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Help Needed: What Kinds of Women's Programs Would You Like To See?

I know nothing about advanced clinics, of course, but I will say I successfully, if cautiously, skied the only black trail that was open last year. When I was a cautious intermediate.

And, since I know nothing about this, I’ll offer an opinion: an advanced clinic would probably have to emphasize some specific technique, since the advanced terrain is limited.

Okay, enough of that arrogance. Here’s a link The beginning of skiing! to some fascinating history. AND, since @snowski/swimmouse has skied there since childhood, her gear is displayed on the wall! Also, she is very generous with showing one around the mountain and stories from the old days. And skiing is ridiculously cheap there on week days! $35! $30 for the aged.
And, since I know nothing about this, I’ll offer an opinion: an advanced clinic would probably have to emphasize some specific technique, since the advanced terrain is limited.
Not exactly. What happens at an advanced level is that improving technique involves dealing with more subtle movements. Sometimes the only way to feel the difference is on easier terrain, meaning that learning starts on blue or even green trails. Improving fundamentals at a small ski area really does make a difference for later skiing at a big destination resort. I say that based on my experience at Massanutten over 5-6 years of taking lessons as an advanced skier. Including a multi-week program for Level 7/8 (of 9) skiers. Massanutten is even smaller than Suicide Six in total acreage, although it does have 1100 ft vertical, with 850 ft for the two blacks off the summit lift (Lift 6 loads mid-mountain).

Last winter, there were was no black terrain open at Taos during the week that I and a few other advanced Divas were doing a Ski Week (6 morning lessons in a row). That meant we worked on groomers pretty much the entire week. We all learned a great deal that applied directly to skiing on much more challenging terrain later on, including bumps, chopped up snow after a snowstorm, and deep powder.

The advanced multi-day program at Liberty near DC is very effective for people willing to practice. Liberty is about the same size and vertical as Suicide Six, and 100% snowmaking. Probably only averages 15 inches of natural snow per season.


Staff member
So, one more question: We're planning to offer afternoon off-snow clinics on tuning/waxing, video analysis, and ski demos. We could feasibly offer all of the three in one afternoon if participants had different interests.

What do you think of that lineup, and are we missing anything?

Thanks! I'm grateful for all the input!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I'm curious if you would have enough attendance in one day to make 3 different groups, if you are planning to do a series of lessons, I would think including a different topic each time would be a better fit?

Other ideas for clinics:
-Boot fitting/leg/foot anatomy
-Sports psychology/dealing with fear
-Ski specific fitness/injury prevention
-Layering/dressing for success on the hill

Will the ski demos be on snow or off snow (since you say these are off snow clinics)? I do think you could do a cool clinic just on skis in general (difference between rocker/camber, lengths and shapes, all mountain vs. front side vs. park skis), history of ski equipment would be really cool too! And will the video analysis be from the participants lesson in the morning or "stock" footage?


Angel Diva
I second boot fitting, but without a sales emphasis. Meaning, learn why certain boots fit certain people better than others, learn whether your foot is high volume/low volume, here's an example of a boot you shouldn't have vs one you should, that kind of thing. I'd have been well-served early on to have some tangible examples of what was good and what was bad. Than maybe I wouldn't have been sitting on a hill at Keystone while my ski and boot were quite a few yards away me!


Certified Ski Diva
I've skied at Suicide Six a number of times and really enjoy it! Some thoughts - if you haven't already, time the clinic to begin 30 minutes after any children's clinic/team events. It'll make it easier for mom's and also clear out some space in the lodge, which can be a little crazy on weekend mornings. Consider tweaking "Full Day" to indicate that there is some flexibility in timing. I rarely have a full day for a clinic, but I would definitely do the morning version of this clinic (especially at such a fair price!!). I might skip over the details if I saw "Full Day" in the title. Best of luck with it!


Angel Diva
@SallyCat - I think the three afternoon options are a good mix. I really hope to attend one of these sessions this winter. If I do, it will be because I take a last minute day off, and it would be nice to have the opportunity to take my first choice afternoon session, rather than have to take whatever afternoon session is offered on a specific day.


Staff member
@Tvan that's what we were thinking: trying to offer people what they were actually interested in. A participant could only do one workshop, but we could offer all three if there really was interest across the group. The demos would be handled by the shop, I could lead tuning, and the instructors would do video analysis.

I imagine that for our first foray, we'll simply talk to people at lunch and see what they want to do.

@Marta_P Thanks for those great suggestions. I hope the afternoon has enough flexibility built in to meet a broad range of interests, but also the price is so low that even if you left after lunch you'd still (I think!) feel as though you received good value for the money.

@santacruz skier Yes, but just one workshop per participant; We could offer all three and they would choose.


Staff member
Hello all, and thank you again for your wonderful, generous help in this thread!

Reporting from the end of the season I can say that the clinics we offered were severely under-attended due to frustratingly anemic marketing by the resort. There never seemed to be any interest in developing a promotional strategy by either the marketing department or the mountain management, which was a bummer, because they were really great clinics. I hope they run next year with more robust promotion and encourage anyone in the northeast to seek out the program.

The women who did manage to find us, though, reported that the clinics provided excellent instruction and great value. The S6 ski school has truly fantastic instructors who were eager to participate in the women's program, and from my perspective, it was a privilege to be on the snow with them.

Our last clinic was taught by a male instructor due to our female staff being battered by illness. I spoke with the participants ahead of time to make sure everyone was ok with that decision, explaining that given the situation, we wanted to err on the side of quality instruction (not that the women on hand were not excellent, but they tended to specialize in children's instruction and weren't really the best fit for the group). Everyone seemed ok with the male instructor, who was very experienced and really one of the most outstanding instructors I've ever worked with as a student or supervisor and had the perfect personality/demeanor for the task (thoughtful, empathetic, and conscientious). So while not what we'd planned, I think that day worked well.

One of my favorite moments was in the afternoon of a rainy day, when the clinic participants stayed out until 2pm having a blast on the softening snow, then came in for cocktails. We gathered around a tuning bench and I taught those who were interested how to do basic edge care and waxing while we all chatted about the day. The format sort of developed organically: less a formal "lesson" and more just socializing, so that those who were uninterested in tuning were enjoying themselves as well. I loved spending time with the groups at the end of the day because the informal socializing gave me incredible insight into how we experience clinics and instruction, what brings women to skiing, what sort of plateaus we get stuck on, and on and on and on. It was an amazingly rich experience.

In anonymous follow-up surveys, we were able to tweak a few things (timing of after-lunch stuff to get back on the snow more quickly, streamlining logistics to make things run more smoothly and efficiently, e.g.).

So all in all, it was a successful, if lightly-attended, first run. I'm back to teaching high school history this fall, but definitely keep your eyes out to see what they decide to offer next season.

Thanks again for all of your help!

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