What inspires you most to live the life that you live?
I’m deeply inspired by nature itself – the snow, the rocks, the water, the trees – every element of it. I love being able to be in nature and the long days I spend in the mountains are when I’m my happiest, most authentic self. I’m also inspired by how I can share those stories to create a positive change on the world, inspiring other people to connect with nature and protecting the places we love to play.
You are such an inspiration. How did you first get involved with climate change activism?
Thank you! I remember reading about climate change when I was in high school, and being very concerned. The first thing I did while I was in college was start a small business selling vintage clothing and making art out of recycled materials. I wanted to reduce the environmental impact of clothing by selling beautiful, used items. I also made jewelry stands, jewelry, and crocheted items out of plastic bags. While I had my business and while I was still a student, I applied for a political internship. I got it and spent my summer working for the Governor of Utah’s Environmental advisor. Working in government, I saw how I could use my voice to make bigger changes. At the end of my internship, I wrote a ten page paper critiquing the Governor’s ten year energy plan for the state of Utah because it was overly dependent on fossil fuels and didn’t include renewables. I started working more with local, environmental non-profits, and after I was done with my internship, I spoke at a big clean energy rally. A few months after that, I got involved with non-profit Protect Our Winters, and have been involved as an activist with them and other organizations, including my own, the Big Mountain Dreams Foundation!
What’s your training look like?
The last few years of my training data is available on Strava. You can see some of it there. Before I had Strava and GPS tracking, I would go do long days in the mountains, exploring my local mountain range and trying to climb all the peaks.
How do you handle criticism? I’ve watched “follow through” but I want to know more?
I’ve learned to realize that there is a difference between criticism and harassment. People are allowed to critique or criticize public figures, but when they repeatedly contact them with the desire to cause emotional harm, it’s harassment, and that’s illegal and can be prosecuted criminally. I try to shield myself now from some of the harsh comments that come up online. Another thing that helps me is to think of myself like winter and snow. Some people love the snow, and some people hate the snow. You probably aren’t going to change those people’s minds, so it’s not worth the effort.
There are times when it’s powerful to own the negative things people say. So there are a few of them that I hold onto, and use when I can find a way to upward spiral from it.
How do you overcome the low expectations of being a short woman in the outdoors?
I set my own expectations and goals sky high.
What about skiing down Mt. Everest Caroline?
I brought my skis when I went in 2019. I’d love to go back and ski more in the Himalayas someday.