Black Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend
BackcountryStore.com Teams With Two Women to Unleash Babes in the Backcountryby Sharon Page
Heather Paul started skiing on the icy runs of New Hampshire, and eventually opted for the powder laden slopes of the west. Still not sated in her quest for ultimate freedom, she ditched her alpine skis, donned free-heel gear, and joined the world of Telemark. It was downhill from there (so to speak)! She won a bronze medal in the World Telemark Championships and founded Ultimate Groove in 1996.
Heather Paul poised to get her groove on
What motivated Heather Paul to start her company was a gap she perceived in clinic offerings oriented specifically toward women. Telemark Skiing was a specialized sport as it was, and women interested in dabbling in the free heel world were often seeking women specific instruction to no avail. So she started offering just that in the powdery bowls of Alta, Utah and Alpine Meadows, California.
What’s kept Heather grounded through all of her success is simple: The opportunity to encourage other women to participate with the utmost confidence in a sport traditionally dominated by men.
Old School Babes
Leslie Ross, founder of Babes in the Backcountry, is also an East Coast native but did not discover tele-turns until age 21 at Grand Targhee where she put on her first pair of leather telemark boots and skinny skis and never looked back. Unsatisfied with Eastern skiing, she headed to Colorado looking to free her heel in deeper, steeper powder. Apparently she got pretty good because she went on to become National Telemark Free Skiing Champion not once, but three times. Nowadays Leslie jets off to British Columbia or Chile come summer, unless of course we get a good dump Stateside where she opts for Alta or Jackson Hole.
New School Babes
In reality, most of Leslie’s time is spent running Babes in the Backcountry. She started it seven years ago as a way to get more women involved in backcountry sports through providing instruction in a fun and supportive environment. Babes courses focus on backcountry safety and avalanche education in small intimate classes, and have grown immensely popular with women just getting into backcountry skiing.
BackcountryStore.com has teamed up with these two entrepreneurs to offer a variety of clinics and courses to women wanting to learn about backcountry and telemark skiing from female peers. Check it out: Women’s Adventure