After the pandemic made its way into the U.S., the outdoors have become a go-to escape. Vehicles crowd previously less popular trailheads and outdoor travel destinations overflow with tourists. This trend is likely to continue throughout the winter, as backcountry equipment is already in high demand as skiers and riders prepare for unpredictable resort operations. Informational safety programs such as the Mammut x The Lady Alliance Adventure Safety Tour have become extremely important, especially as more resort skiers become interested in venturing out of bounds.
Mammut and The Lady Alliance are hosting their second virtual event of 2020, an event for community members and womxn from all over the United States and Canada to help learn about travel in the backcountry. The Virtual Adventure Safety Tour will begin Friday, Nov. 13 at 8 a.m. in each timezone of The Lady Alliance's 34 chapters, and will run live until Thursday, Nov. 19. In preparation for the 20/21 season, this virtual event is free to participants and will be focused on snow safety.
"2020 has seen an abrupt increase in local adventures, and with the upcoming snow season that means a lot of adventurers will be exploring the mountains," says The Lady Alliance Founder Kieren Britton. "We want to build confidence by sharing knowledge, and thanks to Mammut and their athletes we are able to create an event that highlights the best of the best."
The event will feature professional Mammut safety ambassadors Holly Walker and Elyse Saugstad, plus Red Bull and Mammut safety athlete Michelle Parker. Through the stories of these inspiring athletes, community and conversation will be emphasized. The Adventure Safety Tour is not only beneficial to the safety of participants but will also help establish connections within the world of skiing that make womxn feel more comfortable.
Both Mammut and The Lady Alliance are dedicated to sharing knowledge, providing resources, and building self-confidence in order to break down barriers that womxn of skiing and the outdoors may face.
"The biggest barrier is the lack of resources that offer womxn courses in the skiing and outdoor industry," says Mammut safety ambassador Holly Walker, who has found herself as the only female in multiple outdoor classes and programs. She states that this was not due to exclusiveness, but because there was no demand from underrepresented parties, possibly causing womxn to feel intimidated. Walker believes The Lady Alliance and Mammut serve as leaders in the industry by offering free education to all, eliminating any financial barrier, and opening a space for anyone to partake.
"You are you and the mountains won’t judge your sex, color, or differences. It is society, and the outdoor industry, that place stereotypes for what is considered normal for the outdoors and skiing scene," says Walker. "I challenge myself and other womxn to continue their education, find a solid partner, mentor, or guide, be open with their thought process, and play in the mountains," she adds. "The mountains treat us all the same." If womxn were to take one thing away from the program, Walker wishes it would be to make sure you are educated and practice, practice, practice.
"Yes, I want everyone to feel welcome in the outdoor environment, but I want them to be safe while doing so," Walker shares.
The 2-hour long online event will include four main topics:
- Safety in the mountains and beacon work with Mammut ambassador and ACMG guide Holly Walker
- Trip planning with Mammut Safety and Red Bull athlete Michelle Parker
- Snow recognition, including conditions, identifying terrain, and smart decision making with Mammut Safety athlete Elyse Saugstad
- Red Bull Media House Originate episode with Mammut Safety Athletes Michelle Parker and Elyse Saugstad
To register for the Mammut x The Lady Alliance Virtual Adventure Safety Tour visit The Lady Alliance's webpage or The Lady Alliance Global Community Facebook group. Join the @theladyalliance community on Instagram and Facebook, and find your local group to connect with womxn from your hometown. The event is free of charge but will include an optional donation opportunity to Colour The Trails, a group for BIPOC & allies interested in outdoor activities.