Snow Divas event features tele extravaganza |

Snow Divas event features tele extravaganza

ARAPAHOE BASIN – Opportunities for women to free their heels are running out this season, and Babes in the Backcountry is wrapping up its telemark camps Saturday and Sunday with the Snow Divas Weekend at Arapahoe Basin.

“It’s for women who have put it off all season,” said Babes in the Backcountry director Leslie Ross.

“It’s a last chance to learn to tele or work on individual improvements. It’s a good chance because it’s spring time, and the conditions are so great. Usually at this time of year, conditions are spring-like and can be challenging. But it’s really soft snow, and Arapahoe Basin is a great place to learn. It’s not crowded, and you get a lot of high-end skiers, so you don’t have that fear of plowing you down like you might at other areas.”

The Snow Divas Weekend kicks off Friday night with a slide show in Breckenridge by professional freeskier Alison Gannett. The presentation features a ski trip to the mountains of Bhutan, where Gannett and her group were the first ever to conduct a ski expedition. The event is a fund-raiser for the Breast Cancer Fund and includes a silent auction.

The camps themselves begin Saturday with the outfitting of participants in top-of-the-line demo equipment from Black Diamond and Scarpa and a professional Qigong-style stretching session.

“Women should try it because it’s something different,” said Babes instructor Rachel Hardegen, who also teaches telemark lessons and clinics at Breckenridge. “The new equipment makes tele skiing so much easier to learn and pick up. It’s so empowering with all women and all women instructors. I like to go out and help women show themselves how good they really are. It’s emotionally rewarding and physically rewarding.”

The camps are two days and reach all levels. There are clinics for beginner to intermediate tele skiers, and one specializing in steep terrain intended for advanced skiers looking to refine their skills.

“The steeps clinic is designed for advanced skiers that are skiing the bowls at Breckenridge and the Palli chair (at A-Basin),” Ross said. “These are people who want to make tight, raised turns and learn techniques for going down narrow runs. It’s not like a big-air type of clinic, but we’ll also cover going off rocks and things and making backcountry terrain choices.

“Sometimes, with features like that, you need to learn how to go off of them, not just for fun, but if you’re in a place where the slope starts at a cornice or something, and you need to find the best way to enter it. The steeps clinic is for people looking to improve their techniques. We’ll also do some beacon practice and talk about backcountry strategy.”

Space is limited for the tele clinics. Women who have already done a Babes in the Backcountry clinic this season receive a special discount.

Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at

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