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January 9, 2013
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Opening outdoors for women

Ladies, it's time to get backcountry savvy.

Don't be nervous, because SheJumps will be there every step of the way. SheJumps is a free organization with the mission to increase female participation in outdoor activities. The organization is perfect for women who are intermediate riders looking to make the jump into backcountry territory. The women involved in this group are supportive, encouraging and all have one common goal - getting women outdoors.

The Utah-based organization is rapidly spreading to mountain towns across the nation, Tahoe among them.

Tahoe SheJumps is fairly informal. It's relatively new and volunteer-based, but the ladies in charge of basin affairs are setting up some sweet free events this year.

This week, Tahoe SheJumps is hosting two free events.

The first is a tuning clinic with Pam Warman, the first and only female ski technician for the US Ski Team, at 6 p.m., Thursday at South Shore Snow. The clinic is designed to encourage women to be comfortable with tuning their own gear. Gents who show up are encouraged to make a donation to SheJumps.

The second upcoming excursion is Get the Girls Out day at Kirkwood on Sunday. Skiers and riders will meet at Chair 6 at 1 p.m., and ride for two hours before being treated to a free avalanche beacon clinic at 3:30 p.m.

SheJumps holds a free Get the Girls Out day the second Sunday of every month at Thursday.

Don't forget the operative word here - free.

There's no one better at encouraging Tahoe women to push the boundaries than California director Meghan Kelly. The South Tahoe resident's easygoing demeanor and adventurous spirit makes it all sound so easy.

"Sometimes it can be really scary the first time you step into an all-male situation because they've been doing it a really long time, and they just don't seem to have any fear," Kelly said. "I think one of the coolest things about SheJumps is seeing another person like you try something."

The teleski pro knows what she's talking about. It was SheJumps that encouraged her to try her first backflip. Kelly saw a discounted trip to a water ranch in Utah on the SheJumps' facebook page. Perfect, she rounded up some girlfriends and hit the road.

The thing about learning backflips, though, is they're scary, even with a water landing. It wasn't until Kelly saw another woman go for it and accidentally land head first in the water that she worked up her nerve to give it a try.

"If one girl steps up and does it you're like 'Oh, I'm going to do it now'," Kelly said. "There are some days when you don't have to have that person, but there are days when you do."

That's what SheJumps is there for. Making more of those go-for-it days happen for women. Not just in the winter either.

In the summer months, SheJumps puts on mountain biking, climbing, kayaking and paddleboard yoga events among others.

"It's just about creating a community for outdoor-interested women, and they can get in touch with other outdoorsy women," Kelly said. "Maybe there's a skill they want to learn or maybe they just need ski partners."


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 9, 2013 04:21AM Published Jan 9, 2013 04:09AM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.