In November 2018, I applied for the Women’s Elevate Ski Camp scholarship through the Jackson Hole Babe Force. They wanted to know: “What would attending the Elevate Ski Camp mean to you?” My answer then (“Everything!”) still rings true after the Babe Force gave me this incredible opportunity. I wanted to be a better, safer, more confident skier, while having a blast with like-minded ladies.
After getting injured last season, doctors tried to encourage me to get surgery or giving up skiing and similar activities. As an alternative, I found a great, physical therapist that listened to my goals, and worked through intensive rehab, strength, balance, and ski conditioning.
With my physical body back in ski shape, I knew I had to work on my lack of confidence and fear of getting re-injured. In my mind’s eye, I just couldn’t imagine “launching” myself into the next powder turn to let gravity take over and enjoy that free-fall moment. The Women’s Elevate camp was the perfect setting to get my mojo back. Learning the tricks (techniques, safety, endurance, terrain selection, etc.) to master this challenging mountain allowed all my hard work to pay off, and I fell in love with skiing all over again.
When skiing with (mostly) male companions, I felt a lot of pressure to prove myself, rather than enjoying my turns. In the women’s camp, the pressure was gone, and we celebrated breakthrough achievements as a group. We felt at liberty to discuss risk tolerance, overcoming injuries, aspirations, dreams, and our experiences with getting taken seriously in a male dominated sport and industry.
I learn much better from a female coach that can address gender specific strengths & movement patterns, especially in skiing, where the impacts of gender differences are substantial. Meaghan Lovely was an amazing coach, and she made it easy to open up to her and share my aspirations, fears and goals with her and the other ladies in the group. Specifically, I worked on rounding out my turns, which allowed me to slow down and stay in control, without banging my knees back-and-forth between moguls. We did “Cowboy Turns” to get those glued together knees apart and be able to stir both skis through the turn while taking advantage of the capabilities of new school, shaped skis. We combined fun with safety training when we slid down a steep slope on our backs, then practiced turning around into a downward dog position, and digging our toes into the slope to come to a stop. We looked into Corbet’s (closed at the time), and speculated whether the reward would be worth the risk. Barcley (sp?) taught us to “shop like a pro.” This wasn’t the promotional sales pitch I was expecting at all, but rather a crash course on how to be taken seriously as a woman when renting/shopping for gear. Very helpful when I rented demo skis for day two of camp.
We got a crash course on avalanche safety and went sidecountry skiing with Kim Havell. A short bootpack led to access of ~3,000 vertical feet of powder skiing, which was definitely a highlight of the camp. Kim was very knowledgeable, and I got some great insights on terrain selection, group management and communication, and guidelines of backcountry skiing. Kim encouraged me to take (another) avalanche class, and I made that a new goal of mine. We finished off the week with a fun evening gala, where all the groups got to share the stoke through the ski movie that Brian & Chrystal had been filming throughout camp.
The camaraderie of skiing (and après-skiing) with other “BABES” exceeded my expectations. I had SO MUCH FUN, I went through ski addiction withdrawals the week after camp. As a result, I’ve lined up female ski dates, secured buddy passes for JHMR, invited gals on ski trips, and can’t wait for a chance to participate in another BABE FORCE event.
I would like to ski until I'm in my 80s. This scholarship allowed me to practice the right techniques, get & stay in shape, learn something new every day & keep evolving my ski style. I feel safe on skis again, and have skied more this (amazing) season than in the last few years combined. Once I retire from my day job, I would like to work as a ski instructor again. Thank you BABE FORCE for making my dream come true!