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.
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!
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.
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!
Sarah grew up nordic skiing in Anchorage, and now lives in Valdez with her husband and two boys. Sarah is the lead avalanche instructor for Backcountry Babes in Alaska and has been involved in the avalanche community since 1997. She stays busy in avalanche work as avalanche education coordinator for the Alaska Avalanche Information Center and forecaster for the Valdez Avalanche Center. She has worked on ski patrols in British Columbia and Alaska, and with snow safety for a mechanized operation. With a lifelong journey to learn, Sarah has presented and collaborated on several posters for the International Snow Science Workshop.
Saying Sarah loves the snow is an understatement, so when it all melts, she follows the water on rafts, kayaks, and sailboats.
Nancy works for Babes as an AIARE avalanche instructor and a steeps ski instructor. She is a competitive Big Mountain Freeskier and also enjoys judging the Lake Tahoe Junior Freeride Tour each winter. Nancy splits her time between Squaw Valley, CA and Girdwood, AK because she can’t figure out which perfect place to call home. She also loves to travel and follows her skis to South America, Europe, or wherever the snow and climbing may call.
When not on skis, Nancy loves mountain biking and fly-fishing, and hauls big Alaskan salmon and halibut in with the best of them. When she has to go back to work, Nancy moonlights as a civil engineer. Despite her diversity of interesting qualities, it is Nancy’s fun nature and infectious laugh you will remember the most.
Kaitlin grew up in Spokane, Washington, and graduated with a degree in Outdoor Recreation and Recreation Management from Eastern Washington University. She has been a member of Ski Patrol since 2011 in Idaho (Silver Mountain, and Sun Valley) and currently heading into her second year on ski patrol at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska.
Kaitlin spends her summers instructing rafting and backpacking expeditions in Oregon for Outward Bound and California for the Chadwick School. Her certifications include: Wilderness First Responder, Outdoor Emergency care, and Avalanche level 1 and 2. Since beginning this outdoor lifestyle she has discovered her desire to not just enjoy the outdoors herself, but to share her experience and passion for the outdoors with others in the community. When not on her skis, she can be found rafting, backpacking, biking, and climbing.
Originally a Pennsylvania native, Anne St. Clair migrated west on a cross-country road cycling adventure. She eventually landed in Breckenridge, Colorado in 2006 where she discovered her love of backcountry skiing. Anne now works as snow safety director and lead guide for Powder Addiction cat-skiing and as an AIARE certified Level 1 and Level 2 instructor. She finds the untracked mountains and the women who seek to explore them endlessly inspiring, and she is grateful for the opportunity to combine education and powder turns with these Backcountry Babes.
When she’s not in search of powder and sticking her head in the snow, Anne migrates to the desert southwest to work as a mountain bike guide for Magpie Cycling in Moab, UT. With her interests in public outreach and education, Anne also presents the CAIC Know Before You Go avalanche education program to area youth and works as a mountain bike coach for Maverick Sports Junior Mountain Bike League, the VIDA MTB series, and as a volunteer for The Cycle Effect.
Most importantly, Anne is a Cancer, her spirit animal is a buffalo, and her favorite breakfast is huevos rancheros.
Karin enjoys sharing her love of the backcountry with others, learning, growing, and being humbled in the mountain environment.
Karin began working professionally in the mountains in 2002 and has spent the last 15 years as an outdoor educator, instructor, technical guide, ski patroller and avalanche forecaster. Karin also dedicated over a decade to working as an instructor, course director and staff trainer for Outward Bound schools across western North America in addition to her guiding.
She is currently trained by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) in the Ski and Alpine disciplines and is AMGA certified as a rock climbing guide. Active full-time since 2006 in the avalanche industry, Karin is trained to a Professional Level 2 standard and is a professional member of both the American Avalanche Association (AAA) and the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA).
She grew up learning the craft of backcountry skiing on skinny telemark skis in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia. She has since worked professionally on the snow on tele skis, a splitboard, and alpine touring equipment, and is always smiling if she gets to be outside and slide on snow with others. She now calls Crested Butte, CO home.
When not at work, Karin can be found rock climbing in the desert near Moab or pedaling her mountain bike through the mountains near Crested Butte.
Emily grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where cross-country skiing and snowmobiling were the only reliable ways of transportation. She found her way out west in 1993 and hasn’t left. Emily is a PSIA level 3 Telemark and Alpine instructor at Beaver Creek Resort in Avon, CO and works as the Backcountry Babes’ lead ski instructor.
When the ski season ends, Emily moves her trusty Airstream trailer to Moab, UT where she works as a multi-day mountain bike guide across the wild west. She also leads an annual mountain bike trip for Backcountry Babes. Rest time for Emily means hot springs and relaxing in her 1970 Airstream trailer that she calls home.
Kenzie is thrilled to join the Babes team and brings years of experience working in the backcountry with clients and students. She has worked all over the western US as an Outward Bound instructor, assistant guide, administrator and lady of logistics.
Kenzie is passionate about sharing adventure and cultivating safe and supportive learning environments for women and girls. She’s a lover of wild places, hut trips, deep snow, rivers, laughter, and tasty snacks.
Leanne has been snowboarding over 20 years and started splitboarding 6 years ago. On her 10th season at Underground Snowboards in Breckenridge, Leanne works to help develop, improve and promote women’s snowboard gear. While witnessing the growing popularity of splitboarding in Breckenridge, Leanne decided she wanted to make sure women were getting the avy education they need, and learning how to make their own decisions in the backcountry. With that, she spearheaded the creation of our Women’s Beginner Splitboarding courses! Leanne is now on the path to start instructing and guiding backcountry splitboarding!
Janine grew up on a farm in southeast Washington State, learning to ski on the Palouse hills. Janine’s love for the outdoors brought her to Colorado to explore the mountains and work and study in the outdoors.
Janine has worked in Colorado and Oregon guiding rafting, rock climbing, leading alpine skills, mountain biking, and backcountry skiing. Janine has worked 10+ years at Monarch Mountain Ski Resort, as a ski patroller, snow-cat guide, and Assistant Ski Patrol Director. There, she developed her skills as an EMT, forecasting (weather and avalanche), avalanche mitigation, explosive route leading, snow safety director, and risk manager. Janine has been active in the American Avalanche Information Research & Education progression, completing Avalanche Levels 1 & 2 and becoming an instructor (ITC) for AIARE avalanche courses.
In the summer months, Janine is busy in her garden, fitting in as many river miles as she can, and riding single track. She currently works for the Forest Service in Fairplay, Colorado. Janine believes in empowering women, building lasting networks, and having fun.
Eryka loves Winter. In fact her daughter’s name is Wynter. Growing up along the frigid, arctic-like shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Eryka learned the value of nature and outdoor education. She fell head over heels for snow, leading her undergraduate studies at Montana State in Bozeman. She began patrolling 13 year ago at Big Sky Ski Resort and continues patrolling today at Eldora Ski Resort in Colorado.
Continuing her love for now, Erica studied climate change and anthropology in graduate school. Eryka began guiding in 2007 in diverse environments including the Central American tropics, Rocky Mountain rivers, the Cascade mountains and glaciers, and the ice sheets of Greenland.
As a 16-year old, Eryka was inspired by watching her mom and ten others plan and execute the first all-women’s ski expedition from Russia to the North Pole. This was monumental in her life and is a catalyst for her own work in promoting and enjoying the outdoors with ladies. To this day her favorite place is surrounded by a group of women in the winter world.
Duke has worked full-time with the Breckenridge Ski Patrol since 2001 and now serves as their Snow Safety Director. He loves playing in the mountains with friends- especially on skis. Whether chasing dogs while towing kids on nordic skis, getting weird with friends on hut trips, problem solving on a windy ridge during an avalanche control route, or geeking out in a rando race with skinny skis and tight clothes, the magic of the mountains makes it all special. Duke became a certified AIARE I instructor a few years ago out of an interest in paying forward the knowledge that’s been shared with him over the years, continuing to learn from others, and making new friends in the process.
Kelli is a second generation Colorado ski addict. Growing up alpine and Nordic racing, Kelli fell into the wonderful world of telemarking after breaking her pelvis and no longer being able to find her groove alpine skiing. After years of failing around in the backcountry and figuring out how to drop a knee, Kelli came across the Telemark Extremes where she scored some sweet prizes. Kelli met Leslie Ross at the Extremes which has led to a long Babes friendship and given Kelli the opportunity to work with Babes in the Backcountry.
Kelli has experienced a variety of fun activities over the years including coaching alpine, Nordic and freeride youth teams, mountain bike and adventure racing, massage therapist, landscaper, teaching kayak and mountain bike classes and geeking out online shopping for socks and jackets. Currently dedicated to becoming an AIARE avalanche instructor, Kelli spends the majority of her winters in the back country doing her best to get blissfully lost. Kelli also enjoys cuddling up with her husband and dog, a box of wine and a great movie circa the ’80s.
Leslie loves the free heel feel. Introduced to Telemark skiing on a NOLS winter camping trip in 1990, Leslie was hooked. She took her passions into the Free Skiing comps and earned the title of 3-time Nations Telemark Free Skiing Champion. From there Leslie founded Babes in the Backcountry and is passionate about teaching women the skills to allow them to head into the backcountry safely and confidently.
Leslie helped open Meta Yoga studio in Breckenridge Colorado and enjoys teaching how to bring yoga into all aspects of your life. Other than a free heel and yogi-full life, Leslie also loves hot springs and backcountry skiing with friends.
Casey grew up skiing in the north east and has always been motivated and inspired by mountains both snowy and rocky. After moving to Colorado in 2009, he quickly found his passion for backcountry skiing, ski mountaineering, and avalanche study and has been working his way through the guiding and avalanche education industries ever since. Casey has been a rock, rafting, and backcountry ski guide in the southwest for 8 years, is pursuing full AMGA certification as a Ski and Rock Guide, and is a certified AIARE Level 1 Instructor. In between teaching AIARE courses and guiding for other companies, he holds down a full time job as the Program Director and Head Guide for the Air Force Academy’s Outdoor Adventure Program, taking military members and their families out rock and ice climbing, whitewater rafting, mountaineering, and of course, on backcountry ski tours and hut trips. Casey is passionate about teaching others the skills they need to stay safe and have fun in the mountains, and loves to share his time both personally and professionally with folks who just want to have fun in the snow and get out into the wild.
Al caught the skiing bug at 3 years old and has never looked back! He’s turned his Middlebury Ski racer background to a love of deep powder, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. Now he focuses on sharing his love of skiing with others as an AMGA apprentice ski guide and AIARE Level 1 and Level 2 Course Leader.
Throughout winter, Al can be found guiding & teaching avalanche courses in Japan, CO, NH, ME and Canada. Once the spring corn season starts he heads to Iceland to chase midnight sun and descents to the ocean. Summers are filled with cycling, ocean kayaking, rock climbing, gardening & cooking all the bounty found along the Maine Coast with his wife Lisa. Once the fall snap is in the air, he can be found cycling in Tuscany and Basque Country Spain.
Al brings an infectious approach to skiing, teaching avalanche courses and encouraging skiers and riders to reach for their dreams. He loves sharing and teaching others about safe winter travels and will make you laugh and smile the entire time.
Lel Tone put on her first pair of skis at age two, and it’s been tough getting her out of them ever since. By the time she graduated college, she made the conscious decision to keep the skis on her feet, thus making it much more difficult to work at a desk. Following her dream, Lel now works part of the ski season in Tahoe, CA as a ski patroller and assistant avalanche forecaster for Squaw Valley. She then heads north to Alaska in the spring to work (if you want to call it that) as a helicopter ski guide for Chugach Powder Guides. Lel has made a living learning to be safe and keep others safe in the snow. Her great talents have also made her a sponsored professional skier for First Ascent, and one of the few women to be featured in a Warren Miller Film.
But beyond her great feats in the world of skiing and avalanche safety, Lel is just a genuine sweetheart! She has a passion for giving and sharing with others that makes you want to be her best friend. She is our Lead AIARE Avalanche Level 1 Instructor in California, and we idolize her because she is everything that represents a great mentor in the world of women’s sports.
Crystal Winn is a Lake Tahoe native who has tried living in other environments and finds she is never quite as happy as she is in the mountains. She has professionally Ski Patrolled at Squaw Valley for 7 years, is a Licensed Avalanche Blaster, has her OEC Certification, is an AIARE course instructor, backcountry skier and one of the kindest and most humble adventurers you’ll ever meet. When she’s not on the mountain skiing, she enjoys downhill mountain bike riding, incorporating yoga in some aspect every day, climbing, hiking, and spending quality time with friends and family. She also looks forward to drinking a cup of coffee in the morning before an adventure and toasting to a beer well earned in the evening.
Ryan Huetter grew up near the coastal tidewaters of the Puget Sound in Washington State, but has since traded moss and rain for the sunshine and splitter cracks of the Sierra Nevada. Since graduating from Western Washington University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Adventure Management, Ryan has called the Sierra home. Beginning with leading extended backcountry mountaineering and backpacking trips for the Outward Bound School all over the range, he finally settled down in Mammoth Lakes to enjoy the unbelievable skiing and climbing the Eastside is famous for.
Ryan’s passion for climbing has taken him around the world, but year after year, the Sierra Nevada remains Ryan’s beloved home and he loves introducing people to the Range of Light. Ryan is an AIARE lead instructor, AMGA Assistant Ski Guide, AMGA Aspirant Alpine Guide and AMGA Certified Rock Guide.
Zeb took a liking to skiing early on in the mountains of northern Vermont. He hasn’t regretted moving west for bigger mountains and deeper snowpacks, but often returns east to climb ice and visit family. He loves traveling through the mountains in good style and defines that as balancing safety, efficiency and fun. He has worked professionally in mountain recreation for over a decade including ski patrolling, ski guiding and mountain guiding. He is an AMGA Ski Guide and is progressing through the Rock and Alpine disciplines of the AMGA. He holds an AIARE 3 certification and is an AIARE instructor and course leader.
Rosie grew up in Vermont and has strong New England roots…Go Red Sox! Right after college, she migrated west for big mountains and bluebird powder days. Rosie loves any and all ways she can play in the mountains. She has dedicated the past 20 years to field instruction, curriculum design, environmental stewardship, and leadership development, and is a fervent believer in the power of outdoor adventure education to change and enrich lives. Her extensive and varied field experience includes instructing/guiding sailing, sea kayaking, whitewater rafting/kayaking, rock climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, avalanche science, and outdoor leadership for schools and organizations all over the world.
Beyond Backcountry Babes, Rosie is the Director of the Outdoor Adventure Leadership Program at Sierra Nevada College. She is also an Associate Professor in the program. Her mission is to empower her students to become “growth” junkies, passionate leaders, competent outdoor professionals, and lifelong environmental stewards.
On her days off, Rosie can usually be found skiing, surfing, climbing or biking with her husband, Bret, her two children, Ruby and Van, and her dog, Osa, near her home in South Lake Tahoe or in a far away place.
Erin grew up in rural Colorado and has always had a love of mountain environments. That love brought her to find work at different ski destinations all over the West including Wolf Creek, Colorado; Tamarack, Idaho; and now Tahoe, California. She also pursued the ‘endless winter’ as a ski guiding in Chile. When she takes a break from all those winters, she loves to spend time on rivers as a raft guide.
Erin brings a breadth of experience as a former ski patroller, rock/ice and ski guide, wilderness medicine instructor and EMT to her role as an avalanche instructor. She is always up for an adventure, big or small, but especially when she can bring her dog, Willow, along!
John Littleton grew up in Chicago, Illinois and started skiing the rugged mountains of the Midwest at the age of seven. His passion for skiing and snowy mountains never subsided, even after college in Iowa and a stint in the U.S. Navy. John’s passion for a career in the mountains led him to Lake Tahoe in 2002 as a Professional Ski Patroller at Heavenly Mountain Resort. Since 2009, John has lived on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe and has been a member of the Squaw Valley Ski Patrol. He is both an Avalanche Control Route Leader and Licensed Avalanche Blaster.
John has taught experiential education courses to both youth and adults. He holds his AIARE Level 3 Certification and is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association. He is most proud of being an AIARE Lead Instructor for avalanche safety instruction. John has been an EMT and currently maintains his OEC certification. He wants to empower his clients with the skills to get themselves there and back.
Sarah began splitboarding after years of competing in half pipe, slope style, and border cross contests for her college Women’s Snowboard Team. In the more recent years Sarah spends most of her time on her splitboard in the backcountry. In the summer she is a blueberry farmer and a Lead Guide for Pocono Whitewater where she guides rafts while kayaking. In the fall she tries to travel. She has spent a time surfing the coast of Brazil, trekking in Nepal, kayaking the Mae Wong River in Thailand, and backpacking in Northern India. Sarah is a nationally certified remote EMT and a certified MPIC.
Sarah appreciates a good laugh, a good conversation, and good views. Her favorite part about being an avalanche educator is sharing the knowledge she has as well as learning from others. She is excited to be a part of an organization focused on building a community of strong, confident, educated women in the outdoors.
Kristina is our go-to guide for our Canada trips. Her wealth of local knowledge is incredible. Kristina has been ski guiding since 2000. She is an ACMG (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides) ski guide and a CSIA (Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance) Level 2 instructor. Before ski guiding, she instructed backcountry courses for Outward Bound in Canada, the US and South America.
When not skiing, Kristina can be found spending time with her family and growing vegetables in her garden in Revelstoke, BC. Kristina loves guiding, loves skiing powder, and is really wonderful at sharing her passion for skiing and backcountry knowledge.
Emily lives, works and plays in the mountains near Nelson and Revelstoke, BC. Her ski career has taken her all over the world, from South America to New Zealand, Canada and the US. She has played many roles as an instructor, ski school director, avalanche course instructor, instructor course evaluator, ACMG assistant ski guide, and a full time position with the Canadian Avalanche Association.
She shares her experience as a telemark and alpine ski instructor with her students, giving excellent instruction to help make backcountry skiing even more fun. With an extensive teaching background with Outward Bound, Treble Cone Ski Resort, Whitewater Winter Resort, and the Canadian Avalanche Association, she is excited to share her passion for the mountain environment with Backcountry Babes, send women home with a stronger mountain sense, as well as share many a powdery turn.
Chika’s warm smile, cheerful attitude and unrelenting enthusiasm for skiing make her a perfect fit as a member of the Backcountry Babes team. Chika guides backcountry skiers in Hokkaido and Hakuba in the winter, leads hiking excursions in the summer, and teaches wilderness medicine courses throughout the year. She became a backcountry ski guide after years of ski patrolling endless winters in Japan and New Zealand. She is a JMGA certified ski guide and a member of the Japan Avalanche Network, the organization responsible for informing the public about avalanche safety in Japan.
After a long day of skiing you can find Chika soaking in a Japanese onsen (hot spring), her favorite way to relax. The thing she loves most about about guiding in Japan? Getting to ski the deepest powder in the world, of course.
Shaun believes that life is what you make of it. If you have the courage and fortitude to follow your heart, your dreams are yours for the taking. It is with that belief that Shaun has found herself living in Park City, UT with her husband, two dogs, and beautiful daughter. Along with being a passionate business owner and lead guide for Inspired Summit Adventures, a mom and wife, she is also a seasoned mountain guide holding AIARE 3, AIARE 1 & 2 Course Leader, WFR and OEC certifications. With experience as a professional big mountain telemark skier and over a decade of being a mountain guide and avalanche educator, she hopes to inspire others through sharing the wisdom and inspiration that comes from spending time in the mountains.
Shannon is a consummate adventurer. She spends her winter months as a professional ski patroller, ski guide, snow safety training officer and avalanche educator. She learned to ski at a young age with her siblings in Utah. She loves the ski lifestyle because it allows her to work outside, help people, and solve unique problems everyday.
Shannon spends her summer months working on the river as a whitewater kayak guide and instructor. Her skills as a teacher are unrivaled. Her genuine love for mountains and rivers radiates from her and touches all aspects of the courses she teaches.