I’ve moved up in the world. I went from living in a snow cave on Thompson Pass just outside of Valdez, Alaska for four winters in a row to now living in a short bus five miles from the Canadian border, just thirty-five miles from the nearest town. It’s an original steel school bus that was brought over on the Alaska Marine Highway from the state’s capitol, Juneau, about seven years ago. Basically, it is quite literally an ice cube. If the wood stove isn’t burning hot, you’ll find me shivering in all my Black Diamond puffy clothes covered in 2 fleece blankets my mother gifted me from Costco. It’s a struggle…. But I like struggle. I enjoy a little bit of suffering. It builds character.
I moved out here six years ago to situate myself in the mountains. I wanted to be surrounded by the raw, sheer beauty of what Alaska is. Being born and raised in Alaska, I’ve always had that… but this place is different. This place is magical. And after living here for a few years, I decided that it needed to be shared. This deep desire to share this place inspired an idea.
That idea was to start a women’s ski and snowboard retreat! So now, I’m five years in to hosting a nine day women’s ski camp here in mid March called Snow Sisters. This is an experience of a lifetime. Fifteen women come from all over the world to ski lines they’ve only dreamt about. We practice daily yoga, eat mostly Alaskan seafood, heli ski and snowboard, go boating on the ocean, ski tour, hot tub, and most importantly push each other to be our best selves.
I ask each woman to bring something to gift the other ladies that show up. A gift of knowledge, a craft, or maybe something that inspires them. It can be anything really. One of the things that I shared with the women was Heather’s Choice! I brag about how Heather started this company from an idea and now she runs her own successful business! The point is to inspire each other and to lift each other up as women. The point is to share a piece of yourself with others. It is powerful. Honestly, there is nothing like having fifteen women together skiing big Alaskan lines. What we can accomplish as a sisterhood is absolutely stunning!
After the ladies leave, I go back to my bus and reflect on the power of community. The power of women. The power of inspiration, mentorship, struggle, success, and love. This time of decompression and reflection for me can sometimes take days. I rarely make it to town and am thankful that I have my stockpile of Heather’s Choice meals to keep me well fed through it all. I take the Packaroons on long bike rides up into Canada and then bike home to my little bus, start a fire in the wood stove, boil some water and make a tasty Heather’s Choice dinner. The convenience of Heather’s Choice is perfect for how I live. Moving every three months to do more seasonal work, Heather makes her meals perfect for travel.