Just for Girls: Ski & Snowboard Programs Encourage Women to Tackle Tougher Slopes

Women's Camp at Whistler Blackcomb - ©Whistler Blackcomb

A group of skiers receive instruction at one of Whistler Blackcomb's camps for women.

Copyright: Whistler Blackcomb

Ski and snowboard programs just for women give participants big payouts on the snow. With the programs focusing on building confidence, women can step up skills to make gains in skiing and snowboarding. Coached by women, the programs support female skiers to tackle new challenges on skis or snowboards.

“Some may assume female coaches are more empathetic and more attentive,” Heather Bilodeau, Arc’teryx Women’s Camp coordinator at Whistler Blackcomb, says of the value of women teaching women. Those things notwithstanding, the real success of women coaching women is that we know women’s tipping point, when they are ready to push it and how to seize that opportunity.”

Bilodeau sums up the success of the technique she uses in the Whistler Blackcomb camps: “We will never ever take you out of your safety zone...but we will launch you out of your comfort zone.”

Whistler Blackcomb's camps for women are offered several times during winter. - ©Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Blackcomb's camps for women are offered several times during winter.

Copyright: Whistler Blackcomb

Most women’s camps run for 2-4 days, with added perks thrown in that help develop camaraderie, and hence support for each other. Rates vary between the programs, which come with or without lift tickets. Some camps also package the programs with lodging.

The Arc'teryx Women’s Ski Camps at Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia opens the program to skiers and snowboarders with skill levels across the spectrum, beginners to advanced. The program compresses instruction into a two-day format. Participants spend all day on the snow with top female instructors and finish the second day with an après party. The women’s camps take place Jan. 10-11, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, Feb. 21-22, March 7-8, and March 28-29.

Four other women’s programs are for skiers only. They target intermediate skiers who want to develop the confidence and skills to tackle off-groomed conditions, including powder, steeps and bumps. The programs are also for advanced skiers who already ski black diamonds, but need to strengthen skills and confidence for tougher lines.

Three-time Olympian Stacey Cook leads a women's only ski camp at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. - ©Peter Morning/Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

Three-time Olympian Stacey Cook leads a women's only ski camp at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.

Copyright: Peter Morning/Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

Mammoth Mountain in California offers four ski camps for women this winter. The three-day camps include five hours of lessons each day, an equipment clinic, video analysis and finishes with an après party. Camps are slated Jan. 17-19, Feb. 9-11, March 13-15, and April 10-12. Lodging is not included in the camp, so you can choose where to stay in Mammoth.

At Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming, the four-day Elevate women’s ski camp combines instruction from professional skiers and expert teachers with luxury lodging and off-hill activities. Accommodations are in Teton Mountain Lodge, located slopeside in Teton Village. The program’s first session runs Jan. 19-23, and the second session is scheduled for March 3-7.

At Snowbird in Utah, two women’s camp sessions offer opportunities for improving skills. The first session, a three-day camp, runs Jan. 9-12 while the second session, a four-day camp, runs March 8-12. Both programs begin with a welcome reception and add in video analysis, but the March program includes a spa treatment.

Skiers cut up a groomer in a women's camp at Snowbird. - ©Dan Campbell

Skiers cut up a groomer in a women's camp at Snowbird.

Copyright: Dan Campbell

Coming up in Aspen Jan. 10-13, pro skier, Kim Reichhelm offers a three-day Women's Ski Adventure designed for intermediate to advanced skiers looking to improve technique and confidence, learn about proper equipment and break through to the next level. Gear demos are included in the clinic price, and Reichhelm will additionally host the clinic at Vail, Feb. 23-26, 2015. 

Also taking advantage of Vail's varied slopes, Her Turn is the longest running women’s program with the Vail Ski and Snowboard School. Happening Jan. 23-25, 2015, and Feb. 27-March 1, this three-day clinic breaks skiers into groups based on skill level and goals, with a full team of hand-selected women instructors who will coach and evaluate on both a group and individual level. 

California’s Lake Tahoe has a women’s program, too. At Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, intermediate and advanced female skiers can concentrate on improving skills in a three-day camp. Lunch, video analysis, a boot clinic and après events are included in the program. The camp is scheduled March 1-3.

For women wanting to tackle tougher slopes, a girls-only program just might be the ticket to get you there.

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