“It’s about freedom. And it’s about doing what you love. It’s about being outside. It’s about being close to nature. It’s about connecting with people. It’s about creating memories, collecting moments.”
As we gear up for our 3rd annual Women to Women Athlete Summit in Jackson Hole, WY, in March 2018, we look back at our March 2017 trip to Aspen, CO. Robin McElroy, Squaw Valley Ski Patrol and AK Heli-Guide, Keely Kelleher, former USST member and founder of Keely’s Camps for Girls and Anne Wangler, Freeride skier from Germany joined myself and Frank Shine (our in-house photographer/videographer who can also tolerate a week with all women!) for an inspiring week.
Above: Keely Kelleher
Left: Anne Wangler
Right: Robin McElroy
As we continue to dive into the women’s market with the Blizzard Tecnica Women to Women project, we are continually looking for ways to engage more women in the sport that we are all so passionate about. How can we make skiing a better experience for women everywhere? How can we engage with women? Our trip to Aspen was not just about a great week of capturing video and photography, but also an opportunity for us to brainstorm on ways to connect with and engage more women in this sport.
We could not have asked for a better week of weather – critical to any photoshoot. We had EVERYTHING from a storm day resulting in fluffy powder, followed by bluebird days with awesome groomers and an amazing day of touring.
Day 1: Dawned blustery and stormy. We did some mini hikes to powder stashes and took some time for interviews with the athletes on what skiing means to them and what they see as important objectives for the Women to Women project.
Getting ready to share a snow day.
right: Spotted on the boot pack
left: Catching a powdery moment
“Skiing is, I think, the only activity I’m doing where I can forget everything. Like all the troubles, all the problems everything that bothers you is not important anymore at all. You have this huge smile all over your face and you are not able to stop it.” Anne
“I ski because skiing makes me happy. It’s probably my favorite thing in life and so that’s why I have figured out how to make my life revolve around it. Just the feeling that you get when you are in the mountains by yourself or with your friends - it doesn’t matter if it’s powder or spring corn. I just love it. ” Robin
"I would say that skiing is something that is shared and joyful and everything that I feel when I am happy wrapped and snowballed into one great feeling." Keely
Day 2 – The sun came out and as Aspen is Frank’s home mountain, he knew just where to go to get the goods. Watching these athletes ski is always so inspirational to me but their stories and how they have made skiing their life, their #1 passion, and how they are giving back are what really blow me away.
There ARE friends on a powder day!
Keely getting in deep
Gondola ride giggles
Keely enjoying the Aspens...
Robin is all smiles on a bluebird day
Day 3: Now, I love to hike. And I love to ski. So backcountry touring seems like the perfect combo for me. I’ve done it a few times and absolutely am itching to do more. Get Avy safety education. Get all the proper equipment. So this day, for me, was a little bit of a challenge but the encouragement, camararderie and enthusiasm these women had for getting me out there were just plain awesome. This was probably the best day of the season for me. Challenging myself (I’m not a big fan of heights), and pushing myself physically (I’m no spring chicken) were super rewarding for me. Thanks to these rad ladies and Frank for taking me to beautiful places and taking me comfortably out of my comfort zone.
"This is such an important project - reaching out to women because there are times when you want to know how to do something right but you feel like you should already know how to do it so you don’t ask. That we are trying to tell women it’s ok to be yourself and ask for help and we want to help you and I love that Blizzard Tecnica is putting this project together to empower women and have women helping women is amazing."Robin
Safety first. Beacon check.
“Creating a support system was a huge passion of mine and why I started Keely's Camps for Girls so girls could come in and see other girls doing something that maybe they didn’t think that they could do, or a coach doing something that they didn’t think that they could do. And then empowering them and saying yes you can, you can do it, and we believe in you and we support you. I think with women in skiing that’s the most important thing and that’s is what skiing gives us - this support system and this shared passion with friends.” Keely
“We used those 5 days to focus on the Women2Women project. We talked about the wants and needs of women, interests, attitudes, priorities, development in equipment of course, discussed about different designs, exchanged ideas about how to share our passion with other girls, how to get more women into the outdoors in general, tried to answer basic questions to ourselves about “why I ski and what does it make special to me?” in order to be able to create our mission. Those discussions were super important and so rich of different perspectives. I think it helps very much to have gatherings like that, start thinking out of the box, be creative. Together - as a team.” Anne
Oh the places we'll go...
Nothing tastier than a cold Upslope brew waiting in the car after a day of touring and skiing with an amazing group of women.
Keely putting the Sheeva and Mach1 Pro W's boot through it's paces
Day 4: Warm, sunny, bluebird, ripping groomers, testing skis and boots and enjoying our final day together.
Anne finding the sweet spot on the new Alight skis
Robin arc'ing the Black Pearl
Big thanks and shout out to the "man behind the lens" Frank Shine and thanks to all the women out there who make the skiing experience that much better.
Frank working his magic. Photo captured by Anne Wangler