by Kristen Lummis,BraveSkiMom
Ill readily admit that when I was younger, I didnt want to ski like a girl. Instead, I wanted to ski with the boys and beat them. Skiing like a girl sounded kind of wimpy to me.
My how times have changed.
Now, that Im older (and wiser), I love skiing with my girlfriends. And I think lots of other women do, too.
Its not that we dont like skiing with our husbands, boyfriends and other guys. We do. But theres a different energy when a group of women get together on snow.
From Groomed to Glades
I experienced this energy first-hand at Powderhorn Mountain Resort on a snowy day in January when I dropped in for a Ski Like a Girl clinic.
Open to women of all abilities, Ski Like a Girl meets once a week for four weeks. Participants are divided according to their ability and goals. On the day I visited, 12 of snow had fallen overnight, so everyone shared the same goal: ski powder.
As we rode up the new high-speed lift, one of the participants, a woman named Mary, shared that she had only recently begun skiing and was uncomfortable off of groomed terrain. She told us she was nervous, if not scared, about the new snow.
Still, she was totally game to try.
By the end of the morning, Mary had skied her first glade. Not only was she more comfortable in deep snow than at the start of the day, but shed learned how to control her speed and maneuver in widely spaced trees.
With a smile a mile wide, Mary came roaring out of a glade called Yoo Hoo. Filled with exuberance and joy, she wiped out in a huge pile of fluffy snow.
We all cheered.
Laughing as she righted herself, Mary exclaimed That was my first glade. I would never have skied it without this group.
We all cheered again.
When I asked the women at Powderhorn why they were participating in Ski Like A Girl, they each emphasized improving their skiing and snowboarding skills.
Many of them started skiing as adults, often with a boyfriend or husband. And while they enjoyed skiing enough to keep at it, they were ready to ski or ride on their own terms.
One of the most interesting answers I got was from Nell, an avid skier and flyfisher.
I took a womens flyfishing clinic last summer, she explained. I was forced to do everything myself, from choosing the fly to deciding how to cast. I loved it and decided that Id like to experience that same self-sufficiency in skiing.
Why It Works
Research shows that men and women learn differently and that women often thrive in collaborative environments. Even if they are strangers, women enjoy nurturing one another.
Stephanie Reynolds, Powderhorn Ski and Snowboard Manager and PSIA Examiner, explains it this way.
Im passionate about Ski Like a Girl because its an opportunity to support other women in improving and enhancing their skiing skills.
Women are going in a million different directions taking care of their family and others, so this program is a way for women to do something for themselves.
We celebrate achievements, create friendships and explore all types of terrain in a supportive, non-competitive environment.
And did I mention that we cheer?
No matter where you ski in Colorado, you can find plenty of supportive, fun and challenging programs for women. Some of these programs are multi-day (or week), but most welcome one-time drop-ins. Others are single day events. For more information check the resort websites.
Arapahoe Basin: Legendary Ladies Alpine Ski, Telemark and Snowboard Series
Aspen Snowmass: Womens Edge Four-Day Lesson Program
Copper Mountain: Womens Wednesdays
Crested Butte: Womens Tips on Tuesdays
Eldora: Womens Days
Loveland: Womens Wednesday
Monarch: Womens Edventures; Womens Wednesdays
Powderhorn: Ski Like a Girl
Purgatory: Womens Ski Weekend
Silverton: Book a private guide for a group of female friends
Steamboat: Womens Ski Camp
Telluride: Womens Ski and Wellness Week
Wolf Creek: Ladies Ski and Snowboard Clinics