Word of the Kootenays has reached a global audience of nearly 400,000 people through the power of social media.
Influencers Meg Kee and Kieren Britton have partnered with Go RVing Canada and Burton to tour western Canada in an RV, visiting ski towns while promoting winter road life and female empowerment.
The women are the founders of MountainGirls and The Lady Alliance, social media accounts that collectively boast 373,000 followers on Instagram.
On Friday, February 8, they hosted a free meet up at Fernie Alpine Resort (FAR), which featured group rides and giveaways from trip partner Burton, followed by a group dinner at The Brickhouse.
“RVing in the winter time is actually super fun,” said Britton, 28.
“But I think what’s really cool about it is this trip we go Lake Louise, Fernie, Golden, Revelstoke and Whistler, and we get to meet locals and ladies in each area.
“They show us around their local hill and seeing their passion for their community is so cool.”
Britton is originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, but calls Kimberley, B.C., home when she’s not travelling around Canada in her converted school bus.
In 2016, she started The Lady Alliance to showcase adventurous women and within two years it had snowballed into meet ups, and trips.
Britton’s first meet up booked out straight away with 30 women gathering at the A.O. Wheeler Hut in Glacier National Park in June 2018 for a girl’s weekend featuring hiking, yoga and shared meals.
“What I learned from that was there was this drive, there was this need for women to meet other women that were likeminded, in the same area, in the same sports that they were doing, so that they could go and adventure together,” said Britton.
Kee’s journey started in 2013 when she launched MountainGirls to encourage more women into outdoor sports.
Two years later, the Californian was approached by a company to host gatherings.
“It just gave me a huge buzz and I realized women were able to support each other through this community, and grow and learn from each other… and so I started branching it off into snowboarding, mountain biking, rock climbing, all different things,” said Kee.
It’s a full-time job running MountainGirls and The Lady Alliance, which Kee juggles with raising her five-year-old son.
While there are plenty of perks, such as this eight-day winter road trip, with a big social media following, comes big responsibility.
“Social media, when it comes to young women, can be really damaging because it’s a mental thing,” said Britton.
“We have the responsibility of showing them that there’s more to life than just social media – there’s the adventures, there’s the community, there’s the love, there’s the self-love, there’s everything involved with it, and that’s what we want to show to young women.”
Earlier this month, The Lady Alliance announced a merger with another account, Women Who Explore, under parent company The Summit Within.
Kee and Britton plan to continue growing the community and camaraderie their brands have fostered through social media and events such as film festivals, motivational talks and girls trips.
“A lot of it is going with the flow and seeing where it goes, and grabbing opportunity when it comes and it kind of just transforms from there,” said Kee.
“But I think the ultimate goal is to continue gathering groups, growing the camaraderie.
“Girls look up to certain things on social media and so it is a big responsibility, and I think on my behalf, the big responsibility is showing women that they can grow and learn from each other.”
“Our goal as a community and now as a company is to show that collaboration is always greater than competition,” added Britton.
“We have a tendency to look at someone and feel competitive… we want to show that together, we’re stronger.”