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Ascent Fitness


June 10, 2020

Representation Matters!

The outdoors have been a great place of joy and empowerment for me! Over the years I have looked to others' stories for inspiration, education and encouragement. As a white person I do not have to look far to find literature and films of people who look like me exploring the outdoors. I have never felt out of place in outdoor spaces or communities because of the color of my skin.

A couple years ago I saw a film for the first time featuring two queer woman and I felt instantly more connected to the story. Seeing yourself reflected in others stories is beautiful and empowering! I felt a sense of belonging that I had never quite felt watching other films of straight, cis men and woman in the outdoors.

There are so many other types of people and stories out there that the outdoor industry has failed to highlight and it is time these stories start being amplified. Luckily some of these stories have been produced, and below is a list of short adventure films highlighting under represented voices in the outdoors. These are stories from Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Queer, Lesbian, Gay and Trans folxs. In no way is this an exhaustive list of films, but it is 108 min of adventure packed, diverse inspiration! Listen, share, follow and donate to these organizations and people.

The outdoors are for everybody and therefor the stories should come from a diverse set of voices.

Do Better Together (7 min)

Ayesha McGowan is a young Black woman from New Jersey who is determined to become the first female African-American pro road cyclist. She won her first state championship in her third race and quickly noticed that she was one of the very few females of African-American descent on the scene. In fact, she discovered that there had not been a single African-American pro road cyclist, ever. She has taken it upon herself to become the first. Ayesha also runs the website A Quick Brown Fox, which seeks to not only document her journey but also to bring to light and celebrate other budding cyclists of color, creating representation in cycling that will encourage and inspire other African-American women and youth to follow their dreams—whatever they may be. @ayesuppose

The Brotherhood of Skiing (10 min)

In 1973, when Art Clay and Ben Finley organized the first known gathering of Black skiers at an event in Aspen, Colorado, they couldn’t have known then that their organization would eventually become one of America’s largest ski clubs, which is still going strong today, 46 years later.

This Land (11 min)

Directors: Chelsea Jolly, Whitney Hassett
Producer: Faith E. Briggs @faithevebee
Runner and advocate FaithE. Briggs used to run through the streets of Brooklyn every morning. Now she’s running 240 kilometres through three National Monuments that lie in the thick of the controversy around US public lands.

Refuge: Strength in Your Vulnerabilities (6min)

Piseth was born in a refugee camp on the border of Thailand and at 5 moved to the U.S. with her family in search of better opportunities. Despite the constant change and uncertainty, Piseth was able to find a place that felt safer than anywhere else: the outdoors. Through a life filled with adversity and struggle, Piseth is now a leader in her community - a queer, immigrant powerhouse who found strength in her vulnerabilities. The outdoors continues to give her confidence and the safety to be herself. Follow @mightymight88

Venture Out (15min)

The Venture Out Project ( is an organization dedicated to creating inclusive spaces for the marginalized queer community to enjoy the beauty and fun of the wilderness together. Through their backpacking and wilderness trips, participants forge lifelong bonds and make unforgettable memories @theventureoutproject

The Pleasure and The Pain (5min)

Errol “The Rocket” Jones is a 65-year-old ultrarunner. This is his story of pain, perseverance and self-discovery on the Bay Area Ridge Trail.

Becoming Ruby (18 Min)

A film about inclusion, identity and hand-drawn heroes. If you can’t find a hero, create your own; for mountain biker, skier and artist Brooklyn Bell, that hand-drawn hero was a comic character named Ruby J. Using Ruby as a role model, Brooklyn set out to “live like her, breathe like her, be un-apologetically black like her,” finding her own identity in a mix of dirt, snow, art and inclusion. @badgal_brooky

Sacred Strides (12 min)

Directors: Forest Woodward, Anna Callaghan, Marie Sullivan
Producers: Anna Callaghan and Marie Sullivan
Production Company: Outside Magazine
In this inspiring documentary, relay runners from the Hopi, Navajo, and Ute nations converge at Bears Ears National Monument to send a message of unity and collective concern for a threatened public land that is sacred to many Native

Life of Pie (12 min)

In 2002, mountain bikers and entrepreneurs Jen Zeuner and Anne Keller moved to Fruita, Colorado, in search of cheap rent, world-class single track, and free time to ride. Over 15 years later, the two unconventional women have helped reshape one of the state’s most conservative towns, uniting the community through advocacy, inclusivity, and damn good pizza.

The Mirnavator (11min)

Ultra-runners overcome obstacles on every trail. In this film, Force of Nature Mirna Valerio overcomes the negative voices that don’t believe she belongs in the sport. @themirnavator

The Power of Change (2 min)

The Power of Change is about you. If you don't like something just change it. Sometimes it might be the thing itself, or it can be the way we look at the problem. But the only person in power to do so is you

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