Meet the Team

The Graceful Edge Team

Anna Levesque

Anna Levesque

Anna Levesque, founder of Girls at Play LLC, has a passion for inspiring and teaching women through her Girls at Play workshops, instructional kayaking DVDs and books for women, her Girls at Play Summer Tour and her Girls at Play paddling and yoga vacations in Mexico.

She is also a World Kayak Freestyle Medalist and a five-time Canadian Kayak Freestyle Team member with female first descents in California and on the White Nile River in Uganda. She has worked in over ten countries as a professional kayaker and guide and her sponsors include Dagger Kayaks, Shred Ready Helmets, AT Paddles, Kokatat and Smith Optics. For more information on Anna and Girls at Play please visit www.watergirlsatplay.com.


Arianne Cowx

Arianne Cowx - Summer Go-Getter

Arianne had a lengthy career in dance that lasted between the ages of 2 and 13, and then traded her dancing shoes for sporty shoes and swimsuits. Tennis first, and then swimming. She joined the swim team and competed in various events, the 200 m Freestyle being her favorite, and she works at a pool as a lifeguard/swim instructor. Arianne is currently completing a degree in Applied Science at Queen's University and tries hard to find enough time in her day to swim, sleep, eat, and study (in that order).


Ashley Woods

Ashley Woods - Head Rocker

Ashley started climbing with her family when she was six, and while some teenagers might look forward to getting their first car when they turn 16, she was delighted to receive her dad’s climbing gear. Since then, her love for the sport has been a driving force in her life.

Ashley is an AMGA-trained climbing guide, a member of the Colorado Women’s Bouldering team, and a co-founder and program director of The Spot Bouldering Gym. She has completed numerous technical alpine ascents around the world, and broke the world record for the longest “dyno” (the act of dynamically leaping to a hold) on her way to a second place finish in the 2005 World Cup competition. A Women’s Wilderness staff member since 2002, Ashley is a truly incredible teacher who loves sharing her passion for climbing with other women.


Christina Heyniger

Christina Heyniger - Adventure Globetrotter

Christina Heyniger is the founder of Xola Consulting and Off the Radar, an online resource for adventure travelers.  Xola (which means ‘stay in peace’) provides research and consulting services to adventure travel companies and tourism boards around the world.

Christina speaks regularly at industry events on topics ranging from small business management to humanitarian aid and tourism development in developing countries.  From white water rafting in Northern India to trekking through Morrocco by camel, Christina has one of the sweetest gigs around, which was recently confirmed by Outside magazine who included Christina in their Best Jobs feature.

If you want to learn more about her background - growing up in Alaska, breaking out of the cubicle at age 33 - check her out on the Xola website.

 

photo credit:  Jeff Lipsky


Elayne Chow

Elayne Chow - Founder

After many years of management consulting, Elayne left the corporate world to live her dream of spreading the love for leading a fun-filled adventurous life with like-minded women.

Elayne was tired of the constant focus on promoting physical activity to lose weight and improve appearance. So she started Graceful Edge to inspire women to get out there, all in the spirit of having fun.

Originally from Canada, Elayne is partial to all things cool. Winter running, skiing, toques for every occasion and ice cream.


Elyse Braner

Elyse Braner - Running Coach

Elyse devotes her time to her two passions:  running and spreading the love of running to athletes of all levels.   She is the President of the Washington Running Club, the Head Coach of the North Face Endurance Challenge, a coach for Weight Watchers and leads the run club at lululemon Athletica.  And for the tween set, Elyse coaches Girls on the Run, helping girls aged 8-11 develop healthy attitudes and sportsmanship for successful training and racing.

And when Elyse isn't running between her various coaching gigs, she's....running.  A competitive runner for the past eleven years, Elyse is a qualifier for the Boston marathon and specializes in distances ranging fron 800M to marathon.


Gene Hamilton

Gene Hamilton - Mountain Biker Extraordinaire

Gene Hamilton lives to ride and rides to live. He has been competing and coaching snowboarding and mountain biking for over 18 years. He started his career as a snowboard coach but in 1999 his passion for mountain biking outgrew his passion for snowboarding so he started BetterRide to provide mountain bikers with fun and effective, structured skills coaching year round. A licensed USA Cycling Expert Coach, Gene works with athletes of all levels including top pro racers, junior experts and hundreds or riders who just want to feel comfortable on the trail. His popular Core Skills clinics focus on teaching the basics on bike handling and mental skills in a safe environment and eliminating those "other skills" taught by well-intentioned friends and boyfriends. A decent rider himself, Gene is no stranger to the podium including a Silver, and two Bronze Medals at the UCI World Masters Championships.

Photo credit:  John Shafer


Jody Radtke

Jody Radtke

Jody brings more than 15 years of outdoor education experience, enthusiasm and know-how to The Women’s Wilderness Institute. A veteran of both sides of the outdoor program coin, Jody’s spent more than 1,000 days in the field during her career as an instructor with Outward Bound, where she was a course director, associate program director and staffing manager before becoming the Program Director at Women’s Wilderness in 2005. She also has a Masters degree in psychology from Naropa University and five years of experience leading wilderness therapy programs. When she’s not working in the office or leading a course in the field, Jody’s probably playing outside. Her adventures include mountaineering in New Zealand and the French and Swiss Alps, and a 50-day unsupported canoe expedition within the Arctic Circle. Closer to home, you might find her tele-skiing, playing Ultimate Frisbee, ice climbing, dancing or playing her guitar.


Julie Huck

Julie Huck - Adventure Cyclist

Julie Huck first started bicycle touring at 15 with her high school outdoor club and hasn't stopped since. She is the Membership Director at Adventure Cycling Association, a non-profit group whose mission is to inspire people of all ages to travel by bicycle, and has been with them for over 20 years. She has led many tours for Adventure Cycling and helped to teach their Bicycle Leadership Training Classes.

In 2001 she helped start a local women's outdoor group called The Dirt Girls. Now her favorite type of trip is to load up her BOB trailer and ride for a week on a section of the Great Divide Bicycle Route, a 2700-mile mountain bike route that travels from Banff, Alberta to the Mexican border, paralleling the continental divide. Cycling is her passion.


Karina Evertsen

Karina Evertsen - Contributing Writer

Being half Swiss and having put her first pair of skis on at the age of 2 ½ set the stage for the adventurous life Karina leads. She has punched a cab driver in Bulgaria, got food poisoning in Prague and explored the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal with her mother. As the former Publisher, Gear Editor, Staff Writer and part owner of Women’s Adventure magazine, she helped grow the company on both the business and creative sides. As a freelancer at large the work-life balance is a priority, so you can often find Karina mountain biking, trail running and snowboarding in her own backyard of Nederland Colorado.


Kelly Nuxoll

Kelly Nuxoll - Contributing Writer

Kelly Nuxoll grew up the only sister to five brothers. Her dad used to introduce his children by saying, "I have a basketball team and a cheerleader." Kelly never could figure out who was supposed to be the cheerleader.

She's played competitive sports her whole life and started doing triathlons in 2004 as an antidote to an office job. Since then, she quit the job, became a full-time writer, and spent almost two years in Southeast Asia swimming, biking, running, and practicing yoga. Currently she lives and trains in Washington, DC.

She's a consulting writer and editor for nonprofits focused on social entrepreneurship, civic education, and political activism. Her journalism and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including the Christian Science Monitor, Poets & Writers, and Asia Times Online. In 2008 she covered the presidential election as a national correspondent for the Huffington Post.


Kimberly Wilson

Kimberly Wilson - Resident Yogini

Kimberly Wilson is a teacher, designer, writer, activist, and entrepreneur with a master's in women's studies. She is the founder of Tranquil Space Yoga in Washington, D.C. and designs the eco-friendly TranquiliT luxe lifestyle line. Kimberly penned Hip Tranquil Chick to explore the yoga lifestyle for the modern girl. Her work has been featured on Martha Stewart Living Radio and in Daily Candy, Fit Yoga, and Shape.

Kimberly founded the Tranquil Space Foundation to expand her focus on spiritual activism, and she serves on the board of the Mid-Atlantic Yoga Association. Learn more at www.kimberlywilson.com.


Krista Schultz

Krista Schultz - Resident Triathlete

Krista Schultz loves to tri and it shows. As a competitive triathlete, Krista has qualified and competed in the Ironman Hawaii World Championship, represented Maryland for the Best of the US from 2006-2008 while achieving USA Triathlon All-American status four times.  She also competed in Duathlon World Championship in 2006 and 70.3 Ironman World Championships in 2007. 

When she’s not training, Krista is spreading the love of tri-ing.  As  the Director of Total Performance Inc. an endurance sports testing and performance studio, Krista conducts performance testing (VO2 max and metabolic testing) using the same equipment used at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.  Krista has been testing and coaching endurance athletes for more than ten years, and with  the multitude of acronyms that follow her name, including an M.Ed in Exercise Physiology, coaching certifications from USA Triathlon, USA Cycling plus she’s also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Krista  has the knowledge and practical experience to get her clients to tri their best.  Learn more about Krista’s racing, testing and coaching services at: www.totalperformanceinc.net and  www.teamkristalive.com.


Leslie Ross

Leslie Ross - Head Backcountry Babe

According to local legend, Leslie Ross, founder of Babes in the Backcountry emerged from the womb skiing. Alpine and freeheeler extraordinaire, Leslie has won numerous races and events, including top finishes in the South American Free Skiing Championships, the Big Mountain Extreme Skiing Competition and the North American Free Skiing Competition. Leslie is also the three time National Telemark Free Skiing Champion, earning her the overall US Telemark Championship Award title in 2002.

When she's not holding her own amongst the big dogs, Leslie is spreading her love of skiing. Leslie is a ski ambassador for Patagonia and Black Diamond, an AIARE qualified avalanche educator and a PSIA certified Level III Telemark instructor. In 1996, Leslie founded Babes in the Backcountry, a group dedicated to educating women with the outdoor skills to enable them to be confident and self-reliant in the backcountry. Learn more about Leslie's inspiring adventures at www.babesinthebackcountry.com.


Lynn Yu

Lynn Yu - Backcountry Gourmet

Lynn Yu is Graceful Edge’s backcountry gourmet. She loves to eat….well.  So much so, that she went and got her Ph.D. in nutrition.

Her favorite places to nosh include the Grand Tetons, Algonquin Park in Northern Ontario, and remote parts of Vancouver Island.  Never a shortage of people to go camping with Lynn!

 


Margaret Connor

Margaret Connor - Resident Dolphin

Margaret Connor is the Marketing Director and National Manager of Masters and Open Water Swimming for Sport Fair Inc., one of the largest Speedo dealers in the country. In addition, she is an Open Water Instructor and the National Program Director for the US Open Water Association, a newly formed national association for open water swimmers. Margaret is an open water coach for Curl-Burke Masters and is a Curl-Burke Masters swimmer.

Margaret loves her work, especially working with new open water swimmers as they acclimate and then embrace these challenging yet beautiful bodies of water. Margaret’s daughter is a senior at the University of Mary Washington and her son in his first year at Arizona State playing water polo.


Natasha Martin

Natasha Martin - Adventure Traveler

After 18 years of bouncing around the world, from Ethiopia to Barbados, with her parents, it was only natural that Natasha would pursue a career in tourism.  She edits the online travel magazine, Off the Radar and is a consultant at Xola Consulting.  Originally from beautiful Montreal, she currently lives in Washington, DC and is attending The George Washington University, pursuing a Masters of Tourism Administration, specializing in Sustainable Tourism.


Seth Levy

Seth Levy - Trail Guru

Seth Levy is the Manager of the Western Public Lands Initiative at American Hiking Society.  He has been actively involved in outdoor retail for many years and is a recovering “gear head.”  Seth has extensive knowledge of women’s-specific backpacking & hiking products and works to show women how enjoyable and empowering great outdoor experiences are.  Seth has hiked Vermont’s Long Trail end-to-end and walked the northern half of the Appalachian Trail in addition to long trips in Northern California and Alaska.  When he’s not providing expert advice about the hiking experience, Seth works to protect the 26 million acre National Landscape Conservation System.


Whitney Boland

Whitney Boland - Contributing Writer

With fourteen years of competitive gymnastics to prep her, Whitney believes that was mere "training" for her climbing to come. She started climbing with her brother in 2002 while working on a BA in Creative Writing at Miami University. After graduating, she moved to Lexington, Kentucky to be closer to the Red River Gorge, where she climbed and worked in a local restaurant to earn enough to make ends meet. Just a few years later, she headed west for a month-long climbing trip and stayed for the next four years in Colorado and Las Vegas writing and climbing. Now sponsored by Petzl, La Sportiva and Sterling Rope she recently relocated to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

As a freelance writer, Whitney has many plans on the horizon. "But I'll keep those to myself." She is a contributing editor for Rock and Ice and has written for Women’s Health, Aspen Magazine, Rocky Mountain Sports, Landmark Books, BeThree.com and various other local, regional and Web-based publications. She has also worked briefly in public relations with Forte Creative Media and has served as a pro athlete with the HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation for the past three years. She draws much of her inspiration from the organization’s founder, Sean Patrick, who passed away in January 2009.

 

Photo credit:  Duane Raleigh