No Boys Allowed: Women’s Ski Programs

Ski resorts cater to women with special winter programs


HIT THE SLOPES Connect with peers while learning to ski during Vail’s popular Women’s Ultimate 4 small-group classes. Courtesy Vail Resorts/Jack Affleck

Women are the primary vacation planners, yet they also report not participating as much as they’d like to in the activities of their getaways—especially winter sports, according to Vail Resorts.

That’s why Vail, as well as many other ski resorts across the state, go the extra mile to try to get women on the snow, with programs and clubs catered especially for them. Some of the biggest women’s ski and snowboarding programs have already wrapped up—like Breckenridge’s first Women’s Ski Week, which was held mid-February—but it’s not too late for a late-season spin (or too early to start planning for next year).

Here are some women’s winter snow sports programs and getaways to help wrap up the season.

A few years ago, Vail Resorts surveyed women guests and found that many felt too overwhelmed, busy or intimidated to participate in winter sports. In response, the resort launched the Women’s Ultimate 4 program, a small-group class for women taught by women during a window of time between kids’ ski school drop-off and pick-up. (Juggling the kids’ schedules was another hurdle, the study found.)

The classes were so popular last season that they expanded this season: Through April 4, you can find Women’s Ultimate 4 programs from 12:45-3:15 p.m. Classes are for first-timers through advanced-beginners by reservation only at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone.

Also be sure to ask about the Women and Wine Friday Afternoon Club, which winds down with a glass of vino every Friday through March 31. This month, Vail will hold a women’s-specific skills workshop on March 5, as well as the Vail Women’s Demo Daze on March 19, which is designed for women to try out some of the top gear in the industry.


LIFT OFF At Beaver Creek’s new Women’s Social Tour, explore the slopes and then refuel at Starbucks (gift bag and gift card included). Courtesy Vail Resorts/Dan Davis

Inspired by the positive response to the Women’s Ultimate 4 program, Beaver Creek launched a new Women’s Social Tour this ski season. This complimentary, casual, two-hour women’s ski session begins at 10:15 a.m. (after the kids’ ski school drop-off ) Tuesday through Friday throughout winter, and is designed for intermediate skiers and boarders.

Guides are all women from the Ski School Ambassador team, and no reservations are needed; just show up at the Centennial Express Lift and join the crew. The social tour ends at the Beaver Creek Village Starbucks, where all participants get a free gift bag with a Starbucks gift card and other goodies. Bonus: On March 9, Starbucks will hold a presentation of specialty and reserve roasts and presses expertly paired with pastries.

Breck’s Her Mountain program offers various ski features throughout March that are specifically designed for women. In addition to the Ultimate 4 program, Her Mountain includes social events and a Women and Wine program—a half-day lesson starting at 1:15 p.m. on Wednesdays through early March. The reward for a day on the slopes: a free glass of wine for après. Warm up those toes from the inside out.

Catering to women is not necessarily new as Steamboat’s 25-year-old program attests. Learn to ski or improve your skills at the resort’s Women’s Ski Camps, for women 16 and older of all abilities. Beyond technique and technical gear tips, participants in the small, five-person groups get lunch, various gifts, after-ski activities and a big emphasis on camaraderie in a relaxed, upbeat atmosphere. Classes are taught by women instructors, of course, and classes run through early March.

Aspen’s Women’s Edge is another long-standing winter sports program, boasting a 30-plus-year-old reputation as one of the top women’s coaching programs in the state. Intermediate and advanced skiers and riders ages 18 and older can join experts on a four-day, skill-building getaway from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays through March 17. The program wraps up with an afternoon ski party. Reservations recommended.

Wednesdays are for women at Copper Mountain. Every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through March 30 (except March 16), Women’s Wednesdays feature ski and snowboard lessons for all levels taught by experienced women skiers. Beyond the chance to improve slope skills, participants get lift-line privileges (skirt the crowds) and access to social events, equipment demos and a discounted season pass.

If you’re looking for a lower-key, all-women’s lesson in a less busy atmosphere, Wolf Creek’s Ladies Ski and Snowboard Clinic, for beginners through advanced-intermediate skiers, is the answer. The class is both social and educational and runs March 1 and 29. No registration required.

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