Women on Snow Ski Camp
During my early ski days in the Catskill Mountains, a family friend once said to me, “Ski across! There is always snow on the other side of the ice!” As I was careening across the trail, scared of falling, I believed her. I have held on to those words, frequently repeating them to myself over the years. Skiing on the East Coast means you wear a certain badge of honor. You’ve likely edged your way down some icy trails and survived. On a good day, you get might get some fresh snow or perhaps the snow guns have done their job and blanketed the trails overnight, but it will never be skiing on the powder you find out West.
Stratton Ski Camp
My friend’s words still resonate with me today as I sometimes skid and slide down the mountains of Vermont. I have always wanted to ski without fear. To ski comfortably and enjoy it — not just get down the mountain. I want to be a confident skier that can navigate turns on tough terrain. It wouldn’t hurt to improve my form too so I don’t look like such a beginner, after all I have been skiing for more than 40 years. Recently I had the opportunity to improve my skills at Stratton Mountain’s Women on Snow Camp.
I was in for a surprise on the first day of camp when I met up with my group. We took our early morning runs on freshly groomed snow! I will admit it, I am never first chair. I don’t usually see the corduroy. Clearly, I should think about getting first tracks more often because right off the bat skiing was so much more enjoyable.
My group was classified as solid blues, working on our form which perfectly defined where I wanted to be. I don’t want to ski double black diamonds, navigate the moguls or hit the terrain park. I was matched up with women who all had similar goals in mind. Skiing with this group made me feel really comfortable and excited to get out on the snow.
After an initial run to assess our ski level, our instructor Amy got down to business. She broke down the basics of skiing working step-by-step on each of the mechanics. We talked about stance, balance and feeling the snow underneath our skis. As the day progressed Amy moved on to our turns. She drew pictures in the snow depicting large arcs in the shape of a grapefruit to emphasize the curve we should strive for. We practiced learning to stop by turning up hill. We then worked on putting weight on our outside ski while carving out big and small loops. Eventually, we added in our poles linking together all that we had learned.
It was clear that in order to improve our technique it was important to focus on one thing at a time. I am not going to remember everything I was taught at the two-day camp but I know I will remember these key points going forward:
- Nose over toes – this helps you to lean forward over your skis.
- Belly button faces down the mountain – this keeps your body aligned properly.
- Bend your knees – this increases your balance and forces you to lean forward in your boots.
- Look up – this keeps you looking downhill, not down at the tips of your skis.
- Tap and go – this helps you execute a proper pole plant in your turns.
This is not the first time I have taken lessons as an adult, nor will it be the last. I am often asked if I have ever tried snowboarding or want to try it. My response is always the same “my family says I shouldn’t, that I should just stick to what I know.” I am sticking to it. Not only do I know how to ski but I know am getting better all the time.
Whether you are first time skier or looking to improve your skills, the Stratton Women on Snow Camp will help you achieve that. The professional coaches and instructors make skiers of all abilities feel comfortable. This creates a learning environment that allows you to build on your personal strengths and sets you up for future success on the snow.
For more information about the Stratton’s WOW Camp check out these posts by the other All Mountain Mamas:
- Stratton WOWs at Women on SnoW Camp
- Taming the wild (skiing) Woman Within
- Gaining an Edge at Stratton’s Women on Snow Ski Program
Disclosure: Program costs and accommodations were provided by the Stratton Mountain. I attended the camp thanks to my relationship with Ski Vermont and the All Mountain Mamas. No other compensation was received for this review. This post reflects the honest opinion of my experience without outside influence.
Photo Credits: Dana Freeman, Erica Houskeeper and Stratton Mountain