March 12, 2016 – If you had asked me a year ago if I could see myself living in Oregon long-term, the answer would have been a big NO. Coming from the east coast, it’s taken me a while to adjust to the differences that the Pacific Northwest, and Portland especially, offer in comparison to my home state of Vermont. For someone like me, who prefers living within five minutes of the mountains and enjoys rural settings with less noise, you’d think that Portland, OR would not be the best fit. Not knowing anyone out here just made the change all the much harder, and any girl who considers herself to be a ‘ladyshredder’ can attest that finding a good group of fellow ripper chicks is pretty difficult in a new place.
I began working with SheJumps back in late 2014, but up until recently our Portland chapter was very quiet with very little local reach. While SheJumps was a name that many Oregon women knew of, Portland was a relatively new extension of the national organization and events were few and far between. While I had witnessed a number of females charging in the mountains on my treks up to Hood every weekend, there was still no solid community that catered to our rare breed and so I set out to unite these scattered girraficorns, for my own benefit as much as anyone else’s.
Our chapter growth has been slow moving, but with the help of some amazing ladies and the support from our incredible local partners, I was proud to host our first ‘SheJumps Get the Girls Out! Ski and Ride Day’ at Mt. Hood Meadows on March 12, 2016. As someone who has very little event-planning experience, I didn’t realize just how much time is needed behind-the-scenes for a well-run event – and it didn’t help that I’m a natural perfectionist bordering on OCD when it comes to the finer details and prep-work. A great deal of hours, resources, emails, phone calls, and meetings went into the event planning and coordination; throw in a few sleepless nights and a whole lot of nerves going into the big weekend and you can start to appreciate just how anxiously excited I was to welcome over 50 women of all ages and abilities to Mt. Hood for a fun-filled day in the snow.
They say that hard work pays off in the end, and at no time has this mantra ever rung truer than with this experience. All of my worries and stress slipped away as I watched females from all over the Pacific Northwest join together for the sole purpose of getting out there, meeting new people, spreading the stoke, and having fun – all while wearing onesies, tutus, and unicorn horns!
The day started with discounted tickets, lessons, and rentals for the newer faces, while the veterans broke into groups and tackled the entire mountain. Lunch was a rowdy affair of fighting for tables and eating fast before things quieted down for our hour-long Backcountry Safety demonstration, where two local Ski Patrollers and their avalanche dogs showed us their best practices for avalanche terrain. Add one more hour of group free skiing, and it was finally time for a well-deserved and much anticipated après-ski party: cue the beverages, live music, and a swag raffle– a giant thank you to ON3P, Trew Gear, Base Camp Brewing, Altitude Seven, Next Adventure, Smith Optics, Deviation Skis and Snowboards, and Mt. Hood Meadows for their donations and support!
All in all, the day was a huge success and so much fun! To have a front row seat as new friendships formed and connections being were made meant the world to me. Over 60 women and girls came out, each leaving with a new crew that they can always count on for a good time. I honestly don’t think there was a moment all day where I wasn’t smiling or laughing out loud; my face was sore for a week afterwards from laughing so much! I am already working on how to make next year’s event even better, but I wouldn’t change anything about how our first run went. Sure, I may have worked my butt off to get this event in the books, but all of my expectations were blown away and I cannot wait to see how big we can go in 2017!
To learn more about SheJumps and all upcoming events in your area, visit SheJumps.org.