Fernie Alpine Resort celebrated International Women’s Snow Day on Saturday, January 12. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Fernie Alpine Resort celebrated International Women’s Snow Day on Saturday, January 12. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Fernie joins global celebration of women

SheJumps co-founder inspires at inaugural International Women’s Snow Day celebration in Fernie

A new sisterhood of female shredders has been formed in Fernie after a series of events to mark International Women’s Snow Day (IWSD).

Started in 2013 by SheJumps and K2 Alliance, IWSD encourages women around the world to get together to celebrate adventures in snow and the power of female camaraderie.

On Saturday, January 12, Fernie Alpine Resort marked IWSD for the first time with a series of events that attracted 42 women and girls. It was one of 40 celebrations around the United States, Canada and Europe.

SheJumps co-founder and executive director, Claire Smallwood, kicked off the day with an inspirational talk at Cirque Restaurant, where dozens of women gathered for a buffet breakfast.

“Stand up if you’ve ever been a mentor to someone,” she began.

“Stand up if you’ve ever had a mentor or been mentored by someone. And stand up if you’ve ever been told you can be anything you want to be. Stand up if you love snow.”

After urging the entire room to their feet, Smallwood explained that the not-for-profit organization she co-founded 11 years ago is not just about getting girls outside, but also about getting them outside their comfort zone.

She grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she fell in love with skiing through a school subsidized program.

It was a formative experience for Smallwood, who had to save $32 a week for lift tickets as her family couldn’t afford to support her passion.

“By the time I was in college, I had my sights set on living a life in the mountains but I really lacked role models and mentors, who could help me understand how that could be possible,” she told the crowd gathered at Cirque.

In 2007, Smallwood founded SheJumps with her friends Lynsey Dyer and Vanessa Pierce with the aim of creating a generation of role models for the outdoors.

“We’d all had that experience of being token females in a group of guys trying to get outside, trying to learn how to do something,” she said, adding that role models don’t necessarily have to be professional athletes or the “gnarliest, most extreme females”.

In 2018, SheJumps impacted 3000 women and girls through 130 events and with the help of over 100 volunteer ambassadors.

Smallwood said activities range from stand up paddle boarding and fly fishing to bike maintenance and avalanche training.

“Doing it in a group of supportive and encouraging women or girls is a way to bring a collective attitude to otherwise individual sports and activities,” she said.

“At the bottom line, our plan is to lower the barrier of entry to these sports, so that more women, regardless of background, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status, they can learn and recognize the gifts that the outdoors provide.”

SheJumps is currently based in the U.S. but is expanding into Canada.

IWSD celebrations at FAR included yoga at Lizard Creek Lodge, a women’s only first tracks session, a mountain tour and avalanche education with Fernie Ski Patrol, concluding with apres and wrap up celebration at Slopeside Cafe.

Program to inspire next generation of ski patrollers

Female ski patrollers will become role models for young women and girls under a new initiative to launch in Fernie this winter.

SheJumps is a not-for-profit organization that aims to increase the participation of women and girls in outdoor activities to foster confidence, leadership, and connection to nature and community through free and low-cost outdoor education.

Co-founder and Executive Director, Claire Smallwood, recently moved to Fernie, where she is preparing to launch the first Canadian chapter of SheJump’s junior ski patrol program.

“Junior ski patrol is our effort to bridge the disparity in careers in the outdoors,” she said.

“Starting at a young age, we expose girls to female ski patrollers, so they understand that not only is there a career in the mountains that they can do, but it also exposes them to mountain safety and understanding some more techniques, and skills to make them more self-sufficient in the mountains.”

Smallwood said the program will be open to girls aged eight to 17 and cover everything from avalanche and mountain safety to first aid.

It is expected to launch over spring break in March, with an exact date to be announced.

Smallwood also plans to host forums to hear residents’ views and ensure the program reflects the community’s needs.

“One of the big reasons we decided to move to Fernie is because of the community,” she said.

“… it was really apparent that people here are really passionate about their community and they really are anxious to give back and support each other.

“There’s a huge population of families too, so I knew that there would be a really good reception for a program like this that can really provide additional resources to lift all the girls up in this community.”

For more information, contact Claire Smallwood via claire@shejumps.org.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

SheJumps co-founder Claire Smallwood kicked the day off with a talk at Cirque Restaurant. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

SheJumps co-founder Claire Smallwood kicked the day off with a talk at Cirque Restaurant. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Just Posted

The district of Sparwood is seeking feedback on its Recreation Master Plan. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Non-medical cannabis store proposed for Sparwood

If approved, Elk Valley Cannabis would be the first cannabis business in the district

Natalie Joynes, Theo Hepher, Kai Dedey, and Sophia Becker sit on a blanket enjoying FYAN’s summer youth programming. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
Job Readiness Workshops available for local youth

Registration is now open for the series of free virtual workshops

A number of Elkford’s youth enjoy the SYS.tem Space. (Photo contributed)
SYS.tem Elkford opens up new youth hang out spot

The SYS.tem Space offers youth access to a wide selection of free indoor and outdoor activities

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
MP Morrison calls Keystone XL permit cancellation ‘devastating news’

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to the Conservative Party’s removal of a controversial Ontario MP

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vaccine rollout is focused on health care workers first, especially those dealing with long-term care facilities. (Nathan Denette - Canadian Press)
General public shouldn’t expect vaccines until fall: Interior Health South Okanagan Similkameen

Interior Health focused on vaccinating long-term and first-line care workers

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

Most Read