SHARPEN YOUR SNOW SKILLS

Women’s Camps

Whistler Traveller Magazine - - TRAVELLER I CONTENT - STORY BY MAGEE WALKER

You might think ski school is just for kids, or for peo­ple just learn­ing how to ski. Well, think again – there is a lot more to ski school than bunny hills, pizza and French fries. There are plenty of ski school pro­grams geared to­wards chil­dren and for be­gin­ners of all ages, but there are also pro­grams for adults of all abil­i­ties. Whistler Black­comb’s Arc’teryx Women’s Ski Camp pre­sented by Gore-Tex and Show­case Women’s Snow­board Camp pre­sented by Oak­ley and Gore-Tex are two such ex­am­ples. These two-day-long, women’s-only camps take place over select week­ends through­out the win­ter. What­ever your abil­ity level, one thing is guar­an­teed: You’ll walk away from camp a stronger skier or snow­boarder. A self-re­ported as­sess­ment of your skills will help de­ter­mine which group you are placed in, though at­ten­dees are wel­come to switch lev­els through­out the week­end. Groups are rel­a­tively small, with only six pupils per coach. The week­end starts with a meet­ing and some pre-camp fuel. Groups then pro­ceed up the moun­tain for a ses­sion of sports-ap­pro­pri­ate warm-up stretches and ex­er­cises. Re­gard­less of what level you’re placed in, each les­son fo­cuses on tack­ling the fun­da­men­tals. Af­ter all, a rock solid foun­da­tion is the key to pro­gres­sion. The beauty of the women’s camps lies in the flex­i­bil­ity of the cur­ricu­lum. Groups are able to de­cide the skills they’d like to fo­cus on based on cur­rent snow con­di­tions and per­sonal goals. For in­stance, on the early spring week­end I at­tended the camp, my group de­cided to tackle the ter­rain park. We warmed up on some of the moun­tain’s best runs, skip­ping the lift lines with ac­cess to the snow school line, then worked on me­chan­ics and skills be­fore fi­nally set­ting foot (er, board) in the park it­self. By the time we were ready to at­tack our first fea­tures, I felt more con­fi­dent.

Ski coach Kim Ped­er­sen, who has coached Olympic ath­letes Mike Janyk and Ash­leigh McIvor, agrees. “Coach­ing the women’s camps has been great,” she says. “The multi-day as­pect of the camps gives you the time to truly ac­quire a new un­der­stand­ing or skill, and the abil­ity to test these skills in dif­fer­ent ter­rain and snow con­di­tions.” From go­ing over the me­chan­ics of women-spe­cific gear to pro­vid­ing tips and tricks from a phys­i­o­log­i­cal point of view, there is a key dif­fer­ence in at­tend­ing a fe­male-ori­ented snow school les­son. “Ev­ery in­di­vid­ual is dif­fer­ent,” Kelsey says, “but fe­male rid­ers of­ten have chal­lenges with their con­fi­dence, and at all lev­els feel hes­i­tant to push them­selves out­side their com­fort zone. What we of­fer at women’s camps is safe, step-by-step pro­gres­sion of skills, learn­ing from fe­male coaches who un­der­stand how to sup­port you, and also know when to push you.” By def­i­ni­tion, pro­gres­sion re­quires push­ing through com­fort zones and test­ing your bound­aries. The camp cul­ti­vates a sup­port­ive, en­cour­ag­ing en­vi­ron­ment that pro­vides you with the skill set needed to take it to the next level, while re­spect­ing your per­sonal risk tol­er­ance lev­els. There­fore, don’t be sur­prised if you sur­pass your own ex­pec­ta­tions. By the end of the week­end, my co-at­tendee, who swore she wouldn’t so much as touch a box in the park, was do­ing back­side board­slides like a pro­fes­sional. to sup­port the Howe Sound Women’s Cen­tre. It’s the per­fect way to min­gle with other at­ten­dees, make new friends, and rem­i­nisce on the day’s suc­cesses and tum­bles. Kelsey sums it up best: “At women’s camps, each woman will leave get­ting what she needed: new skills, a boost in con­fi­dence, re­gain­ing a love of the moun­tain, new rid­ing bud­dies, and maybe even a prize at après!” To Kim, the most re­ward­ing as­pect of coach­ing the women’s camp is “when you see women achieve some­thing they were not sure they could do,” adding that see­ing strong friend­ships bond is another perk. “Women tend to eval­u­ate how they are do­ing by how they ‘feel’ they are ski­ing – the ac­tual feel­ings they are get­ting through their feet from the snow,” elab­o­rates Kim. “There is a place for feel­ing in ski­ing, but you need to know when to sep­a­rate feel­ings from the ba­sic skills that are needed to ski down some­thing dif­fi­cult safely and ef­fec­tively. I learned this from ski rac­ing: The clock doesn’t care how you feel.” The camp’s coaches are well versed in teach­ing women, specif­i­cally – af­ter all, they’re all women them­selves. Kelsey Rose, head coach for the women’s snow­board camps, has been rid­ing for two decades and is in her eighth year coach­ing with Whistler Black­comb. “Work­ing for the women’s camps is great,” she says. “Snow­board­ing is still a male-dom­i­nated sport and cul­ture, so it’s fan­tas­tic to have sup­port­ive op­por­tu­ni­ties for women to keep de­vel­op­ing their skills.”

The Arc’teryx Women’s Ski Camp and the Show­case Women’s Snow­board Camp take place through­out the 2015-’16 sea­son for women aged 18 and over. For more in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing camp dates, visit whistlerblack­comb.com. The Satur­day ses­sion wraps up with a pri­vate après at the bot­tom of the moun­tain, as well as a silent auc­tion by the Arc’teryx Women’s Ski Camp fea­tur­ing Arc’teryx prod­ucts with pro­ceeds go­ing

PHOTO JUSTA JESKOVA / WB SNOW SCHOOL

PHOTO BRIAN GOLD­STONE / WB SNOW SCHOOL

PHOTO JOERN RO­HDE

PHOTO JOERN RO­HDE

PHO­TOS BRIAN GOLD­STONE / WB SNOW SCHOOL

PHOTO PAUL MOR­RI­SON / WB SNOW SCHOOL

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