If someone had told me years ago that I’d be going on ski vacations with a bunch of people I’d met on the internet, I’d have thought they were six eggs short of a dozen.
Sure, it sounds crazy. But when you think about it, it’s not that crazy at all. Because this isn’t really a group of strangers. It’s the women from TheSkiDiva.com.
Each year we have two gatherings — one in the west and one in the east. These have become an annual tradition and the high points of my ski season. They’re a wonderful way to get to know the people behind the user names. And they’re always an absolute blast.
Some of the women return each year, and they’ve become close friends — with relationships that exist even off the forum. And then there are those who show up for the very first time. These are the ones I admire the most. Traveling to a place far from home to get together with people you’ve never met is a tremendous act of faith. I credit the friendly, supportive nature of the forum for giving them the confidence to do this.
We’ve just completed our sixth Western gathering (we call this Diva West). Over the years, we’ve done Solitude/Alta, Summit County, Tahoe, Steamboat, Big Sky, and this year, Snowbasin and Powder Mountain. There’ve been fewer eastern gatherings (Diva East), but the list includes Okemo, Killington, Sugarloaf, and this year, Stowe. Every year I think the gathering we’ve just had is the best one yet. But the truth is, they’ve all been wonderful. And while the skiing is incredibly fun, it’s only part of the picture. Of greater importance are the bonds we form and the experiences we share, on and off the hill.
Some of the women have told me that without the forum, they’d never have the chance to go on a trip like this. That the trips give them a chance to improve their skiing, to try new things, and to become more confident skiers. Occasionally we have clinics, but more often we learn from one another. Many who come have no women friends who ski and are delighted to get together with women who share their passion for the sport.
The past week at Snowbasin and Powder Mountain was magical. Once again, I made new friends, did new things (cat skiing!), and as always, learned from some great women skiers. And once again, I was blown away by the quality of the women who attended, and by the way they support one another, even though they’ve only just met. It’s a testament not only to the power of skiing, but to the power of TheSkiDiva, too.
When I started this post, I said this was something that years ago I would’ve considered positively nuts. Now I think I’d be nuts not to do it.
‘Til next year.