Interview with Crystal Robertson, Co-Founder of Le Grand Adventure Tours

In hon­or of Inter­na­tion­al Women’s Day we’re hon­or­ing one of The Clymb’s tour oper­a­tors, Crys­tal Robert­son, who with her hus­band Jeff, found­ed Le Grand Adven­ture Tours, an action sports trip provider that offers adven­ture trav­el expe­ri­ences all over the globe.

Over the course of the last decade Crys­tal has har­nessed her love for adven­ture into a full-time job, trav­el­ing from Japan to Croa­t­ia and more, in the pur­suit of adven­ture. Crys­tal grew up a trav­el and out­doors enthu­si­ast, scu­ba div­ing around the Caribbean, snow­board­ing around the West Coast, and raft­ing through­out Cal­i­for­nia. This pas­sion grew as she began explor­ing the world, always in search of  the best moun­tains to snow­board, the high­est cols to ped­al her bike up, and the most beau­ti­ful islands to surf.

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Tell us a bit about your back­ground in the out­doors.
My back­ground in the out­doors start­ed with my father who intro­duced me to the world of scu­ba div­ing. He is an instruc­tor who helped me get cer­ti­fied and helped me train to become a res­cue div­er. I trav­eled the world div­ing with my fam­i­ly in exot­ic des­ti­na­tions such as Cozumel, Hawaii, and the Bahamas. Over the last 17 years, I’ve tak­en strong­ly to snow­board­ing, which has become my favorite activ­i­ty and I’m now on the con­tin­u­ous hunt to ride all around the world. When I met my hus­band Jeff, we start­ed trav­el­ing togeth­er, in con­stant pur­suit of new places to find adven­ture. My pas­sions have also inspired me to take a wide range of cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in the dis­ci­plines of Yoga, SUP, SUP Yoga, Snow Safe­ty, First Aid and CPR, which I get to share with guests on our tours.

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What com­pelled you to start a guid­ing com­pa­ny with your hus­band?
Start­ing an adven­ture com­pa­ny was my dream busi­ness to start. In my ear­ly twen­ties I began research­ing the indus­try and vol­un­teered at an action sports trav­el com­pa­ny super­vis­ing trips. When I met my hus­band we had a dis­cus­sion about our first dream job to pur­sue. He said, “start an adven­ture tour com­pa­ny.” In that con­ver­sa­tion we laughed and couldn’t believe we both had the same dream. It wasn’t until years lat­er that we final­ly had a seri­ous talk and decid­ed to give it a go. You tru­ly don’t know the out­come of any­thing until you try. So we did, and we are hav­ing a blast every step of the way.

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What has been your expe­ri­ence as a woman in the out­door indus­try?
I love it! This is an indus­try flood­ed with men and it is empow­er­ing to know you are push­ing bound­aries and open­ing the doors for more and more women to fuel their own adven­ture. When you meet oth­er out­door women that are real­ly push­ing their boundaries–you feel as if you’ve found new best friends. We all share a sim­i­lar trait that ulti­mate­ly unites us. It’s a won­der­ful time to be involved in the outdoors…even if I’m the only girl out with a group of guys, I’m still stoked! So come on ladies, let’s get out there!

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What is Le Grand Women’s Adven­tures and how is it dif­fer­ent from Le Grand Adven­tures?
When we start­ed Le Grand Women’s we real­ly want­ed to pro­vide women a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to explore new places. On our women’s trips you can prac­tice new skills with pro­fes­sion­al guides/coaches and cre­ate bonds with oth­er like-mind­ed indi­vid­u­als that expand to friend­ships of a life­time. When you’re sur­round­ed by a tribe of sup­port­ive women that are crav­ing and seek­ing as much adven­ture as you are…you can feel the empow­er­ment from women that love to play hard and have fun. We feel that adven­ture trav­el should be offered to women in a man­ner that they see fit, after all every­one moves at a dif­fer­ent pace. It’s all about women set­ting the tone for the trip that they want to have, for in the end, this is your adven­ture to recharge, pow­er up, and feel stronger than ever. 

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What kind of advice do you have for women, or any­one, look­ing to get into an out­door sport they might not oth­er­wise try?
Any step in the direc­tion towards your dream is one step clos­er than you were yes­ter­day. Thoughts turn into con­ver­sa­tion, con­ver­sa­tion turns into actions, con­tin­u­ous actions cre­ates refine­ment.

I always sug­gest going out and find­ing a guide and/or an intro course to the sport that you want to try. I can’t even begin to tell you how impor­tant it is to learn the basics from an expert as those skills will stick with you for the rest of your life. Learn­ing how to do it prop­er­ly and safe is the most impor­tant aspect for suc­cess and fun. 

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Are there any orga­ni­za­tions out there that you see help­ing women get involved in the out­doors?
My favorite orga­ni­za­tions out there right now are She­Jumps–whose sole mis­sion is to increase the par­tic­i­pa­tion of women and girls in out­door activ­i­ties. SAFE AS Clin­ics are tai­lored to women, with begin­ner to expe­ri­enced avalanche aware­ness and safe­ty clin­ics. Then us! We offer so many sports for women to try and many des­ti­na­tions to explore!

You’ve obvi­ous­ly trav­elled all over the globe, is there any­where you haven’t been that you’re dying to see?
While there are many places I have yet to trav­el to, the one I’m most excit­ed for is a South Amer­i­can tour. Par­tic­u­lar­ly, because my moth­er and fam­i­ly are from Peru. I have always dreamed of trav­el­ing to the coun­try I was “almost born and raised in!” I now real­ize what a mec­ca Peru is for surf­ing and moun­tain bik­ing and I can hard­ly wait, it is going to be very spe­cial.


Check out Le Grand’s Swiss Moun­tain Bik­ing Adven­ture on The Clymb