The world of snowmobiling is growing quickly. More than ever before, adventurers are seeking the biggest and best experiences in the backcountry. Snowmobiles, or sleds, can literally and figuratively expand horizons.
Case in point: snowmobiling moves an estimated $26 billion in the U.S. economy every year. There are 1.4 million registered snowmobiles in the United States, and more than 590,000 registered in Canada. Nearly 200,000 snowmobiles were sold in the 2012/2013 winter season in both the United States and Canada. It seems safe to say, then, that snowmobiling is here to stay.
Though snowmobiling is equally suited towards both men and women, the scene is heavily male-dominated. To encourage more women to get hooked on the sport, snowmobiling superstar Julie-Ann Chapman offered a one-off all-girls riding clinic in Whistler, British Columbia. Coaches led a group of women through avalanche safety, mechanical skills and, of course, how to ride a snowmobile. The event was a resounding success.
Inspired by the clinic’s positive response, Chapman launched She Shreds Mountain Adventures out of Pemberton, British Columbia. Just north of Whistler, Pemberton offers some of the most spectacular backcountry terrain in the country.
Pemberton is a sledder’s paradise—many members of the Slednecks crew, a group of talented and passionate sledders who put out some jaw-dropping action sports films, live right in town. Julie-Ann is well-acquainted with the gang, riding with them regularly and acting as photographer while they’re out filming.
She Shreds Mountain Adventures is all about bringing women together and cultivating a passion for the sport. There are clinics geared towards absolute beginners, and others for more advanced riders hoping to further develop their skills. Whatever a participant’s level, they can be assured that the environment will be supportive, encouraging and safe.
Clinics typically comprise of two full field days on the snow, with evening sled talk sessions covering topics like maintenance, set up, and more. Yoga-based stretch sessions are offered before the team hits the snow, and prizes from sponsors like 509 Helmets, Diva’s Snow Gear and Ski Doo are just the icing on the cake.
Judging by the rate at which these clinics fill up, and based on the feedback from clinic alumni, it would seem that women and snowmobiling are a match made in heaven. The attraction is not hard to understand: sledding offers incredible physical exercise, boosts mental health, and provides front-row access to Mother Nature’s finest.
The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA) has estimated that 30% of new snowmobilers are women—and as the popularity of the sport increases, and with women-geared clinics like She Shreds being offered, the proportion of women in the industry is bound to keep increasing.