The Julie Ann Chapman Interview

September 2015 Feature Steven Marlenee Viewed 6736 time(s)

Age:  My internal age with the iHeart device told me I was 18 !!  Ill go with that!

Birthplace: Montreal

Hometown: Pemberton, BC

You’re from the flatlands in Canada, but you’re living in the land of the best boarding and sledding in North America. How did that happen?  Chasing my passion and wanting to be in the mecca of the goods so I packed up and said bye to my family!  I miss them, but not one day have I ever regretted that move!

You are one of the most recognized names in sledding. How did you go from a ski-bum to where you are today?  Not too sure actually!?  It just kind of happened?  I followed my passion and started jumping my sled and floating off cliffs at a time that not many girls did…  Since then though the sport has progressed and it’s so rad to see so many more girls doing that!  The marketing from all my sponsors as well probably helped huge with some of that recognition. 

If you could attribute your success to one thing or one moment, what was it that made you say, “Yeah, I’ve got this”?  The moment I started She Shreds Mountain Adventures and it being the FIRST all girls snowmobile clinic in the world I would think. 

Your pictures have circulated the world. How did you get into photography?  My father actually.  He always influenced me because he is a great photographer himself.  He bought me my first camera as well… and then, you guessed it, I followed another passion!  That and being able to ride with all my good friends that are ridiculous sledders helped! 

So much of the sled-world knows you as She-Shreds. I’ve seen the video and film, and …she does shred. But it’s more than that. Tell me about She-Shreds.  She Shreds Mountain Adventures!  It’s my company I started 5 years ago specializing in teaching women how to progress their skills on their snowmobile in the backcountry.  It was at the time the first all girls snowmobile clinics offered in the world!  Since then, the business has expanded to now bringing men out for backcountry adventures,  I offer Avalanche courses and first aid courses, basic cold weather backcountry survival lessons and the list goes on…  I still do some side work for many magazines and companies for photography, but my main focus is She Shreds.  There has been a couple more “all girls snowmobile clinics and camps” that have started across the world since I started she shreds, which I take as a compliment for copying my idea!  A little competition keeps me on my toes, I like it!

You have a pretty close bond with your father. How did that help you start the world’s first women’s riding clinic?  Both my mom and dad have always told me do what you love to do.  So I did it!  He also helped me huge with creating my logo and marketing tools!  He’s really good with computers, so he’s a great help! 

Tell us a little about your clinics, without giving away your secrets? What goes into your lesson plans? Do you spend any time in the classroom, or is it straight to the snow? For my avalanche courses, yes there is a classroom portion.  And yes, for the large She Shreds clinics (3+ days ones) there is a bit of classroom stuff.  I’m all about offering my clients to get the most of what they paid for by delivering it to them in a safe and fun environment.  I try to custom make each clinic to deliver the wants and needs that they tell me.  It’s all about being organized and picking the right terrain to teach each lesson and skill of the clinic.  I’m not going to tell you my secrets or my detailed lesson plans though, the only thing I am going to tell you is that almost 100% of my feedback I get from my clients is that I put on a damn good clinic and that they are so pumped to practice everything that I have shown them.

How many people are in your average class?  No more than 5 girls all at the same riding ability per group.

Tell us about the training you are required to have to teach a class like you do.  There is some basics that are a must have like your operations level 1 avalanche course ordered by Avalanche Canada and your 80hr wilderness first aid course.  Anything after that is a bonus… The BCSF offers a course that helps – instructors snowmobile safe course.  Any sort of small engine repair course/training to help with unexpected breakdowns in the backcountry.  A crevasse rescue course is highly recommended!  Many years of experience is huge too! 

So, in the U.S., it’s pretty difficult to put on a clinic like you are. There is an intense permitting process, and there is a lot of leg work involved with getting started. What all is involved in Canada with Crown Land, and how did you overcome some of those obstacles?  It’s pretty tricky and hard here in Canada too!  Not just anyone can do it.  You have to get permits from the Land and Recreation officers along with the local snowmobile club in whatever area you plan to put a clinic on if you do not own tenure in.  Getting tenure is a whole other long and very expensive process, but that only limits you to that specific area. 

Tell us about your different types of clinics? I offer private or semi private clinics/guided adventures based in Pemberton (female only or mixed gender) throughout the whole winter for those who can’t make the specific group clinics throughout BC on specific dates.  I offer a couples clinic on Valentines weekend whom I pair up with Geoff Kyle to teach in Pemberton BC.  There is tons of other She Shreds female only clinics that are offered across BC in Revelstoke, Nelson, Squamish, and next year in Golden, BC, etc., etc., throughout the winter.  Also one offered on the East coast of Canada in Quebec!  I do couples clinics or mixed sex clinics upon request anytime too.

Tell us honestly, do you like teaching men or women better? I would say women!  Only because the food that they bring is usually always so yummy and home cooked! Hehe And the conversations that only girls have in the backcountry is pretty hilarious.

What’s different about teaching women vs. men?  Women are always willing to stop and listen and watch and really “want” to learn.  Where men sometimes don’t like to take direction from a female and tend to just blast away without stopping for me to tell them they are about to blast right into a crevasse! Ha-ha.  We usually get a lot more ground covered when I go out with men.  There are many differences, but I like them both almost equally! 

Does She-Shreds pay all the bills or are you supplementing your income? What are you doing in the summer to help out?  I wish it would pay all the bills!  I offer backcountry horse tours and trail rides in the summer and work serving in a restaurant in Whistler village as well – El Furniture Warehouse!

Who was your first sponsor, and how did that come about?  RSI and Klim were my first 2 sponsors!  I met and chatted with the right people at a snowmobile tradeshow in Washington.

Tell me how you came to ride with 509?  I met the owners of the company at a snowmobile trade show, couple emails were exchanged then BAM, one of the raddest, most respected companies was supporting me.

Who can you count on for an epic crash?  Everyone takes crashes, but I really enjoy watching Dan Treadway, Brett Turcotte and Tyler Blair hit the eject button on purpose.  They are always going big and know how and when to eject their sleds so its always entertaining and “in control” without injuries! 

Tell us about a typical ride for you. How do you access the back country, how is the trail/ride in, what kind of terrain are you dealing with?  The coastal mountains along the Sea to Sky corridor (Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, Birken, Duffy BC) are pretty unique and so awesome.  I kid you not there is about 15-20 different spots to go sledding in all within a 2 hour radius.  Most are about a maximum 20 minute sled ride in from where you park your truck and you’re in the alpine.  Some places are groomed all the way to the alpine and some are a little more tricky to get into, single track ungrooms through trees and mandatory 200 ft side hills to get there.  And once you’re in the alpine the sledding zones are HUGE! You can travel from mountain top to mountain top for so many km’s.  The snow pack is relatively a lot safer than anywhere in BC too seeing there is a bit more moisture in the snow (because we are so close to the ocean and have a bit warmer temperatures) that allows the layers of new snow to settle quicker than the super dry stuff closer to the rocky mountains.  The avalanche danger usually drops in a day or 2 after a huge dump where the interior sometimes takes weeks before the snow stabilizes. 

What do you keep in your backpack?  A lot of stuff!!!  When I’m guiding my clients I tend to carry way more stuff than any regular day too.  I have a CFR bag that attaches to the back of my tunnel that can carry a ton of stuff.  I carry a full first aid kit with splints and all, my inReach emergency communication device, sled tools and pump for my Fox shocks, extra food and water, extra warm gloves and layers, my snow science tools to dig pits, avalanche gear (probe, shovel), cold weather survival kit (lots of goodies in this one), camera, extra goggles, 100 ft rope for rescues, toe ropes, saw to cut down trees and I think that about sums it up.

What or who got you into snowmobiling?  Snowboarding got me into sledding.  I used to be an armature snowboarder and needed to buy a sled to get out into the mountains to film my snowboard part!  I always had an old beater snowmobile at the family cottage too we got to rip around on the lake with!

If you could do it all over again, would you? And what would you change?  I would and I wouldn’t change a thing!! 

Whom do you look up to in the industry, and why?  Anyone that is straight up killing it and that loves life.  Anyone who has a true passion for sledding.  Why?  Because those are the funnest and usually the safest people to sled with and you can learn so much from those people. 

The snowmobile industry runs on people that volunteer. Tell us about your favorite volunteer moment in snowmobiling.  Every year I volunteer organizing a fundraiser day for my local snowmobile club here in Pemberton.  I call it the family fun sled day.  Its held at the local golf course and the local snowmobile club – Valley Chainsaw Recreational – brings their demo sleds and ATV’s and side by sides and we give rides by donations to whomever comes out!  The local grocery store pitches in hot dogs, snacks, drinks, hot coco and its such a fun day.   We raise a good lump some of money for the Pemberton Valley Snowmobile club! 

In the last year, outside of snowmobiling, what has been your biggest accomplishment?  Just being able to enjoy life to its fullest.  You only live once, and I want to die with a lifetime of rad experiences and stories of adventures.

Anyone you want to thank for helping you along the way? A huge thank you to all my sponsors for being there supporting myself and She Shreds since day one –  Toyota, Ski Doo, 509, Klim, Dayco, RSI, Valley Chainsaw, FOX shocks, Highmark by Snowpulse, Mammut, Boss Seats, Cheetah Factory Racing, Tuckboss Decks, Slednecks, Toyskinz, inReach, Divas Snow Gear.  Without you guys I wouldn’t be where I am today!  Thank you! Also a huge shout out to my El Furniture Warehouse family, especially Luke, such amazing staff there that support my passion and work around my schedule in the winter.  Big thank you to all my fans and clients, you guys are the best and put a smile on my face everyday.  And last but not least, my mom, dad and lover Russ for being so supportive. Love you.

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