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Who We Are

About Us


Backcountry Women’s mission is to create opportunities for individuals to experience the physical and mental benefits of being in nature with a community of amazing people through unique, quality outdoor recreation programming and education in a safe & positive space.


Backcountry Women aims to connect individuals with a diverse outdoors community and create a positive, judgement-free space where women and other marginalized genders can become empowered and confident through outdoor education, resources, skill development, shared activities and various other opportunities.


At Backcountry Women, we hold ourselves to a high standard of ensuring our values come through in everything we do.

Respect - everyone is deserving of respect, and we strongly believe in the statement “treat others the way you would like to be treated”.

Inclusivity - we want to bring a sense of belonging to everyone in our community, whether in-person at an event or through our online platforms. We believe in the power of spending more time outdoors and think everyone should have this opportunity.

Positivity - We believe in creating a positive and judgement-free space for people to try new things and safely step outside their comfort zone.

Empowerment - everyone deserves to feel confident and supported; we aim to create a space where individuals are empowered to explore nature and grow their knowledge of the outdoors while being welcomed in a supportive setting

Leave No Trace - we emphasise the importance of protecting nature by actively promoting ‘Leave No Trace’ principles through our activities and education

Why Choose Backcountry Women?

If you've been looking for ways to get outdoors in a safe and fun environment, join us for one of the many events we offer. At Backcountry Women we take care of the planning and organizing so you can experience the physical and mental benefits of being in nature with a community of amazing people - all you need to do is sign up and show up! 

Our BCW Advocates Team is composed of a number of volunteer leaders who bring a wealth of knowledge, experiences, and diverse perspectives. All members of our Advocates Team are certified through the Outdoor Council of Canada and/or have other relevant training and experience. Our team focuses on building safe and rewarding outdoor experiences and combining the right activity with the right people for both safety and enjoyment. 

We pride ourselves in following the best practices in the outdoor industry with the goal of providing you with guidance and information so that you can be as safe and prepared as possible while enjoying outdoor recreation experiences.

Meet Our Team

Backcountry Women is passionate about representing outdoor leadership and using our skills for building up others through the outdoors. We are supported largely by our volunteer event leaders & coordinators (AKA Backcountry Women Advocates). Get to know more about our team, below!

Ashley Moore Email
Founder of Backcountry Women

Growing up in a small town, Ashley developed a love for the outdoors from socializing with friends outside as well as camping with her family in their tent trailer around Manitoba in the summers.

As an adult, she and her husband Adam explored the outdoors through downhill skiing, hiking, biking, backpacking and more. While living in Alberta for four years, Ashley's passion for adventure flourished as she became acquainted with the Canadian Rockies.

Although Adam remains her favorite adventure partner, Ashley found it difficult to get other women interested in joining her on outdoor excursions. Recognizing that other women were seeking connection and community, she founded Backcountry Women in 2017 to get them out and exploring.

Ashley is eager to motivate people to go beyond their comfort zones to build their confidence and passionate about sharing her insights from the outdoors. To boost her expertise, she achieved certifications in Hiking Field Leadership, Wilderness First Aid, and multiple training courses through the Outdoor Council of Canada in 2018 and 2020.

Christina Hiebert Email

Christina is a country girl at heart. School breaks during childhood were spent on her grandparents farm in Whitebeech, Saskatchewan where she played in the bush, swam in the creek, and helped with farm chores. As a Royal Canadian Sea Cadet during her youth, she took part in wilderness survival training and learned to hike and backpack. 

Through different twists and turns in life, Christina spent less time outdoors as a young adult. She rediscovered camping when she met her husband, Darcy. With a holistic focus on taking care of her mental health, Christina began to hike and backpack again. Nature has provided a space for her to heal and grow.

She is passionate about advocating for mental health and has a desire to help others see what is possible for themselves through connecting with nature. Christina very much enjoys sharing outdoor adventures with her daughter, passing on skills and knowledge, and is eager to continue learning more. 

Through the Outdoor Council of Canada, she became certified as a Hiking Field Leader with the winter and overnight training modules in 2020. She is certified in Wilderness First Aid as of 2019.

Jessica Burtnick Email

A biophiliac by nature, Jessica has always felt most at peace in the great outdoors. Born and raised in Winnipeg, she’s lived and travelled extensively throughout Canada, having road-tripped, camped, hiked and hitchhiked her way to all three border oceans. She holds a degree in wildlife biology, is a classically-trained photojournalist and the former Photo Editor of Canadian Geographic.

She has guided bear-based adventures for the better part of a decade in the Great Bear Rainforest, B.C. and in Churchill, Manitoba — where she continues to moonlight as an adventure leader and guide for media guests and film crews.

In her free time, Jessica can most often be found hiking through the wilds of Manitoba in thongs — more widely and acceptably known as “flip flops”, so she’s told — with her best hiking buddy, Reggie the Siberian husky.

Jessica holds Professional Adventure Leader, Commercial Bear-Viewing Guide, and Photo Specialist Guide designations and is certified in Wilderness First Aid.

Kerry St George Email

Kerry is an avid outdoors-woman. In the winter she loves to cross-country ski, and in the spring, summer, and fall she enjoys hiking and backpacking.

She has taken her love of hiking around the world to places such as Chile, Peru,The Grand Canyon and on the West Coast Trail. Most recently, she fulfilled a bucket list backpacking trip and completed the John Muir Trail in California. When she is not outdoors, she is a Physiotherapist at The Wellness Institute. She is enthusiastic about bringing her love of the outdoors to Backcountry Women.

Through the Outdoor Council of Canada, she became certified as a Hiking Field Leader with winter and overnight training modules in 2020.

Patty Noble  Email

Spending time outdoors became a prominent part of Patty’s life when she became more independent and after some changes in her life, the outdoors brought her back to who she was. Patty loves to spend time on the water and enjoys kayaking. The outdoors gives her a space to clear her head and with Jake the dog, her constant companion, they adventure on land and water together. 

Patty’s first overnight hike was on Epinette in Spruce Woods Provincial park. Patty and Jake have been on wild adventures together - including backpacking to Kwasitchewan Falls in Northern Manitoba, and challenging hikes including use of a rope to see stunning views. She feels proud when she can accomplish something tough in the outdoors.

Through the Outdoor Council of Canada, Patty became certified as a Hiking Field Leader in 2020 in addition to the Paddling module. Patty is an advanced care paramedic, a former veterinary technician, and has attended a wilderness medical conference in Banff through the Alberta Paramedic Association.

Brittany Thiessen Email

Brittany is an outdoors lover who enjoys exploring new places in Manitoba. Brittany fell in love with the outdoors at a young age when her family went on regular camping and hiking trips during the summers. She loves hiking in the summer, fall and spring and snowshoeing in the winter.

Brittany also enjoys traveling and has hiked and explored the beauty and diversity of nature in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, BC and the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. She loves photography and capturing the beauty of the places she visits to remember for years to come. 

Brittany enjoys sharing her love for the outdoors with other women and helping others to discover new places around the province. 

Through the Outdoor Council of Canada, she became certified as a Hiking Field Leader with the Winter module in 2020. She is certified in Wilderness First Aid.

Kate Rudge Email
Lead Educator

Kate grew up in Alberta and spent her youth exploring Alberta’s parks including Waterton, Crowsnest Pass, Banff, and Kananaskis. Post-secondary education took her to the University of Lethbridge for a B.Sc. and the University of British Columbia for a B.Ed.

Kate has hiked and kayaked in some of Canada’s most beautiful places. She loves outdoors-based travel with her husband and has spent time kayaking, snorkeling and hiking across the Caribbean. Considering all her adventures, her absolute favourite place is Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan.

The twists and turns of life took Kate back to school to study Ecological Education, where she developed a deep connection to nature, and a deep sense of fulfillment connecting people to the natural world. Her year of studies had her living, learning and teaching off the land, across Saskatchewan, traveling by foot, canoe, kayak, snowshoe, and dogsled.

As a member of the Advocate team, Kate is looking forward to giving back to the Backcountry Women community. She is most excited about meeting new people and helping women who are new to the outdoors get out safely and explore our wonderful province. Kate holds a Master Naturalist designation through Lakehead University, is a Leave No Trace trainer, and is a certified Outdoor Council of Canada Hiking and Overnight Field Leader.

Michelle Ip  Email

Exploring nature is still fairly new to Michelle, with her first hike a few years ago in the Banff, Alberta area. She felt a huge sense of accomplishment after hiking Big Beehive. She has since learned more about her abilities and has expanded her hiking knowledge in Manitoba by researching and hiking trails.

Michelle finds connecting with nature to be therapeutic and when being active outdoors, it does not feel like exercise. Her favourite outdoor activities are hiking, snowshoeing, and camping. Michelle is interested in learning to kayak and backcountry camp.

Through the Outdoor Council of Canada, Michelle became certified as a Hiking Field Leader in 2020 in addition to the Paddling module. Michelle is also certified in First Aid and CPR as of 2020.

Chelsea Owasi  Email

Chelsea’s love of the outdoors began while growing up on her family’s farm in Southern Manitoba. Summer weekends were often spent hiking, biking and camping with her cousins at various Manitoba Provincial Parks.

In recent years she has hiked and backpacked many trails across Canada from Vancouver Island to the East Coast Trail in Newfoundland. The most recent trip she took with her husband to Iceland included some extraordinary hiking around volcanoes, glaciers and waterfalls!

Chelsea believes outdoor exploration is possible in every and all stages of life. She is often seen on trail with a baby strapped to her, not only for an extra workout, but to hopefully spark a lifelong love of the outdoors for her son.

She is certified in Wilderness First Aid.

Lara Stregger  Email

Lara’s love of the outdoors and camping started with family camping trips as a child.

As an adult, she has rekindled that passion and enjoys car camping, backpacking and hiking. Time spent outdoors with her partner, a group, or just her dog Luna have become one of her favourite ways to boost her mood and refresh her spirit.

Lara joined Backcountry Women about the same time as starting backpacking in 2020 and has been an active member since then. She looks forward to giving back to the community and helping others discover their love for nature and confidence in it.

Lara is certified in first aid and wilderness first aid. Through the Outdoor Council of Canada, she became certified as a Hiking Field Leader in 2022, and added Winter and Overnight modules in 2023.

Maggie Wen  Email

Maggie has always preferred to spend time in the wilderness over concrete cities. Her love for the outdoors started at a young age with her father, a fellow outdoor-enthusiast and for most of her life, her dad was her adventure partner. As an adult, she has been able to expand those opportunities further and upon discovering BCW, she was enthusiastic to connect with others who enjoy spending time in nature.

Hiking, building fires, and swimming are her favourite summer activities and in the winter, she can be found snowshoeing, alpine skiing, and snowboarding. She has incorporated hiking into her travel plans, spanning as far as China and Australia. She also very much enjoys exploring local, close to home trails in Manitoba.

Backcountry camping is a new challenge that she has taken on. Completely unplugging from the routine of day-to-day life, immersed in the beauty of Mother Nature brings her peace, serenity, and a sense of accomplishment. These are her biggest motivators to continue to learn and improve upon her backcountry skills. Maggie is certified in Standard First Aid and CPR. Through the Outdoor Council of Canada, she became certified as a Hiking Field Leader in 2022, and added Winter and Overnight modules in 2023.

Ainsley Balcewich  Email

Ainsley loves spending time outside whether it's cozied up with a book by the firepit or struggling through a hard hike. Growing up, her family spent most of their time doing outdoor sports like snowboarding and waterskiing. As an adult, she's learned to enjoy the backcountry more and more - always finding new adventures with her partner, Gilles. Ainsley was drawn to Backcountry Women as a way to connect with likeminded people and to explore trails throughout Manitoba. She especially loves to see the joy and pride in everyone's faces after grinding out a tough trail together, barely managing a "We did it!!" while catching their breath at the top of an incline.

She is passionate about her work, spending her days working in the financial services industry. In her spare time she can be found in the barn working with her horses, laughing with friends over a great meal, or attempting to teach her old dog new tricks.

Through the Outdoor Council of Canada, Ainsley became certified as a Hiking Field Leader in 2022, and added Winter and Overnight modules in 2023.

Have you joined a Backcountry Women Sunday Send Session climbing event? Then you've likely met Avegaille and Tina! These two love to support all things climbing for Backcountry Women and are passionate about helping others overcome their fears when they join our events.

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