3 Reasons Why An All Women’s Ski Experience Will Change Your Life

May 1 2018 BY Keely

In August we are headed back to Ski Portillo for our third annual ski clinic for women. This camp was recently featured in a National Geographic article about all women’s adventure travel.

Inspired by the women’s adventure travel movement, we asked our community of women who have attended our camp at Ski Portillo about their experiences. Here’s what they said!


From left to right: Lucy, Keely, and Neen enjoying a beautiful bluebird day of skiing in Portillo last year!

1) “Think a cruise ship in the middle of the Andes Mountains, 5-star service with world-class ski coaching.”

I love adventure and challenging myself to push my limits. I learned to ski as an adult and by no means is it like ‘riding a unspecified
bike’ yet. I’m constantly thinking about my surroundings, the conditions, and my technique. Ski Portillo ’16 was the first time I skied outside the U.S. and the first time I hiked something and then skied down. I definitely feel like I have unfinished business in the Andes and can’t wait to return and conquer what may have been slightly intimidating to me the first time.
Ski Portillo was amazing and unlike any place I’ve ever been! Think a cruise ship in the middle of the Andes Mountains, 5-star service with world-class ski coaching. The trip provided me with an opportunity to continue to fine tune my ski technique, challenge myself, and meet an amazing group of strong women. – Katie Tansey from New York                                                                                                                               .

2) “I chose the camp for a coaching and cultural experience, but clearly left with life-time long memories and far greater confidence in myself as a skier and maybe even as a person.”

Screen Shot 2018-05-01 at 11.12.51 AMThe Andes in August with world-class champion ski coaches? Yes, please! The level of instruction and inspiration in a gorgeous setting were an undeniable enticement for me to commit to Keely’s Camp for Women in Portillo. I am a bit of a complacent/fair-weather/lazy skier, and I hoped the technical expertise of an Olympic level coach and the bold zest for adventure of a 2-time free-ride world champion might be enough to thrust me out of my comfort zone and make me a better skier. I also love to travel and simply thought it would be a fun, new cultural experience. It was everything I hoped for and more

I met inspiring, resilient women from around the world with diverse skiing abilities and experiences, all sharing a contagious passion for the sport. In addition to taking the coaches home with me–their voices, drills, and funny phrases may forever live in my head when on the slopes–I also hold onto a variety of vivid images: new friends dancing in the bar, a co-camper in an outrageous cat costume, Crystal walking beside me on a boot pack because I am irrationally afraid of heights, drinking champagne (my spirit animal) at Tio Bob’s, heli-skiing for the first time, and seeing Aconcagua in the background, skiing the gorgeous lake run, etc., etc., etc. I chose the camp for the coaching and cultural experience, but clearly left with memories of a life-time and far greater confidence in myself as a skier and maybe even as a person.  – Millie Maxwell from Wyoming 

3) “Being part of an all women’s group allows for a certain energy to form: one part encouragement, one part compassion, and a whole lot of fun!”

I was looking for an opportunity to do something for myself (think milestone birthday) and have an adventure somewhere I’d never been. Portillo seemed perfect! The fact that it was a women’s camp made it that much easier to commit to. It meant that I would be sharing a week with other women who share similar interests and have the chance to ski with accomplished women skiers like Keely and Crystal. Since Keely had been to Portillo before with the US Ski Team, my mind was at ease knowing the travel details would be throughly planned out.

One thing you should know about me, is that I’m not one to back down from an adventure with the guys. I’ve heli skied in Canada with all guys, chased a group of guys for 6 days straight in the Austrian Alps, and have been the only girl on a rope line to Give yourself Portillo, you deserve it!the summit of Mt. Rainier. But keeping up with the guys can sometimes be exhausting. As the only girl in a group of guys you feel the pressure to keep up. It’s like you have the weight of womenkind on your shoulders and need to prove that women can do anything men can do. So you dig deep and learn not to expect any praise for keeping up even if it’s taking all you’ve got.

My expectation for the camp was to go skiing with a group of women, in the summer, in a place I’d never been, but that was on my bucket list. My experience was so much more!

There is so much to say about my week with Keely in Portillo and what I took away. First of all, Keely and Crystal were super engaged with the group and approachable. They willingly shared their knowledge and made everyone feel at ease. Yes, they challenged everyone to get out of their comfort zones at least once a day, but they did it in a way that felt supported and instilled confidence. Being part of an all women’s group allows for a certain energy to form: one part encouragement, one part compassion, and a whole lot of fun!

Keely and Crystal were the ultimate facilitators of fun. They were always considerate of the needs of the group and planned so many fun adventures. It just so happened the week we were there was the same as the Austrian Men’s Speed Team, Blizzard Skis Women 2 Women‘s Initiative group, an Outside Magazine crew, and a Go Pro film crew and featured athletes. Plus it was Wine Week and the hotel hosted wine tasting every night. Keely and Crystal helped make connections and provide experiences we never would have had on our own. I am grateful for all the experiences I had in Portillo and look forward to my next adventure, which is an Iceland Ski & Sail trip with Keely’s Camp for Women in May! – Lisa Wicklund from Washington

Interested in skiing Portillo this summer with Keely’s Camp? Click here!

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