Backcountry Ski Woman

I’ve worked as a ski instructor for several years and as I’ve developed my skills in the mountains, I’ve increasingly found myself out in the wilderness surrounded by men.

An après-ski sesh can quickly turn into an elaborate discussion about the next great line, the football scores or the ideal location for the next pow kicker.

I still find myself in the minority, whether it's in the pub and on the hill...

Don’t get me wrong, I love riding backcountry lines with the guys. Living with them can be great fun, but sometimes a girl just needs a sofa, a glass of wine, a chick flick and a friend.

Thankfully, women’s participation in the outdoors and action sports is on the rise, owed in part to brilliant organisations, all-female sports movies and several athletes who are making a stand.

But, for now, I still find myself in the minority, whether it's in the pub and on the hill.

Here are my top tips for surviving daily outdoor adventures and managing an apartment, full of the opposite sex...


If your outdoor companion is a man with a plan - be it hiking up a particularly gnarly backcountry ridge or catching first lifts - he ain’t waiting for nothing.

So get up early to allow for an appropriate amount of faffing time. This way, it doesn't give them any room to moan about how long it takes you to get ready - and heading off on future trips will be a breeze.

Laundry Basket

Trust me, you will need it. No one wants last week's smelly thermals stinking out your laundry basket.

Don’t let yourself fall into the role of ‘mum’ – cos they’ll damn well let you…


If you're heading on a day out in the backcountry, make sure you know what the plan is.

If there are any sections you think might be hairy or just plain stupid, then mentally note an alternative route.

Hey, it’s okay if your afternoon plans are put on the back burner because they just had to hike those five extra lines. Just go with the flow.

Backcountry Skiing

Making smart decisions in the outdoors is obviously a genderless skill.

If you are out with the lads, the chances are that they haven’t given a second thought to the fact that you are a girl. You are simply one of them, so speak up if you have a concern or an idea.

This also goes for the enormous stack of dirty dishes and the endless wars of “I took the recycling out last time…"

Woman mountain ski

“Am I strong enough to do this?"

“Am I good enough?"

These are all questions that run through everyone's mind at one point or another.

You don’t have to be the strongest person out there charging through a powder field, completing every climbing route or surfing the biggest waves.

If you love what you do, you just need to be strong – and that’s achievable.

The likelihood is you are much better than you think you are.

Ski Slam

We all do screw up sometimes - even the boys, whether they like to admit it or not.

You're guaranteed respect from them after a few epic fails.

Chocolate Bars

I make sure I always pack chocolate for energy lows and hand warmers. You just never know.

Backcountry ski

Even if you can’t find anyone that rides as hard as you do, a female companion for a drink in the evening or for a quick chat and cuppa can be invaluable.

There will always be that one thing blokes love that you just can’t bring yourself to enjoy, be it Match of the Day, boozy Monopoly Deal or some stupidly intricate board game.

New Girl

You will have to deal with the cupboards being taken up with whey protein and a bathroom covered in beard trimmings.

However, these lads will introduce you to some brilliant things, including the chocolate shower.

Nothing sinister, it's simply a bar of chocolate eaten in the shower… Glorious. Replace with a beer for those especially hard days.

Dartlist Ski Boots

...plug them with their beanies and they’ll soon get the message that those belong outside.

Alternatively, lock the bathroom door and insist that they poop outside until they deal with them.

Hot Tub Mountains

This might mean finding a time when everyone is out to have a soak in a bath or simply to wax your legs at last... Or even just to blast Beyonce and secretly enjoy the chocolate shower.