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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.