The director of Eldora Women’s Days explains how to balance yin and yang

When I was young ski racer, my coaches told me to “go ski with the boys.” Though Title IX was already in effect, I came of age at a time where female athletes were pigeonholed as tomboys if they wanted to succeed in their sport. The color pink symbolized weakness to me. I didn’t have the opportunity to join a women’s ski group or, for that matter, have female role models like Lindsey Vonn or Julia Mancuso, who are able to celebrate their femininity while also drawing from their inner strength and aggression. In a sense, they balance their yin/yang while I had too much yang.

When I got to college, my coach put me on stiff Germanic-made race skis. I couldn’t bend them and had the worst season of my racing career. My confidence plummeted and I was depressed. Years later, I realized those skis were made for someone taller and heavier than me—essentially a man. It wasn’t until the late ‘90s when I tried a pair of skis designed for women that I felt like I had full control of my skis. The women’s-specific gear revolution (more like a revelation) changed my skiing and increased my confidence. And from what I’ve seen, it’s made skiing a whole lot easier for numerous women and girls.

Women can’t learn to ski or ride with great gear alone—that’s where the Eldora Women’s Days comes in. In existence for over thirty years, this program has the distinction of being one of the longest-running women’s programs in the country, thanks to innovative Eldora instructors who saw a need for a women’s ski group. This morphed into Women’s Wednesdays and eventually became Women’s Days, with the addition of a second day (Tuesday) after it grew in popularity.

Eldora Women’s Days provides instruction in five disciplines: alpine, telemark and snowboarding, as well as cross-country and skate at the Nordic center. As director of the program, I created the tagline “Spa on Snow” because we want to nurture women on and off the hill. Along with four hours of on-snow instruction comes breakfast, a gourmet lunch, prizes, video analysis and the opportunity to demo women-specific gear from the women’s outdoor gear and apparel store, Outdoor Divas. Two more perks: The hours are conducive to school pick up/drop off and Front Rangers don’t have to drive I-70.

Though it’s fun to ski with the boys, it’s easier for women to learn with women. That’s the boon of taking a women’s program: it’s a place to overcome fears and improve technique in a non-competitive, non-judgmental environment—all while hanging out with the girls. (This makes for interesting chairlift rides to be sure.) I’m happy to be involved with a program that fosters femininity while teaching women to draw from their inner strength. And unlike a few decades ago, the color pink is completely encouraged.

For more information, go to eldora.com, call 303-440-8700 or visit Eldora Mountain Sports at 2775 Canyon Blvd in Boulder.

Eldora Women’s Days 2011
Session I (6 weeks): Tuesdays 1/4-2/8, Wednesdays 1/5-2/9.
Session II (4 weeks): Tuesdays 2/15-2/8, Wednesdays 2/16-3/9.
Early Bird Special: Sign up before Nov. 7th and receive the early season price.
Deal: Sign up for all 10 weeks of the program and receive a full season pass.
Help from your Friends: Bring a friend who has never participated in the program and receive 10 percent off your registration fee.