Women’s skiing invades Jackson Hole
Spring break typically calls for swimming suits, sandy beaches and a brief escape from school to warmer climates.
But this year, approximately 30 women made the less sunny journey tp the snowy slopes of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for the first ever Ladies Shred event, organized by newschoolers.com, Orage Outerwear and Blackstrap Facemasks. This was no typical ski trip. The women came prepared with a drive and motivation to improve and progress in women’s skiing and evolve the community’s perception of women in action sports.
While this may sound like the kind of lofty goal that leads to stress, competition and a general air of frustration, the women of Jackson Hole came, not to compete or prove themselves better than anyone else, but rather to build the community of female skiers and boarders.
“It’s not that often as ladies we get to ski with other women of similar ability, let alone a group of women,” said Erica Aarons, event organizer.
This sense of camaraderie extended throughout the event, both on and off the mountain.
The extended weekend was filled with group events, where the women invaded every venue they approached. From denim clad park laps, to slushy Cossack trains, to group yoga, to a hot springs expedition, the women expressed their love for skiing and its growing contingent of female shredders, all while skiing hard and not taking anything too seriously.
Of course, along with the fun came a lot of hard work and progression. While the event was about growing community, the organizers also wanted to produce quality content for women’s skiing. From big cliff drops, to park rails, to nasty slams, the women were consistently pushing their limits and progressing their skiing skills.
This progression was evident in the excitement at the end of each day, as the women reminisced and checked out their shots. Throughout the event the participants also worked to define women’s skiing and their role in it, Aarons said.
“I don’t think about men’s and women’s skiing as separate, it’s just skiing,” Ellen O’Neil, Minesotan skier, said.
The progression and motivation of skiing with the group was undeniable. Orage athlete Becca Gerber said she was pushed to expand her skills and her comfort zone.
“This weekend was a huge reminder to me that there are so many different types of skiers out there and there is still so much to learn,” Natalie Oaks, founder of Lost Girls Tribe, said in agreement. “We’re on our way and enjoying the journey.”
At the end of the week as everyone parted ways and headed home, no one was left feeling bitter or filled with some empty faux-empowerment. Instead, they left excited about new friends and progression and were filled with a commitment to growing the community, image and progression of women’s skiing, Aarons said.
Cy Whitling can be reached at email@example.com