Wild Women of the Wasatch Episode 3 - Dawn Till Dark
Hi! This is Ski Utah guest blogger, Amy David, and I'm inspired by people taking action to enjoy and improve the world around us. In the Wild Women of the Wasatch series, I'm featuring women from various backgrounds who inspire me and hopefully you too!
May in Utah can be a confusing time of year for outdoor sport lovers. We spent the entire winter not questioning what the activity of the day would be, clearly we’d be skiing. However, May gets a bit more tricky. During spring in Utah, the snow remains high in the mountains for backcountry touring, (not to mention Snowbird is still open until Memorial Day), yet as you drive down canyon into the valley, the temperature heats up. You can see little dots of people clung to the cliffs climbing, wheels of bikers spinning down the trails and the street surfers start to emerge skateboarding around the city.
Deciding which spring sport to do can be quite the conversation, and to alleviate the indecision, I decided to do a handful of my favorite adventure activities all in one day with several of my rad lady friends.
Here is Episode 03 of Wild Women of the Wasatch. Ski, climb, bike, skate and beer. A day in the Wasatch, check it out!
Our day started off at 4:30 in the morning at the 7/11 to get gas, donuts, and hear the cashier rap the song “Baby Got Back” as I paid. I knew it would be a good day laughing on the way out the door. At the Grizzly Gulch parking lot, I met up with Laura Ewald and Shannan Yates skinning up Grizzly Gulch for a sunrise ski tour. Laura works as an accountant for a startup software company. She’s extremely intelligent and manages her time to optimize moments in the mountains. After Laura hurried off to work at nine, I caught up with Shannan who currently works as a registered nurse. When asked about her snowboarding background, she’ll mention she’s called the Wasatch home for a long time with 25 years of riding at Snowbird under her belt. A fact her humble personality may not mention is she’s won the Freeride World Tour and Masters of Snowboarding multiple times.
Midmorning, we drive down Little Cottonwood Canyon past Snowbird which is still open Friday—Sunday until Memorial Day. Twenty minutes later, we swing by Hector’s for the best breakfast burritos in town, then park along Wasatch Boulevard to meet Akina Johnson for a climbing session. Akina sets up the rappel down into Parley’s Canyon easily accessed by a five-minute walk. She’s also an accountant who spends as much time outside as possible.
Akina explains her perspective on the activity as, “Climbing gives me freedom of the mind. I love teaching rock climbing, I was a newbie once and without people teaching me, I don’t know if I would have harnessed my love for it. I want to share that with other people. Rock climbing is such a sense of accomplishment when you get up a 100 foot wall on your own it really builds so much character and pride in yourself. I love helping other people accomplish that for themselves.”
After saying goodbye to Akina over an iced coffee, I swing by my house to pick up my friend Christine Dern and the mountain bikes. Christine had been working at Competitive Cyclery all day and was ready to rip some dirt on her bike. There are many incredible mountain bike trails throughout the Wasatch, but one of the most accessible to the city and rowdiest is the infamous Bobsled trail behind the capital. Christine is a natural on a bike, a real jawdropper off the jumps, and started racing downhill the past 4 years. “I’ve used biking as an outlet for life. Whenever I’m out, I’m just trying to help my friends, get other people excited, and basically pass on all the things I learned by trial and error.”
As the sun began to set over the Salt Lake, I finished watching Christine launch off the dirt jumps at I street high above the city. We drove the adventure van a few blocks down to the University of Utah School of Nursing where I linked back up with Shannan. The two of us skateboarded through the campus catching pavement waves as the sky turned dark and the city lights began to glisten. Eventually we rolled up to the the Beer Bar patio downtown where Akina and Christine had cold beers waiting.
A full multisport day is certainly possible with a little bit of planning. The Wasatch is chalk full of talented adventure partners if you make a small effort to find them. I’m sure happy I did!
Laura, Christine, Akina and myself all lead lady meetups for the active outdoor women’s community And She’s Dope Too, so join us on some adventures this summer by following @AndShesDopeToo.
Thank you to everyone who has followed the adventures of the Wild Women of the Wasatch! Keep a lookout for upcoming episodes featuring another spectrum of women enjoying the Wasatch mountains. Thank you to @CroshaneMedia for joining the adventures to film/edit and thanks to Ski Utah for sharing the stories. In the meantime, keep up with my adventures on