Women’s Ski Camps: Five programs designed to push boundaries

Gone are the days of using “you ski like a girl” as an insult. With the host of women’s ski camps available to females young and old, there are now more opportunities than ever for women to get out and push their boundaries on skis. Whether it’s backcountry skiing or resort shredding, these all-female camps provide the training grounds for experienced skiers who just happen to have two X chromosomes.

Ellie Nichols at Keely Kelleher's first-ever backcountry camp at Bell Lake Yurt, Mont. [Photo] Kt Miller

Ellie Nichols at Keely Kelleher’s first-ever backcountry camp at Bell Lake Yurt, Mont. [Photo] Kt Miller

Keely’s Ski Camp For Girls


Founded by former U.S. Ski Team athlete Keely Kelleher, Keely’s Camp has the distinction of being the first girls’-only race, freeride and backcountry camp in North America at locations in Oregon, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. The roster of coaches for Keely’s Camp is impressive, with a long list of Olympians and World Cup athletes, as well as Freeskiing and Freeride World Tour competitors among the ranks. Keely’s Level 1 Intro to Backcountry Skiing Camp is scheduled April 15-17 and Level 2 Intermediate Backcountry Skiing camp is scheduled for April 22-24. Both will be held at the Bell Lake Yurt in Pony, Montana.

SheJumps Alpine Finishing School


This weeklong ski mountaineering course is taught by ACMG guide Kate Devine and Diny Harrison, the first female in North America to become an IFMGA guide. Alpine Finishing School focuses on techniques for glacier travel, crevasse rescue, avalanche safety, route planning and navigation, and the course is held just outside of Revelstoke, B.C. at Selkirk Lodge—owned and operated by Devine’s mother, Grania Devine. Rope work and terrain management are major foci of the course, with time spent both in the classroom (at the hut) and outdoors applying these skills. SheJumps recommends that participants be advanced skiers eager to learn about navigation, safety and rescue skills, not basic ski techniques. Keep an eye on shejumps.org for 2016 dates.

Girls Do Ski


Founded by Leah Evans, a freeride athlete from British Columbia, Girls Do Ski offers the opportunity for ladies of all ages to go beyond the average ski lesson with two- to three-day touring, cat skiing, resort skiing and heli-skiing trips available to campers. All camps are offered in and around Revelstoke, B.C. and are taught by accredited guides and instructors.

Girls Do Ski hosted six camps in the 2015 season and has yet to release their 2016 schedule. These camps are available to women and girls of all ages, and Girls Do Ski’s “20 Under 20” focuses on bringing together girls under the age of 20 to ski with a group of peers who may not feel comfortable in the more advanced courses.

Backcountry Babes


Backcountry Babes was founded in 1997 (under the name Babes in the Backcountry) by champion telemark skier Leslie Ross, who noticed a lack of female participation in outdoor sports and sought to change the trend. Today, these camps strive to provide learning experiences for women of all ability levels in a supportive outdoor environment with winter trips ranging in length from one day to a week in Colorado, British Columbia and Alaska. Included in the course offerings are AIARE Level 1 Avalanche clinics, avalanche refresher courses and backcountry/sidecountry trips to Silverton Mountain and Breckenridge, Colo.

Rippin Chix Steeps Camp


Alison Gannett, a former freeride competitor based in Colorado’s Elk Mountains, started Rippin Chix Steeps Camp. Gannett and a number of other well-known female freeride athletes and coaches teach the basics of steep skiing during a series of intensive, two-day ski sessions. This camp is where women of all ability levels can learn the techniques for big-mountain competition and become well-rounded freeride skiers and 2016 camps will be held at Red Mountain, B.C., Whitewater, B.C., Crystal Mountain, Wash. and Silverton Mountain, Colo.

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