When Donna Weinbrecht gives you tips about skiing moguls, you listen.
Donna’s a three-time Olympian who’s won 46 individual World Cup mogul events, two silver medals at the ’89 and ’97 World Championships, and the pièce de résistance: the first Olympic gold in freestyle skiing in the 1992 Olympics. She’s also the star attraction of Killington’s Donna Weinbrecht Women’s Ski Camp, offered for five days in January and two in February. So when they invited me to attend the two-day camp, I jumped at the chance. I mean, how often do I get the chance to ski with an Olympic gold medalist?
Which is how I ended up in Killington’s Snowshed Lodge early on February 18, booting up with 24 other women who’d registered for the camp. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Killington had just had more than 2 feet of snow, and the first day of the camp brought even more. I was excited. I was ready. I was willing to learn.
The camp began with a short welcome speech, after which we were split into four groups among four instructors, based upon our abilities and the skills we wanted to work on. My group wanted to concentrate on moguls. So we spent our first morning in the bumps, practicing drills and getting feedback from our instructor, Leslie, a Level 3 with a great personality and an infectious laugh. After a noon buffet lunch in the the Killington Grand Hotel, we were videoed for analysis later in the day. And after that, we were joined by Donna Weinbrecht herself. The idea is for Donna to float from one group to the next, throughout the course of the camp. She spent half a day with us, offering tips and showing us how it’s done. It’s pretty incredible to watch her ski. Her pony tail doesn’t even move as she glides — yes, glides — through the bumps. Oh, if only I could ski like that…….
Day One ended with review of the video. Some people are pro-video, some aren’t. Me, I think it’s a good thing. I like how it allows me to see how I’m skiing and what I need to work on. The instructors gave me a good analysis……..which led to Day Two, where we spent the morning, again skiing the bumps, and the afternoon playing in the trees. Conditions were so good that we just couldn’t stay out. No, my group didn’t ski with Donna again. But we had the chance to work the great tips she gave us, along with those offered by our instructor, Leslie.
So what were the pros of the Donna Weinbrecht Ski Camp?
• It’s for women only, with female instructors. Why is this a good thing? Go here to see what members of TheSkiDiva.com have to say about it. Bottom line: it’s fun to ski with other women in a testosertone-free environment.
• Donna Weinbrecht! Need I say more? In addition to being a sweet, unassuming, and generous human being, Donna knows her stuff. It was a real treat to ski with her and get feedback from one of the best in the world! (BTW, you can see my interview with Donna here.)
• Accomplished, friendly instructors. The clinic offered a good mixture of fun and learning.
• Killington has good terrain for learning to ski bumps, trees, and just about anything else you want to work on. It’s The Beast of the East! A great venue for a clinic.
And what were the cons?
• It took a bit to get organized the first morning. I would’ve expected better, since this wasn’t the first time they’d had this camp.
• The video taping also took a bit longer than I expected. We were all videoed at the same time, and I think it could’ve been handled a bit more efficiently.
• My group had seven people in it the first day, five on the second (two didn’t show up). And though seven wasn’t really a problem, five was much better.
The bottom line:
Is it worth the money? Yes. The two day camp costs $299, which includes instruction, lift tickets, video analysis, and lunch. A good deal, in my book. Did I learn anything? Most definitely. I got some great tips that I’ll be working on in the days ahead. Was it fun? Absolutely. And that’s what it’s all about.
I think Killington’s women’s camps are done for the year. However, the resort is offering a two-day mogul camp with Donna, March 22-23. It may not be too late to sign up.