The No Man’s Land Film Festival is an adventure film festival based out of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado that meets a need and desire to highlight and connect individuals who identify as women. The goal of this festival is to connect like-minded individuals who are action-oriented, wish to support a shared vision of gender equality, have a desire to experience their passions and environments through a uniquely female lens, and above all, love adventure.
This year, before the film, the Backcountry Sisters Affinity Group at The White Mountain School gathered together to learn, teach and ride local mountain bike trails with the generous support of Littleton Bike and Fitness. The Backcountry Sisters is an Affinity Group at White Mountain that empowers and enables all students who identify as female to become confident participants and leaders in the outdoors.
Below Lemon ‘20 reflects on her experience as a first time mountain bike rider surrounded by her female peers at PRKR Mountain Trails, Littleton NH.
The Backcountry Sisters held their first event right before Fall Field Courses on September 28. I joined these strong women during their Introduction to Mountain Biking Clinic. I have been riding a normal bike for as long as I can remember, but the thought of mountain biking has always terrified me. I never thought that I would have the courage to ride along with my friends on terrain that wasn’t as smooth as the road.
Before we could cruise the trails, we needed some bikes to cruise on. Our first stop was Littleton Bike and Fitness. They generously donated a fleet of mountain bikes to encourage and promote opportunities for women in the outdoors. After adjusting the seats and learning about the anatomy of our bikes, we were on our way to the trails! At this point my heart was racing, my palms were sweating, and my shirt was soaked with sweat. I was lucky enough to get a bike with thick wheels, also known as a fat bike, for my first try at mountain biking.
My bike was able to go over roots, rocks, divots, grass, and everything in between without sending me over my handlebars. With the support from my backcountry sisters, I never felt ashamed to pick and choose my challenges. If I walked a steep slope, all that was there waiting at the top was positive reassurance and cheering. Had this event not been offered, I would never have gotten the chance to face my fear and gain the courage to mountain bike. I’ve added one more wonderful opportunity to my long list of great White Mountain experiences.
What Are Affinity Groups?
An Affinity Group is a group of students and faculty linked by a common purpose, ideology, or interest. Affinity Groups play a vital role in ensuring an inclusive environment where all are valued, included, and empowered to succeed at White Mountain. Affinity Groups can provide a collective voice for students with common interests. The Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee dedicated the 2017-2018 school year to educating the community about the importance of Affinity Groups and surveyed our community for Affinity Groups they felt White Mountain needed. Backcountry Sisters is a great example of an Affinity Group that meets the unique needs of our school community as it brings together women in outdoor sports – an underrepresented group within the sport community. Find a full list of White Mountain Affinity Groups here.