JH Scholarship Winners – JH News and Guide Article

January 16, 2017

Repost from JH News and Guide

Ten Wyoming women will enhance their backcountry knowledge this winter thanks to the generosity of the Jackson Hole Babe Force.

The group — which encourages women to get the knowledge and skills to make the most of their time on the slopes — requested applications in October for six scholarships for Level 1 and Level 2 avalanche classes. A large applicant pool, coupled with an anonymous donation, allowed it to dole out four additional scholarships, Babe Force founder Crystal Wright said.

“Last year we had a small fundraiser and were only able to offer two Level 1 avalanche scholarships,” she said. “This year we offered 10.”

The six avalanche scholarships were awarded to six Jackson Hole women who wowed the Babe Force board of directors with their applications. The organization gave two more scholarships to a pair of Jackson women who plan to climb and ski Denali. The remaining two scholarships went to a Jackson woman and a Casper woman to attend the women’s ski camp Elevate for five days in January at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

The applications were open to women of all ages, and the Babe Force heard from a wide range of skiers and snowboarders.

“We had a big demographic,” Wright said. “Our youngest applicant was early 20s and our oldest was probably 60 years old.”

Wright said she would have been psyched to get 40 or 50 applications. More than 100 applied, showing the growth in backcountry participation from the valley’s female shredders.

“I want to say [participation] has, like, doubled in even the last five years,” she said. “It’s why I wanted to start the Babe Force. There’s so many women out there pushing their limits. But I feel like the knowledge … we don’t seek it out as much.”

The Babe Force was able to raise $8,000 during its Kentucky Derby Spring Fling fundraiser to help the 10 lucky women gain backcountry knowledge. Another $1,000 was donated to the organization for an additional scholarship. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort lent a hand in helping add another scholarship for the Elevate ski camp. The organization then did the math on how much money it needed to operate the rest of the season before putting the remaining funds toward scholarships.