This is a guest blog by Mind & Mountain friend Mayhsa Deol. Mayhsa is a second-generation Indian immigrant who is passionate about outdoor sports and inclusitivioty in the outdoors.
Read on for more of her story:
Coming from a non-outdoorsy, Indian family, getting involved in mountain sports has been a steep uphill learning curve. I got involved in mountain sports my senior year of high school. I had played soccer competitively for much of my life, but chose to not play in college, and was eager to find a new sport to devote my attention to. Through friends I tagged along with, I began dabbling in a myriad of outdoor sports ranging from climbing to trail running to mountain biking. I still remember my first experience mountain biking fondly. A friend from my soccer team offered to take me on a ride on our local mountain’s beginner xc mountain bike trails, and I eagerly agreed. Despite how hard it was, I knew I had found...
This is a guest blog by Mind & Mountain friend Oliviah Franke. Oliviah (they/she) is a biracial Cáhita person who is living on Dena'ina lands and works in Community Education for Native Movement. They are a cyclist, cat mom, gardener, and are very passionate about racial equity and community building.
Read on for more of their story:Strength is a concept that is not entirely foreign to me, but physical strength specifically is something I never assumed to have. I have known that I have emotional fortitude; a stubbornness to persevere and thrive despite all odds. As a child in the foster care system for the first 6 years of my life, my mental and emotional strength was tested and strengthened time and time again, and even as I grew older and found security and love through adoption; life still demanded a certain strength of me. But it definitely wasn’t physical strength that I focused on building. Because of...
This is a guest blog by Mind & Mountain friend & team member Vanessa Chavarriaga. Vanessa is a columbian, mountain athlete, environmental sociologist & outdoor advocate, who immigrated to the United States during her childhood.
Read on for more of her story:
I grew up on the lush hillsides of Colombia, with a waterfall and a banana tree in my backyard. My childhood was a mix of color and diversity and the lines between inside spaces and outside spaces were always blurred.
After immigrating to the United States in my later childhood, I quickly learned that the way people in the US interact with the outdoors is quite different, and in a lot of ways less accessible. Here, being an outdoor recreationist is associated with having the right type of gear, body, ability, partners, and knowledge. I am grateful for my multicultural upbringing because it has allowed me to challenge this, and expand the narrative of who...
Venturing into the world of outdoor recreation is an absolute thrill! There's something incredibly exciting about the process of learning and growing along the way. As we dive deeper into our favorite outdoor sports and become more connected with the outdoor-rec community, it's pretty common to feel the weight of social expectations creeping in.
Sometimes, we can't help but feel the urge to fit in and be embraced by our outdoorsy friends. We might feel the need to up our climbing game, tackle those intimidating double black ski runs, or plan bigger, badder, riskier adventures to earn our place. And it’s totally normal to feel that pressure! We’re social creatures, and fitting in with the group has real safety implications, especially for folks with marginalized identities.
It's really helpful to be mindful of how all these pressures can affect us when we're having fun outside. We want to enjoy...
This is a guest blog by Mind & Mountain friend & member Rachel Collins. Rachel is a skier, park ranger, & mom, and in the last few years has been learning how to navigate the challenges of chronic illness alongside her active life. Rachel leads our Spoonie & Invisible Illness Affinity Group inside of Ski Babes!
Read on for more of her story:
December 2022. I woke up with big plans today- big breakfast with the kiddo, Ski Babes workout, deep cleaning the house for guests, but as I crack my eyes open I realize none of those are going to happen today. I feel lethargic, nauseous, and despite my best intentions, my brain feels like molasses. I know this feeling now, my blood pressure is too low and my nervous system is on the fritz again. Is it the storm rolling in? Did I hit my salt targets yesterday? Did I eat something new? Maybe I overheated in my sleep again?
This is life with a chronic...
Are you ready for an exciting season of packrafting? Whether you’re just getting into the sport or a seasoned veteran, building strength before your first trip is a great way to make the most of packrafting season. Practicing functional movements at home can build muscle memory in the pre-season, jump-starting your packrafting season for strong technique all summer long.
I’ve been packrafting Alaska rivers for years, and I’m also a fitness trainer. I’m excited to share these exercises that I know from personal experience will help you when you’re out on the water this summer.
First, a story: in the summer of 2018, my husband Luc & I were in the habit of doing a set of pushups every day. Then we left for a 10-day packrafting trip that started with 60 miles (97km) on the Yukon River. We knew that the Yukon moves at about six miles per hour...
Hip soreness during and after a long day backpacking can be a real bummer! But it’s actually very common for backpackers to get sore hips. When we’re carrying our camping gear & food weight around for mile after mile in our backpacks, it puts a ton of stress on our hips.
With a heavy pack, the weight's got to go somewhere. In the process of trying to save our shoulders, we might be passing on the problem to our hips. Our hips, more than our shoulders, are designed to carry weight. But sometimes after long days, even our hips get tired, achy, and sore.
I've been personally having problems with sore hips after long backpacking days, so I mentioned the issue to my friend & Physical Therapist Shasta Hood. He suggested thinking about it as an IT band issue. When we tighten our backpack's hip belt, we're also pressing at the area that the IT band moves through. This can effectively shorten the IT band, which causes that...
The Tatshenshini–or “Tat” for short–is an epic journey starting in Canada’s Yukon. From there, you float and paddle downstream on the Tat through the Tatshenshini-Alsek Wilderness Park, merging into the Alsek River, and ultimately ending up in Alaska’s Glacier Bay area.
Along the way, the river carves through pristine wilderness. Getting permits for this long, international trip is one of the most competitive permits to land, and it’s not hard to see why! In fact, this is the only float trip in Alaska popular enough to even require permits. Between the towering mountain ranges on either side of the river, the many glaciers alongside, and the icebergs floating through the river, the scenery is unforgettable.
We were lucky that some very motivated friends of ours navigated the permitting process and the itinerary logistics, meaning we could just tag along. Taking turns with the...
I recently joined Jacalyn Gross on the Women Empower Active podcast to chat about our outdoor stories and mindset reflections. The podcast is a production of UR Sportswear, a running apparel brand for women. Jacalyn and I had an open and honest conversation that we hope will normalize the messiness of each of our outdoor journeys.
Jacalyn and I focus on different outdoor activities in very different environments–she’s primarily a trail runner in the Pacific Northwest, and I’m a skier, backpacker, and nordic skater in Alaska. We had a great time chatting about the themes that are common to both of us, and we bet you’ll relate to our stories, too.
We focused a lot of our chat on how mindset matters in the outdoors, and what a difference it can make for our experiences. We talked about the power of community and our hopes for inclusivity and acceptance in outdoor spaces. Plus,...
Winter is here and many of us are spending as much time as we can playing in the snow and the mountains! As we move through this winter season, let’s talk about how to tune up our bodies and minds for the season, too. Taking good care of yourself isn’t just something to practice in everyday life. We can bring self-care into the mountains too.
Taking time for cross-training both before and during the season can make your days on the mountain so much more enjoyable! Training helps us prevent injuries, keep up with our friends, and have more fun outside. But it can be hard to know how to adequately prepare for winter sports - especially for the backcountry. In this post, we’ll walk you through some simple exercises and mindset tips to practice.
We hope you use these moves and concepts to build your mind & body strength for this winter season!
Let’s start with some simple...
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