5 Things you learn from Teenage Girls Backcountry Skiing
Blogger: Coach/Guide Lindsay Mann. Lindsay was born in Bedford, Massachusetts. She ski raced competitively all through high school, which gave her opportunities to race and train internationally, exposing her to mountains all over the world. Her passion for skiing took her to Dartmouth College where she helped her team to win an NCAA title in 2007, while pursing a B.A. in geology. Lindsay currently spends her winters in Jackson, WY, coaching alpine ski racing, backcountry ski guiding, and teaching avalanche courses. Along with 50+ ascents of Mt. Rainier Lindsay is a passionate and lighthearted, coach, guide, leader and friend. Read more about Lindsay’s impressive climbing resume here: https://www.rmiguides.com/about/guides/lindsay-mann#resume
Bell Lake Yurt Backcountry Camp for Girls:
The weekend of April 24th-26th Keely and I took a group of 6 teenage girls to the Bell Lake Yurt in the Tobacco Root Mountain Range, MT for an introduction to backcountry skiing. The weekend was filled with laughs, powder skiing, dance parties, delicious food and a wealth of backcountry knowledge. Although the camp was designed as an educational experience for the girls, we learned new backcountry tips from the girls as well!
5 Things I learned from Keely’s Camp for Girls Bell Lake Yurt Campers
1. Keely’s Campers are tough, strong, smart mountain women.
As I mentioned above for all of the girls this was their first time backcountry skiing, first time skinning, and first time using backcountry equipment. Throughout the three- day camp, I was continually impressed by the girl’s ability to grasp new concepts and techniques and immediately apply them. The absence of ego and the openness of minds helped the girls excel rewarding their coach/guides with fresh new perspectives of backcountry skiing.
2. After a long day of touring—Don’t be afraid to Dance it out.
After the first day of the camp, which entailed a combination of hiking and skinning a few miles into the Yurt, some of the girls mentioned that they were sore from the day. Keely and I suggested stretching, however, the girls had a better idea—A dance party! After a few hours of Macklemore, Taylor Swift and Annaliese’s brilliant rapping, we called it a night. The next morning everyone woke up feeling fresh. It turns out yurt dance parties are the answer to sore legs.
3. 13-15 –year-old girls have the same conversations as 30-year-old men.
It turns out whoever you are, and whatever age you are, when you are at a yurt or in the backcountry there is a lot of poop talk which inevitably results in a bellyful of laughs. Farts are funny at any age, but we all know that…
4. Don’t be Afraid to Give a Holler
Skiing powder in the backcountry is fun so claim it! And skiing powder with 6 ripping Keely’s Campers is truly unbelievable. The level of enthusiasm for each other as people were skiing down was contagious. It is truly a special feeling when you get to the bottom of a run and are embraced by cheers and hollers from the entire group.
5. When conditions warrant go higher!
To quote Hannah, a Keely’s camper from Montana, “if anyone in the group is going higher, I am definitely going up, because I don’t want to hear everyone talking about how good the powder was up there.” If you’ve got the energy, if the conditions warrant, and people are going up higher, you don’t want to be the one to miss out on the experience because you couldn’t muster up that little bit of extra energy. Dig deep and enjoy the skiing, even if it means just a little bit of suffering.
I would like to especially thank Hannah, Heidi, Maci, Annelise, Ellie, and Kuka for an unbelievable weekend at the Bell Lake Yurt. Your enthusiasm was contagious and ability to pick up new techniques impressive. Thank you to Keely, KT Miller, Lucy Higgins and especially Drew Pogge (the token male, chef extraordinaire, and the Bell Lake Yurt Owner). Also, a thank you to camp major sponsor Blizzard Skis, if it weren’t for the Zero G skis supplied for the camp, I don’t think I would have been reminded of these valuable life lessons. -Lindsay
We would also like to thank sponsors of the Bell Lake Yurt Backcountry Girls Camp: Tecnica, Desente, Munk Pack, Marker USA, Buff USA and Pistil for supplying the girls with great gear for their first backcountry skiing experience!
Extra special thanks to our spirit animal and team mascot Floyd. It’s not easy carrying an elephant in your pack all day but someone has to do it….