Teton Gravity Research, Dec. 2016
Three years ago, a formidable group of female leaders in the word of extreme skiing started a women’s only avalanche clinic that fosters communication and confidence in the backcountry. With more and more women getting into the sport each year, the SAFE AS clinics have taken off and are an extremely popular event each year at Squaw Valley, Crystal Mountain, and Stevens Pass.
The SAFE AS (Skiers Advocating and Fostering Avalanche and Snow Safety) clinics were founded by pro skiers Michelle Parker, Jackie Paaso, Ingrid Backstrom, and Elyse Saugstad, yoga instructor Sherry McConkey, and Squaw Valley avalanche forecaster, Alaska heli-ski guide, and AIARE Avalanche Instructor Lel Tone. Guest instructors who have been added to the mix since then include Robin Van Gyn, Kimmy Fasani, and Cody Townsend.
Up until this year, these clinics have been strictly ‘no boys allowed’ to promote the unique, supportive style of learning that a lot of women find in female-only group dynamics. But this year saw the first ever co-ed SAFE AS clinic at Squaw Valley on December 11.
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