Lift lines are long, the snow is amazing, how about heading into the backcountry to soak up some powder turns? First things first, athletes need to understand what backcountry travel is all about and how to safely participate in it, so local non profits, Alpine Initiatives and SheJumps have teamed up to host a female backcountry awareness clinic April 9-10 at Vail Mountain Resort. This introductory class invites women to learn more about back and side-country riding while honing their skills on basics such as beacon use and drills, correct line choice, how to “go slow to go fast” and proper digging techniques.

“More people are venturing out into backcountry than ever before, and we would love to support women being a part of that,” says Ashley Magnuson, Director of SheJumps Colorado Chapter. “We feel it is important to spearhead events such as this, to get information out there and encourage secure fun travel while skiing out of bounds.”

SheJumps ( is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing female participation in outdoor activities through mentorship and coaching from professional and recreational outdoor athletes. The vision of SheJumps is to create a community of ambitious and compassionate women that are willing to take a "jump" to reach their potential and help others reach their own.

Alpine Initiatives ( was established in 2008 by professional skier JP Auclair and local Vail resident Mikey Hovey, as a catalyst for the mountain community to collaborate, contribute and initiate change in communities and environments worldwide. Through social, ecological and agricultural interactions, AI has worked to create and nurture sustainable environments and societies.

The two organizations have joined together with Vail Ski Patrol, Back Country Access and Vail Resorts, to host this wonderful and much needed event to get women participating (not just following) in the sport of back county ski and snowboard travel. The cost is $50 per participant; lift tickets will be available for the discounted price of $65/day if needed. Each day will consist of morning class time featuring Kelli Rohrig and Mave Nevins as lead instructors, and afternoon on the hill training where participants will practice executing what was discussed in class, though we will NOT be traveling out of ski area boundaries. Avalanche safety gear (shovels, probes, beacons and back-packs) will be provided for any student who does not have her own. To register for this event please call Ashley Magnuson at 970.393.2203.