A booming success in 2016, Backcountry Experience announced its second Women Outside Adventure Forum for 2017.
An elite lineup of athletes will join outdoor industry professionals for this year’s event to be held March 28-30 in Durango.
Last year, roughly 200 people attended the events, and interest was even greater.
“If we’d booked bigger venues, the turnout would’ve been more,” Backcountry Experience Marketing Coordinator Margaret Hedderman said. “We were packed to standing room only.”
Two-time Hardrock Hundred Endurance run winner and world renowned ultrarunner Anna Frost will join the forum this year. Other headliners include world champion extreme freeskier and professional mountain biker Alison Gannett and 2013 National Geographic Adventurer of the year Shannon Galpin.
Galpin, an author and activist, gained global attention when she became the first person to bicycle the Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan. The feat was made all the more remarkable considering Afghanistan’s ban on women riding bikes. She now supports the Afghan National Women’s Cycling Team and is an advocate for women’s rights. Her memoir, Mountain to Remember, details her work in Afghanistan and her quest to be more than a rape victim. It will be made available at Maria’s Bookshop in Durango.
Frost, a native of New Zealand who also spends part of her year in Durango, is coming off consecutive Hardrock 100 victories. She’s also a renowned children’s book author of Fearless Frosty. She will discuss her journey to overcome injuries and depression.
Gannett has overcome her own obstacles after being diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013. Instead of pursuing traditional treatment, she conquered cancer with a ketogenic diet that focuses on low-carb, high-fat intake. With DNA testing and a lifestyle change, Gannett is still charging hard.
This year’s “Working Girl Panel Discussion” will feature Outdoor Research Director of Marketing Erika Canfield, Osprey Packs product line professional Rosie Mansfield, Darby Communications Vice President Angie Robinson, Tailwind Nutrition co-founder Jenny Vierling and Western Rise founder Kelly Watters.
“We’ve had tremendous support from Osprey Packs, Outdoor Research, Alpine Bank, and Ibex both years now – both in terms of financial sponsorship and finding speakers,” Hedderman said. “I think everyone on board believes in Women Outside and wants to help grow it into a major community event.”
Last year’s event raised $400 for San Juan Mountain SOLES, a mentorship nonprofit in Durango for young women interested in the outdoors. All proceeds from this year’s event will again go to the organization.
San Juan Mountain SOLES is the type of organization I wish I’d had access to when I was a teenager,” Hedderman said. “The opportunities and life lessons that SOLES provides young women in the outdoors is invaluable.”