The Portland Metro area has gotten a crazy amount of snow this winter, and while some (many) are ready for the high sun of summer, others couldn’t be happier about the current state of affairs. One such person is Jessie Elko.
Originally from perpetually snow-less Savannah, Georgia, Jessie moved to Portland when she was a teenager and was immediately stricken with the fine, white powder she saw blanketing majestic Mount Hood.
“When we first moved here it was winter,” she says, “and Mount Hood was covered in snow. It fascinated me. For some reason, I knew that day that I wanted to do something related to playing in the snow.”
Although Jessie’s parents were initially skeptical, her father eventually came around, recognizing the fiery drive his daughter had for slopes, an endeavor often dominated by men.”
“I saw all these boys doing amazing tricks on a snowboard and I felt really compelled to become a snowboarder,” she says. “I think my dad got tired of me harping on him about it so he bought me a beginner’s board and some cheap equipment for Christmas.”
What, no skis?
“I equated skiing with old people,” she says with a laugh.
Before long, Jessie found herself spending as much time as she could on the mountain, all while she studied the most amazingly exciting of majors at PSU… accounting.
“I know it seems weird, but I figured the only way to support my snowboarding habit was to get a job in a field that wouldn’t go away anytime soon,” she explains with a smile. “Money will likely be around forever, so that’s job security and snowboarding.”
The fact that she links the two speaks volumes. Even more telling is that despite her adventurous spirit, she loves her job.
“I don’t mind sitting in an office all day,” she says. “I just think about hitting the slopes on the weekend and it makes it all better.”
But what does she do when there’s no snow on the mountain?
“I also model and I love to hike,” she pauses, “but really I find excuses to travel to places where there is snow, even in the summer.”
From modeling to snowboarding to crunching the numbers, Jessie apparently does it all. With such a renaissance women enriching our local culture, it’s no wonder people like her are drawn to Portland.
“I love Portland so much,” she says with a burst of enthusiasm. “Although I still have family back in Georgia, this is my home, and it always will be.”
Adding to the culture, both on and off the slopes, Jessie is a perfect representation of PDX People pride. Now if only we could somehow keep her here more even in the summer months.
William Bessette – PDX People Contributor
William Bessette is a journalist and freelance writer who has been covering politics, entertainment, culture and travel for over thirteen years. When he’s not profiling Portland-area restaurants and residents, you can find him reporting on national and international travel and eco-tourism through his travel brand, Floppy Hat Adventures.