Bienvenidos Claire Smallwood to the 2015 PowderQuest team of talented female ski coaches for our ladies ski clinics in Chile! She will be working with Ingrid Backstrom this August in Chillan for our 4th annual female ski clinic in the Andes.
Claire Smallwood is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of SheJumps, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing the participation of females in outdoor activities. Originally from New Mexico, she calls Alta, Utah her home in the winter where she moonlights as a professional chef in addition to her amazing charity work.
Catching up with Claire Smallwood
Welcome to the coaching team! What are you most looking forward to?
I am really looking forward to working with Ingrid and meeting other women who feel inclined to take a “jump” and try skiing in South America!
Ingrid’s super stoked you are joining us in Chillan for the clinic. Tell us about any past projects with Ingrid Backstrom and what it was like to ski or work with her.
I met Ingrid about 4 or 5 years ago and have actually run into her in Chillán and Portillo several times since then. Ingrid and I were both involved in the 2014 film, Pretty Faces: the story of a skier girl. One of the remarkable things about working with Ingrid is her absolute love and adoration for skiing. No matter what the conditions, Ingrid is simply excited to be skiing. It’s really refreshing being around someone like that because it makes you remember why you do what you do. It’s because skiing is just plain fun!
You’ve spent several seasons down in Chile in the past, what were you up to and how was the experience?
I have had the privilege of skiing at many of the ski areas in Chile and Argentina both as a guide for another company and just as an adventure-seeking skier. I am so in love with South America, I even went to Chile one summer when I was recovering from knee surgery and couldn’t ski! I love the people and culture of Chile and have made lifelong friends there. I’m hooked for life.
Aside from Chillan, what do you think is the best place to ski in August?
I think in Chile or Argentina, you can’t go wrong in August. Other places I have experienced great August conditions is in Antillanca, south of Chillán.
If someone asked you where would you ski in September, what would you suggest?
I would suggest hitting up Corralco for an opportunity to ski the Lonquimay volcano and check out the Araucaria trees.
Where would you ski in October?
South, south, south. I would suggest being as far south as possible, in hopes of avoiding spring at all costs! All jokes aside (I do love spring), hands-down the most memorable ski experience I have ever had is in Ushuaia, Argentina. I will never forget skiing almost down to the ocean and then eating King Crab at a local restaurant.
Tell the readers that are not familiar with SheJumps a bit more about the community and how you got involved.
I founded SheJumps with Lynsey Dyer and Vanessa Pierce in 2007 with a vision to create a supportive community for women in the outdoors. In 2009 we became a 501c3 tax-exempt nonprofit with a mission to increase the participation of females in outdoor activities. Today, we have 7 regions in North America hosting programs in Outdoor Education, Youth Initiatives, and Get the Girls Out. Our vision is to create a “bridge” for any female to try new activities and give back in the outdoors. I am the Executive Director and I love my job!
What’s the deal with She Jump’s Girafficorn – half giraffe, half unicorn?
The Girafficorn represents having your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds above chaos and drama–with a little bit of magic to “get you through.” It is the eyes, ears, and spirit of SheJumps!
Will we be seeing any of The Girafficorn down in Chile this summer?
I’m thinking that it should be a part of our guide uniform. Girafficorn power to the people! Girafficorn swag is pretty popular, I might need to bring an extra suitcase…
I guess missing out on Summer back home is something to think about. After the camp, what are your plans?
In September I’ll be participating in the North Face Endurance Challenge in Park City in the half marathon category. As I’m not much of a runner, I just hope that I can keep up the training in Chile. On second thought, let’s just ski pow!
Interested in skiing with Claire and Ingrid this summer? Learn more