Wine, wax, repeat: RMU ski bar hosts new SheJumps event Feb. 15 | SummitDaily.com

Wine, wax, repeat: RMU ski bar hosts new SheJumps event Feb. 15

It's funny how a chance encounter in a South American hostel forever changed the Tres Chicas Locas.

From 2011 to 2012, Boulder's Shelley Brook and two friends — the Tres Chicas — were making the yearlong trek from Ushuaia to Quito, a nearly 5,200-mile journey along the continent's west coast, when they ran into Claire Smallwood, one of three co-founders with SheJumps. The stateside nonprofit pairs women of all ages with outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, rock climbing and backpacking, and so when the Tres Chicas met Smallwood, the new friends forged a lasting relationship thousands and thousands of miles from home. They shared a love of adventure — simple as that.

By 2016, just four years after the encounter, Brook was heavily involved with SheJumps as regional coordinator for Colorado. Along with a crew of five brand-new Colorado ambassadors — all volunteers, all women and all outdoor junkies — Brook brings women's-only clinics and other events to Summit County. She lived in Breckenridge for six years before moving to Boulder, so it only made sense to launch a new series of ladies' ski-waxing clinics in her former hometown.

Dubbed Wednesday Wax Series, the three-part series debuted in January at the brand-new Rocky Mountain Underground combo ski shop and bar. The standing room-only crowd learned the ins and outs of waxing from RMU employees, and then had the chance to wax personal gear, all while laughing and joking and learning and, of course, sipping Upslope beer or wine or whatever.

The series continues on Feb. 15 with another $15 event at RMU. Brook unfortunately won't be in town for the night, but she's sending a local SheJumps ambassador, Allison Seymour, to talk about her experience in the often male-dominated world of backcountry skiing. That sense of sharing adventure is what inspired the nonprofit's founders — pro skier Lynsey Dyer, Vanessa Pierce and Smallwood — and Brook now brings the same giddy excitement to her tribe in Breck.

Between the January and February waxing clinics, the Summit Daily sports desk caught Brook at her day job with Paradox Sports, a Boulder-based outdoor nonprofit, to talk about SheJumps and why she can't — or maybe just won't — talk about the backcountry hut trip she's planning with the Tres Chicas Locas.

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Summit Daily News: Before we get to snow, talk about the South American trek you took in 2011. When and how did that come together?

Shelley Brook: We just decided we wanted to do a big hike. You add a little wine and late-night conversations, and a year later we were spending time in remote locations all across the Andes. I actually wrote a travel thing for the Summit Daily when I was on that trip (laughs).

SDN: It's also where you first heard about SheJumps. What made you want to get involved when you returned from South America?

SB: I think we all identified with an all-girl's group that's made to get girls outdoors. All of us — all three of us — really valued the experience of getting women together in the outdoors, pushing yourself, learning from other women, empowerment — all of that.

SDN: How did you go from thinking, "SheJumps is a cool idea," to getting involved as an ambassador?

SB: The first event I remember in Colorado is something called Get The Girls Out. It's a ski day that's made to bring attention to women's skiing and it's just a great way to get women together. (SheJumps co-founder) Lynsey Dyer is a pro skier and she was there, at Vail, for that first program, so I got to ski with Lindsey. She was just stoked on everything and having such a good time — lots of tutus and costumes. It was just a lot of fun to be part of, and we have another one of those coming up soon in Breckenridge (on Feb. 11).

SDN: Since that first time skiing with Lindsey, what kind of events have you brought to your hometown, to Summit County?

SB: This year we brought on five ambassadors across the state, and Colorado is unique compared to other states and areas because we have so many strong outdoor communities that are independent of each other. When you go to Utah, you have Salt Lake City and that's kind of the hub. Here, you have Durango, which is far from the Front Range, and then Summit County and Fort Collins (…) and everywhere else. The idea is we're trying to bring more events to the area, and with more events means more community, and from there you can do even more. It all feeds into each other.

SDN: What kind of programs does SheJumps have for skiers and snowboarders?

SB: We run a couple of different groups, and one is outdoor education. We try to run affordable and free programs, and that's what we're trying to do with RMU — the wax series. That gives you the skills to take care of your gear on your own. We're also partnering with two guide companies to host some AIARE Level I programs.

The second side of the program is community initiative and that's trying to build community with people who want to do like-minded things: a happy hour and hike, a ski movie night, anything.

SDN: What have you enjoyed the most about being a SheJumps coordinator — actually running things instead of attending them?

SB: Just all of the people I've met and the enthusiasm. Every time we have an event, the people who are new are so excited to see that there are other women interested in the same things they are. So many times, women learn from a brother or boyfriend or someone else, so they almost don't trust themselves when they want to go on a trip. Here, we bring that empowerment to the group so they feel comfortable doing more and leading more.

SDN: As a coordinator now, what kind of new and cool things do you want to see happen?

SB: It started as a ski organization, but over the years we've gotten more involved. I think there's opportunities for things like mountain biking, or an intro to backpacking course that we're putting together now. I'll actually run that one with the two girls I went on the South American trip with.

SDN: Do you still get out with those women for hiking trips?

SB: Yes, I do. We haven't done anything really long like that again. One of them is married, the other is getting ready to, but we definitely get out. We're going on a hut trip here in January, but I don't want to publish it. It's not part of the 10th Mountain system, so I don't want to publish it (laughs).

Winter Wax and Wine Series

What: A series of women’s-only waxing clinics hosted by Rocky Mountain Underground and SheJumps, a national nonprofit dedicated to getting ladies outdoors

When: Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 7-8:30 p.m.

Where: RMU Ski Shop and Tavern, 114 S. Main Street in Breckenridge

Cost: $15

The waxing clinic can fill up and pre-registration is suggested. Entry includes waxing demo, materials and drinks. The February event features a talk from Allison Seymour, a Summit County local and employee for Giterdun Publishing, a publishing house for backcountry skiing in Colorado. For more info on SheJumps or to sign up for the February clinics, see feb2017RMUwednesdaywax.eventbrite.com.

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SheJumps in Summit

This winter, local SheJumps rep Shelley Brook and local ambassadors are hosting a slew of women’s-only ski and snowboard events. Below is a select look at the February roster. For updated info all winter and summer long, see the SheJumps Rockies Region page on Facebook.

Feb. 11 — Get the Girls Out, Breckenridge (more info at breck2017gtgo.eventbrite.com)

Feb. 15 — Winter Wax and Wine series, RMU in Breckenridge

Feb. 24 — AIREA Level I with SheJumps and Backcountry Babes, Vail