Finding Freedom in the Wild

Written by Emma Renly

You'll likely find Coalition Snow Ambassador Abigail Lafleur-Shaffer is exploring the Rocky Mountain Range with her two pups Kuma and Kodiak leading the way.

Name: Abigail Lafleur-Shaffer 

Gear: Sojourner Splitboard

Instagram: @abi.lafleur

The multi-talented woman has always felt the pull to her home state of Colorado due to the limitless amount of exploration to be had in all seasons. One huge goal for 2019 for Abi is to be around communities of badass women, starting with the ladies of Coalition Snow.  After taking an avalanche course she has been making strides to become more proficient in the backcountry with a splitboard under her feet. 

How did you get involved with Coalition Snow? 

A woman named Amanda started this organization called Project 16X and every summer she gathers women who are either entrepreneurs, CEOs or who are making an impact in the outdoor industry. I was invited to do a backpacking summit trip that I met Jen at last summer. We spent days together in this hut in the middle of nowhere! Through a conversation with Jen, I told her I wanted to get into more backcountry skiing for my dog because snowshoeing was not cutting it. Winter has never really been my jam so it’s a good challenge for myself. 

How do your dogs like snowboarding? 

They love it! They have so much fun. I have a tough time with winter because I hate being cold all the time, but my husky loves it. It was so worth it to see it. The first time we went out with my Coalition board he lit up! 

I noticed a quote on your instagram, what does a woman’s place in the wild mean to you?

The one word I think of is free, being free. To experience that connection with nature - with the wild. That’s how I relate with the phrase, I just want to be as I am. Not live according to the way society’s norms tells me to be. Being in the wild is where I find that freedom to do so. 

Yeah, especially to go against society’s norms on being a woman.

The older I get, the more I see it. It’s so crazy to think that when we are younger so many things were ingrained in our brain. I’m really thankful I live in a time it’s being talked about and we can create change. Beforehand, seeing my mom’s generation, that’s not something they could always do - question the norms. 

How are you personally creating change?

For me, on a small level, support and encouragement in the women’s lives I value. I think taking notice of my closest female friends and supporting them to be as they are. To be free. (I feel like I’ve overusing the word free!) For them live the way they want to live - even if they want the traditional sort of life to get married and have kids, while also encouraging my friends who don’t want that. It’s shocking how when somebody comes besides you and supports you how much people can evolve and become more of who they want to be.