The Importance of Female Mentorship by Ellie Nichols

Ellie Nichols started attending our camps when she was 11 years old. After being a camper for many years and attending every style of camp that we offer at Keely’s Camp, Ellie began interning and then coaching for our Mt. Hood Ski Racing Camp for Girls. Last month Ellie mentored at our Backcountry Ski Camp for Girls. It’s been incredible to see Ellie grow from being a camper to becoming a camp coach for the next generation of girls moving mountains. Read below about Ellie’s experience with Keely’s Camp following our Backcountry Ski Camp for Girls in March. Thank you, Ellie! 

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“When asked about who I look up to the most my answer always remains the same: Keely. It took me a while to realize the impact she and all of my other female coaches had on me, but now I recognize the large role they played in my youth when I was trying to figure out who I was. I started at Keely’s race camps when I was eleven, and I have also attended the Big Mountain Camps in Alta, Backcountry Camps in Montana and Iceland, and Kayak Camp in Wyoming. At 13, I was lucky enough to participate in Keely and Lindsay’s first backcountry camp with 5 other girls. During my time at the camp, I had two main goals, to have fun and learn how to backcountry ski. It was hard for me to understand the impact Keely and Lindsay would have on me many years later and what it meant to take a group of six girls out in the backcountry. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to be mentored by amazing women who taught me the tools to empower myself and in turn, others. They taught me how to be confident in myself and on my skis. It wasn’t until many years later, at 19, when I returned as an intern, that I realized that Keely’s Camp not only gave me my foundation for backcountry skiing but surrounded me with amazing females who continue to push each other’s limits and provide tools for girls to empower themselves and each other. I now have the ability to offer those same tools and lessons to the next generation of female athletes, just like my female coaches did for me. One of the coolest experiences for me was racing at Mt Hood and touring in the backcountry and realizing that you are the only group of all females out there. It is a powerful realization because it validates your ability and demonstrates that you are capable of achieving more. Keely’s Camp is unique because not only are you being coached by females in the outdoors, but you are also exposed to female mentorship and what it means to be a woman in sports. There is never a lack of smiles and laughter when you’re surrounded by badass females in the mountains.”

– Ellie Nichols

Photos of Ellie over the years attending Keely’s Camps: