Main Staff

Emily-Profile-Photo

Emily Hargraves

Chief Executive Babe

As owner of Backcountry Babes, Emily develops trips and works hard to make them come to life. Emily loves the spirit of outdoor adventure travel and especially loves sharing it with others. She finds our women’s trips have a special power to foster camaraderie, confidence, creativity, freedom, education, and fun. Emily brings a background of leading adventure travel trips for 10+ years. She is grateful to be working on the leadership team at Backcountry Babes, humbled by the beautiful energy of our educators and students, and proud to be building a framework for more women to become leaders in the outdoors. She is an AIARE Avalanche Course Instructor and has completed her AMGA Ski Guide Course.

Favorite Trip Experience

My first experience with Backcountry Babes was an Avalanche course in Alaska. Students and instructors were all such inspiring women and the places we got to explore in Alaska were unforgettable!

Trip Recommendations
  1. Backcountry Ski Hut Trip – British Columbia, Canada
  2. Japan Backcountry Ski Trip
kirstin_nelson

Kirstin Nelson

Colorado Programs Manager

Kirstin has been working as a ski patroller at Breckenridge Ski Resort since 2008 and received her Paramedic certification in 2012. Kirstin has been teaching outdoor education since she was 16 and is especially empowered by working with women aspiring to become more skilled in the outdoors. She has been with Backcountry Babes for 11 years now; starting as an intern in college and diligently working up to the fully certified Avalanche professional and educator she is today.

As an AIARE (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) qualified instructor with Backcountry Babes, she is passionate about educating women in safe travel and skiing in the backcountry. Kirstin loves everything about a good adventure from ski mountaineering to trail running, mountain biking, surfing, climbing, canoeing and sailing, and never passes up an opportunity for exploring new places. She also has a bit of a traveling bug that she caught in college and is always looking for new and interesting opportunities to add another stamp to her passport.

She finds strength in fresh air, beautiful scenery and laughter, and you will find her wearing pink overall snow pants, a smile, and an i-pod with everything from classic rock to female folk singers, reggae and hip-hop, as she travels the winter backcountry. Kirstin is very excited to be Backcountry Babe’s Colorado Programs Manager as she brings a lot of contagious and fun energy to an organization that she believes provides abundant personal growth to women all around the country.

Favorite Trip Experience

The Canada hut trip is my favorite. The entire experience of flying in a helicopter over the Canadian Rockies then landing at a sweet little hut in the middle of the mountains with blankets of white enticing terrain everywhere is awesome. This trip has something for everyone; endless powder, low angle fun turns, steep trees, wide open bowls, and fun glades.

Of course, the snow pillows were my favorite. It was like being a kid in a candy shop skiing those soft snow pillows. I love the whole day spent skiing sweet lines, and then following it up with a hot sauna, amazing food, and hanging out with incredible women. It’s the perfect way to spend a week of your winter!

Trip Recommendations
  1. Women’s-specific AIARE Avalanche Level I – Breckenridge, CO
  2. Backcountry Ski Hut Trip – British Columbia, Canada

Alaska Guides

Kaitlin Powers-Engdahl

Kaitlin Powers-Engdahl

Kaitlin grew up in Spokane, Washington, and graduated with a degree in Outdoor Recreation and Recreation Management from Eastern Washington…
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Nancy Elrod

Nancy Elrod

Nancy works for Babes as an AIARE avalanche instructor and a steeps ski instructor. She is a competitive Big Mountain…
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Sarah Carter

Sarah Carter

Sarah grew up nordic skiing in Anchorage, and now lives in Valdez with her husband and two boys. Sarah is…
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Colorado Guides

Al Mandell

Al Mandell

Al caught the skiing bug at 3 years old and has never looked back! He’s turned his Middlebury Ski racer…
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Anne St. Clair

Anne St. Clair

Originally a Pennsylvania native, Anne migrated west on a cross-country road cycling adventure. She eventually landed in Breckenridge, CO and…
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Casey Graham

Casey Graham

Casey grew up skiing in the north east and has always been motivated and inspired by mountains both snowy and…
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Duke Barlow

Duke Barlow

Duke has worked full-time with the Breckenridge Ski Patrol since 2001 and now serves as their Snow Safety Director. He…
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Emily Heikkinen

Emily Heikkinen

Emily grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where cross-country skiing and snowmobiling were the only reliable ways of…
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Eryka Thorley

Eryka Thorley

Eryka loves Winter.  In fact her daughter’s name is Wynter.  Growing up along the frigid, arctic-like shores of Lake Superior…
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Janine Prout

Janine Prout

Janine grew up on a farm in southeast Washington State, learning to ski on the Palouse hills. Janine’s love for…
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Karin Pocock

Karin Pocock

Karin enjoys sharing her love of the backcountry with others, learning, growing, and being humbled in the mountain environment. Karin…
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Kenzie Carson

Kenzie Carson

Kenzie grew up skiing at a tiny one lift ski area in northern New Mexico and fell in love with…
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Leanne Wren

Leanne Wren

Leanne has been snowboarding over 20 years and started splitboarding 6 years ago. On her 10th season at Underground Snowboards…
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Leslie Ross

Leslie Ross

Leslie loves the free heel feel. Introduced to Telemark skiing on a NOLS winter camping trip in 1990, Leslie was…
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Susie Nothnagel

Susie Nothnagel

Susie Nothnagel has lived in Breckenridge for the past 23 years and has been a Breckenridge Ski Patroller since 1998. …
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California Guides

Angelique Carl

Angelique Carl

Angelique is a PSIA trained ski instructor who creates an encouraging group culture and teaches others to be more confident…
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Crystal Winn

Crystal Winn

Crystal Winn is a Lake Tahoe native who has tried living in other environments and finds she is never quite…
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Erin Laine

Erin Laine

Erin grew up in rural Colorado and has always had a love of mountain environments. That love brought her to…
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John Littleton

John Littleton

John Littleton grew up in Chicago, Illinois and started skiing the rugged mountains of the Midwest at the age of…
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Rosie Hackett

Rosie Hackett

Rosie grew up in Vermont and has strong New England roots…Go Red Sox! Right after college, she migrated west for…
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Ryan Huetter

Ryan Huetter

Ryan Huetter grew up near the coastal tidewaters of the Puget Sound in Washington State, but has since traded moss…
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Sarah Newsome

Sarah Newsome

Sarah began splitboarding after years of competing in half pipe, slope style, and border cross contests for her college Women’s…
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Zeb Blais

Zeb Blais

Zeb took a liking to skiing early on in the mountains of northern Vermont. He hasn’t regretted moving west for…
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Utah Guides

Shannon Finch

Shannon Finch

Shannon is a consummate adventurer. She spends her winter months as a professional ski patroller, ski guide, snow safety training…
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Shaun Raskin

Shaun Raskin

Shaun believes​ that​ life​ is what you make of it. If you have the courage and fortitude to follow your…
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New Hampshire Guides

Abby King

Abby King

Abby is passionate about creating rewarding, positive experiences for people in the wilderness, and in so doing, inspiring them to…
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Al Mandell

Al Mandell

Al caught the skiing bug at 3 years old and has never looked back! He’s turned his Middlebury Ski racer…
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International Guides

Chika Hayashi

Chika Hayashi

Chika’s warm smile, cheerful attitude and unrelenting enthusiasm for skiing make her a perfect fit as a member of the…
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Emily Grady

Emily Grady

Emily lives, works and plays in the mountains near Nelson and Revelstoke, BC. Her ski career has taken her all…
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Kristina Metzlaff

Kristina Metzlaff

Kristina is our go-to guide for our Canada trips. Her wealth of local knowledge is incredible. Kristina has been ski…
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