March is National Women’s History Month—and there’s never been a better time for women to shred on the slopes. Whether you’re a female skier, snowboarder, or backcountry explorer, there are resources here for you.
The Alpine Club of Canada offers an all-women’s ski camp on the Wapta Icefield, in which participants spend six days and five nights skiing out of three of the ACC’s coolest local huts. SheJumps runs an annual Alpine Finishing School, an all-women’s ski and splitboard mountaineering course led by ski guide Kate Devine. Chicks With Stix offers ski trips that cover a variety of skills, including backcountry travel, avalanche education, powder skiing, and ski mountaineering, all led by IFGMA or AMGA Certified Ski Guides. Backcountry Babes provides backcountry opportunities for women of all different abilities, and S.A.F.E. A.S. runs clinics that advocate for avalanche and snow safety.
The American Institute for Avalanche Research & Education (AIARE) isn’t for women specifically, but it’s the leading resource for snow safety in the United States. They develop and disseminate avalanche course materials to educators all over the world, and offer courses for both beginners and experts. They offer courses at Levels 1, 2, and 3. For a women’s-specific AIARE course, check out offerings from Women’s Wilderness.
The Sarah Burke Foundation provides grants for up-and-coming athletes. S.A.F.E. A.S. is a cooperative of skiers “advocating [for] and fostering avalanche and snow safety”. And the Outdoor Women’s Alliance is “a volunteer-run nonprofit media and adventure collective that engages, educates, and empowers females worldwide. Through the lens of human-powered adventure, [they] work to inspire confidence and leadership in women of all ages, believing that confident women have the power to build healthy communities and—quite literally—change the world”.
For some inspirational reading, check out Unbound: A Story of Snow and Self-Discovery by record-breaking skier Steph Jagger, The Next 15 Minutes: Strength From the Top of the Mountain by ski patroller Kim Kircher, The Luckiest Scar on Earth by extreme athlete Ana Maria Spagna, and Strong Is The New Beautiful by pro skier Lindsey Vonn, who “lays out the never-before-seen training routines and her overall philosophy that have helped her become the best female skier in the world—tailored for women of all shapes and sizes”.
To find female skiing partners, explore the Alpenglow Collective, a forum for women seeking other female adventure buddies. For visual inspiration, watch Lynsey Dyer’s TEDx talk Ski Like a Girl, or watch the full-length film by the same name that she made with Unicorn Picnic. For a badass podcast about women crushing it in the outdoors, listen to the Nausicaa-Cast. If you want to be inspired to move into a truck and chase powder, follow fangirl photographer Kat Carney. And for a weekly dose of badass motivation, sign up for Sticks & Stones, a self-described “weekly newsletter about the outdoors for women, by women.”
Get Out There
Finally, remember that there’s no substitute for in-person interaction. Poke around social media to find like-minded skiers, and don’t hesitate to reach out to women you admire. Check out Rad Resources For Female Climbers. And remember: at the end of the day, it’s all about having fun, being safe, and skiing hard.