Summit Hunnies brings Lake Tahoe women together for outdoor fun
When local women Austyn Harrington and Justeen Ferguson returned to Lake Tahoe after finishing college a few years ago, they noticed something was lacking — the group of friends they had spent a lot of time adventuring with had dwindled down.
Not to be discouraged, friends Harrington and Ferguson decided to take matters into their own hands and started the outdoor adventure group for women, Summit Hunnies, in 2013. The goal of the group was simple: Connect local women with outdoor recreation and adventure opportunities that might not have been accessible before.
Ferguson has recently been less involved with leadership at Summit Hunnies in order to pursue a business venture, but Harrington has been going strong with getting the women of Tahoe outdoors and adventuring onward.
Harrington said bike rides were one of the first activities they started doing when the group was founded, which has now become a weekly tradition.
“We started doing Summit Hunnies bike rides and now we do that every Monday,” said Harrington. “We meet at Over the Edge, which is a little bike shop by Ski Run and Tamarack.”
Harrington said the owners at Over the Edge have been helping out with the rides and most of the female employees at the shop join in as well. “The ladies at the shop and anybody else that shows up at 5 ‘o clock, we go riding,” said Harrington. “It’s a nice way to include businesses from around town and get the women of Lake Tahoe out and doings things together.”
According to Harrington, the bike rides are a mainstay for the group and this summer they’ve been focusing on a few different activities. “Lately, we’ve mostly been doing the bike rides and since I’m a water ski instructor, we have the option of doing that, Friday through Monday. We also try to do moonlight hikes at Tallac and Freel Peak.”
Summit Hunnies isn’t just for Lake Tahoe adventuring. For the past couple years, Harrington said group members have taken a trip to Costa Rica in May to ride out the last bit of snow in Tahoe and get ready for the summer adventure season. “We go to a surf and yoga camp [in Costa Rica] to kick off the year,” she said. “When we get back to Tahoe, the weather is usually nice.”
Harrington said that most women who come participate are in their early 20s to 40s, but they’re open to most adult women who want to join. The group has a Facebook page that will usually have info on outings and other activities.
The group also has Twitter and Instagram accounts it uses and has developed a few hashtags that, according to Harrington, personify the women of Summit Hunnies.
“Wild women (#wildwomen), community over competition (#communityovercompetitioin) are some big hashtags we use and our slogan is adventure with purpose,” said Harrington. “Those three are kind of what we’re going for.” Harrington said that even though they do a lot low-key activities like a walk or hike, the big push recently is to get more women involved who are into more of the adventure element and trying things that may challenge them.
If any of this sounds appealing to you, Summit Hunnies does have some things planned in the upcoming weeks where local gals can get involved. “We had to push back our moonlight hike at Tallac because of the snow,” said Harrington. “We’re aiming to do that August 12, but it still depends on the weather. That hike is always a really fun one.”
Harrington said she’s also been using apps like Meetup to reach women from all around the basin and into Nevada and that the interest in the group has steadily grown over the years. “It’s been pretty rewarding,” said Harrington. “I really feel there’s a sense of community. It’s really a community builder because you’re out and forming relationships with people you can count on.”
Summit Hunnies doesn’t have any formal memberships or fees associated with the group and most any woman around the area can contact the group about participation. For more information, visit Summit Hunnies on Facebook, follow them on Twitter @SummitHunnies or follow their Instagram @summithunnies.
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