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Sweet Tea and Skiing PC

The Gearhead Connection: Vol. 1

Ashleigh McClary is one of Backcountry’s Gearheads, our outdoor experts and customer service reps. She’s an avid skier, downhill and alpine touring, and loves to kayak, stand-up paddleboard, backpack, and hike. Recently, she’s getting into climbing, when her experienced friends can go with her. On and off the trail–and even sometimes in our dog-friendly office–you’ll find her spending as much time as possible with her two labrador retrievers, Hank and Brice.

Ashleigh has helped thousands of people gear up for their adventures, and sometimes she’s really bonded with the person on the other end of the line. During Ashleigh’s first conversation with Richard almost three years ago they discovered their mutual love of Deer Valley and learned that they’re both from the South. Richard and his family live in Mooresville, NC, which is not far from where Ashleigh used to live in South Carolina, where she learned to make a mean sweet tea. So, when Richard and his wife Elizabeth were ready to take their two kids, Charlie and Henry, on their first backpacking trip, Ashleigh knew the area well. Not only could she help them get set up, but she was also able to recommend her favorite trails and campsites for their first family adventure in the backcountry.


No matter what our adventurous family of four is tackling, be it backpacking, trail running, or hitting the slopes, [Ashleigh] always makes sure we are prepared. With two little boys in tow, having the right gear to make it a positive experience is vital! –Richard

After outfitting Richard and his family for more than a few ski seasons and the summers in between, Ashleigh and Richard thought it was time they finally met up in person. For Richard’s annual ski trip, Ashleigh offered to show him her home resort of Park City Mountain. They met up early, went on a tour of Gearhead Operations, grabbed an Arc’teryx kit from the Gear Closet for Richard to demo, and checked out Gold Passes to hit the slopes. A couple of Richard’s friends as well as Ashleigh’s husband joined them for some laps at Park City. As they spent the day skiing, they realized that her husband and Richard were even stationed at the same base during their time in the U.S. Marine Corps. Small world!

That summer, Richard and his family were planning a trip to Jackson Hole, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone National Parks. Ashleigh had been planning to meet them and show them her favorite spots in Wyoming, but they had to cancel their plans due to the pandemic. Since she knew how excited the kids were for the trip and that they are huge Patagonia fans, she sent them t-shirts and hats, delivered on the day they were supposed to leave.


Ashleigh has become a great friend over the years and we are so lucky to have our favorite Gearhead only a call or email away. –Richard

Your Turn

Ready to connect with a Gearhead? Call 1-800-409-4502 or chat online for expert advice, help with your order, or just to talk adventure.