If you’re thinking about taking a women’s clinic, you’re in luck; there are plenty to choose from. Women’s clinics have pretty much become a staple in resort ski school offerings. Why? Well, a lot of women prefer learning in a testosterone-free environment. Women’s clinics focus on building skills and confidence while providing the camaraderie that comes from skiing in a group of women and working with skilled female instructors. Research actually shows that women are more supportive and men more competitive in a learning situation. And this can carry over to the ski hill, too.
I’ve reviewed a few women’s clinics — The Women’s Discovery Program at Sugarbush (VT), Women’s Alpine Adventures at Okemo (VT), and Donna Weinbrecht’s Ski Camp at Killington (VT) — and yes, I’m a fan. Other members of TheSkiDiva community are, too. Here’s a sample of what they have to say:
• I go every year to at least one of the women’s clinics they have at my local resort. They are fun and it’s great to learn some new tips and have a blast skiing with other women. I like them because they are just a supportive group of skiers and each one of us encourages everyone throughout the lesson – something I certainly don’t get in other types of lessons.
• I have taken both co-ed and women only clinics. I prefer the women only because I feel that with other women the atmosphere is supportive and not so competitive. Every time I’ve been in a co-ed class, there’s been one guy who thinks he knows more than the instructor. Then the whole goal of the class changes to a competition between the two and I get lost. In co-ed classes I’ve been subjected to feedback from a guy in the class when I prefer to get my feedback from the instructor. The pace in a womens-only clinic meets my needs, too. We stop for bathroom breaks as needed and to get warm if it’s really cold. Other women share what they think I’m doing well, not what I’m doing poorly. They encourage me to take steps outside my comfort zone but don’t slam me if I should choose not to take that step. And I laugh more on the lifts.
• For me, being in a womens-only clinic isn’t just about learning something about skiing that’s significantly different than how men ski (although I did have a lesson with a female instructor when I was getting ready for my level 2 that told me I needed to ski with my legs wider and less knock-kneed because that is how men ski and the male PSIA examiners prefer to see that… Sheesh). It’s more about being in an environment when a man — either the instructor or other skier — isn’t going to mansplain to you, isn’t going to jump in before you have a chance to ask or answer a question, and isn’t going to turn it into a competition when it doesn’t need to be. So fostering the female comraderie and support is really important.
• I opted for the women-only because it was the only clinic offered in my area. It turned out to be really fantastic. One of my instructors was very focused on the difference in the center of gravity between men and women, so the main reason I went to the clinic the first time was to hear more on that subject. The best thing about them — I’ve done two — was meeting new ski buddies. I met two wonderful ladies that I’ve stayed in touch with though we haven’t been able to coordinate skiing again yet. There really wasn’t anything I disliked, other than I wished more folks were signed up. I agree with the other posters — there is a relaxed vibe, we have a great time, we can kvetch about skiing at “that time of the month,” etc. Plus the clinic organizer makes the most awesome goodie bags ever. She sent me one while I was recovering from breast cancer surgery (she is also a survivor) that blew me away. Again, that made-a-new-friend thing…love it.
That said, women’s clinics aren’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Everyone’s learning style is different, and a co-ed clinic might be fine for you. But if you’ve been looking for a women’s clinic, here are some to consider:
- Women’s Wednesdays, Alyeska, AK: Session 1: 1/9, 16, 23 & 30; Session 2: 2/6, 13, 20, & 27; Session 3: March 20, 27, April 3 & 10
- Women of Winter Clinic, Squaw Valley, CA – Alpine Meadows: Wednesdays at Squaw, Sundays at Alpine
- Legendary Ladies, A-Basin, CO: Session 1: 1/9, 16, 23; Session 2: 1/30; 2/6, 13; Session 3: 2/20, 27; 3/6
- Women’s Wednesdays, Copper, CO: 1/9, 16, 23, 30; 2/6, 13, 27; 3/6
- Women’s Days, Eldora Mountain Resort: 10, 6, or 4 week sessions available. Contact resort for details.
- Women’s Edge, Aspen Snowmass, CO: contact resort for dates
- GirlzOnEdge: Vail, CO, contact resort for dates
- BettyFest Weekends for Women, Keystone, CO: contact resort for dates
- Women’s Program @ Loveland Ski Area, Loveland, CO, Session 1: January 10, 17, 24, & 31
Session 2: February 7, 14, 21, & 28
- Kim Reichhlem’s Women’s Ski Adventures: Vail, CO, 1/7-10; Aspen, CO, 1/14-17; Alta, UT, 2/4-7; Crested Butte, 2/11-14; Big Sky, MT, 3/11-14
- Women’s Ski Camp, Steamboat, CO: 1/8-10; 2/5-7; 3/5-7
- Women’s Week, Telluride, CO: 1/18-20; 2/3-7; 3/1-3
- Her Turn, Vail, CO: 1/25-27; 3/1-2
- Women’s Clinic, Big Sky, MT: 1/19-21
- Women’s Tuesdays, Sunapee, NH: contact resort for dates
- Ladies Escape, Gore, NY: 6 Wednesdays or Thursdays throughout the season, dates TBA. Also Women’s Only 2-day clinic, dates TBA
- Your Turn, Holiday Valley, NY: 1/24-25
- Whitetail Women’s Clinics, Whitetail Ski Resort, PA: Women’s Days, 1/4; 1/18; 2/8; Women of Whitetail Ski Academy, five weekends (one or two days) starting 1/5.
- Women on Wednesday, Deer Valley, UT: 1/9, 16, 23, 30, 2/6
Women’s Weekends, Deer Valley, UT: 2/1-3
- SheSkis Women’s Clinic, Powder Mountain, UT: First session, 1/5, 12, 19, 26; Second session, 2/2, 9, 23, 3/2
- Snowbird Women’s Ski Camp, Snowbird, UT: 1/10-13; 3/10-14
- Alta Ladies Day, Alta, UT, Thursdays 1/10-1/14
- Alta Lodge Women’s Camp, Alta, UT: Advanced-Expert camp, 1/13-17; Intermediate-Advanced camp, 1/24-28; 3/3-7
- Women’s Alpine Adventures, Okemo, VT: 1/28-2/1; 2/7-8; 2/10-11; 3/7-8
- Women’s Discovery Camp, Sugarbush, VT: contact resort for dates
- Donna Weinbrecht Ski Camp, Killington, VT: 1/26-27; 2/23-24
- Women On Snow Camp, Stratton, VT: Dates TBA
Green Mountain Women, Stratton, VT: Wednesdays weekly throughout the season
- Suicide Six Women’s Clinic, Woodstock, VT: 1/13, 1/27, 2/10, 2/24, 3/3
- Elevate Women’s Ski Camp, Jackson Hole, WY: 1/14-18
- The North Face Women’s Camps, WhistlerBlackcomb, BC, Canada: 12/8-9; 1/23-13; 1/26-27; 2/16-17; 3/9-10; 3/30-31
- Ladies Only Multiweek Program, Lake Louise, AB, Canada: 6 week or 9 week programs, starts 1/9 & 1/10
- Rippin’ Chix Steep Camps, various locations: Whitewater, BC, 1/12-13; Silverton, CO, 1/26-27; Crystal, BC, 3/4-5, 3/7-8; Alta, UT, TBA; Red Mountain, BC, TBA
- Divas on Skis, Mount Sutton, Quebec: 6 consecutive Thursdays, contact resort for dates
- Sun Peaks Ladies Clinics, Sun Peaks, BC: contact resort for information
- Girlsdoski Freeski Camps: Various locations, contact for dates