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Beyond the Backcountry

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Beyond the Backcountry

Written by Emma Renly

 

Coalition Snow Ambassador Jillian Raymond has seen the company evolve and grow from the start. Read more about her involvement with Coalition Snow, Juicy Bits and skiing on all seven continents.

 


Name: Jillian Raymond

Home Mountain: Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Tahoe, CA

Coalition Gear: Abyss Ski / La Nieve Ski

Instagram: @tahomajillian

Photo Credits: Brennan Lagasse


It’s no secret that Jillian Raymond is one of the coolest moms in Lake Tahoe. If she’s not skiing around with a one-year-old in a backpack, then you’ll catch her as one of the voices behind the feminist-fueled Juicy Bits Podcast. With the Sierra Nevadas as her backyard, Jillian has had no shortage of backcountry adventures while also advocating for the land’s protection and conservation. Read more about her involvement with Coalition Snow, Juicy Bits and skiing on all seven continents here.    


What was the initial inspiration behind starting the Juicy Bits Podcast?

It came out of sheer humor and giving zero fucks. We have something to say and we say to each other. I’ve had good friends for twenty years but some people stay in the status quo and very conventional lifestyle and that’s not really who I am. It’s been really wonderful later in life to befriend women like Jen and have this place and platform where you’re constantly evolving, growing and reflecting and still giving a shit about what’s going on. For me, so much of what Juicy Bits is about friendship and making a contribution. I also learn a ton. I love sitting in a room with Jen and just hashing it out. It really fills my cup. 


What are some topics you will be talking about for this upcoming season?

Ha ha, nice try not giving that up! You can quote me on that. 


How did you originally learn about Coalition Snow?

My full-time conventional job is a high school teacher in the history department. I was teaching senior econ and one of my students wanted to invite Jen to speak about her work with Zawadisha and the work she does in terms of economics not being a traditional number discipline but economics as a narrative. Jen presented this really intellectual and thoughtful work on Sawadisha. This was in 2011 - at the end she said she was starting this ski and snowboard company.


At the time I was on a pair of skis that were too soft for me. I was started to evolve into a more and more aggressive skier.  A couple of weeks later I was trying to get a more aggressive ski from the company I was skiing for said they didn’t have one. They wanted to put me on the junior version of their men’s ski….so like for teenage boys. This happened at just the right time in my life - I had just met Jen who was starting a new ski company that was trying to make women-specific gear for more aggressive skiing. 


Two seasons with the company and being involved they let me design the La Nieve, which is the backcountry ski (They were named after my dog who recently passed away). I already loved my Coalition skis but I needed something lighter and tighter. I worked with the different prototypes and engineers to adjust it to just what I needed and it instantly fit into what I was doing already. 


So is backcountry skiing is a huge passion of yours? 

Yes. I’ve skied all seven continents. It was a goal of my partner, who is a professional ski guide and mountaineer. I was super supportive of it happening for him. I love to travel and I wanted to go to all these places as well, but to me it was never about checking off all the continents. It ends up being about lots of exploring, going to beautiful places, skiing big snow and now sharing it with our one year old daughter. 


Where did you ski in Africa?

It was in the Atlas Mountains in Northern Africa in Morocco. It’s a couple of hours through the city, up the valley and into the peaks. It’s kind of a unique experience because you get these drivers to drop you off and mountain passes and you can only hope that they’ll come back for you. And they did!...which was wonderful. 


Where do you hope to see this company go next?

What I would love to see, and I think we’re on the right path, is definitely to create more content to connect even more people. It’s super important to talk about historically marginalized groups on a platform in the outdoors industry. Through Sisu Magazine, Coalition and even a lot of the posts done through social media have connected me to artists, writers and beautiful photographers. I’d love to see the continuation of that.