Category Archives: Travel

SheJumps Whitewater Weekend Recap!

Twenty-five women came out to kayak, learn, camp, share stories, and laugh at the first annual SheJumps Women’s Whitewater Weekend on the South Fork of the American River in Coloma, California.

We arrived at Camp Lotus on Friday night and set up camp as women rolled in. We shared a few beers from Lagunitas, one of the sponsors, and set up a slackline, prepped our gear for the next day, and tried to make a fire with very little wood.

The scene at Camp Lotus

The next morning we were up early to get ready to hit the river!

Coffee was essential (Photo by Rose McMackin)


Clinics included a First Leap which was for never-evers or very new boaters, the Next Leap, for aspiring Class 3 boaters, and a Creeking Clinic with inspirational pros Shannon Carroll and Katie Scott.

The first leapers at the put in! I think they’re ready!


Next leapers out on the water


The creekers at the put in for Chile Bar! READY TO BOOF!


Some women opted out of clinics and did a group run on the Gorge!

Hospital Bar rapid!


High paddles after a successful gorge run!


That night we enjoyed a potluck dinner, a few more beverages, and an inspirational slide show by Shannon Carroll. Shannon shares the women’s waterfall record and has completed some cutting edge expedition boating. Her slideshow covered her descents of the Royal Gorge and a recent women’s trip to Iceland.

Shannon showing us the insanely beautiful and challenging Royal Gorge photos.


Thanks to Shannon’s slide show, most of us woke up fired up to hit the river! First we were treated to yoga by Antoinette McLean.

Yoga for paddlers prepared us for day 2 of kayaking

With new female boating partners, we set off to hit varying levels of runs and help each other shuttle!

Shuttles are better with more boats!


All in all it was a fantastic weekend and we can’t wait to do it again next year!

Thanks CCK, Lagunitas, Patagonia, and OARS!

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Filed under Fundraising, Travel, Whitewater

Adventurous Friends

If you get a chance, check out this blog on my friend Adrianne’s bicycle trip from Kyrgyzstan to Mongolia. It’s an incredible adventure and their writing really brings it to life. Inspired!

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Filed under Biking, Travel

Sign Up For the SheJumps Whitewater Weekend!

SheJumps has an awesome event coming up September 6-8th in Coloma, California! Make sure you register for clinics, especially if you’re new to whitewater kayaking!!!

Join us for a weekend of whitewater instruction and progression on the South Fork of the American River! We will camp along the river at Camp Lotus for two nights and do runs varying from Class 2 to Class 3. Open to women of all experience levels.

Kayaking with the girls is FUN!

Kayaking with the girls is FUN!

Gear is available to borrow from California Canoe & Kayak. Bring a kayak, skirt, helmet, pfd, and paddle if you have it.

Scheduled activities include:

First Leap Clinic ($85/day), Saturday & Sunday. This class is for total beginners to the sport of whitewater kayaking. Students will learn how to exit the kayak safely, how to maneuver the kayak, and how to engage currents correctly in a Class 2 section of the South Fork American river.

Next Leap Clinic ($85/day), Saturday & Sunday. This class is for women that have taken a introductory whitewater class before and are ready to get back on the river and work on skills. The class will run a section of the South Fork American River from Marshall Gold State Park to Camp Lotus.

Creekboating Skills with pros Shannon Carroll and Katie Scott, Saturday ($75; open to Class III paddlers with a reliable roll). Learn the skills to step it up to the next level and get out on a California Creek next spring!

Playboating with pro Jessica Yurtinus ($75; open to Class III paddlers with a reliable roll), Saturday and Sunday. Saturday is a park and play clinic and Sunday as a Chile Bar play run!

Sign up for clincs here and make sure to choose the ones with SheJumps in front!!! They will fill up!

Other Scheduled Events:
Friday Social Hour: beer, wine and BYOdinner at Camp Lotus at 7pm to get aquainted and talk about the weekend.

Saturday Dinner: eat well, drink heartily and make some new paddling friends! Slideshow of kayak adventures by Shannon Carrol (Saturday evening, $10 recommended donation)

Yoga for Paddlers with Antoinette McLean, Sunday morning, 8 AM (free; open to all)

Group paddle on Chili Bar, Sunday, 9 AM Camp Lotus (free; open to Class III paddlers with a reliable roll)

After-Party at Marco’s, Sunday at 4pm: come eat, drink and be merry! And don’t miss out on some great raffle prizes! Sunday evening, open to all.

Camping at a SheJumps group camp at Camp Lotus both Friday and Saturday nights. $10/night.

To register for clinics, do so at CCK by going here. To register for the weekend, please email meghan@shejumps.com just so she can get a count! Otherwise, show up to hang out and paddle for the weekend!

We are excited to recognize California Canoe & Kayak, O.A.R.S. – Whitewater Rafting, Marco’s, and GoPro as partners for this event!

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The North

I love traveling North. It must come from growing up in Michigan where the best place to go was “Up North” in both summer and winter. In the summer, “Up North” meant long days on the lake, boating, swimming, playing, and ice cream to end the day. In the winter, we went north to ski the massive 400′ vertical of Boyne or Crystal Mountain to really push our limits! A few weeks ago, my husband and I decided to head north to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary. As soon as we passed Reno, I felt the excitement of my youth.

Stop 1: Burney Falls

Breathtaking. Why have I never stopped here?

Stop 2: McKenzie River Trail

We bike by this beauty and countless others on 26 miles of singletrack.

Stop 3: Mt Hood for summer skiing

Pat skiing smooth summer corn.

Pat skiing smooth summer corn.

Stop 4: Seattle for the Sounders Game and brunch with old friends

Seattle Sounders may have best soccer fans in America.

Rooftop brunch with Greta and Lynette!

Rooftop brunch with Greta and Lynette!

Stop 5: Bellingham BBQs and biking

 Watermelon cheers on 4th of July

Watermelon cheers on 4th of July


Bringing home the donuts in Bellingham, WA

Stop 6: Whistler aka Outdoor Disneyland

Downhill mtn biking is taken to a whole new level at Whistler

Downhill mtn biking is taken to a whole new level at Whistler

Stop 7: Sushi in Vancouver

Vancouver is known for it good but inexpensive sushi. Here we received pink for girls and blue for boys!

Vancouver is known for it good but inexpensive sushi. Here we received pink for girls and blue for boys!

Stop 8: North Cascades National Park

So green up north in the Cascades.


Stop 9: Hart’s Pass, Highest Road in Washington State

PK taking in the view above Hart’s Pass


This lookout was made to mimic the original height of the mountain which was blown off by the military.


Jumping for joy in one of my favorite places of the trip!


Stop 10: Glacier National Park

Lake McDonald sunset


This place is rad


Mountain goats near Logan Pass


The happy couple


Awesome sky over the Many Glacier Hotel


Stop 11: Missoula for our actual anniversary!
Missoula sunset before delicious ice cream at the Big Dipper. YUM!

Missoula sunset before delicious ice cream at the Big Dipper. YUM!


Stop 12: Bitteroot fly fishing
Trout hunting in Montana

Trout hunting in Montana


Stop 13: Boise, ID to visit our friend Kellee and her new adorable baby!
(sadly, I took no photos, but it was awesome!)

Final stop: Tahoe – always nice to come back and feels a lot like “Up North.”

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Alaska! A Skier’s Dream

What do you do when you receive a voicemail message from Lynsey Dyer describing the opportunity to film for Pretty Faces in Alaska?

a) Think long and hard about it and then decide to keep building your savings account for a rainy day.
b) Think, that’s nice, but according to my Outlook Calender, I have some work obligations.
c) Do some spastic dance moves, try to hastily call her back, get her voicemail and go promptly online and buy a plane ticket.

If you chose c, right! Like every big mountain skier, it had always been a dream of mine to ski in Alaska – with the crew of Lynsey, Sandra Lahnsteiner, and Rachael Burks made it a dream squared. Arriving Saturday afternoon, I met up with Girdwood local Brooke Edwards since Lynsey, Rachael, and Sandra had arrived the night before and were already out filming. It was dumping in Girdwood so we decided to head up to Alyeska for some night skiing. It was surreal having flown in that afternoon and be shredding Alaska powder that same evening. We found the rest of the crew at the top of the tram for the last run of the night and had a memorable party shred on the way down. I could just feel the energy with this group in this place – it was like reconnecting with old friends even though I just met some of them.

The next day we headed out on a sled mission with our crew of local guides and skiers, our filmer Josh from JGS Concepts, and photographer Scott Dickerson. We didn’t expect to get much light that day, but in the afternoon, we started seeing pockets, so we headed up to ski a face that called to us. Being doubled up to the top proved to be somewhat challenging, but we made it as far as possible, bootpacked a little further, assessed the cornice as a group and decided where to drop in. I’m not sure what was scarier, dropping into my first Alaska line, skiing in front of 3 of my skiing idols, or doing it all in front of the camera, either way, I just decided to drop in first and rip turns down the face. I couldn’t see anything in the flat light and took a bit of a tumble right back onto my skis and kept skiing and had a good laugh at the bottom. Good to get that out of the way!

Sandra, the Austria, getting used to the sled

Sandra, the Austria, getting used to the sled


Rachael checking the line while the light goes in and out.

Rachael checking the line while the light goes in and out.


As we would learn during our trip, weather is the biggest challenge in Alaska. To ski bigger lines, we needed good light. Tales of blue skies sent us north to Hatchers Pass the next morning. En route, we picked up sleds generously donated by Alaska Mining Co for the week. I was lucky enough to get to drive one of these as we headed out to scope lines – pretty amazing to go from getting doubled, to riding Canadian style, to driving our own sleds in just a few days! We picked out a few lines but by the time we got to the top, the light was no longer good for filming, so we decided to preserve them for the following day. We then skied an amazing powder run, a few mini golf lines, and some fun little pillows – another warm up day, but we knew tomorrow was game on! We found a cheap hotel in Palmer and after a memorable night on the town, arrived early to ski the lines we had chosen the day before. One by one, we checked off the lines, sometimes we nailed them and sometimes we didn’t, but it was such a great day in the mountains, everyone was all smiles. We even had professional sledders Carly Davis and Jamie Hollis with us. It was so cool to come down from skiing your line and then look across the valley to see the sled girls sending it!
Hooray for blue skies at Hatchers

Hooray for blue skies at Hatchers


Tele turn into my first real Alaska line as strawberry and raspberry look on.

Tele turn into my first real Alaska line as strawberry and raspberry look on.


Sandy, aka raspberry, sending it!

Sandy, aka raspberry, sending it!


Rachael is pumped on her line and getting the PBR of the day.

Rachael is pumped on her line and getting the PBR of the day.


"Top of World"

“Top of World”

View from Top of the World including Denali and Foraker

View from Top of the World including Denali and Foraker


Back in Girdwood, it was still snowing! We shredded powder a few days at Alyeska, some for fun and some for film. The snow was amazing and we had fun popping off pillows and watching each other shred. We had a few weather days where we killed time shooting guns, “icing’ each other, and doing yoga – you know, girls stuff.

Just shredding around Alyeska (Photo by Josh Skoglund)


My first time shooting guns. I didn’t really know how to feel about it at this point! Scared!


The time flew by and it was Rachael’s last day and blue was in the forecast! We headed down to Cooper’s Landing with sleds to an area with various size lines in the same cirque. We all stomped our first line and celebrated at the bottom before heading back up to ski another line. Lynsey proceeded to ski a beautiful line down some spines, Sandy sent a spine about 30 feet, making it look effortless, and the day was capped off by Rachael sending a 40-50′ backflip off a spine feature! That fired everyone up and Lynsey exclaimed “Girls skiing is soooo boring!” and we all laughed and high fived and proceed to shred perfect Alaskan powder to the bottom of the slope.
Lynsey Dyer makes a perfect turn in perfect snow

Lynsey Dyer makes a perfect turn in perfect snow


This was my first winter trip to Alaska and my first filming trip ever. I’m not a well known skier and I don’t have a ton of sponsors. I’m 33, married, and have a full time job so most of my feelings during this trip were of incredible luck and gratitude. Still, we had ups and downs – we chased light and failed, we awoke early with detailed plans only to find the weather had changed, we dropped into lines that were not the lines we thought, our filmer injured his knee and wasn’t very mobile, we had to learn to trust our sled drivers and each other, and, even though we are women and talk more than average, we had to learn to communicate as a group. I couldn’t have been on a better first filming trip though – if I was scared at the top, it took a smile from Sandy, a pole tap from Lyns, or a few stoke-filled words from Rachael to help me momentary forget my fear, focus, and ski for fun all the way to the bottom. The best part was, that regardless of what happened that day, we’d have sore abs from laughing and creased cheeks from smiling. And we’re all better from it… we just can’t wait to go back. I think that is how everyone feels after skiing in Alaska.
A good omen on one of our last days

A good omen on one of our last days


Next time Alaska

Next time Alaska

Special thanks to Jeff, Adam, Chris, Collin, Josh, Cody, Matt, Scott, Cedric, Brett, Brooke, Mikey, Paul, Alyeska Ski Resort and everyone else who helped us along the way.

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Skiing, Travel

Alaska Sneak Peak

I’ve been back from Alaska for about a week. I’m still sorting through photos and my thoughts, but mostly I’m resisting the urge to buy a diesel truck and some snow machines and head back for the rest of the season. Here is a beautiful photo Scott Dickerson took on one of our bluebird days.

Beautiful snow and light (Photo by Scott Dickerson)

And here is a helmet cam video of another one of our bluebird days.

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Skiing, Travel

SheJumps into Tailgate Alaska!

Domi and I made this video for the SheJumps.org Tailgate Alaska contest. The winners get a trip for 2 up to Valdez, Alaska this spring!


Vote for us by going HERE!

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Random rambling, Skiing, Travel