I remember the morning started out like any other morning during sled season. I got my coffee brewing and logged into my e-mail, checking the avalanche report sent to me daily from the Bridger Teton Avalanche Center.
It looked like it was going to be a day at home for me, as the avalanche advisory was high.
In the middle of doing laundry, my pager went off, alerting me that dispatch was requesting assistance from our search and rescue unit regarding an avalanche. I pushed the remote start on my truck through the window, while hollering at my children that I had a call out. They handed me my gear bag and helmet from by the fireplace as I ran out the door.
During my frantic drive to the trailhead, I knew in my heart that it was probably not going to be a rescue this time, but a recovery. I spent my time enroute to the scene praying for the victims and their families.
It breaks my heart to tell you that I was right; it was not a rescue. The sledding industry lost another one of our own on that day. A great person, a true friend and a mother’s child.
Reflection Of The Day
As the day and evening went by, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that it could have been me, it could have been my husband, it could have been my family member. Why would I want to keep snowmobiling? Shouldn’t I just quit, stay home and never go into the backcountry again? I was ready to give it all up. The fear of the unknown was overwhelming.
Until one day I began to realize what a blessing it is to be a female backcountry sledder. I had been given the unique opportunity to volunteer my time, my skills and my prayers to people who need it the most.
I needed to embrace the uncertainty and trust the journey.
There is something extra special about being a woman in the snowmobile industry. We are making an impact, not only socially, but emotionally as well.
My own life was dramatically changed for the better by simply learning to ride a snowmobile. It saddens me to inform you that for years I was a woman who was wounded, who was abused, had absolutely no confidence and I struggled to emotionally survive each day.