New Mexico True: Behind the Scenes

It was so cool to be a part of the New Mexico True campaign in Taos this February with Ryan Heffernan, Grayson Schaffer, Elyse Saugstad, Ben Knight, Sven Brunso, Justin Bobb, and the rest of our crew: Gillian, Chris, Nick, and Ethan. Not only did all the conditions align for amazing powder skiing in Taos, but for me personally, it was a monumental experience of being “called upon” to represent the place where I come from. As a current transplant to Utah, I feel a bit detached sometimes from New Mexico. Like I’ve given up on it because it “doesn’t snow enough.” Well, our winter in Utah has been dismal and the best snow I skied all year was in Taos–something that is not entirely rare. I guess what it all boils down to is that New Mexico is a special place, and anytime you are lucky enough to be there, you are lucky enough. Here are some photos from the shoot.

Day one: But first, let me take a selfie! Fresh goggles and helmet from Giro. Thanks Danielle for hooking it up! I love the polka dot goggles and that pink helmet–well, you just can’t make this #$#% up.


IMG_0031There’s Nick in the camo. What? You can’t see him? He’s there, just in camo. Nick was our drone operator. Check out the awesome FishPond boat bag he’s using–did you know that LilyPond (their sister-company) donates 5% annually to SheJumps? I knew I loved these guys!


IMG_0033We got to do a lot of this: skiing closed areas. Why? Because we were the damn luckiest people in the world and we had the amazing Justin Bobb to guide us around. Here are next year’s HOJI W skis from 4Frnt. Thank you 4Frnt for letting me test the product! An amazing ski that absolutely shreds in any condition, and gets on edge surprisingly well.


IMG_0034That moment–totally untracked fresh pow just yours for the taking. Here is Elyse Saugstad prepping to drop in and slay the shot.


IMG_0110Our filmer, Ben Knight, getting the shot. Well, me getting the shot of Ben—who just got the shot. Does that make any sense? Check out Ben’s amazing documentary released in 2014, DamNation. Available on Netflix. How amazing to get to meet him! See the film and you’ll understand why. Thanks Ben!


IMG_0145Sven Bruson. The man. The myth. The legend. If you are still killing it as hard as Sven is when you’re in your 40’s, you must be doing something right. The guy has been perfecting pow turns for years. Here he is just on his exit from the White Room.


IMG_0258Director Ryan Heffernan and myself in the back of a truck, cruising back to our amazing accommodation near the Bavarian at Taos Ski Valley after a great first day of shooting.


IMG_0260View from the road to the Bavarian of Taos Ski Valley. A lot of the shots seen in the video are from the looker’s left area of the main chairlift you can see.


IMG_0263Grayson Schaffer, “dyanamic-larger-than-life-cooler-than-you” human-at-large. Or is it, “Senior Editor at Outside Magazine.” Can’t remember. Anyways, he is an amazing skier. I kept wondering why we weren’t filming him? He’s called New Mexico home for over a decade and knows the mountains well. What a privilege to ski with him!


IMG_0266Camera batteries charging for the next day, ski boots drying.


IMG_0270Ahh, yes. And there’s me–the pink-headed @freelance_girafficorn experiencing the wave…


IMG_0273“Please sir, can I have some more?” Taos Ski Patrol shack.


IMG_0274Elyse and Sven, chillin’ out waiting for our directions.


IMG_0279Into the abyss–I loved being the heart of winter!!! Winter, please come back!!!!!!!


IMG_0336There is an experience of “nothing” when skiing powder. But the idea of nothingness in our culture is frightening, and we have no words for it. However, in Chinese Taosit thought, it’s called “the fullness of the void” out of which all things come. My experiences with powder snow gave me the first glimmerings of the further possibilities of mind. — Dolores LaChapelle


IMG_0347Our crew! Sven, Elise, and I at the top of West Basin.


IMG_0348The Director and crew with Justin Bobb (our fearless guide) looking towards the West Basin ridgeline.


IMG_0351Taos is pretty steep. No, really. It’s steep and there are a lot of trees. The best kind of skiing!! Getting ready to “GTS” (get the shot) on the new 4Frnt HOJI W skis.


IMG_0423Ran into so many amazing friends there. Here is my friend Manny Lopez and I on top of the ridge. Manny and I went to junior high and high school together. I love New Mexico!


IMG_0431Sven, showing us how it’s done.


IMG_0437Huge thanks to Jonathan Ellsworth of Blister Gear Review for helping us around the mountain and getting us to the goods. He is a visionary and wonderful person! Thanks Jonathan!


IMG_0466This is from our last run of the trip. Everyone said it looked like Japan. I’ll just have to take their word for it. Elyse is such a beautiful skier–I learned so much from being around her. She is also funny, smart, strong, focused, passionate—seriously, one of my favorite  skiers of all time. I met her in Taos in 2007–how great to be back hanging out with her.


IMG_0488It’s not just the Ludwig filter on Instagram–the sky there is really just that beautiful. Ok, yes I used the Ludwig filter. Damnit. And yes, NM is simply that beautiful and breathtaking.


IMG_0542Taos Avy Dog just takin’ it easy. Carpe mañana, bro.


IMG_0489One can never be bored by powder skiing because it is a special gift of the relationship between earth and sky. It only comes in sufficient amounts in particular places, at certain times on this earth; it lasts only a limited amount of time before sun or wind changes it. People devote their lives to it for the pleasure of being so purely played by gravity and snow. — Dolores LaChapelle, Earth Wisdom, 1978


New Mexico True: Deep. South

I am so stoked with how this turned out! What an amazing experience!! I am so honored to be a New Mexican and be a part of this!


Alta Ski Area on the new 4Frnt HOJI W Skis

We had an amazing good-for-the-soul powder day at Alta last week. I mean, we all REALLY needed it. And it was so good I had to document part of it. I love these new 4Frnt skis; they are next year’s HOJI W–Check out 4Frnt.com for more information!


New Mexico True Campaign

Last week I was invited to film for a New Mexico Tourism campaign called “New Mexico True.” The shoot was at Taos Ski Valley. It was more than a dream come true–it was heaven on earth! Not only did it snow over 2 feet while we were there, but I was skiing with Elyse Saugstad who is one of my personal ski heroines. Also, Sven Brunso, who has been killing it as a skier for decades. The shot was coordinated with Talwé media and Ryan Heffernan was the Director. I feel so honored to have been chosen to represent New Mexico. I guess every now and then the casting call is for a “5th generation female New Mexican skier” and I get the call! Here is a shot from our first day filming (photo by Ryan Heffernan).

I can’t wait to see the final product! #NewMexicoTrue TAos_Claire NM True


7th Annual SheJumps into the Canyon at Alta

I am extremely proud of how far a lot of things with SheJumps have progressed, but nothing gives me more cause to continue than our youth initiatives. There is something incredible about knowing you are sharing the single most special feeling in the world–sliding on snow–with someone new, and someone who might not have had that experience otherwise.

To make an impact on a Utah teen’s life, please click here: http://bit.ly/1EmtslX

We are celebrating year number 7 this year for our Utah (Intermountain region) Youth Initiative at Alta called “(S)heJumps Into the Canyon”! Thank you to our gracious host Alta Ski Area for donating so much to make this happen annually. This year we need YOU to volunteer and share your love for the mountains. Impact a teen’s life by helping them learn how fun it is to slide on snow! Thank you also to the Deep Powder House for their rental donations–we cannot do this without you!

When: March 7, 14, 21, 28 from 9:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.*

What: Teaching local SLC Boys & Girls club teens how to ski at Alta
Lunch is included.

Why: It is incredibly rewarding to see someone fall in love with the mountains. Each time you volunteer you are automatically entered to win prizes from our volunteer-only raffle. You can enter as many times as you can volunteer!
Volunteer all 4 Saturdays and you get a free day pass to Alta for use whenever you want!

Thursday February 19th we are hosting a volunteer orientation at the house of SheJumps co-founder Vanessa Pierce (2249 E 2700 S) at 7 p.m.

To volunteer, please click this link: http://bit.ly/1EmtslX

*We also have lots of off-snow and off-site volunteer opportunities to make this event happen like dryland training at the Boys & Girls club, gear distribution, and logistics. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information! Email SheJumps Ambassador Marissa Schulruff intermountain@shejumps.org

We are also accepting lightly used outerwear in L, XL, and XXL sizes. You can drop this off at Skier Services at Alta or contact us for drop off information.

Click here for the Facebook event: tell your friends to join!

Did you know that it costs $50 a day to get these kids to the mountain? If you can’t volunteer your time, consider making a donation to SheJumps to help these programs continue. Thank you for your support!


Maui in January = Not a bad idea

Maui was super awesome. Who would have thought? Went on an epic family vacation that was 4 years in the planning. The trip included surfing, snorkeling, a plethora of sea turtles, and no shortage of sandy beaches. My favorite part of the trip? The fact that in Hawaii, no matter where you are or what you are doing, you stop and watch….the sunset. No. Matter. What. I think it would be a good idea to get in the habit of that no matter where you live.

Mahalo Maui!! See you soon Utah!!

A photo posted by Claire Smallwood (@freelance_girafficorn) on


by claire 0 comments Category: Claires Ramblings

Alpine Finishing School: 2015

Check out this sweet video about the Alpine Finishing School by Sierra Anderson (FoxCapeProductions.com) –an all-women’s ski mountaineering course taught on a glacier every April. I am so stoked I get to be a part of this–this year will be year 4!!

SheJumps Alpine Finishing School from SheJumps on Vimeo.


Jessica’s Daily Affirmation

If you have never seen this before, now is the time!

by claire 0 comments Category: Claires Ramblings

2014 Toyota Everyday Hero Award at the ESPNW Women + Sports Summit

Here is the clip: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=11674172

Here is the link: http://espn.go.com/espnw/w-in-action/article/11676267/toyota-everyday-heroes-talk-drives-them

About 6 months ago, I was contacted by Tatum Marshall of Stanton & Co. to do a brief interview about SheJumps. I asked her what the interview was for, and she said it was “market research for one of their clients.” I guess I must have done a decent job! About 2 weeks ago, Lynsey informed me that SheJumps had been chosen as one of the 2014 Toyota Everyday Heroes. I suppose they were drawn to our programming, but Lynsey’s new film, of which I am also a producer (“Pretty Faces: the story of a skier girl”), is also an amazing cornerstone for both of us–so it was truly a team effort, and we accepted the award on stage together.

What does it mean to be an Everyday Hero? I suppose it means that the cliché of “hard work always pays off” is true. It means that you can be driven by principle, determination, stubborn habits, and a love for the outdoors until it pays off. I think what feels the best about it how many people aren’t just saying “Congratulations!,” but they are saying, “It’s about time!” I didn’t really understand the breadth and depth of the impact SheJumps was making, but it is sparking some serious “big-picture” thinking—and I can’t wait to see what happens next! Onwards & upwards to 2 weeks on the road: Missoula, Jackson, Portland, and San Francisco tour stops!!


Pretty Faces: Salt Lake City, UT

Don’t forget to buy your tickets for the Pretty Faces movie in Salt Lake City on October 8th, 2014! You can buy them at slcprettyfaces.eventbrite.com

Pretty Faces comes to the Tower Theatre on October 8th, 2014

Pretty Faces comes to the Tower Theatre on October 8th, 2014