NOTES FROM A WOMEN’S WEEKEND AT 11,600 FEET
The outdoor adventure sports arena has made it’s promises to it’s ever-so-dedicated female following. The forecast is for a whole lot less of the “shrink it and pink it” mentality and a whole lot more of showing men what women can do. I could only imagine the feeling that a male fly-on-the-wall might have gotten at the first Wild Women’s Project last month in the San Juan Mountains. I’d like to think he wouldn’t have been shocked at the amount of driven women in one place, but the reality of the situation is, he would have been blown away.
Permeated with the industry’s top female leaders and fueled by conversations about that time you drank four beers the night before a big race to calm your nerves, and more important topics like conservation and the sacrifices it takes to put your life out on the line and start your own business. These are only a few of the key ingredients that made up the delicious pie that was the beta Wild Women’s Project. These women held power, prowess and pride when they spoke; even while trudging up faces of the San Juans at 13,000 feet! Yes, I said 13,00 feet.
We ran while others hiked, we yoga’d, we hammock’d, we campfire’d, we fueled up on Munk Packs, we dawn patrolled and we coffee’d like we all had known each other for years.
Work is life and life is work for most of the women who stayed up at Opus Hut.
Take Janie and Lindsey of Wylder Goods. They’re launching a website that features products for women in the outdoors with a twist of conservation influence along the way. They’re starting their own business; there is no such thing as a break and I can promise you won’t see any shrink it and pink it marketing behind their innovative new site.
And Brooke Froelich who was one of the amazing ladies with the vision behind the Born Wild Project, a mission to connect the next generation of youth back to the wilderness and away from the screen.
Or Alex Borsuk and Maddie Carey, who both share a love of running, yet they do it for different reasons. Alex is a part time nutritionist who doubles as a badass Instagram influencer who encourages women that it’s never too late to get balls deep in a new favorite sport. Meanwhile, Maddie crafts conservation ethics that leave space for both her love of outdoor recreation and her core belief that we are members of the natural world, not just users of it. Oh and did I mention she’s a speedy little runner too?
The list goes on! Heather Rochfort who started her own awesome adventure blog called Just A Colorado Gal. She writes about her often humorous travel journeys, tips, and reasons you should be outside! Or Sarah Sturm, mountain bike shredder for Team Ska-Zia-Trek. She’s one you want to keep an eye on! This girl has some big dreams for changing the female mountain bike industry. I could go on for days!
On our first hike together, after we all mellowed out and briefed each other on our life backgrounds, we went to a small bright Colorado-blue alpine lake not too far off the beaten path.
Let me start by saying that I’ve never used a GoPro before. It’s not in my nature to whip out a selfie stick and melt in embarrassment as those around me dub me as “one of those selfie-loving-go-pro-chicks.” Is that even a name that people refer to each other as?
Well, that’s where my imagination took me when I was handed a GoPro outside Opus Hut and told to “live it up”. Amongst many videos of the classic, “How do you turn this thing on,” face, I snagged a selfie-video of a moment when it was a bit easier to slide down on our butts instead of facing the downhill scree fields of death. Maddie Carey, Alex Borsuk, Pip Hunt and Sarah Sturm followed right after! Holler at those ladies!
Back at the hut that evening, there was something about listening to female leaders in the outdoor industry converse; their excitement for the future combined with their passion for their businesses could haul a three ton truck up Mount Everest without hesitation.
This last week at Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City, discussions rang clear that women make up 70% of buying decisions. Shouldn’t that be enough to persuade companies to listen to what women actually want? This year there were enough minds just in one room (or hut, rather) to start a change and I think the ladies of the Wild Women’s project are about to step out and rock this world.
Thank you for sponsoring such an amazing event, Munk Pack!