Mentor Spotlight is back! Over the season we will be posting some insights and fun tidbits from a few of our incredible mentors.

Mountain Mentors are passionate and experience women who are interested in sharing their expertise with other aspiring female mountain athletes. Mentors are local shredders, moms, guides, outdoor educators, professional athletes, students, brand reps, and everything in between, each with a unique story to share.

Let us first introduce you to Kendra Hicks! Kendra is ski touring guru to mentee Claire Siderman this season. We caught up with her for a quick Q&A midway through her season working for Extremely Canadian. Read on to find out a little more about the woman behind the magic..

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Tell us a little bit about you and why you became interested in backcountry skiing?

I have a pretty unique background, which I am incredibly thankful for. I started ski touring when I was 12—All my family friends were mountain guides! We went ski touring in Rogers Pass every Christmas, so I was immediately exposed to big terrain at a young age.  I just tried to keep up to all the boys I went to school with. They would ski after school and build jumps in our backyard, and I was like “man that looks like so much fun!!” So I started skiing with them and started ski touring and I immediately fell in love. It was my favourite thing to do.

What are your goals with your mentee for this season?

My mentee and I are down to shred! We’re looking to push personal boundaries; specifically skiing fun and exciting lines. We’re going practice our glacier travel skills, and talk a lot of snow safety.

What skiing accomplishment makes you most proud?

I did a 2-week traverse across the Monarch Icefields, south of Bella Coola last spring. It was pretty cool because it was all girls, and we got a grant through the Alpine Club of Canada through the Jen Higgins Fund. It was the most incredible place, I definitely left a part of my heart there.

What is your favourite piece of gear?

My favourite piece of gear?? It’s not really “gear” but I have an OBSESSION with jackets. I honestly own like 15+. And sometimes when I go ski touring I can’t decide which jacket to bring, so I bring five. And then change throughout the day. Not even ashamed.

What do you know now that you wished someone had taught you when you were starting out?

That is SUCH a good question. I’ve had incredible mentors and support my whole life, and each person I’ve learned from has their own story, their own background, their own set of skills to pass on.  But the one thing I’ve figured out myself.. is that it’s okay to do your thing. I think there’s an expectation for women who like to spend their time doing rad things in the backcountry to be “like the boys,” and being girly is seen as a weakness. I love painting my nails, I usually wear makeup, and I love pink. Sometimes I also like doing snot rockets and acting like a total dude, and charging through the mountains; I get sweaty, I get competitive, and sometimes I look a little ugly. It doesn’t matter. You just gotta do your thing. I wish someone had told me that a long time ago, I’ve gone through so many identity crises! You just have to be yourself, and own it.

Favourite sound to holler while sending?

I love skiing with all my heart because it makes me feel like a kid again. When I ski, I giggle and laugh and usually have the biggest smile on my face. I don’t have a signature holler, but I love spreading my arms out like a bird, because I imagine that’s what it feels like to fly.

Also, for those of you who don't know, Kendra is an amazing landscape artist. She draws inspiration from the feelings of surrender and awe she experiences while traveling in the mountains - a feeling we can all relate to.  Check out her paintings here!

A heartfelt thanks for your volunteered time, and for all you do for our mountain community, Kendra!

Article by Carolyn Klassen - January 23