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Travel: She Shreds Mountain Adventures

An epic all-girls snowmobile trip in Canada’s backcountry
RELATED TOPICS: TRAVEL | CANADA
She Shreds Mountain Adventures British Columbia snowmobile Julie-Ann Chapman Jessica Kline
Photo courtesy Jessica Kline
There is something special about being part of someone’s first experience watching the sun rise over the mountains. With tears in her eyes, Shelby Mahon quietly shared with me that she had been waiting her entire life to take in the incredible view directly in front of her.

I knew how she felt. The year before, my friend Stephanie Santeford watched me as a look of awe and amazement washed over my face when I saw mountains for the first time.

At some point in our lives, we have likely all seen an amazing view or sight that has taken our breath away. Maybe it was a mountain view, a beautiful sunset or an ocean seascape. Regardless, that view is tied to a specific memory, and the emotion that it brought up at that time. There have been only a few places that have evoked such emotion from me, and the Pemberton Mountains of British Columbia was one of those places.
She Shreds Mountain Adventures British Columbia snowmobile Stephanie Santeford
Photo by Stephanie Santeford
She Shreds Mountain Adventures British Columbia snowmobile Shelby Mahon
A remote location, plenty of fresh pow, and a million-dollar view made for an idyllic all-girls getaway in British Columbia.
Photo by Shelby Mahon
Girls gone snowmobile wild?
What happens when you send five women with snowmobiles to a backcountry cabin high up in the mountains? A whole lot of shenanigans, that’s for sure! Especially when you factor in the women we had on this adventure!

Julie-Ann Chapman, owner of She Shreds Mountain Adventures (SSMA) in B.C., invited a group of sled chicks to experience her backyard playground. Joining her were Canadian Snowcross racer Shelby Mahon, sponsored backcountry rider Stephanie Santeford, backcountry rider Janice McWilliam and of course, yours truly. With such a diverse group of personality types and riding skill levels, we anticipated a great adventure from the very beginning.

These trips and adventures don’t usually happen overnight, though; it takes a lot of planning and organizing to get to the point where you just sigh happily and realize that the time, money and work was all worth it to see the million-dollar view in front of you. That’s why we snowmobile. Yes, we all get an adrenaline high from ripping up steep terrain, navigating dense trees, and playing in pow, but those views are what bring it all together.

After experiencing my first mountain ride in 2014, I was ready to get back out there for another good mountain fix. As a beginner mountain rider from Ontario, Canada, I was looking forward to expanding on the knowledge and skills I had gained from my first trip. It was time for the next adventure!
She Shreds Mountain Adventures British Columbia snowmobile secluded cabin Jessica Kline
Exhausted after hauling gear to a secluded cabin, we all still woke early the next morning to carve the snow-covered terrain.
Photo by Jessica Kline
She Shreds Mountain Adventures British Columbia snowmobile Jessica Kline
Photo by Jessica Kline
She Shreds Mountain Adventures British Columbia snowmobile Julie-Ann Chapman snow mountains
Photo by Julie-Ann Chapman
Plan for the best
The planning started at Hay Days, the world’s largest snowmobile swap meet. It is at this wonderful place each year that I meet someone new who plants the magical seed of adventure in my mind. This time, it was Julie-Ann, and this is where the “Epic She Shreds Adventure” began to unfold.

When Julie-Ann created SSMA in 2011, her primary goal was to support and teach women how to build and develop their riding skills. Over the years, industry leaders have commended her hands-on teaching methods, knowledge of the B.C. backcountry and experience working with female and novice riders. She offers snowmobile clinics and avalanche safety and first aid courses. She has taken both men and women out on backcountry adventures.

Our adventure took us to a secret backcountry cabin that Julie-Ann had scouted months before. Since Shelby and I were newer mountain riders, we relied on our experienced counterparts to provide guidance and suggestions on how to pack for a two-night backcountry cabin trip. We had to pack light, as everything was transported on our sleds. High-protein food (e.g., sandwiches and burritos) was prepared ahead of time, and we packed necessities such as drinking water, fuel, extra clothing and gear, sleeping bags, flashlights and avalanche safety equipment. We also packed crevasse rescue gear and first aid gear, both must-have items when riding out in the backcountry. Everything we packed in was also packed out, out of respect for the cabin owner, other snowmobilers and the environment.

Once we got to the cabin, we started a fire to warm it up and cook our dinner that night. Exhausted from the trip to get there, we all passed out in the loft and woke the next morning to the most amazing sight I have ever seen in my life. With a cup of coffee in one hand, I ventured outside to see the mountain peaks and glistening snow greet me as I wiped the sleep from my eyes. I silently thanked Julie-Ann for giving us the opportunity to experience this. The gleeful look on her face was enough to know that she truly enjoyed seeing newbies experience what she got to see every day. There is no way to put that view into words; you simply have to experience it in person.
She Shreds Mountain Adventures British Columbia snowmobile Julie-Ann Chapman
Photo by Julie-Ann Chapman
She Shreds Mountain Adventures British Columbia snowmobile Jessica Kline
Photo by Jessica Kline
That day, we ventured out to explore the area on sleds. Julie-Ann took time to work with Shelby and myself, each of us on a Ski-Doo Summit. With simple, concise instructions and constructive feedback (foot placement, balance, steering, throttle control, etc.), she quickly and successfully taught us to carve better in powder and sidehill more consistently. We also focused on avalanche safety training, using beacons and transceivers running drills while identifying unsafe areas that should be avoided.

With the support of three experienced women riders, both Shelby and I felt comfortable, safe and at ease on this trip. It was empowering to adapt to staying at
the cabin for two nights with only basic necessities. Yes, we had some difficulties and learned some valuable lessons from this trip (such as how to dig ourselves out of a hole), but ultimately the encouragement and support from these women helped me overcome the personal challenges in a safe and comfortable environment without feeling judged.

Looking back
The other day, Shelby and I were reminiscing about that epic trip. She described the experience perfectly when she said, “Nothing will ever compare to that moment. It is forever frozen in my mind.” For those of you who have yet to experience that million-dollar view, now is the time. To start planning your own snowmobile trip in B.C. with SSMA, visit www.sheshreds.ca.

Jessica Kline is a blogger and the owner of Backwoods Promotions.
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