The Hankin-Evelyn Backcountry Skiing Recreation Area played host to Women’s day this past weekend offering ladies a chance to experience the backcountry powder in a safe, avalanche free environment.
The weekend kicked off with a wine and cheese soiree at Valhalla Pure Saturday night, where Laura Bakermans, an avalanche technician, gave the ladies a run-down of the type of gear needed for backcountry adventure. About 50 women showed up this year, a huge increase from last year which didn’t see a great turnout. But according to one of the event organizers, Kym Putnam, a recent article by Amanda Follett in Northword Magazine was one of the defining factors in so many new faces this year.
“I think a lot of the women were hoping to connect with other women so they can do this more often,” said Putnam. “I think Amanda’s article really got the word out. So we were just like ‘lets do it, it’s winter, it’s long.”
The Hankin-Evelyn Backcounty Recreation Area is a relatively new recreation site. Started in 2008 with the help of Brian Hall and Jay Gilden the Hankin-Evelyn rec site grew quickly with runs being cut through the 2009-2010 season. The area now offers outdoor adventure recreation all year round with an upgraded shelter surrounded by stellar hiking in the summer and unbeatable powder conditions in the winter.
“Our objective really is to introduce the area, ‘cause everybody’s heard about it and they’re not quite sure what it is,” Putnam said. “We want to get people out exercising, using an area that’s been developed and is super accessible for them. If they are interested in going farther with backcountry wilderness skiing this is an opportunity to see if you like it or not.”
There have been a number of reported deaths caused by avalanches this year in B.C. and in the North people are taking the proper precautions to remain safe in the backcountry. The Hankin-Evelyn trails offer the perfect atmosphere for first timers in the backcountry where skiers of all skill levels will know they are safe to enjoy the amazing runs.
“For me, my husband was an avalanche technician for many years,” said Putnam. “But if I’m not with him I’m afraid to go. I’m not afraid to go to the Hankin/Evelyn area with just my girlfriends, and that’s the best part.”