Women have been charging into the backcountry for years, but the numbers have grown exponentially as of late. It was not until recently that avalanche courses specifically catering to ladies became available, through programs like SheJumps and SAFE-AS. In these male dominated sports, it can be very daunting, and nerve wrecking, to step up, ask questions and be confident, especially in the backcountry where crucial decisions must be made.
“I love all-female learning environments! A classroom full of women tends to be supportive, encouraging, collaborative, and safe. It’s so much easier to be vulnerable, ask questions, and freely discuss ideas when there aren’t guys around. Not to mention, having a bad ass female instructor is such an inspiration!” - Lindsey Clark, SheJumps
When I took my level 1 avalanche course, I was the ONLY female among 15 males. I already consider myself an extremely shy person, and there was NO way I was going to be bold and voice my opinion in front of these guys. Instead, I stayed back, listened attentively, participated, but never questioned or asked WHY & HOW. I was unable to get the full experience because of my lack of confidence in this male dominated environment. The course was fantastic and educational, but maybe not the best platform in which to gain trust in my knowledge and abilities.
An all women’s avalanche course creates a more comfortable atmosphere for women to ask those questions without pressure, speak up and be confident in the backcountry. Sure, its easy to think: ‘why would it be any different, the guys won’t judge!’ It’s hard to explain... maybe it’s a shared feeling among women that exploring the backcountry has been somewhat “reserved” for men willing to take the risk, or maybe it’s just easier for women to talk more openly with other women.
The goal here is to get the exposure that is being requested so we can host and create more women specific avalanche courses. I want to see everyone making safe and smart choices when heading into the backcountry. We need to cater to the masses of women that are taking the risk to explore the unexplored.