THE LAB: Telluride has been called a lot of things. Girly isn’t one of them. Given its reputation for steep, gnarly terrain, it might seem ironic that Telluride was one of the first resorts to offer a dedicated women’s immersion program, in 1981. What’s not surprising is that its ski school doesn’t take the standard shrink-it-and-pink-it approach to serving women. Women’s Weeks celebrate—and make no apologies for—girls’ favorite things, from skiing to shopping, though you needn’t be hardcore about either to attend. Nearly a quarter of Telluride’s ski trails are classified as beginner, and there’s no limit to tough terrain. The point is: No matter how far you want to push your limits, Telluride can accommodate you.
THE CURRICULUM: A different theme is woven into each session. During Health and Wellness Week, for example, a nutritionist educates campers on smart eating habits and environmental factors that affect athletic performance, and post-ski yoga sessions encourage mind-body awareness. Still, the focus is on skiing. The on-hill schedule is ruled by consensus rather than a directive: Each instructor leads her five to seven students wherever they want to ski and offers plenty of individual feedback followed by video analysis. At the end of each day, campers and instructors regroup for lectures, tech talks or happy hours. But that's hardly when things wind down. Apres activities usually segue into raucous nights on the town.
THE INSTRUCTORS: Living in this remote box canyon and skiing the mountain day in and day out requires a hardiness you might not find in instructors at other resorts.
Telluride’s female teachers are self-assured and adventurous, and the best of those are picked to teach at Women’s Weeks.
THE VIBE: It may be true that—by and large—men introduce women to skiing. But if Telluride is any indication, women keep women skiing. Growth requires risk; risk comes with the possibility of failure, and failure seems more tolerable—and more empowering—among other women. A core group—many of whom met at previous sessions and report having since become better skiers than their husbands/kids/grandkids—reunites every year. Clad in Mardi Gras beads one day, feather boas the next, these regulars—in their 40s and 50s, by the way—spread their enthusiasm to all the participants, who range from 25 to 75. When a Women’s Week is in session, everyone in Telluride knows it.
DATES: Feb. 7-11, March 7-11, 2010
PRICE: Prices start at $680 and include a welcome reception, demo gear, shopping discounts, and après events. Packages that include lift tickets start at $845. Lodging packages are available.
INFO: tellurideskiresort.com; 800-778-8581