Escaping from the Office to the Outdoors
Coalition Snow Ambassador Lexie Gritefeld has always found the mountainta to be an escape from a time-consuming job. She’s now found a way to combine her career and passions to make changes in access for California policies for outdoor recreation.
Name: Lexie Gritlefeld
Home Mountain: Mammoth, CA
Coalition Gear: La Nieve Backcountry Ski
The forecast last season at Mammoth Mountain has been snow, snow, and more snow. Luckily for Lexie Gritefeld, that means there’s been no shortage of powder this past season to throw on her skis and get after in the mountains. While the Southern California local grew up snowboarding at Mammoth, this season she finally made the move to become a full-time skier and resident of the town after taking a step back from a time-consuming political job. She now combines her new career path with her passion for the outdoors to make changes in California policies for outdoor recreation access.
How do you get behind of the mission of what Coalition is doing?
I heard a lot about equality in the workforce while growing up and throughout college but I never personally experienced it, fortunately. I never felt like women were lesser than men in any way. When I starting working in politics I really saw a male-dominated field. I switched over into the outdoor industry and environmental policy and it’s still the same way, maybe even worse. This industry speaks more than does actual action. With Coalition, that’s what drew me to it. Jen is creating a very revolutionary idea of making a women-owned ski company because men do dominate the field so much in this industry.
Do you have a girl gang in Mammoth?
I do! There’s a lot of women out here who are pretty badass, and through Coalition I have connected with women up in Tahoe who are badass. I’m in awe of these women, they’re so cool and such good skiers. It is really nice to have women on the chairlift with you rather than being one of the bros.
Can you give me a run-down of what you do?
After college, I ended up not knowing what I wanted to do with my degree so I went into politics because I figured I have a degree in it. I never thought I’d like politics…..and I was so right. It’s so time-demanding and there’s not much of work/life balance. The outdoors was really my escape.
I learned more about the outdoor industry when President Obama went to El Capitan and there was a big social media campaign by the outdoor industry association. I was like, wait a minute, this is like my two worlds colliding. I knew about environmental policy but not outdoor recreation policy. I left politics and stopped working for the congresswoman about two years ago and went to work for a public affairs firm. I’m getting more into the field of promoting outdoor recreation doing policy-based work for them.
Can you give an example of a policy you’ve worked on?
Right now there’s a huge push for an Office of Outdoor Recreation in the state of California. That is currently in the state assembly. Basically, it will allow for more funding to go into outdoor recreation. It helps with access - backcountry access for skiers, mountain bikers, building trails. It will also help with minorities and people without economic resource get into the outdoor world.