Sports

The Breakdown: Emilie Moreshead, Backcountry Snowmobiler

Emilie Moreshead is a 34-year-old elite snowmobiler from Spokane, Washington. By day an engineer, Moreshead comes alive on the weekends when she is out doing what she really loves…snowmobiling. Consisting of the rider, her snowmobile and her gear, the sport is growing in popularity and evolving every year. What started as a loose recreational activity is now a full-on adventure sport, with large groups of riders taking to snow-bound trails chasing excitement and the ultimate adrenaline rush.

Moreshead began her athletic career as a stand-out high school basketball and track athlete. Bored by the doldrums of traditional classroom learning, she credits sports as the key motivating factor to her academic success.

“I was very bored in school, but I knew that if I wanted to start for my basketball team or compete in my track races, I had to make my grades and do well in the classroom. Having the obligation to my teammates kept me focused and away from the bad influences I would have found had I not had sports,” she says.

Moreshead also knew her athletic achievements were the way to a college scholarship. She earned a full track scholarship to Colorado School of the Mines, a small engineering-based university in Golden, Colorado. There she blossomed, double majoring and earning two degrees in just four-and-a-half years of school.

Still motivated and looking to stay in athletics as she transitioned to adult life, Moreshead first tried rugby, then dirt biking, which eventually led her to snowmobiling.

“I swore I wouldn’t pick up another hobby as I was already an avid rock climber, mountaineer, rugby player and dirt biker. However, I was bitten by the bug and soon riding snow took the lead as my favorite hobby,” she says.

And now, snowmobiling has gone from casual hobby to taking her around the world. Next month, Moreshead is embarking on an “International Women’s Freeride Tour” in Sweden. She’ll travel to Stockholm and then catch a commuter flight to Vilhelmina on the northern end of the country. From there, she and her riding partner, “wing woman” Nikki Byrd, will work their way to the southern end of the country, attending events, riding with locals and “generally attempting to be a great ambassador of women’s backcountry freeriding.”

What are Moreshead’s hopes for the future of snowmobiling? They are simple: to get more women interested and involved in the sport that has brought her so much joy.

“Although at times it seems like a burden to bear there are other times that it is blindingly exciting to see this sport grow for women in leaps and bounds. To me there is nothing more exciting than to see someone’s face after they have shattered all expectations and risen far higher than they ever dreamed.”

To learn more about Moreshead and snowmobiling, visit her website here.

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