation, parks, and tourism department at the University of Florida, explains that “many 19th-century travelogues recounted the expeditions of pioneering women in their big skirts traveling across the British Empire to Africa, India, and other faraway places.” In recent years, these tales have attracted both popular and scholarly interest, she adds. Back in 2002, Gibson conducted a research study with Fiona Jordan, a senior lecturer in the School of Leisure, Tourism, and Hospitality Management at Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education in the United Kingdom. Together, they interviewed 50 women aged 20 to 63 from both the U.S. and the U.K. Unanimously, the women reported that traveling alone was empowering rather than frightening to them. 18  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12

Nora Dunn, a solo female traveler known for her blog, “The Professional Hobo,” explains that “the feeling of accomplishment for planning and successfully executing a solo trip as a woman is very empowering.” Looking back on my own solo travels, I agree. After making my way through the cities and mountains of Argentina by myself, I returned to Europe with an increased sense of independence, feeling empowered to confront new and challenging situations successfully. However, precisely this freedom can also be a potential source of danger. On my first day in Brazil, I came down with terrible food poisoning and a very high fever. That day, I happened to be the only guest at the hostel—it was low season—and it is only thanks to the hostel owner, who took me to the nearest hospital, that I am alive today. Recalling situations like these, I can clearly understand that some women still see solo travel as daunting, if not impossible. Psychologist Heidi Smith Luedtke, Ph.D., affirms that personality and upbringing determine whether traveling solo is exhilarating or anxiety-provoking. “For women with low levels of anxiety, the idea of traveling alone is often exciting,” she explains. In turn, women who have more anxiety on average “have trouble tuning out the ‘what if ’ worrying that occurs in their minds.” This “what if ” can be termed synonymous with the fear of the unknown, which travel psychologist Michael Brein, Ph.D., recognizes as being the cause of the deep-rooted fear of travel, be it alone or with others. “Not knowing how to deal with the disorder or disarray of a host of situations”

can cause this kind of fear, explains Brein. For this reason, “those who crave or demand complete stability or organization of their environs loath travel,” he adds. For others, the fear can translate into excitement. As Brein notes, “‘Adrenaline’, ‘danger’, or ‘adventure’ ‘junkies’, in the extreme, crave experiences in which they test themselves to the limits of their abilities in relatively unknown situations.” If I think about it honestly, I might place myself into this latter category; trying just about every adventure sport from rappelling to extreme mountain biking, I saw my gap year abroad as a way to test my limits. Fear only entered my mind when I began suspecting that I was going too far. My common sense, however, always prevailed and I can knock on wood that I survived both food poisoning and getting lost hiking in the Argentine Patagonia while on my own. I literally turned around just in time to find my way back. With respect to female solo travel, there is a further factor at play: social restrictions. Tradition has it that, in the U.S. and other Western countries, women are domestic and sedentary figures, dependent on men to take care of them. Traveling alone is, at least historically speaking, not part of a woman’s life. Psychologist Susan Fletcher, Ph.D., explains that traces of these customs remain today as women “may be told they aren’t capable of taking care of themselves or that they’ll be taking unnecessary risks by traveling alone. Controlling parental figures and spouses or significant others can send powerful ‘stay put’ signals either directly or more subtly.” However, Brein observes that this dynamic is changing. “In America, women are no longer considered the ‘weaker’ sex.’” Traveling alone is thus becoming more and more of an option in some countries, according to Brein. So if you do decide to travel alone, what are some precautions to consider? Brein advises that “activities surrounding physical exertion and duress in wilderness areas should not ordinarily be undertaken alone—by men or by women.” Having worked as a mountain guide in Mendoza,





6 Resources for Female Solo Travelers

Argentina, I agree. Especially in rural, desolate, and undeveloped areas, you cannot count on signs that will indicate the way back. Similarly, you may never meet a fellow hiker. Better to be safe than sorry: Go with an authorized guide. Dunn says that she always gives copies of her identification and travel insurance information to a trusted person back home, in addition to traveling with a small pouch concealed underneath her clothes. “In it, I keep enough local currency to get me to the nearest consulate, and a USB stick with photographs of all my identification, my travel insurance policy information, and credit card numbers with phone numbers for the banks in question,” she explains. With a little bit of planning and common sense, traveling solo can turn into an incredibly rewarding journey of personal discovery. n


The website prides itself on being your “Guardian Angel” on the road. Upon leaving the house, you “check out.” If you don’t “check back in” when expected, your emergency contacts and/or the local authorities are informed of your overdue status.



Finally, an online travel resource just for women is the slogan runs by. Here, you can find packing guides, travel love stories, and cyber guides covering everything you need before going abroad.




Behind stands Lea Lane, author of six books, including Solo Traveler: Tales and Tips for Great Trips. Her website includes tips on traveling solo, traveling solo as a mom, and living alone in general.

After 26 years of touring the world as a flight attendant, Sharon B. Wingler is convinced that traveling alone offers a more enriching experience. In her book, Travel Alone and Love It: A Flight Attendant’s Guide to Solo Travel, she explains ways of overcoming the fear of traveling solo. Eleanor Berman’s Traveling Solo: Advice and Ideas for More Than 250 Great Vacations is one of the most comprehensive solo travel guides out there. No wonder Berman’s book is already in its sixth edition. In addition to Wanderlust and Lipstick: The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo, now in its second edition, Beth Whitman has created an entire empire under the name “Wanderlust and Lipstick.” Visit wanderlustandlipstick. com for travel stories and to book a WanderTour with Whitman herself.




WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  19


It’s Personal

Closing the Generation Gap Age is merely a number in the world of telemark ski racing

a lifetime or two. So I tapped into my memories of racing in high school: I knew how to ski gates, how to set up early for a turn, and how to read the rhythm of the course. But I still had to improve my telemark form. I watched local legend Kelsey Schmidt-Sommer, the reigning four-time National Telemark Champion, and telemark racing took on a whole new meaning for me. I too wanted to go fast through the course. True to telemark’s spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship, Kelsey helped and encouraged me, and she has since become my coach and role model. That spirit of camaraderie carried over to the 2011 ski season when Madi, 13 years my junior, and I became friends. Despite our age difference, we shared many similar experiences, including both of us finishing dead last at our first FIS World Cup race in Europe.

By Maggie Neal Doherty

But Madi isn’t the only under-18 skier competing in both national and international telemark races. There’s also Zoë Taylor, who didn’t even have her driver’s license last winter, yet claimed the silver at the National Telemark Championship series. Both racers are now the two strongest competitors on the National A Team. I’m also a member of the National Team—on the B squad. The three of us are the only women on the 12-person U.S. National Telemark Team.

t the tender age of 29, I am currently the oldest woman on the U.S. National Telemark Team. I am, however, still very much a newbie to the sport. For Madi McKinstry, winning the 2011 U.S. Women’s National Telemark Championship last March in Steamboat Springs, Colo., has been a lifetime in the making. However, Madi is just 16 years old—the youngest woman in U.S. telemark racing history to win the National title. In this slightly obscure sport that combines elements of alpine racing, Nordic jumping, and skate skiing, though, age means nothing. I was lucky enough to join Madi on the podium at that event. I took third place overall in my first formal year of telemark racing. Although I’ve been on skis since I was just two years old thanks to my ski bum parents, telemark skiing and racing is a new experience. Madi, guided by her own ski bum parents, learned to telemark ski when she was 10 years old. I grew up in Northern Michigan 20  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12

and alpine ski raced through high school. Fueled by my love of skiing, I promptly moved to Montana after college. I never dreamed that I’d once again find myself in a speed suit, chasing after blue and red paneled gates, let alone standing on a podium at a national ski race. After 25 years of skiing, I was ready for a new challenge. In 2009, I bought a used telemark setup and spent a ski season on groomed runs and easy greens, instead of my usual backcountry powder bowls and steep chutes. I had to relearn everything as I returned to skiing at its roots. It was completely frustrating, unnerving, and humbling. For the first time on skis, I was not good. I fell. A lot. I cried and threw my ski poles. I thought about quitting many, many times. Fumbling to perfect the delicate balance of power and finesse required to make a telemark turn, I joined our local recreational telemark race league. In my first race, I came in dead last by several minutes—in ski racing, minutes equate to

Even though there are many years between me and Madi and Zoë, the three of us share a common love and a common desire. At the very core, we all love to ski. I look at them on the chairlift as they try their best to manage their excitement and nerves, and I tell them that they have many more years of skiing adventures to come. My 30th birthday falls during a World Cup competition in Steamboat Springs, Colo., this February. The week-long race series will not only test my mettle against the world’s best female competitors on a free-heel, but it is also another reminder that age is merely a number. To still be ski racing, on the cusp of 30, has been my lifetime in the making. I only hope that my two younger teammates will also be celebrating their love of skiing and racing well past the days of high school, college, and into their womanhood. n



The author, at right, on the podium with Madi McKinstry (center) and Zoë Taylor.

I’ve traveled and raced with both Madi and Zoë stateside and in Europe. On the ski hill, one quickly forgets age differences. What matters is how well you ski, jump, and skate. And on the World Cup level, there’s a lot of pressure. For two teenage girls, I was amazed at how well they managed the pressure of a world-class ski competition, traveled through a foreign country lugging ski gear, and still did their homework at night.

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WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  21

w Coming in



t Women’s Adventure, we are always working on ways to keep our magazine fun and interesting for readers. So in 2012, we are honing in on that fun factor with several new and improved sections: Discuss: Topics from health and nutrition to gear and outdoor news and trends that will spark discussions around the dinner table. Your Stories: A section reserved just for our readers to share their adventure tales and photos. Travel: The latest in adventure travel—cool trips, travel news, fun gear, budget tips, and more—from our new Travel Editor.

Meet Our New Travel Editor, Gigi Ragland



igi’s passion for travel, adventure, and the culinary arts has always directed her career. She moved with her husband from San Francisco to Colorado in 2002 where she became the senior travel writer for a monthly themed newsletter at a travel marketing consortia. Five years later she took the leap to become a freelance writer. Her articles have appeared in print and online publications on a variety of subjects from culinary getaways to llama-trekking and green hotel design. Gigi now steps into a new position as Travel Editor for Women’s Adventure and is excited to share unique newsy gems with readers.

22  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12


Worthy of Note Cool new products that will keep you warm, rested, connected, and protected Wrap Yourself in Heat If your shoulders or back are sore after a workout, or if you’re just feeling chilly and need a little warmth, wrap up in a Bed Buddy Warming Shawl. This unique shawl is lined with a moist heat ThermaTherapy system to treat muscle discomfort. To heat, simply stick the shawl in a microwave for 90 seconds and voilà, you’ve got a warm and soothing wrap. On the flip side, if you’re in need of cold therapy for your muscles, just stick the shawl in the freezer for a few hours and wrap around your sore spots. $33;

Touch Screen Gloves It’s cold outside and your smart phone is ringing, but you’re wearing gloves and can’t answer the call because the sensitive screen can’t detect your touch. You need a pair of touch screen-friendly gloves. One of our favorites is Agloves. Designed by a mom and daughter team who love the outdoors, these clever hand covers have silver threads woven in that transfer the body’s natural bio-electricity through the glove, so you can operate your touch-screen device without having to slip them off. Available in three styles, including one made with bamboo yarn. $18–$24;

Performance Sheets Imagine sleeping in bedding made out of your coziest technical tee shirt. That’s SHEEX. These newfangled sheets are made from a soft and wicking fabric that, compared to cotton, transfers body heat more effectively and breathes better. The benefit? The sheets help reduce sleep-disrupting body temperature fluctuations, so you can sleep deeply through the night and wake up energized and focused to perform your best on your next adventure. $159–$269 depending on size;

Save Your Knees on Skis Did you know that women are twice as likely to have a knee injury on skis than men? Luckily, there’s a binding that can help called KneeBinding. In these days of shaped skis, it’s easy to catch an edge. And if your hips and knees aren’t flexed enough, that catch can cause your foot to push directly sideways and lead to injury, such as a torn ACL. KneeBinding features a patented lateral release mechanism that allows the heel to release directly sideways before the force is great enough to injure your knee. The result? More skiing for you. The KB9-L model is tuned just for women. $399;

WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  27


“ The color of springtime is in the flowers, the color of winter is in the imagination.”


—Terri Guillemets

New Englanders don’t let winter slow them down. Take Emily Johnson, who squeezes in a run to fetch fresh milk from the neighborhood farm as a snowstorm develops over Vermont’s Green Mountains. WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  25


Dream Job


Bev Sanders

In 1997, Bev Sanders realized she was learning to surf the hard way— bobbing in the shorepound, on the wrong board, all alone. There were no long-format surf schools for women then, so she launched Las Olas and wasn’t alone anymore. Since then, she’s introduced thousands of women to surfing through safaris that combine surf lessons with yoga, massage, and local activities in a relaxing, supportive environment.


Carmelby-the-Sea, California STO M P I N G G ROU N D :

Founder of Las Olas Surf Safaris for Women; JO B:


ow did you get started? Where did you imagine Las Olas would be now, more than a decade after its beginnings?

I’ve always been excited about quiet revolutions. In the early ‘80s, I pushed for ski resorts to allow snowboarders, and drove our company to make womenspecific snowboard gear. Now, snowboarding is a major part of mainstream mountain culture. It also wasn’t long ago that few women surfed, but that changed too. The year I learned to surf changed my life. I was filled with confidence and joy that I hadn’t known since grade school. I knew I had to share this experience with others. The idea must have been a good one because I got so much 26  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12

support from the people around me. Those I work with at Las Olas and in Mexico got the concept and made it happen. We suddenly had a waiting list.

I love to dance, hang out at the beach, sleep in, and play with my dog! I’m drawn to beauty, art, fashion, and nature. Basically, I love the shiny things around me.

Las Olas surf safaris’ tagline is “We make girls out of women.” How do you do that?

What’s inspiring about your job?

I firmly believe women are instinctive as caretakers of the The line came to me while tumbling world around us. I believe that connecting women to the ocean in the warm waves: I thought, will inspire us to take care of “I feel like a kid!” We provide a ourselves and stand up for what nurturing, carefree environment, we believe in. And as strong role where women can forget their models, we and our sisters can surf responsibilities and stress for a through life. glorious week of fun in the sun. At the end of a safari, when our And we take care of every detail, so guests leave moved, teary eyed, I our guests can loosen up and surf. feel like something clicks for us. At Las Olas, it’s their turn to play. Women quit jobs as investment bankers to become successful How do you stay true to your writers or ditch a bad situation inner “girl” too? to teach yoga after coming to Las That comes pretty easy for me. Olas. That’s my reward—seeing I’m always looking for the next how it changes us, seeing our joy, fun thing, which is what kids do. and seeing what we’ll do next. Besides surfing and snowboarding,

What’s challenging about running a women’s travel and adventure company?

Everything... and nothing. Challenges are a matter of perspective. But I will say there’s nothing “part-time” about Las Olas. Even when I’m “not working,” I’m thinking about surf camp. Share your favorite success story or adventure tale.

Every single surf safari is packed with stories that could fill a book. The rush of catching a good wave still brings tears to my eyes, but watching someone else catch a wave can be just as rewarding. Recently, I was surfing in Santa Barbara and a woman paddled up to tell me that her experience at Las Olas had changed her life. I knew she really meant it. She was there surfing with her teenage son. He was a great kid—really polite and connected to his mom. They were catching more waves than I was. That made me happy. n



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WAM • WIN | 2011/12  23


I’m Proof That...

I’m Proof That…

You’re never too young for adventure —Interview by Molly Sprayregen NAME:

Emily Ross


hen I was little, I would attach our old dog, Buck, to a plastic sled and have him carry me around outside. I’m 14 now, and dogs still pull me around, only now there are eight of them and we tend to charge through 110 miles of bitter cold rather than roam the woods near my house. I live in Alaska, where my parents have trained and raced dogs my entire life. Susan Butcher— who once climbed Denali with her dog team— became my hero when I was four, and I began training to mush the moment I was old enough.


Chistochina, AK


M A N T R A : There is hot food at the end of this. 5 - M I N U T E P E AC E :


Parasailing in Hawaii, exploring the woods with my best friend Colene Charley, finishing a 110-mile dog sled race. Q U I R K Y M OT I VATOR S : Being able to practice for American Idol where no one can hear me mess up. FAVO R I T E DE S T I NAT I O N: Maclaren River Lodge, a beautiful, exciting place. M U ST - H AV E GE A R : Mega Warmers. They can fit into both boots and mittens and are super warm. S HO RT - T E R M G OA L: Run three mid-distance dog sled races (100–300 miles). LO N G - T E R M G OA L: Run a major long-distance dog sled race. A DVE N T U R E HI G HLI GHTS :

Though I’m a junior musher, the training is anything but juvenile. During an Alaskan winter, temperatures can drop to -50 degrees F for days on end. I trained with my mom by camping with no tent and learning skills, like how to make hot water out of snow with a special cooker. I took night runs and solo runs on rivers and mountains. During races, I must be able to run in snow gear, steer around obstacles, lean around corners, and hold onto the sled for hours. I stay motivated through training and racing by thinking about how great I’ll feel when I reach the finish line. It’s cool to win a prize when they have them, but the best part is the pure satisfaction.

For the 110-mile race last winter, it was just me and my dogs—with an occasional sighting of other racers—for 12.5 hours. I can’t begin to describe how it felt when I finished, knowing I did it all on my own. Hanging with the dogs is one of the best parts of racing. We have a special love for each other. In return for my taking care of them, they take care of me. But my life is more than mushing. I’m still a teenager, and I love making YouTube videos with friends, playing video games, and riding four-wheelers and snow machines. Despite my love for mushing, I definitely plan to take a break when it’s time for college. Still, there’s nothing like those thrilling parts of a race that make mushing so exciting. I love trying not to fall when it gets difficult and attempting to ride on ice without sliding around. It’s like riding a roller coaster without a seatbelt. And I love roller coasters. Mush on everyone, and a four-legged farewell! Love always,


“I stay motivated through training and racing by thinking about how great I’ll feel when I reach the finish line.”

28  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12

I’m Proof That…

The mountains are calling —Interview by Laura Binks


Helen Cospolich

Kahtolla 2


think I am someone women everywhere can relate to. I am a busy wife and mother with a full-time job who is trying to maintain an active lifestyle. Like most active moms, I fit in runs where I can, whether that is early Saturday morning before my daughter’s soccer game or at lunch. It isn’t always easy, but it does help when your backyard is Breckenridge, which makes training that much more fun. I actually think training on the trails around my hometown makes the miles and miles of Helen and Alina. running fun. My running career really began when I moved to Summit County. It was so pleasurable to run around the beautiful Breckenridge trails that running just came naturally. Sure, I was always the kid who wanted to play chase in the woods and I ran my first Bolder Boulder 10K when I was about six, but I found the pure enjoyment of running while in the mountains. Breckenridge, Colo. (grew up in Boulder, Colo.) AG E : 34 M OT TO : “The mountains are calling and I must go.” —John Muir J O B : Marketing coordinator for the town of Breckenridge, ultra endurance runner, and speaker. 5 - M I N U T E PE AC E : Hit the trails around Breckenridge. H O M E TOW N:


Moab, Utah, in the winter. M U ST - H AVE G E A R : The North Face Hydrogen Jacket and running shoes. C A R E E R HI GHLI GHT: Winner of the 2009 Leadville 100, 3rd at the 2010 Hard Rock 100, and 6th at the 166 kilometer Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc in 2011. S H O RT -T ER M G OA L: To keep improving in ultra distance, and travel more internationally. LO N G - T E RM G OA L: To keep running long distances for a long time and also not get burned out or injured.

As an ultra endurance runner you have to be comfortable alone out in the elements. Except for the occasional wildlife, while I am training it is really the only time I get to myself. Besides, it is hard to find a training partner who is willing to go out in the dark at 4 o’clock on a Saturday morning because you want to get in about 20 miles. Ultra running is definitely a reflective sport that gives you time to think or even meditate. The busiest running time of the year for me is spring and summer. During the week, I try to run 10 to 15 miles a day and about 30 miles on Saturday morning. I try to do at least one ultra race (anything over about 30 miles) once a month. Depending on the terrain, the race can take 12 hours for the shorter distances to 35 hours for the longer distances. In the winter, I like to do yoga, skate ski, or snowshoe. I have even been known to run 30 miles on the treadmill while watching a movie. I do, however, take nights and Sundays off because that time is for my family. Enjoy running the mountains,

Helen WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  29


Try This

Snow and Singletrack Keep the winter doldrums away with fat tire biking By Jill Missal


weat stings my eyes despite the singledigit temperatures. My legs and lungs burn. I try as hard as I can to not stop pedaling. I know that if I lose my hardwon momentum, I’ll have to work even harder to get going again. Keeping the bike’s big fourinch-wide tires centered on the narrow, snowy singletrack takes focus, concentration, and the need for minute steering corrections, as well as the precious momentum upon which everything depends when you’re riding in the snow. If this sounds fun, fat tire snow biking might be for you. Fat tire bikes are specialized bike frames that accommodate ultra-wide tires, up to four inches. Remarkably versatile, these tires provide great grip in snow and mud, and they allow a wide range of tire pressures to give a rider the ability to float on top of loose snow and deep mud. Fat tire bikes provide traction and stabilization in slippery conditions because the build of the bike makes them more stable. You’ll be able to ride a fat tire bike on surfaces you never thought possible. Riding on packed trails is easier than deeper snow, but it’s always a good workout and a fun new way to spend your winter. Bonus: You’ll never lose your cycling fitness, even if your town’s winter is longer than all the other seasons combined. n

Snow bikes are becoming popular and new models abound. I like the Alaska-made 9:Zero:7 snow bike for its emphasis on comfort, low stand-over, and stable geometry. ($500;


No two ways about it, your hands will get cold! Try Pogies—big, mitten-like covers that fit over your handlebars, allowing you to tuck your hands inside to hold the grips. Relevate Designs is the go-to Pogies manufacturer. ($105;

You’re going to work hard, so stay hydrated. But in the winter your water can freeze quickly, so wear your hydration pack over your base layer and under your jacket. Try a low-profile pack like the GoLite Race Sleeve. ($35;

If it’s really cold, windy, or snowing, wearing goggles will protect your eyes from blowing snow. I like the Julbo Eclipse with photochromatic lenses that change in different light conditions. ($160;


Getting used to the bike’s handling and performance can be tricky, but these tips might make the transition easier.

• Make sure that your snow bike has disc brakes. V-brakes ice up quickly and aren’t reliable at cold temperatures. Many winter riders sport only a rear brake; since snow biking is usually so low-speed, a front brake ends up being extra baggage. • Moderate your pace so that you can keep pedaling. Momentum is your friend. • Adjust your tire pressure according to the terrain. On slippery or loose surfaces, like snow, low tire pressure provides more traction. Some fat tires can run as low as 5psi, so don’t be afraid to let out some air. • Layer, layer, layer your clothing! You’ll stay pretty warm while you’re moving, but if you have to stop for a mechanical or to take a break, you’ll get cold quickly. • Get the feel of the bike on groomed trails because it’s difficult at first to keep the tires on packed snow. Frozen lakes are also good places to practice, as long as you know the ice is solid enough.

don’t • Try to over steer. Snow biking typically requires frequent steering corrections on narrow trails. Apply power, relax your arms, and try to keep the bike centered on the trail.

30  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12


• Forget to relax. Falling into snow hardly ever hurts!

WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  31



Being a Wild Thing By Kasha Rigby


hide in the city. I come to Los Angeles for silent vpasana, for no one will speak to me here. I am a lone wolf. I seek invisibility but have difficulty recognizing myself.

Why? I am assaulted by reflective windows everywhere. I stare at myself critically, even in the car mirror as I glance at traffic behind me. Every time, I surprise myself. Is that really me? Is that how others see me? Are my pants too tight? Is my ass too big? I suck my in stomach and apply a deep red stain, the color of blood, to my lips. I feel separate, not integrated, into this universe.

I barely wash. I come closer to an animal state. I submerse in nature to balance sensitive instincts and intuition with the confusion of being on earth in a human body, always in a state of reasoning. I drop deep in the Brooks Range of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I claim discomfort in the cold, but the Arctic calls me back year after year. Nothing can compare to the dreamlike quality life takes on when the Arctic sun wins over the endless nights, when white ice and snow are the only backdrop. In the Arctic, all sound is muffled by snow. All color is drenched in white. I somehow feel divinely 32  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12

The author in her element.

integrated, even though I need my skis and layers of wool and down. My heart is pumping and my breath can’t wait to start exploring. I experience a moment of nature in her unrepeatable perfection: a brilliant, glittering blue iceflow covered with snow crystals perhaps two inches high. These crystal teepees spread for miles on the turquoise blanket, so fragile and magical. In these moments of perfection in nature, I think I have the closest glimpse of a god. In this universe of seemingly random chaos, webs of fractals and consistent geometry collide in an order that creates a flawless being or ecosystem. This evident perfection is why I see the absolute necessity for wild places to exist. The wilderness is my wildness, and our wildness is our salvation as wild things. n Kasha Rigby has been skiing for 30 years and travels the world to find new wild places.

“Drop me in the wilderness, though, and my body functions as a perfect machine. I will sleep when the sun sets and rise with the birds at the first light of dawn. All that I need to keep me warm and dry, I carry on my back.”


Drop me in the wilderness, though, and my body functions as a perfect machine. I will sleep when the sun sets and rise with the birds at the first light of dawn. All that I need to keep me warm and dry, I carry on my back. I have no need to try on another dress, to wonder if my shoes match, to worry if my ass looks too big. In the wild, there is no guilt with food. I eat because I am hungry and need nourishment. The food allows me to continue onward, sometimes for weeks at a time.



Feel the Road

PureConnect ® is a trademark of Brooks Sports, Inc. ©2011 Brooks Sports, Inc.

WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  33

Holiday Gift Guide

If yo for t u’re at look hat act a loss f o of g no fur ive per r a per s t i f h t (for s ran er. W on on fect gif e g Hap that re ing fro have your lis t a a t py s hop lly spec m $2 to n array , ping ial p $ ! erso 2,000 n).

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Bar Mitts $65

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Snapdry Boot & Glove Dryer $79

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Peaks Foundation

Empowering women worldwide to reach their highest peak By Laura Binks


3k or 5k Snowshoe Walk or 3k Snowshoe Race



42  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12

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Chick and Hartstone met at a running club while working for different organizations in East Africa and realized they had the desire to start something to help people. “We came together and thought there are so many great organizations, let’s support people on the ground,” says Hartstone. They decided to bring together a group of friends and climb three of Africa’s peaks in three weeks. Their goal was to raise awareness and funds for three issues facing Africa: conservation, education, and healthcare. The team was complete in January 2005, and by January 2007 they had raised more than $385,000 for the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, School of St. Jude, and Support for International

Change. They also became the first all-female team to summit Mount Kenya, Meru, and Kilimanjaro, three of Africa’s highest peaks. Since that original climb, the foundation’s mission has grown. They want you to do the fundraising and climbing to support conservation, education, and organizations that have a positive impact on women and girls in communities where the climbs take place. As an example, if you take part in the 3 Peaks 3 Weeks Himalayas Challenge, you will be raising funds for The Small World based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The Small World provides education, health, and economic development for Nepalese people, which in turn helps educate women in the community and provide clean water and sanitation. The School of St. Jude in Arusha, Tanzania, is another organization that receives funding from the Peaks Foundation. By taking part in the 3 Peaks 3 Weeks Africa Challenge, climbers will help provide an education for Tanzanian children and ensure that local girls receive an education. Since 2007, Peaks Foundation has raised $270,000 for the School of St. Jude. The funds were used to help build a new classroom and dining hall, as well as fund staff salaries.



e see it almost daily on the evening news, online, in newspapers and magazines—the ever-present struggles of the less fortunate throughout the world. However, it is difficult to comprehend something like not having access to an education, clean water, or healthcare facilities without witnessing it firsthand. Chloe Chick and Laura Hartstone have been there, many times. They also understand the far-reaching effects this sort of environment has on families, communities, and, in particular, women. That is why they are on a mission to empower women worldwide one peak at a time through their organization, the Peaks Foundation.

In the beginning, Chick and Hartstone did only one trip a year. As word spread about the Peaks Foundation, the applications started pouring in. “We would get 80 to 100 applications and could only take 12 every year,” says Hartstone. Now, they have at least 10 trips planned each year. The women who have participated in the challenges range in age from 20 to 63 and come from all over the world. “We encourage average women to join our climbs. We have climbs of various difficulties that all provide an opportunity for our climbers to push themselves further and higher than they have before,” says Hartstone. “We believe that women become stronger individuals after they have taken on such a challenge.” Just in case anyone is worried about her physical ability to climb mountains, the Peaks Foundation has an online fitness program for all climbers. It comes complete with a personal trainer and an on-going training program to help participants prepare physically for the climbs. To facilitate fundraising, the Peaks Foundation has its own fundraising platform called Peaks

Fundraising (, which allows climbers to set up their own personal page and track their donations. “We encourage climbers to hold movie nights, pub crawls, trivia nights, and gala dinners to increase awareness about their challenge, and it’s a great way to raise funds,” says Hartstone. As an example, the 1 Peak 1 Week trips require a minimum fundraising of $2,000 from each climber, while the 3 Peaks 3 Weeks trips require a minimum fundraising of $5,000. On average, the 3 Peaks 3 Weeks challenges raise $90,000, and every single climber has at least met the minimum requirement. For 2012, the Peaks Foundation has 10 expeditions planned. The 3 Peaks 3 Weeks Challenges include Africa, the Himalayas, and South America. Adventure seekers can also participate in the 1 Peak 1 Week Challenge in places like Ethiopia, Bolivia, Morocco, and Kenya. On their website (, the Peaks Foundation offers a thorough itinerary for each challenge, plus an information pack that contains details, such as necessary vaccinations and a gear list.

According to Hartstone, “All of the challenges have at least one day in which climbers visit the site of beneficiaries. They become part of our due diligence process and experience an educational day of cultural immersion and awareness.” This provides climbers with a unique opportunity to see firsthand what sort of impact they are making and meet some of the people who are benefiting from the funds raised. For those wishing to remain involved in the organization and stay connected with other participants, the Peaks Foundation has the Peaks Foundation Alumni Society. According to Hartstone, “You could walk up the mountain with women from four different countries and, by the end, you have friends from four different countries who you can go visit.” Alumni also have a chance to serve as trip leaders for upcoming challenges. In the end, the Peaks Foundation gives participants a platform to accomplish an exceptional set of tasks, climb mountains, and provide funding where it is crucially needed. To date, the organization has raised more than $700,000, proving that you don’t need to move mountains in order to have a positive impact, you just need to climb them. n

Winter Challenge


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Your Adventure

Off the Beaten Path Women’s Adventure and The Women’s Wilderness Institute teamed up this summer to host a fun backpacking trip to Wyoming


here’s something special that happens when you gather a group of women from all walks of life and lead them together on a trip into the backcountry. Just ask Zoe Katsulos, a field staff person with The Women’s Wilderness Institute and one of the team leaders on the Women’s Adventure backpacking trip this past August. “I look at wilderness as probably the best arena for personal growth and development because it puts everyone on a level playing field,” she says. “Our group all worked together, we had great team building, and friendships were forged that will be sustaining.”

“I decided to go on the trip because I wanted to reconnect with myself and with nature… Being in the wilderness brings me back to the present, the now, and reminds me of what is truly important to me.” —Jayme England 44  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12

“It was time to push my skills and go beyond my boundaries. As my friend Ashley said the first day we were together, the mountains/ outdoors is her church and that’s where she goes to worship. That’s the same for me, and I wanted/needed more of that connection.” —Amanda Parkhurst-Strout

“I’ve always thought of myself as ‘unsteady on my feet’, but I approached crossing the boulder field on the last day with more confidence, reminding myself that I was capable of meeting this challenge. I saw my own path through and felt great at the end.” —Becker Parkhurst-Strout


The trip brought together 12 women from Colorado, Texas, and Chicago, with two guides leading the way through the Snowy Range in Wyoming for three nights and four days of backpacking and camping. Here’s what some of the participants had to say about the experience. n

“I try a new adventure each year. This year my goal was to learn about backpacking... The whole adventure was memorable and my favorite moment was sitting around the ‘camp fire’ (the impromptu headlight under the water bottle) and just visiting.” —Cour’De Fairless

EMBRACE YOUR ADVENTUROUS SIDE! “Our women’s courses are designed to create an environment that is safe and comfortable to share in. And probably one of the neatest things is the experiences people have in the wilderness that translate to their daily lives.” —Zoe Katsulos

There are enough limits in life as it is, which is why Fischer‘s Koa 88 gives you the freedom to do whatever you want. Whether you want powder, trees, backcountry, or even just groomers, these skis are the perfect tool. SKI: Koa 88, BOOT: Zephyr 110

WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  45


Winter Getaways

Worthwhile destinations across the country for those with time, energy, or money to spare By Melissa Gaskill Texas Hill Country

A land of wooded hills, rugged landscapes, and scenic vistas, the Texas Hill Country encircles Austin and rolls westward to the towns of Llano, Fredericksburg, Kerrville, and Bandera. It’s an outdoor enthusiast’s year-round paradise, chock full of places to hike, run, pedal, and paddle.

Urban Dream Adventure Book a weekend at the Four Seasons Austin, on Lady Bird Lake. Run or bike the 10.3-mile lakeside trail, then hit the water to scull, standup paddleboard, or kayak. After dark, soak up the music scene downtown. Next day, hike or bike the rugged 7.25-mile Barton Creek greenbelt trail; stop to rock climb; then swim the 1,000-foot, 68-degree Barton Springs Pool. Final touch: a sage and ginger aromasport massage at the spa. (512) 685-8100;

EXPLORE Have muddy fun on a two-hour Wild Cave Tour deep into Longhorn Caverns. 6211 Park Rd. 4, Burnet (877) 441-2283 DRINK The W Hotel’s Bluegrass cocktail blends blueberries, mint, lime, and Dripping Springs Vodka, handcrafted with pure Hill Country spring water. 200 Lavaca St., Austin (512) 542-3600


3 days

Nestled on 940 acres along the shore of Lake Buchanan, Canyon of the Eagles is a special nature getaway and lodge. Hike 14 miles of trails, kayak past waterfalls to spy bald eagles, gaze at the heavens from the on-site observatory, dine in the Overlook Restaurant, take guided nature walks, and relax in front of a cozy fire. Weekend packages available. (512) 334-2070;

46  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12



Reveille Peak Ranch’s 62 miles of trails include options for running and mountain biking. The Lower Trail plus Super D equals a hardcore run of 10.5 miles up 400 feet; hop on a bike and ride this trail plus the upper loop for another four miles. Trails are open Wed.–Fri. by appointment, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends, $10 per person. (512) 755-1177;

Take “The Challenge”—two hours of zip lines, sky bridges, tightropes, and a Superman zip through cypress canopy, landing at Lofthaven treehouse for the night. Tour $140/person, Lofthaven $325/night. Located near Lake Travis, just outside Austin. (512) 264-8880;

1,300 calories

$605 for 2

EAT Chow down on Bandera Grassland Beef or cabrito burgers, hormone-free basted quail, or fried catfish at Mac & Ernie’s Roadside Eatery, Fri.–Sun. in scenic small-town Tarpley. 11804 FM 470 (830) 562-3727 R ACE Run the Livestrong Austin Marathon or Half Marathon, or the Paramount 5K, February 19, 2012.



Florida Keys Winter barely makes a dent on this laid-back island chain, accessible by car and home to the world’s third largest barrier reef. Enjoy beautiful beaches, clear waters, island vibe, and lots of outdoor adventure. time: 10


Paddle from Key Largo to Key West, 100 beautiful blue miles, past historic sites and beaches, stopping to snorkel, fish, and swim. Dine on fresh seafood at night, watch the sunset, and rest up for another 10- to 17-mile paddle next day. This is a once-a-year trip with Burnham Guides that includes kayaks, camping, and meals. Shorter trips available. (305) 240-0650;

energy: 2,800


Two-wheel the scenic 106 miles from Key Largo to Key West, 70 of them on the Florida Overseas Heritage Trail, past 10 state parks, plus wildlife refuges and national parks. Start at MM 106 on Key Largo; use Highway 1 shoulder and bridges to fill in gaps. (850) 245-2052;

money: $950

Make like Hemingway and spend eight hours at sea fishing for big and beautiful sailfish, tuna, and tarpon with Wild Bill Sport Fishing in Key West. Up to six people. Bring your own food and drinks. (305) 744-7957;


E X P LO R E Travel from Key West via catamaran ferry over 70 miles of open water for a day exploring Dry Tortugas National Park. D R I NK Muy powerful Cuban coffee at Sandy’s Café, only 90 miles from its origins. E AT Key lime pie (official Florida state pie) at one of Keys Fisheries Restaurant & Marina’s waterside picnic tables. R AC E The Key West Triathlon is on December 3. Swim in the Atlantic Ocean, bike scenic Highway 1, and run sunny Smather’s Beach. Sprint and Olympic distances.

(800) 634-0939

1026 White St. Key West (305) 295-0159

End of 35th St. on Marathon Key (866) 743-4353

Mount Rainier National Park, WASHINGTON If you love winter, you’ve come to the right place. Mount Rainier National Park’s Paradise area, elevation 5,420 feet, gets an average of 680 inches of the white stuff a year. Find out how much fun that can be in an uncrowded park. time: 4

or 5 days

Ski hut to hut in the backcountry near Mount Rainier. Mount Tahoma Trails Association ski patroller Gene Glasunow recommends going first to the farthest point, The Yurt, spending one or two nights in Snowbowl Hut, and your last in High Hut (at 4,760 feet elevation); it’s all downhill back from there. 13.5 trail miles, 4,000-foot elevation change. (360) 569-2451;

energy: 1,600


Snowshoe eight scenic miles: Start at the Paradise snow play area and head to Glacier Vista, then Panorama Point, along Skyline Route and Mazama Ridge, to Inspiration Saddle and Point, with a detour to Narada Falls, then back. Or veer off to Reflection Lakes and snow camp. (360) 5696575;

money: $1,750

Whip your butt into shape on the International Mountain Guides’ six-and-a-half-day winter ascent of 14,410-foot Mount Rainier, snowshoeing with a 70-pound pack, moving camp, shoveling snow, and climbing. Gear and meals included. (360) 569-2609;

EX PLORE Rangerguided snowshoe walks on weekends go about 1.5 miles, snowshoes provided, bring your own hat and mittens.

(360) 569-6575

D RINK Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice flavor Spiced Apple cider, served piping hot at Rockridge Orchards store and tasting room.

40709 264th Ave. SE Enumclaw (360) 802-6800

EAT World Famous Blackberry Pie, baked every 45 minutes in the circa-1920s Copper Creek Restaurant.

35707 State Rd 706 E Ashford (360) 569-2326

R AC E Run the Rainier Mountain Festival 5-mile trail run, September 11. The full festival runs September 10–11 with music, slideshows by prominent climbers, and other events.


WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  47 women-perf_2,25x9,75_us.indd 1

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Jane Matera skate skis in Methow Valley, Washington. The region is known as the state’s equivalent of the Old West, with fields of baled hay; old, weathered barns; corrals of horses; and the spectacular Cascade Mountains for a backdrop.

48  WAM • WINTER | 2011


When it comes to skiing, there’s a difference between what you think it’s going to be like, what it’s really like, and what you tell your friends it was like.

WAM • WINTER | 2011  49

Challenge Take a level 1 avalanche course and commit to practicing your beacon searching with a fellow beacon owner once a week throughout the winter.

Before you sign up for a level 1 class, Lynne recommends that you have your backcountry “touring act” together: how to put and take off skins on your skis, carrying food and hydration, and wearing proper clothing.


here’s something special about getting off the beaten path. In winter, it’s the opportunity to lay fresh tracks on skis or fresh prints on snowshoes. But before you head into the snowy backcountry, particularly if you are eyeing areas with steeper slopes, you should sign up for a level 1 avalanche course. It will give you the tools to assess what is safe terrain and what isn’t, and how to rescue someone in case she is caught in a slide.

What You Will Learn in an Avalanche Course E D U C AT I O N


ynne Wolfe of Driggs, Idaho, has been teaching avalanche education for more than 20 years and is a certified instructor through the American Avalanche Association. “A level 1 course is typically a combo of classroom sessions and working in the field where students will be exposed to the basics of the phenomenon— what is an avalanche, what is snowpack, how does weather build snowpack—and learn rescue techniques in case of an avalanche.

In the Classroom

In her level 1 course, Lynne teaches seven clues—ALP TRUTH—to evaluate conditions. “It is one decision-making tool to help someone decide where to go,” says Lynne. The more clues that are checked on the list, the higher the risk of avalanche in that terrain.

7 Clues


Avalanches—Look for signs of recent slides.

Loading—Note if snow arrived by snowfall or via wind. 8-12” of new deposition can be drastically affected by wind.


Path—Is this an avalanche path recognizable by a novice?


Terrain trap—Note where you could get trapped, where consequences are amplified; e.g., a deep gully at the bottom of the slope.


Rating—If you have a local avalanche center, check their risk rating for the day. A rating of “considerable” or higher gives you a check in this box.


Unstable snow—Is there cracking or woomphing/ collapsing as you cross the snow?


Thaw instability— Know if there has been a rise in temperature of 10–15 degrees F or more over 8 hours or less. 50  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12

Lynne Wolfe demonstrates digging a snow pit and examining snow layers.

In the Field

After the classroom, it’s time to head to the snow. Lynne starts with getting students to apply ALP TRUTH clues to actual slopes. “We try to get people to use the new vocabulary and ask such things as: • What is the slope angle? • Where is the appropriate up-track? • Where are you going to access this slope from? • If it’s okay, how are you going to ski it?” To understand snow layering on a slope, Lynne has students dig a snow pit. “But I don’t want them to base their entire assessment on snowpack scores,” says Lynne. “Avalanche hazard assessment means paying attention to the whole picture.”

Next is beacon work. “We start by burying a single beacon, then students use their beacons to search for the burial,” explains Lynne. “Beacon searching is a skill that expires, so I encourage people to practice, practice, practice.” The beacon search is just step one. After an avalanche, if someone is buried, the clock starts ticking. Odds of survival drastically decrease after 15 minutes of burial. Once a burial is located, a probe is used to find how deep they are buried. Then the real work begins: shoveling. “We are teaching shoveling technique as much as beacon searches in courses,” says Lynne. Where to start digging, how big you should make the hole, where you should put the snow, and the most efficient ways to dig are all discussed and taught.


Avalanche Awareness

m Skills



“You can have a fun day in the mountains even when snowpack is unstable in steep terrain,” says Lynne. “It’s important to learn how to recognize what is green (can ski), yellow (can ski in some conditions), or red light terrain. When everything is red, it’s a good day to head to the ski area or flatter snowshoe trails.”



The Basics

ou’ve taken your avalanche course and learned about slope analysis, beacon searching, and probing and shoveling. Now you’re ready to venture into the backcountry. But don’t you dare head out without the following safety gear. Backpack They have been popular in Europe for years and are relatively new in the U.S.:

backpacks with air bags. The bag deploys when you pull a trigger on the shoulder strap. This releases air from a cylinder and inflates the bag, which shoots out behind your head and keeps you “afloat” so you don’t get buried. These bags are not cheap, but they are a worthy investment to keep you safe. So how does an air bag keep you above tons of sliding snow? “It works because of the universal grading concept,” explains Bruce Edgerly of Backcountry Access. “The big orange air bag balloon behind your head makes you a bigger particle, and when you have a mass of floating particles, the biggest ones rise to the top.” Backcountry Access ( offers two models: the Float 18 ($685) and Float 36 ($785). Each has room for a shovel, probe, extra clothes, and food and water. If you have to trigger the air bag, it’s reusable; just refill the cylinder with compressed air at a scuba shop, paintball park, or at some retailers.

Beacon A beacon is only as good as its user. Once you learn how to use one in

Probe A number

your class, practice with it. Always wear your beacon strapped on your body under your jacket for easy access and always turn it on when you put it on.

of companies, including Ortovox, Backcountry Access, Black Diamond, and G3 make probes ranging from aluminum ($35+) to carbon fiber ($80+).

Many ski resorts around the country have beacon parks where beacons are buried and you can practice finding them. Check with your local resort. And if they don’t have a park, ask them to set one up! The new Ortovox S1+ Beacon ($449; is fast and easy to use with its revamped graphic screen and three-antenna system to locate multiple burials.


Ortovox’s 240 Economic ($39; weighs just 230 grams and features numbered lines along the probe to indicate burial depth.

Shovel One of the most important pieces of gear next to your beacon is a shovel to dig out your friend. The Backcountry Access B-1 EXT Shovel ($49.95, has an extendable handle that compresses down so the shovel fits easily in your pack.

Resources Backcountry Access has a great resource page with avalanche course providers, research and reports, a list of beacon parks, and a blog. education

WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  51


“Just be patient. You may not get the hang of it right away, but you’ll put in the work and get over a hump and you’ll be gliding along. Have some patience, you’ll get there and it’ll be totally worth it. Either way, you’re getting in a great workout.”

Pick a 10k trail at your ski area and use more than one skate ski technique to complete the loop. BEGINNER TIPS

From the Pros First and foremost, if you want to try skate skiing, take a lesson. Start on a groomed, flat trail, and always heed Fisher athlete Sadie Bjornsen’s words of wisdom: “As a beginner, the most important thing is to feel the skis glide underneath you. Skate skiing is an art, and it comes with comfort and relaxation on your skis. If you tense up and worry that you are doing it wrong, chances are you will not have a good time. All the pros learned by going out on the snow, swinging our equipment in every which direction, looking like a yard sale, but eventually learning a dance that is comfortable, clean, and works for us. There is no perfect technique, and no perfect skier.”

Top 3 Things to Think About yourself, 1 “Am I directing all myAskenergy forDirection of force.

ward with each movement, or am I sitting back on my skis?”


Balance and edging. Weight


Timing. Move in long glides with

transfer is very important. Glide on one ski at a time. Keep your heel on the ski until your ski is completely off the snow. good rhythm. Use your poles only once you have the timing down, instead of relying on them from the get-go. You’ll get the feel of gliding from ski to ski and master the weight transfer more easily if you take it one step at a time.

52  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12



—Kikkan Randall of the U.S. Ski Team


n the gear-specific sport of skate skiing, the key is to go as high-end as possible, says Steve Hindman, a ski coach for 30 years and author of a new book called Cross Country Skiing: Building Skills for Fun and Fitness. “Never go more than one level down from the top,” he says, offering these pointers for buying and using gear. Boots and Bindings “You

need skate-specific boots and bindings, no combination stuff,” Steve instructs. “Combination gear, to me, means not good for anything.” The boots should be stiff around the ankles for support and outfitted with skate-specific bindings. Make sure they are exactly your size and have good arch support. Skis A skate ski is shorter

than a classic ski and has no scales that will make it stick to the snow. “Never try skating with a scaled ski,”

Steve says. “If you do, you’ll tend to push back and get this confirmation that what you’re doing works, but it really doesn’t.” It’s key to get a pair that fits well. As long as they fit, you will barely notice a difference between a medium-level and a highend ski. Poles “Don’t skimp on the

poles,” Steve says. “Because you’re moving them in a big arc forward, lightweight makes a difference.” Look for tall, light poles with an adjustable strap (versus just

a loop) that will keep your palm on the handle, allowing you to grip it lightly and release it at the end of the pole stroke without losing control of the pole. The handle should extend above the strap to enable a natural swing forward. Some companies offer gloves that hook onto corresponding handles instead of loops or straps. To fit poles: Stand with the pole tips on the ground. The top of the handles should be between your chin and nose—on the shorter end, near your chin, if you’re a beginner.

2011 U.S. SKI TEAM

Skate Skiing

m Skills

Why Is Skate Skiing Great Cross Training? “I think skate skiing has got to be one of the best bangs for your buck out there. You can really go hammer around for 30 minutes and get a great workout. There’s no impact, and it’s easy on your joints. I’ve talked to alpine skiers who like to skate ski because it gives them added endurance.” —Kikkan Randall

“The magic about skate skiing is it incorporates every muscle in your body, including your brain, as you continuously think about the timing of your movements. But it is—uniquely—very easy on your body. For this reason, you can go out for hours on end, touring across the crust in the spring or skiing from hut to hut in the winter, without hurting your body in a negative manner. Plus, skate skiing is a great way to work on your cardiovascular system. Between the constant pushing and moving with your skis and poles, your heart will most definitely be doing its job. My favorite reality of Nordic skiing is that you are never cold; instead, you are instantly put to work and breaking a sweat. Not only that: At the end of the day, your hot chocolate is much more enjoyable when you really worked to earn it! —Sadie Bjornsen


Poling Techniques


t V1 (Off Set Skate): Use this technique when you’re at low speed going uphill (photo above). As you go up, your skis get wider at the tips and you have to move one pole further away so it doesn’t go between your legs. It’s offset. With this technique, you only pole when one ski is down. When your left foot hits the ground, you use both poles. On your right, you recover your poles. Then on your left, you use both poles. And so on. Work toward being able to pole with either ski in V1 so you can adapt to terrain and spread the workload over more muscles. On sideways-sloping trails, you may find it easier to pole with the ski gliding up the incline.

V2: When you go a little faster, your ski tips aren’t so far apart so you should use the V2 technique. With the V2, your pole baskets should always be near your toes when you plant the poles. Use your body weight and abs to pull yourself through the poles. Every time you step on a ski to glide (above), plant both of your poles on either side of that ski. The rhythm: skate on left, pole on left; skate on right, pole on right; repeat.

Visit to see video demonstrations of each technique.




nce you have your rhythm and glide down pat, add poles to help propel you forward. “Learn how to adjust your cadence, timing, tempo for the terrain, like you’d adjust gears on your bike,” Steve says when using poles. “You’re always moving from one ski to the next and are only on one ski at a time. It’s scary to be on one ski. But once you’re on the ski, that pole will help maintain that glide.” There are three poling techniques used in skate skiing:

V2 Alternate (Open Field Skate): When you’re going fast enough, poling with each skate with the V2 technique becomes too much. With V2 alternate, you only pole with one ski down and not the other. But, unlike the V1, you push off with one ski then just glide on the other, while you recover (shown above) your poles. Ask an instructor to check your form on all of these techniques.

WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  53


Traveling to Teach Helen Thayer explores all corners of the globe to experience its cultures and share them with others

By Rebecca Heaton

Helen Thayer and her husky, Charlie, stand victorious after reaching the magnetic North Pole. In 1988 at age 50, she was the first woman to reach any of the Poles solo.


woman’s work is never done. Just ask Helen Thayer. The worldrenowned explorer and author commits much of her time to her organization, Adventure Classroom. But her job is anything but conventional. She doesn’t sit in an office behind a computer, making phone calls and typing e-mails. Instead, she travels the world to immerse herself in local cultures and, in turn, share those experiences with children to help them understand and respect other people’s lifestyles.

Warm Up To Snow!

“Ours is not the only way,” Helen says of Western culture. “We’re all caught up in this giant worldwide web and we need to learn to respect each other. We have to understand where you’re coming from, where I’m coming from, and respect that your way is fine, my way is fine, and that we can be friends.” That is why since 1988, when Adventure Classroom was launched, Helen and her husband Bill have undertaken journeys to explore world cultures and wildlife. “We figure out where we want to go, if it is politically safe, and what sort of education program we can bring home to share with the kids,” explains Helen. “Then we set up the logistics.” Together they have worked with the Maori in New Zealand and nomads in Mongolia. They have trekked with caribou in Alaska, lived among wolves in Canada, and kayaked through the Amazon to visit indigenous people. They have walked almost 8,000 miles across Africa’s Sahara Desert, the Atlas Mountains, and the vast Serengeti plains, and lived with the Maasai, Bushmen, and Datooga tribes. Most recently, they returned from another African expedition in the Sahara where they led four camels on a 700-mile trek with the Berber tribe on an eleventh century historical trade route. “When we go away, it’s partly a lovely vacation, but it’s really our work and we go to learn and become part of the culture we are visiting so we can bring this back to the kids,” says Helen. “It’s important that we get off the tourist route and get into the thick of things.” By this, Helen refers to how she “joins the woman’s life,” taking on such tasks as finding clean water, carrying it back, finding fire wood, milking the animals, and cooking meals. Bill, on the other hand, “has to act like one of the men and kill the animals.”

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In 2009, Helen and her husband Bill lived with the Maasai tribe in a remote area of the Tanzania backcountry to document the tribe’s daily life.

WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  55

Helen credits her and Bill’s ages (she is 74, he is 85) as a big advantage to arranging their cultural immersions. “We are treated as respected elders, so it works well,” she says. “They wouldn’t allow us in to some of the places we’ve explored if we were younger.” She also notes that their age never seems to slow them down. “We still work out and people can’t believe our real ages. They tell us we look 25 to 30 years younger.” The couple resides in Washington state at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, where they hike the rugged trails on a daily basis and work out in their home gym when they’re not traveling the globe. “We keep ourselves tuned up by hiking long and hard, lifting weights, and stretching,” says Helen. “Age means so little to us,” she adds. “I remember the days when I would meet an older hiker on the trails and think ‘wow, how did he get up here?’ Now Bill and I are a pair of those hikers, and when we get up on the high trails, younger people come along and talk to us. You can see them looking at us and guess the thoughts in their minds about how did we get up here.” The mountains have always been near and dear to Helen. She’ll say that the seed for Adventure Classroom was sown in 1986 as she stood on the summit of Peak Communism (24,590 feet) in Tajikistan at age 48. But in reality, it had been germinating since she was a 9-year-old, hiking up Mount Taranaki (8,261 feet) in her home country of New Zealand with Helen and Bill have traveled much of the African continent on foot, first walking 1,600 miles across the Gobi Desert with camels and, most recently, walking 900 family friend, Sir Edmund Hilary. Yes, the Sir Edmund Hilary.

“Ed was a family friend. I went climbing with him and my parents in the Southern Alps in New Zealand,” says Helen. “He was an absolutely wonderful man, so goal oriented. But he was also very modest and always concerned about the needs of other people before his.” The climb was tough for her 9-year-old legs, but Helen credits that first big mountain climb as the start to her life of adventure. “It set the pace for the rest of my life to set goals,” says Helen. “Once I put a plan in place, I went for it.” During those early years, Helen climbed the highest peaks around New Zealand with “Ed.” She eventually went on to summit some of the highest peaks around the world, including Mt. McKinley (20,320 feet) in Alaska, Aconcagua (22,841 feet) in Argentina, and, of course, Peak Communism in Tajikistan. When Helen became the first woman to trek solo to the magnetic North Pole at age 50, she reminisced about climbing those New Zealand peaks at an early age. “On the flight back to base camp [after walking to the Pole], I realized what the journey to the Pole taught me,” she says. “It made me grateful for that early start, knowing I could do it, and having that belief in myself. You don’t realize what you have inside until you do it yourself.”

She would live with the Inuit people, polar bears, and other wildlife, and work with Canadian scientists in an environmental project to record daily ice temperatures. She would walk and ski alone, pulling her own sled without the aid of dog teams or snowmobiles. “Being the first woman to do this, I really had to reinvent the wheel because there were no other women I could ask questions,” says Helen of the journey. Because she was traveling to the magnetic North Pole, she couldn’t rely on a regular compass as the needle wouldn’t point correctly. Instead, she relied on Inuit navigation using a 24-hour clock, a piece of cardboard, and the shadow system to determine her direction. Navigation wasn’t the only challenge, though. Helen was embarking on a strenuous journey through dangerous polar bear territory. Lucky for her, a local hunter sold her Charlie, a black husky that became her loyal travel companion and “polar bear dog.” Together they survived storms, barely escaped drowning, and, yes, fought off polar bears. After 364 miles and 27 days, Helen and Charlie successfully reached the Pole. Helen wrote a best-selling book about the journey called Polar Dream. “I was the first woman to accomplish this trek, but I didn’t do the trip for that reason. I wanted the focus to be something different than that,” she says. Because it was her first program for Adventure Classroom, Helen wanted to prove to kids that if you plan correctly, you can finish such a journey and live in harmony with wild animals. Even today, Polar Dream is being used in schools and is available in nine languages and in Braille.

In 1988, Helen decided to take on the challenge of trekking solo to the Four years later, for their 30th anniversary, Helen and Bill traveled magnetic North Pole as her first “assignment” for Adventure Classroom. the same route to become the first married couple to walk to any of 56  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12


“Some people have a nice dinner for their anniversary, but we like to find ourselves doing other things.”

miles across the Sahara Desert. Along the way, they immersed themselves with various tribes and cultures, and encountered a plethora of wildlife.

the world’s Poles. Two years after that, they (and Charlie) spent a year in the Canadian Yukon and Northwest Territories studying and photographing three families of wild wolves. Helen’s second book, Three Among Wolves, documents the amazing story. “We really get into it,” says Helen of her travels with Bill. “We have to do it this way to get the full report, and bring back the photography and the writing.” Helen’s third book, Walking the Gobi, tells the story of the couple’s 1,600-mile trek in 2001 across the Gobi Desert… for their 40th anniversary. “Some people have a nice dinner for their anniversary, but we like to find ourselves doing other things,” says Helen with a laugh. The Gobi trip turned out to be one of the more difficult for the couple, though, when they found themselves without water nine days from a resupply station. “One of our camels actually rolled and it was the one carrying our water,” Helen says. For seven days, the couple pushed the envelope to the very edge as they slowly made their way while dealing with life-threatening thirst. “We had thoughts that we wouldn’t make it,” recalls Helen, “but then we found a filthy little pool just in time.” That incident didn’t deter them from continuing their adventures. The following years, they traveled to the Amazon to study indigenous cultures and water issues, and to Africa to live with several tribes. In 2011, Helen and Bill celebrated 50 years of marriage by walking 900 miles across the Sahara Desert through Algeria, Mauritania, and Mali to document the Sahara Berber tribe and its customs. “We have expeditions planned every year here on out,” says Helen. “We have a lot of work to do with Adventure Classroom.” Helen lists living with the Afar people in Ethiopia, working with reindeer herders in Northern Finland, and returning to the Amazon to meet more tribes as potential upcoming trips. “There are so many different people and so many different cultures for Bill and me to learn about. Our age is getting to us, so it’s a matter of staying in good shape, keeping the body tuned up, and getting away and doing these things while we can,” she says. With the help of Cordura Fabric, her main sponsor, Helen will be able to continue her work. The company discovered Helen through Adventure Classroom and has a program called We Care, which is focused on kids and their future. “It’s a great fit with the mission of Adventure Classroom,” says Helen of the partnership. “I’ve become a Cordura ambassador and use their products when I travel. They encourage me and Bill to go overseas and live among different people.” In between her overseas travels and her Washington hikes, Helen does take time to sit at her desk and write about her travels. She is currently working on a biography about her beloved husky, Charlie, and plans on a series of children’s books. “I need to live to be 500 to finish all of this,” she laughs. We can’t wait to hear about her next adventure. n Helen’s tales and travels are enough to fill a library, but we only had so much room in our pages. Follow Helen on her website helenthayer. com. And learn more about her program Adventure Classroom at

WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  57

Being an active woman has its perks. Most of us will take any excuse to get outside, but knowing others are counting on you is extra motivating. These women and their organizations have taken helping others to the next level. Learn what drives them to philanthropic work in the active world. B y Jennifer Olson

Red Feather

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Molly Barker

Founder, Girls on the Run International

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in the south, and there were certain ways a southern girl should act. Being athletic was not one of them. There were voices that said, “You’re not pretty enough, southern enough, or good enough.” Running was the space where those negative messages went away, a sanctuary. But alcohol was too. I started drinking when I was 15, about when I started running. Running was the healthy sanctuary, and alcohol was the cheap version. By age 30, I’d competed in Ironman triathlons, but alcohol had become a huge problem. Then I had an epiphany run, and I realized I didn’t have to fit anyone else’s idea of what a girl should do and look like. So I started Girls on the Run to teach girls to look inward for their strength instead of outward.

Tell us about Girls on the Run.

In 1996, we launched a 12-week, 24-lesson curriculum with 13 brave girls in Charlotte, N.C. The program weaves training for a 5K run with fun, experience-based lessons that improve self-awareness, build a collection of positive experiences, and inspire life-changing confidence through accomplishment. I have a Master’s degree in social work that I didn’t really use until I started this curriculum. I did some research about challenges girls have and wrote the curriculum in ’96. In 2000, Girls on the Run International became a 501(c)(3) organization. Now, with the help of 37,000 volunteers, we meet with girls in grades 3-8 twice a week for 10-12 weeks in more than 170 cities across North America. One girl said, “It helps me become the boss of my own brain.” In other words, she’s not pressured by peers or buying into anyone else’s ideas; she’s making decisions for herself.

How has your mission changed since Girls on the Run began?

When I started it, I was very focused on the external systems that limited girls. I don’t like the way advertisers airbrush or portray girls and women. I don’t like the way women are viewed in public and social policy. So the first curriculum had a twinge

of “we’re trying to fix the outside world.” But what’s happened—and the girls taught me this— is we’ve moved into a more Gandhi way of thinking. The way to change the outer world is to change the inner world. If I quit looking at those advertisements and really listen inward, those things go away; there will be no more market for them. We try helping girls identify their own values.

What would you say to women wanting to get involved?

We have more girls than we have coaches to deliver the program. We have waitlists in nearly every city. It’s a great problem to have, but we need volunteers. Being involved in the program certainly changes the girls, but it’s transformed the lives of women involved.

What inspires you about Girls on the Run?

On an individual level, I’m inspired by a little girl named Molly in Pennsylvania. I asked her in front of a big crowd, “What would you tell people who didn’t know about our proWays to Help gram about Girls on • Coach the girls for 12 weeks leading up the Run?” She said, “I’d to the 5K. say they need to do it, • Volunteer on race day or at a fundraiser. because Girls on the • Run the 5K as a Running Buddy to a little Run helps you find the girl and encourage her with each step. center of who you are, • Sign up to race as a Solemate and raise and you get to do it with money for Girls on the Run in your town. people who love you.” • Intern for a local Girls on the Run program or donate to a Coach’s box. She inspires me. And Info at that’s all it takes.

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donna grogan

Vice President of Sports Training Programs for Team In Training and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Tell us about yourself.

I joined Team in Training (TNT) while training for a marathon for the same reason many women participate: I needed support and camaraderie. I volunteered in the TNT office during that time, and the work matched my passion for philanthropy and giving back. I’ve been with the organization 15 years and worked on the Team in Training program, which has been around 23 years, almost the entire time. I love being in the endurance industry and seeing sports impact the lives of everyday people, not just people who’ve run marathons in three hours. I’m signing up for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in D.C. in March. The nature of my job is that I travel a ton, so sometimes it’s difficult to squeeze in the long part of my training. I’m more of a run/walker now, an enthusiastic trier of sports.

What keeps you working for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) through Team in Training?

I didn’t have a personal connection to leukemia and lymphoma but, after 15 years, I unfortunately do. It still strikes a chord, but it’s different for me. When it happens, I know that I’m working toward a solution and have the ability to help. I don’t feel helpless. It feels good to know I make a difference when people I know and love have been diagnosed and have survived.

How has your mission changed or remained the same since you started with Team in Training?

In 15 years, a lot has happened in terms of cancer research. I’ve met researchers who tell me that the dollars raised really help toward finding cures. That drives you to see the fruits of your labor.

Why LLS?

Every four minutes, someone in North America is diagnosed with a blood cancer; every 10 minutes, someone dies. More than one million North Americans are fighting blood cancers. Early detection is rare and there’s no way to prevent the onset. So LLS, the world’s largest nonprofit supporter of blood cancer research, has invested more than $814 million in research.

In 2011 alone, LLS invested $76.7 million in nearly 400 blood cancer research projects around the world. Team in Training is part of the engine that helps drive the vision of the organization (LLS). Our chief scientific officer would say we want to find the best and brightest, and we’re able to do that. Everyone wants their dollars put to good use and has concerns about organizations and their integrity. They can make their donations knowing they will be put to great use.

What would you say to women wanting to get involved?

“Just do it.” It’s easy for me to say. About 75 percent of our program is women. This program provides the support and camaraderie that women typically like and want from being associated with a team. All of that reinforcement and reassurance of being on a team is built in. We want people to achieve their goals, so we’re going to do what we can to make somebody a success. Coaches in fundraising and training will be with women every step of the way. What’s great is that you’re never alone. You join as an individual, but people who’ve never been part of a team sport in their lives finally get that feeling. It’s about more than just you, though. Athletes cross the finish line knowing that they’ve done something good for other people.

What’s inspiring to you about Team in Training?

The people. Everybody is busy today. We’ve got commitments. I’m inspired that so many people each year look for a healthy way to help and say, “I want to make a difference, do something good for someone else or for someone in my family.” Their commitment inspires me.

Ways to Help

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Follow Donna’s lead: Sign up for an event, train, fundraise, race, and see the fruits of your labor. Info at and

michele Ostrander Executive Director for the Denver Metropolitan Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Tell us about yourself.

I started working with Komen in 2005 to help provide breast cancer care to all individuals, regardless of their ability to pay. I worked with domestic violence and sexual assault survivors for 12 years before working with Komen. I also served on the Friends of Women’s Studies board of directors at the University of Houston, and taught psychology and women’s studies courses there too. I enjoy hiking, camping, and spending time in the outdoors with my partner, Sofia.

Since its beginnings, how has the Susan G. Komen for the Cure mission changed or remained the same?

Nancy Brinker started Komen in 1982 in honor of her sister Susan G. Komen, who died of breast cancer at age 37. Nancy promised her sister she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. That promise is Komen’s mission. Komen has grown into the largest grassroots network of breast cancer advocates. Komen research dollars have touched every major advance in breast cancer care, and now there will be 16 international Races for the Cure this year. In total, there will be 145 events in 2012.

What keeps you working on this cause and growing Susan G. Komen for the Cure?

This week, a woman at one of our grantees, Coalition for the Homeless, shared her journey through breast cancer with us. She had no insurance but felt a lump in her breast. She put off seeing a doctor due to lack of funds until her mom took her to the Stout Street Clinic at the Coalition. They sent her for a mammogram and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was then referred to another Komen grantee, St. Joseph Hospital, who performed surgery and provided her chemotherapy. This woman is alive because of the work of Komen staff, volunteers, and the generous support of the greater Denver community. Komen funding paid for her mammogram, her biopsy, and her breast cancer treatment. This woman will live to see her child graduate from high school.

And this year, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, Mom caught her breast cancer early when it was confined to her breast. She had a lumpectomy and radiation and is doing well. She will be with me for many more years. My passion is fueled by my mom and all the women who survive, as well as the women who, no matter how hard they fight, can’t beat this disease. We are still losing 40,000 women each year in the U.S. to breast cancer. Until that number is zero, Komen will continue the fight.

Describe the impact of Komen fundraising?

Seventy-five percent of our proceeds stay in the Denver area for breast cancer education, screening, and treatment for uninsured, under-insured, and medically underserved individuals. This year, we invested $2.9 million in 29 breast cancer projects. Since our inception in 1993, we have invested $28 million into local breast cancer programs. The remaining 25 percent of funds support breast cancer research. On a national level, Susan G. Komen for the Cure awarded $55 million in research projects this year.

What would you tell women wanting to get involved?

Volunteers are the heart and soul of Komen. We always needs volunteers. For those who have limited time, we encourage you to participate in events like our Romp to Stomp out Breast Cancer (5K snowshoe) in Frisco each March or Tri for the Cure in August.

What’s inspiring to you about Susan G. Komen for the Cure?

Saving lives. Komen funding is the safety net for breast cancer patients. We help when no other state Ways to Help or federal program can • Help provide breast health education. help. We work to ensure • Assist in organizing or participate in events like the Komen Denver Race for that no one in our comthe Cure and Pink Tie Affair. munity faces a diagnosis • Volunteer in the office, assisting with of breast cancer alone. marketing and more. Info at WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  61



There’s no better—or easier—way to explore the snowy landscape in winter than on snowshoes. It doesn’t require much gear; basically warm layers of clothing, sturdy footwear, a pair of snowshoes, and you’re good to go. Here we highlight a number of lightweight models designed for trail walking and light backcountry exploration to get you off the beaten path.

MSR Women’s Lightning Flash ($199.95; If you’re just getting into snowshoeing, the Lightning Flash will keep you confident on the snow. Designed for a woman’s narrow gait, they have 360 degrees of traction around the bottom, plus crampons under the feet for added grip. Weighing in at a mere three pounds per pair, these lightweight snow walkers feature easy-to-adjust Speedlock bindings.

If you’re thinking about snowshoeing into a hut or snow camping with a loaded pack on your back, you should look into larger, more backcountry-oriented snowshoes that will keep you afloat on the snow with the added weight.

Redfeather Hike ($134.95; kit $184.95; These snowshoe frames weigh just three pounds per pair and are designed for a woman’s narrow stride, with stainless steel crampons on bottom in both the front and rear for stability. The binding has a heel plate that molds around both the toe and heel for added lateral support, and straps are easy to adjust with just one tug. This style is available in a kit with the pair of Hike snowshoes, a carrying bag, and Redfeather’s three-section poles with snow baskets. 62  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12


Kahtoola Mtn 24 ($279; You get a two-in-one deal with the Mtn 24—snowshoes plus trail crampons. The boot-mounted Eight-Point Trail Crampons adjust to fit most footwear and are best worn on icy patches or where snow is hard packed. When snow gets deeper, just grab the snowshoes from your pack and click in to the SKYHOOK step-in bindings. No need to adjust any straps. The full set-up weighs in at 3 lbs. 15 oz.

Snowshoes G E A R Atlas Elektra 10 Series ($199.95; A snowy winter trail walk is just what these snowshoes are designed for. The easy-to-use Wrapp Comfort bindings tighten with a single yank and have insulated padding to ease discomfort at pressure points on your feet. The snowshoe frames are ergonomically designed for a woman’s stride (e.g., for wider hips than men), and have a steel toe crampon and spiky Traverse Trac rails for control on both the flats as well as the ups and downs. A pair weighs in at just over 3.5 pounds.

Tubbs Women’s Wilderness ($199.95; Great for day hiking, the Wilderness has a specially designed rounded, upturned tail that allows the frame to mimic your natural stride from heel to toe. The result is less pounding on the body and less “slap” when the snowshoe hits the ground on each step. Weighing in at just under four pounds a pair, these also feature steel and carbon crampons under the toes and midfoot for great grip, and custom-fit bindings that are sized for a woman’s boot.

Stay Stable With Poles

On backcountry snowshoe hikes, poles can help you keep your balance and stability. Lucky for us snowshoe gals, LEKI has created a women-specific backcountry pole called the Aergonlite 2 Crystal ($159; The grips are 15 percent smaller than other LEKI grips, and the poles are a bit shorter in length (94–140 cm). They are easy to adjust with the new SpeedLock locking system that flips open and closed, and come with interchangeable baskets for packed or deep snow.

Crescent Moon Gold 15 ($259; Weighing in at just over four pounds per pair, the women’s Gold 15 snowshoes are best on snowy, backcountry trails. Their exaggerated teardrop shape and three-claw system make it easy to walk with a natural stride and feel stable in the deepest of snow. The SPL (single-pull-loop) binding is simple to use and won Crescent Moon a nomination for an innovation award.

Crescent Moon (crescentmoon makes some lightweight neoprene Snow Booties ($50) that fit right over your running shoes or hiking boots and provide warmth and water resistance. Available in two sizes.


You’ve got your snowshoes, maybe some poles, and your layers of clothing from head to toe. But what should you wear on your feet? Hiking boots are always a good option, particularly if you’re concerned about ankle stability. But if you don’t like the weight, you can always wear a low hiker or trail running shoe with gaiters to keep the snow off your ankles. It’s a plus if your shoes are lined with GORE-TEX for added protection from the wet stuff.

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Performance matters. And a strategic layering system is just as important as your skis or board, or skates or snowshoes, when it comes to a fun day in the snow. We put together two ideal layering systems—one for your downhill resort days and another for your more active backcountry pursuits. Helly Hansen Warm Ski Buff ($30; Under your helmet, opt for a Buff made with insulating Warm Fibre Technology. The inner layer keeps you dry, while the outer layer adds warmth.

Level 1, Less


Staying warm while sitting on the chairlift before jumping off and zipping down the slopes is about more than donning the puffiest jacket. These layers will insulate and protect from blowing wind and dumping snow to keep you toasty—and happy. Midlayer: First Ascent Downlight Hoodie ($199; No matter how hard you ski or ride, this ultra-light 800-fill goose down jacket’s windproof, water-repellent, breathable shell with its helmet-compatible hood won’t wear out or—at 11.2 ounces—weigh you down. Wear it alone on bluebird days or pair with a shell when it’s wet outside.

Outer Shell: Outdoor Research Backbowl Jacket ($265; Part of OR’s new Sidecountry Line, the Backbowl’s waterproof and breathable shell offers extreme weather protection, chest-to-hip zippers for ventilation, and a zip-off hood.

Moving Comfort Chill Out ($42; The weather outside is frightful but the Thermo°Cool inside your bra is delightful, as it helps optimize your body temperature and wick moisture to keep “your girls” warm and dry.

Baselayer: SmartWool W’s NTS Microweight Zip T ($75; Short for Next-to-Skin, NTS indicates the barely-there, wicking Merino baselayer to be paired with mid and outer layers to keep you cozy on the hill and in the lodge.

Baselayer: Patagonia Merino 3 Bottoms ($85; A blend of 80% merino wool and 20% recycled polyester in these long johns pulls moisture away from your skin and wicks it away.

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Marmot Wm’s Access Glove ($135; A leather glove that allows maximum dexterity, breathability, insulation, moisture management, and protection in the most severe weather conditions ensures your fingers will stay happy on the chilliest of days. Après accessory: Sherpa Adventure Hima Hat ($45; In addition to looking cute as a button, you’ll stay comfy in a wide range of wintery conditions in this Sherpa-designed 100% pashmina hat.

Darn Tough Over-the-Calf Padded Cushion Ski Sock ($23; The cushion in this sock (also available in a lightweight version) relieves pressure on your shin when you’re skiing in tight, shell-fit boots.

Outer Layer: Mountain Hardwear Quasar Pant ($300; mountainhardwear. com) Mountain Hardwear’s own Dry. Q Elite fabric instills waterproof, breathable properties in an ultra-light but durable shell with full-zip ventilation for warm days.

Level 2, Very

Layering G E A R


Whether Nordic skiing from a local trailhead, telemark skiing in the sidecountry, or snowshoeing and splitboarding in the backcountry, you’ll need layers that wick and vent to keep you warm and dry.

GORE Windstopper Storm Buff ($36; Cinch up this convertible accessory over your head or loosen it up and sport it around your neck. The GORETEX outer layer blocks out the elements, while the colorful inner layer feels silky soft.

Midlayer: Salomon Minim Down Vest ($160; salomon. com) Consider this light, packable down vest your essential insulating layer—with a bonus wind-blocking shell for solo use on sunny days.

Outer Shell: Sierra Designs Savage Jacket ($189; Strategically placed polyester fur and fleece in this technical softshell cools non-insulated areas during high exertion activities, but retains heat when you stop to rest.

Icebreaker Rush Bra ($50; Merino and Lycra combine in this ultra-supportive, scoop neck, racerback brassiere for luxurious warmth and just the boost you need during winter workouts.

Baselayer: Terramar Diagonal Stripe Spandex Scoop ($25; Terramar’s HotTotties collection, made for and designed by women, follows a layering system called Climasense that’s based on level of activity. This is the lightest layer in the collection.

Baselayer: Ibex Wollies Bottom ($60; Flatlock seams and New Zealand merino combine in a lightweight leg liner to keep active buns warm.

Rab Women’s Meco 165 glove ($20; This quickdrying glove doubles as a liner when it’s too chilly to wear it as an outer glove. Blended merino and polyester yarn keeps the stink of sweat away.

FITS Ultra-Light Ski ($20; For minimalists and athletes, these socks boast a toe box to better fit the curve of your feet, feature strategically placed seams to eliminate chafing, include vents for breathability, and are spun from super fine merino wool that naturally regulates temperature.

Outerlayer: The North Face Skinster Pant ($199; These only look like a snowbunny’s pants. Fully seam-sealed waterproof, breathable fabric, plus inner thigh vents and a grippy gaiter combine in a shell that includes a Recco avalanche rescue reflector for peace of mind on steeper slopes.

WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  65



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Know a girl who could use some adventure? Fun, creative, inspiring wilderness adventures . . . for girls ages 8–18.

Photo ©2009 Christina Kiffney Photography


Celebrating women in the outdoor industries

Congratulations! Recipients of this yeaR’s pioneeRing Woman aWaRd

Sally McCoy, Camelbak Elana Chase, Vail Ski Club bike Ellen Johnson, Pacific Cycle outdoor snow

Learn more about OIWC programs and activities at

Recipients of this yeaR’s fiRst ascent aWaRd

Kate Ross, Williamette Riverkeeper Rachel Gitajn, Burton Snowboards bike Tara Moeller, Specialized Bicycles outdoor


SpeCial thankS to:

Strong girls. Strong women. Better world.


The HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation thanks our 2011 Climb4Life sponsors: sm


Black Diamond McKinley (DenAli)

Climbing Magazine REI Stonewear Designs Women’s Adventure Magazine KiliMAnjAro

Arc’teryx Beyond Coastal Big Stone Publishing Boulder Rock Club Colorado Mountain School M o n t B lA n c

BlueWater Ropes Bonnie’s Balms Marmot Mountain Hardwear Mountain Khakis The North Face Patagonia Seattle Manufacturing Corporation Sportrock Sterling Rope Company lo n g s P e A K

Evolv Fox River Friksn Guyot Designs La Sportiva FrienDs

A pr o g r Am o f

Five Ten Gear Loop Topos LÄRABAR prAna SNews 303-938-9191 Strong Girls. Strong Women. Better World.

We climb. We hike. We fight ovarian cancer one step at a time.

WAM • WINTER | 2011/12  67


There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you... In spring, summer, and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself. —Ruth Stout

68  WAM • WINTER | 2011/12


GEISHA “This shot was taken while shooting with the Salomon Freeski TV crew. We ended up with a surprise blue-bird day after a pretty incredible powder cycle, so we decided to tour out to shoot some bigger features on Mount Shuksan. On the way we found this beautiful, irresistible bowl with perfect light, so Elyse decided to drop in for some turns before skinning back up the ridge.” - Grant Gunderson



WAM • SPR | 2011  69

Cannon Mountain New Hampshire, USA. New Crystal Mountain Tall Lace Boot. 100% Waterproof. 42% Green Rubber™ recycled outsole. New Earthkeepers® Lightweight Zip Jacket. Water resistant. 100% recycled nylon. See the collection at Also available at Timberland® Specialty Stores.


, and Go out and be you are trademarks of The Timberland Company. Green Rubber is a trademark of Elastomer Technologies Ltd. © 2011 The Timberland Company. All rights reserved.

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