This article as originally published in the Colorado College Outdoor Journal and has been edited for length. Read the full article, written by Zoe Wirth, she/her, here.
Sex is constantly being practiced and produced, but the outdoors and snow sports industry are not sex-neutral. Sex has always been there, but the ways it is marketed and profited off of only capture a sliver of the outdoor communities’ sexual orientations and preferences.
A few individuals in this space are continuing to push back against the outdoor industry’s male-dominated purview. They are vocalizing how important it is to advance an outdoors community that truly values diversity, equity, and inclusion, and part of that includes being eager to celebrate and promote all sexual identities and genders.
Jen Gurecki, the co-founder and CEO of Coalition Snow and Après Delight, is a figurehead in this movement.
Jen’s said her brands and team push, take the risks and heat so other brands can incrementally move along. “There have to be some people pushing to move everyone else along. If there are no people pushing, nothing happens.”
Après Delight, through their company and community, seek to create a gender–inclusive outdoors community that embraces their customers as full people. That means embracing sex.
“It is not like the outdoors or snow sports have been sex neutral,” said Jen, rejecting the narrative that Coalition Snow, Après Delight, and a handful of other people are just now introducing sex. “Sex has always been there; it has just been through the lens of straight, cis, white men.”
During our interview, Jen posed the question, “Why do we think our experiences in the outdoors were devoid of pleasure, intimacy, and sexuality?”
She then answered her own question, saying, “They are not; they are full of it. When cis-gendered heterosexual white men control the narrative, it is not taboo. It is when the rest of us start talking about it, then people freak out. No one is really interested in women's pleasure. That makes people nervous. Another example is talking about queer pleasure and queer relationships makes people nervous.”
Après Delight is more about normalizing pleasure than it is about having sex outdoors, Jen said.
“It is related to the outdoors because that is our industry. That is what we know. Après is trying to say that pleasure should be normal. Everybody's pleasure should be normal. Pleasure is an important part of our mental health, a part of our physical health, and we should not be afraid to talk about it,” continued Jen. The barriers in sexuality, bodily autonomy, and inclusivity that face the outdoor industry do not exist separate from those same challenges in greater society. Jen continued…
“The outdoor industry has refused to make that connection and to speak up. If you care about women, if you care about DEI, and if you are committed to all of that, you cannot ignore something like overturning Roe v. Wade. And yet the majority of them did.” Jen said.
Despite these obstacles, Jen offered some words of reprieve. While the outdoors are not a fully accessible or safe place because of the industry and systems it supports – those structures can be dismantled. “You do not need an industry to be outside. You can simply walk out your door and be outside. Every person has the ability to define that for themselves and to find peace and joy in the way that they choose to seek pleasure and the outdoors,” she said passionately. “The outdoors is there for everybody the minute you walk outside. Any way you choose to participate outside is being in the outdoors.”