At midnight on Friday, March 23rd, Taylor and Hallie (aka the Winter Wildland Women) will leave Crested Butte on skis to travel 40 miles through the night to Aspen, Colorado as part of the classic backcountry race, the Grand Traverse.
This year, the team will be racing to raise funds for the Winder Wildlands Alliance, “a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving winter wildlands and a quality human-powered snowsports experience on public lands through education, outreach and advocacy.”
Taylor Schefstrom, 31, grew up in Southern Oregon and began ski touring in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. She completed the Grand Traverse previously in 2014, and has since traveled on ski expeditions to Iceland’s Troll Peninsula, Hokkaido Japan, and the Swiss Alps.
Hallie Holland, 24, is an Idaho native transplanted to Oregon and a long-time ski partner of Taylor’s. She has guided outdoor education courses in the US and Chile, works as a whitewater guide in the summer, and now lives and works in Utah’s Wasatch Range, a premier ski touring destination.
Hallie and Taylor have paid for their entry and travel to the Grand Traverse from their own pockets, and will be donating 100% of proceeds to the Winter Wildlands Alliance.
Formed in 2000, WWA grew out of the recognition that skiers, snowshoers, snowboarders, winter mountaineers and other backcountry adventurers needed a collective voice advocating on issues that impact the winter backcountry. Their work is equally focused on places as on the experiences these places provide, and equally at home in the backcountry as the halls of Congress. The landscape of winter recreation has changed radically since they started– with more people than ever seeking the backcountry experience – and their work is more relevant now than ever.
They accomplish their work through a variety of means. WWA advocates on national issues and maintains a national presence by communicating regularly with Forest Service, National Park Service, and elected officials, commenting on land management plans and encouraging agencies to adopt policies that support quality human-powered recreation experiences. WWA supports a network of grassroots snowsports groups, helping local users connect and influence the issues affecting their favorite backcountry areas. With boots on the ground, they give back to the land through our stewardship programs, and get 30,000 kids outside each year to experience the joy of winter through SnowSchool. In the end, they’re skiers too, and in 2005 WWA organized their first annual Backcountry Film Festival to celebrate the human-powered experience. The Festival now tours each winter to more than 100 locations across the world and raises funds and awareness for local groups working on advocacy, snow safety and outdoor education programs.
Support the Winter Wildland Women and help to preserve access to wild and snowy places. Every cent of your donation will go to the Winter Wildlands Alliance to support their conservation and outreach efforts. You can donate at any level, and suggested levels are listed below in honor of conservation achievements by the Winter Wildlands Alliance.
- The Yellowstone: $500,
Working with four coalition partners, WWA’s 14-year campaign to protect Yellowstone National Park resulted in a long-term winter use plan that eliminated the noisiest, most polluting vehicles, put a reasonable cap on total over-snow vehicle use and led to a remarkable recovery for the unique winter ecosystem, wildlife and visitor enjoyment in our nation’s first national park and most iconic winter sanctuary.
- The Outdoor Alliance: $200, two dollars and fifty cents for each of the combined 80 miles that the Wildland Women will ski.
WWA is founding member of the Outdoor Alliance. The seven membership organizations of Outdoor Alliance have a long tradition of protecting public lands, waters and snowscapes while preserving public access to America’s Outdoors to ensure there are trails to ride, rivers to paddle, peaks to ski and crags to climb.
- The Over-Snow: $60, one cent for each of the 6000 feet that the Wildland Women will climb en route to Aspen.
The Forest Service recently finalized a new rule, the Over-Snow Vehicle Rule, which requires National Forests to designate routes and areas where over-snow vehicles are allowed and prohibits winter motorized travel in places that are not specifically designated and shown on a map as open. This new rule is the direct result of WWA’s efforts to get the Forest Service to manage snowmobiles under the same guidelines used for all other off-road vehicles on national forest lands. As skiers who value quiet winter wildlands WWA sees the over-snow vehicle rule as an opportunity to bring balance to the backcountry and protect places that are valued for human-powered winter recreation.
- The Winter Rec: $40, one dollar for each mile that the Wildland Women will ski.
Working with local partners, WWA has helped protect more than three million acres of public lands for human-powered activities and for the irreplaceable natural resource values these places provide. They’ve created groundbreaking resources such as the Winter Recreation on Western National Forest Lands report and the Winter Trails and Backcountry Use Economic Impact Analysis for the Teton Region.