Introducing our Newest Team Member...

government & community affairs assistant, Erica!

Erica Backhus

Erica Backhus

Government & Community Affairs Assistant

Having grown up on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, my passion for my home and the entirety of the Sierra Nevada region began as far back as I can remember. Like many local Tahoe kids, my parents had me on skis before I could walk. Beginning at age four I was spending every weekend during the winter months on the Palisades Tahoe Mighty Might program, and by the time I was in high school, I had transitioned into a full-time competitive freeride skier on the Palisades Tahoe Big Mountain Team. 

This transition, however, corresponded perfectly with the infamous 5-year California drought we experienced from 2012-2017. It seemed as though the instant I began to truly fall in love with skiing, winter stopped showing up. I had never experienced anything like it before. I vividly remember our team spending our holiday break of the 2011/2012 ski season hiking up the mountain rather than skiing down it due to lack of snow. It left me feeling confused, frustrated and curious as to why something I was always able to rely on was disappearing out from under me.

Erica Backhus in backcountry ski gear
SBC's new government & community affairs assistant Erica Backus

As I continued to grow as a skier and a student, climate change remained at the peak of my focus. After high school, I attended the University of Colorado, Boulder, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs with a concentration in Global Environmental Affairs. I knew that solutions to the climate emergency and environmental protection meant more than just me bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, and that if we want to be effective in combating it, we would need global, policy-based solutions. 

Immediately following my college graduation in 2020, our country was facing arguably the most important election of our lifetimes. I moved back to the Tahoe basin and joined Brynne Kennedy’s congressional campaign, who was running against avid climate denier Rep. Tom McClintock. My time as the North Lake Tahoe and Truckee field organizer on Brynne’s campaign was incredibly rewarding. I truly learned how much passion I had for protecting the Sierra Nevada region. Although Brynne did not win, the skills, lessons and local connections I gathered from her campaign will last a lifetime. 

I left the campaign feeling more determined than ever to continue the fight in preserving and protecting the places I love most. When the opportunity arose to join the team at Sierra Business Council, I knew it was a perfect fit. I couldn’t imagine an organization that aligns so seamlessly with my ideals, values, and passion that I hold for the place I call home. 

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