We provide quality backcountry opportunities for women of different abilities and ages to gain skills in outdoor recreational sports, backcountry safety, and to participate in fun adventures together. Our instructors, coaches, and guides are some of the best! They are all highly qualified, certified, and experienced women who are passionate about mentoring other women who want to get outdoors.
We focus specifically on women because we understand that we often learn in a different manner and have different needs than men. We have tons of fun learning and enjoying outdoor backcountry sports together!
Backcountry Babes is an organization that was founded on providing opportunities for women to explore and learn more about outdoor recreation. We know that women sometimes have feelings of vulnerability and fear in pursuit of outdoor experiences, or that gender-related dynamics can affect a woman’s capabilities to experience, learn, and be empowered while participating in outdoor recreation. We understand that sometimes there just isn’t an opportunity or good mentor available to learn from.
Our mission is to be those quality mentors and guides for women in the outdoors. We aim to provide a comfortable atmosphere that women can feel at ease and learn new skills, define themselves, develop confidence, gain new insights and experiences, and share in fun adventures that build friendships and camaraderie. We strive to offer skills clinics and trips that provide women with a comfortable and fun outlet to the outdoors, and a place that they can be inspired and empowered by the experience!
We believe in women; their power, their strength, their individuality, and their beauty!
Backcountry Babes (formerly know as Babes in the Backcountry) was founded in 1997 by Leslie Ross, a 3x champion telemark skier. In the mid-1990s, Leslie recognized the lack of equality of women participating in recreational activities and outdoor sports. Her own passion for skiing and backcountry travel provoked her to create a business that would provide more instructional opportunities and adventures for other women to get outdoors in a comfortable and inspiring environment. The company was a leader in this movement at the time, and continues to be so.
For several years, Jenna Boisvert, a Babes alumnae, owned Backcountry Babes. Jenna is an accomplished skier and outdoor enthusiast. She was transformed by her first experience with the all-women’s clinic idea after she joined the Babes’ Sisters in the Steeps weekend at Silverton Mountain in 2006. She was excited to lend her talents and passions to owning and managing Backcountry Babes for several years. Jenna took the Backcountry Babes torch to Alaska, and developed Babes AIARE level 1 classes in the Anchorage area. She continues to trip lead and instruct with the Babes in Alaska.
Since 2014, Backcountry Babes has been owned by Michelle Trame and Emily Hargraves. Michelle and Emily are both avid backcountry skiers, backpackers, cyclists and river runners with a long history of working in outdoor education and guiding trips all over the world. They are delighted to have to opportunity to carry on so many years of Backcountry Babes tradition and history and also to explore what new possibilities lay on the horizon for the Babes.
Backcountry Babes continues to operate in Alaska, Colorado, British Columbia, Japan, and wherever our adventures bring us. We inspire and empower women in the outdoors with quality and fun instructional opportunities and adventure!
Like snow monkeys, we are a matriarchal hierarchy run by intelligent and fun females. We are highly social and hang out in small troops to play, feed, and travel together. We enjoy both the snow and water, and are often found enjoying a hot springs pool when we find one. Snow monkeys are known to be quite expressive, and in Japan, are considered symbols of success and good fortune.
At Backcountry Babes we pride ourselves in being like snow monkeys; providing good communication and female leadership as an important aspect of our purpose. We work to inspire women to be successful in their outdoor lives and active pursuits, and have fun while doing it. In turn, this brings our whole troop good fortune!
Come play with us!
There is an incredibly positive and high energy stoke level of the female-empowered AND co-ed classroom environment. It is cool to hear our students discuss the value of the learning environment–enjoying growth through our women’s empowerment focus and recognizing the reality that future teamwork will consist of co-ed teams in the backcountry.
I believe that the culture cultivated by Backcountry Babes truly resonates in this women’s ski weekend. The support and encouragement everyone demonstrates while skiing some of Colorado’s gnarliest terrain is unprecedented. Friendships and connections made on this trip are genuine and amazing. Silverton mountain is a unique experience made even more impactful by this awesome group.
This course is really cool for women to come out and try something new and to have all of their questions answered. I love that we offer this opportunity and I think we organize it in a really fun and effective way.
This co-ed setup is so cool, as it allows couples to take an AIARE class together in a stigma-free environment where both partners can feel empowered instead of the “token” female among males or vice versa taking an avalanche course. It really flows well with what AIARE tries to accomplish and I think everyone in the group really enjoyed this format and how well the group dynamics worked.
There was an incredibly positive and high energy discussion about the stoke level of the ‘female-empowered’ but co-ed classroom environment. It was cool to hear our students discuss the value of the learning environment–recognizing the women’s empowerment focus of the Babes program but recognizing the reality that their future teamwork will consist of co-ed teams in the backcountry. Lots of positive feedback to continue to create more co-ed Babes courses.
This course was very beneficial for so many reasons. I will be more confident when going out with peers. I won’t have to rely on them for my safety. I feel more empowered to speak up and to also take initiative to look and evaluate the terrain more. I took away many things from this course.