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Glenwood Springs hosts Boot Tan Fest — all-female ski and snowboard festival

Until recently, Boot Tan Fests were held in the backcountry, but on March 29, the world's largest celebration for women on snow took over Sunlight resort in Glenwood, from resort to back country. The festival's mission has remained the same to create room for women and feminine people in the male dominated outdoor space.

The festival’s founder Jenny Verrochi says it’s a no-judgment zone.
“When there's that many women around each other, you just see each other for who you are,” she said.
“Being courageous enough to let the woman next to you stand in her own courage and power and feel okay, whether they're a beginner, whether they're experienced, and kind of just like letting everybody come to the mountain or show up as they are, who they are.”

And come they did. That Friday, the mountain felt transformed. There was an air of excitement that came not only from being surrounded by other women, but the nerves for the upcoming naked-party lap.
Jenn and Shay were standing in line to buy Shred Naked hats.
“Like, the vibes are immaculate. You have all these, like, amazing women around you. And it's so freeing. Yeah. It's so freeing. Everybody's so kind,” they said.
An event of this scale needs a strong team behind it, and the women who make Boot Tan possible are a multi-talented group from across the state.

“I've got the best team, and we have two Carbondale gals, Aisha Weinhold, who owns Ragged Mountain Sports, and then Sierra Schlagg, who is a local professional skier in the Valley. She's on social media, and Aisha is our event coordinator. We've got another gal in Durango, and she does graphic design,” said Verrochi.
“Yeah, everybody's kind of wearing a lot of hats. We're figuring it out, renting speakers, renting port-a-potties, reaching out to sponsors. So there is definitely a lot going on, but it's a really awesome team that we have.”

Kat Goblin, a singer from Alabama who lives in Colorado, urged those in attendance to sign a petition for reproductive rights as she serenaded the crowd at Boot Tan Fest.
“If you guys want to come sign this petition for Roe v. Wade over here, that would be really, really special,” she said as the crowd cheered.
Kat’s songs were original gender-based satire that both lifted the mood and message of the event, and simultaneously offered understanding for the shared experiences of women and feminine people.
“It's big, like, women supporting women vibes, or like, femme supporting femme. Like, not everyone here is a woman, there's nonbinary people,” she said.
“I think that this will be a yearly thing for me. Hopefully I can come back as a musician. Unless my lyrics scare people away. But, yeah, it's just really nice to be in a space where, like, everyone is supporting each other and there's no male gaze to pander to.”

Alongside keeping with its original mission, Boot Tan expanded this year and is going the extra mile to welcome women of color into the outdoor sports world.
Already the ski industry is intimidating. It's expensive. There's a lot of barriers to entrance. And this year we finally partnered with Edge Outdoors, which is a nonprofit to bring BIPOC women onto the mountain. And you can go through training programs and really elevate your skiing and your snowboarding. So you can become an instructor or a professional skier,” said Verrochi.
“I think, you know, bringing more people of color onto the mountains. And so everybody can see yourself is our goal. We would just like this to continue to be a celebration of women at the center and just experience this day and what that alternative universe would look like. Those are my goals, just to make it an extremely welcoming environment.”

Over four years, Boot Tan has undergone major changes throughout each iteration and Verrochi says there’s more to come.
I just need to get through this year first. And this is, again, I feel like we're at the right place. You know, the beginning, it feels like another startup year. I have. There's a lot of unknowns still, and I think it's good that we're starting with a smaller number of a thousand.We'll see what happens next year.”

Lily Jones is a recent graduate of Mississippi State University, with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a concentration in Broadcasting and Digital Journalism. At WMSV, MSU's college radio station, Jones served as the Public Affairs and Social Media Coordinator. In her spare time Lily likes to go to the gym and watercolor.