· By Sarah Goodman
Julie-Ann Chapman is a Badass
Whether on a snowboard, a snowmobile or a horse, Julie-Ann Chapman shreds. She’s the founder of She Shreds Mountain Adventures, which provides a safe and inclusive environment for self-identified women, and men, who want to get out into the backcountry and onto a snowmobile. We caught up with Julie-Ann to learn more about her mission, how she stays energized, and what makes her a badass!
Who are you, and what do you do?
I am Julie-Ann Chapman, and I motivate women through snowmobiling. I started She Shreds Mountain Adventures over ten years ago for women only, and since then, I’ve expanded because I’ve gotten requests from men. Now I do snowmobile clinics, avalanche courses, and occupational training for Search and Rescue and the RCMP. I’m also a professional athlete for many big companies like Polaris, Climb, Fox and many rad companies that support what I do. I’m also a Mama.
How did you get into the sledding space?
I used to be a snowboarder, and the sponsors that I had at the time told me that I needed to get into the backcountry for filming video parts, so I needed to get a sled to do that. It was a tough learning curve for me because it is a very physically demanding and mentally straining kind of sport. I basically put snowboarding on hold for a year to learn how to get around and by the time I figured out how to snowmobile, I had discovered a new passion.
The people I learned with were supportive, but they weren’t super supportive. They would bring me out and make sure that I was okay, but when I got stuck, they’d be like, hey, it’s time for you to get yourself unstuck. I’d be there shovelling for an hour all by myself. I saw a niche and need for somebody to teach people how to snowmobile so they could have it a little easier than I did, and that’s why I started She Shreds.
So what do you love most about running She Shreds?
I love seeing the determination. It’s a tough sport to learn right off the bat, and some get frustrated or upset. They try and try, and finally, they get the moves, which makes me stoked. That’s what makes me so happy. I get letters after clinics saying they never thought they’d be able to do it and are grateful for the motivation or the tips and just the reassurance. I love knowing that what I’m doing is helping other people.
What are some of the biggest hurdles you’ve had to face so far with starting She Shreds and running your business?
The permitting process for being able to operate on Crown Land. I still operate on temporary permits and have been for almost ten years. Temporary permits are not secure and can be taken away from me at any time. I’ve pursued what’s called a license of occupation application, which is considered a ten-year application. That’s probably the most stressful hurdle I’ve ever taken on with this company because you’re starting to incorporate the government, First Nations, recreationists, and the general public. I’m in the middle of it in two different locations on the BC coast and in the West Kootenays. It’s stressful, but I’m doing it. It’s just making me stronger and tougher.
So what do you do to nourish yourself both in life and nutritionally?
I am very cautious about how much crap I put into myself. It’s always easy to grab a quick something bad on the road, but I try to resort to the good snacks, hence why I eat Chiwis. I also try to meal plan and stay physically fit, especially before the winter season. Dealing with 500-pound machines and deep snow is definitely physically demanding. There are days that I wake up, and I’m just so tired, but I have to tell myself that this is for the best. I have to eat healthy today and get out and do something, whether it’s just a 20 minutes workout in the gym or a 20-minute bike ride outside. It’s so important to stay physically active and eat well if you want to function in a high-paced environment and a high-risk job.
What do you look for in a snack?
I like super convenient snacks that are easy to just put in my mouth. I opt for snacks that are very low in refined sugar or only have natural sugars. I also look for snacks that are filling. Eating something that’s not filling is not really, in my eyes, worth eating. I also like to support local whenever I can!
What is something that people don’t know about you?
Many people don’t know that I volunteer my time back to the community with local snowmobile clubs and Search and Rescue. I also have three horses, two of which I’ve trained since they were babies. Horses are definitely my life in the summertime, that’s for sure.
How can our community support you?
Any honourable mention on social media is wonderful. My tenure applications are open to public commenting on the government website, so any positive comments are very helpful.