The initiative and newly started company Mountain Sisters was created with the intention of giving more girls a place on the mountain, by providing unique and specifically targeted riding trips. There are several tour operators in the ski world which offers packages for the masses. Although many organize ski trips to the Alps most guests are families, older couples and men of mixed ages. Mountain Sisters aims to get more women to dare to travel alone or with friends to the mountains to enjoy some action and fun!
Johanna Nygård grew up along the North east coast, just outside the university town of Umeå in Sweden. The family had a big interest in outdoor activities which was evident, especially in the winter.
Interest in skiing grew again many years later when Johanna as a grown up conducted her first trip to the Alps with her new job at an advertising agency in 2010. The destination for the ski interested in advertising was the Swiss Alps Engelberg.
Johanna was hooked on skiing once again, and wanted more!
To get to know new friends in the ski world and also develop her own skiing, Johanna was looking for tour operators that matched precisely her needs. There were several options in the massive market of ski travel, but none of the alternatives seemed to meet the requirements.
It’s hard when you want to travel by yourself, meet new friends with the same interests, preferably meet and ride with other girls, develop your skiing and take part of a tour package that offers more than just skiing. At last she decided on the French tour operator UCPA.
The interest in outdoor activities and skiing grew more and more each year and hence was followed up including a distance learning through the University of Umeå to Outdoor Leader, but she also took several trips to the Alps with new friends and alone.
It was not until the season 2014/2015 that Johanna decided to go against their prejudices that it is too late to do a season at 30 years old. So, the newly appointed 30-year-old soon enjoyed her decision to make her long-awaited season, and proved to herself and many others that dreams have no age limit or expiration date!
The winter season 2014/2015 meant a range of new experiences. In total 11 trips to Swedish and foreign Mountains. Everything from early ski premiere in the home mountains Hemavan / Tärnaby to education in Idre, Lucia celebrations in Åre, midnight skiing at Riksgränsen, a dream trip to the other side of the Atlantic – Canada.
Johanna also traveled for the fourth time back to Val Thorens, the same destination as she made her first trip alone in the Alps. But it was during the month as a guide in Monterosa the first thoughts of Mountain Sisters started to take shape.
– “This winter I could take my first steps as a ski instructor, working as a instructor at the weekends in Stockholm and a week in the Swedish mountains, make fantastic trips around the world, travel to Italy for a month and work as a guide through a Swedish travel agency and finally enter my very first freeride competition”, says Johanna.
It was the month as a guide in the Italian Alps together with the newly opened eyes on the ski world and skiing industry, with thoughts about the lack of girls on the mountain, as well as passion for the sport and lifestyle that started to increasingly appear in the back of Johanna’s mind.
During the month in Italy her friend Emilia came to visit, and many of the conversations between these two and between skiing sessions so often led back to the issue of why so few girls find their way to the mountains. Both were convinced that the interest is as high among boys as among girls, but that the market today’s just missing a player that offers a more niched and attractive offer for girls who’d they dare to travel alone or with friends to the Alps with.
Said and done!
The Ideas had almost grown into dreams and shortly thereafter the began dreams became reality as conversations with others confirmed all thoughts we had had.
Today, Johanna is the founder and owner of the new adventure travel agency Mountain Sisters, or in Swedish: Systrar i bergen.
– “I am humbled that the basic idea was built on the basis of a sisterhood together with Emilia and I want to keep that tone in everything we stand for and do. That is why our guests will always met by two guides, instead of just one, which is often the case with other agencies. Winter 2016 we will organize the first ski trips and we are very excited to finally offer this to our clients. The destination for our ski trips is of course the wonderful destination Monterosa, where the travel agency originated from.”
Mountain Sisters has the intention to create adventure trips for girls and women of all ages. The focus is on skiing trips and in addition outdoor recreation in the form of hiking, climbing, surfing and biking.
You should be able to travel with us regardless of level or previous experience of activity. Because we always have two guides in place we are also able to provide two different levels of activities, or different activities on the same day during summer. In the winter time, there is skiing in various forms available.
-”The sisterhood is one of our key words, beyond this Mountain Sisters give our guests new experiences, the opportunity to travel to amazing environments, meet new friends and enjoy new adventures. Long term there our ambition is to broaden the choice with more destinations and grow the business even further. The future is exciting. Our major goal is and will always be to get more Mountain Sisters around the world”, says Johanna.