From competition to camaraderie: the rise of women’s ski groups in the Wasatch Mountains
The idea for my enterprise story initially came to me during one of our class sessions when I was thinking about topics that interest me. I am an avid skier and got the idea to look into some of the all-female ski groups that I know of in the area. This appealed to me because I love skiing and wanted to document the growing inclusivity in the sport. Because I am not a member of any of the groups I focused on, I was still detached enough to tell their story objectively.
I primarily used Instagram to locate and contact my sources. My sources were all younger people, so I thought I would be more likely to receive a quick response if I reached out to them via Instagram direct message instead of email. This suspicion turned out to be correct — each of my sources got back to me the same day I reached out. This strategy also made sense because the Salt Lake Sisterhood functions primarily as an Instagram page. From there, I was able to see people who were tagged in posts or mentioned in comments to find some options for my sources. I think that the sources I ended up with were a perfect selection for my story.
Nicole Weaver, as the local representative for a global organization, demonstrated the link between changes here in Utah and a wider movement of inclusivity. She was passionate about Womb Tang and had a lot to share about the group.
Sarah McMath was a great source to talk to about her initiative, Alta Lady Shred, which, although it was put on hold the past couple of seasons due to the pandemic, was founded back in 2017. She had a great perspective and was able to reflect on how things have changed since she started the group.
McMath was also a segue to the Salt Lake Sisterhood and my next source, Clare Chapman because they are close friends and coordinated Lady Shred together. Chapman could then talk more about the Salt Lake Sisterhood page, which she runs by herself, and connect back to McMath, who has been a long-time supporter of the project.
Making sense of the information I compiled was one of my biggest challenges. I used Otter to transcribe my recordings. After the interviews, I combed through the text, picking out the most important information and themes and copying down quotes that had potential. After doing this with all three interviews, I began to narrow down what I had collected and piece it into a preliminary order. This became a long and messy draft, which is not uncommon with my writing projects. But the process helped me discover a theme that emerged in each interview, which was the shifting narrative from competition between women in skiing to the idea of uplifting one another instead.
In terms of my writing process, I often struggle with stripping down my stories to create something compact and complete. This assignment was a good exercise in condensing a lot of information into a small amount of text and making hard decisions about what to include.
Overall, I didn’t experience too many setbacks or major dilemmas while writing this story. However, due to my sources’ availability, I had to conduct two of the interviews the week the story was due, which didn’t give me much time to piece together my draft. However, it was good to practice writing a piece under a tight deadline.
Although I was initially nervous to reach out to sources, I was pleasantly surprised by the eager response I received from each one. It has given me more confidence as I move forward with a career in journalism.
My name is Rose Shimberg and my path to Communication at the University of Utah has been a bit unconventional. I grew up in rural New Hampshire, where I spent a lot of my time skiing, rock climbing, and playing sports. However, I loved to create from an early age. An only child, I spent free time at home, long car rides in the backseat, and even family meal times reading, writing stories, and drawing. After high school, I attended the University of Vermont, where I received my BA in Geography with a minor in Community and International Development.
The study of human geography gave me an understanding of the intersectional nature of the issues facing the world today and a passionate drive to do something about it. But toward the end of my college career, I realized more and more that I couldn’t envision myself going into the field in my future. Although I was passionate about the topics I studied, I wanted to create something. In a mid-pandemic revelation, I decided that I’d been adhering to the path I’d carved out for myself for too long. What I wanted to do was simple. It was my first passion, my longtime hobby, the manifestation of the ideas bouncing around in my head. It was suddenly obvious. I wanted to write.
Acting upon this epiphany has gotten me where I am now. On top of continuing my studies by taking journalism courses at the U, I work full-time and do freelance content writing on the side. I hope that the experience and samples I gain through my coursework will help me to follow my passion and land a job or internship in the industry soon. Ideally, I will one day get the chance to write about the many issues facing our world today — and use my voice to do something about them.