Sisterhood on the Mountain
Photo: Rob Bossi/The Canyons® Resort
The young girls in matching pastel onesies and the sleek women racers in spandex are taking to the hills around Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah. There is a growing number of women’s ski and snowboard camps in the area, so whether you’re looking for a single lesson or prefer a full ski vacation, there’s a resort in Utah just for you.
The Canyons Resort
On the extravagant end of the vacation spectrum is the SnoDaisy Snowboard Camp, hosted at the Canyons Resort. Lizzie Dowd, public relations director for the Canyons, describes it as a “luxe camp for advanced beginner to intermediate snowboarders.” This is one of those all-inclusive, après ride (fancy term for activities after skiing) camps—and includes accommodations at the Grand Summit Hotel, a champagne reception, a spa treatment, sleigh rides and a chauffeur service to and from the airport. They also provide you with a free snowboard, bindings and boots to take home. If you’re a high-fashion glam girl, this is a glass slipper that should fit. Camps run throughout January, February and March.
Ski bunnies can also get into Holly Flanders Three-Day Women’s Workshops, hosted by the world champion skier and former Olympian at the Canyons. The goal of these programs is to “enable women to improve their skiing in an atmosphere of support and friendship.” Designed for intermediate skiers, this workshop is taught by Flanders and other world-class female skiers. If you really want to hone your skills and learn from the best, this is the place to go. This year’s dates are Jan. 9–11, Feb. 6–8, and March 6–8.
Deer Valley Resort
For Utah residents, the Women on Wednesdays program at Deer Valley is your best bet. Hosting small groups, Deer Valley lives up to its reputation for catering to its clientele. Rated the No. 1 resort by Ski magazine, Deer Valley is one of Utah’s few ski-only resorts. So leave your board at home and try out the two planks. This class runs five consecutive Wednesdays. This year’s dates are Jan. 14–Feb. 11.
Alta Ski Resort
This ski-only resort offers the greatest variety of women-only workshops. The Goddess Off Trail Funshop sounds more like a sex shop than a ski clinic, but we’re pretty sure it’s the latter. It’s designed to satisfy the intermediate to advanced skier’s desire to get off the groomed slopes. Touted as a “sisterhood of the mountain,” they’ll show you secret off-trail spots and teach you the techniques to master them. If you’re tough enough for the backcountry, there’s no better group of girls to show it to you. This year’s clinic is March 2–3.
Ladies Day, held six Thursday mornings in a row, is aimed at creating a community of “like-minded” (read: snow-obsessed) women. Each day features a new discussion topic or workshop and builds on the last. If making friends is more important than developing your skills, try the Tuesday morning Ski With the Girls. It’s free, there’s coffee and you get to meet some local skiers. This year’s dates are Jan. 8–Feb. 12.
Alta’s yearly Women’s Ski Camp is the tried-and-true women’s ski vacation—not too frilly, yet all-inclusive—three days of skiing, four nights’ lodging, lift tickets, ski clinics and a nightly four-course meal. This year’s camp is held Jan. 22–26.
Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort
This four-day Women’s Ski Camp is designed for the intermediate skier and focuses on small groups and one-on-one coaching. The camp stresses “a supportive peer environment” and listening “to your body, mind and spirit,” so if the yogic approach is what gets you down the black diamond, this is your camp. With its menu of add-ons, including spa access, telemark lessons and snowshoeing, you can pick and choose the vacation you want. This year’s camps run Jan. 18–22 and March 15–19.
Snowbird’s three-day Women’s Snowboard Camp has pick-and-choose options and focuses on mastering the hill—steep grades, challenging chutes, thick powder and heavy trees. But don’t be scared off; the instructors gear everything to your individual ability level. The sessions are held Jan. 2–5 and March 6–9.