Up North: Skiers ‘Ride Like a GRL’ at Giants Ridge
On Friday, over a dozen women gathered at Giant’s Ridge for an afternoon of personalized ski instruction and confidence building skills.
"I think a lot of the time there’s a lot of emphasis on the males, but it’s really fun to just get out there with a bunch of gals," said Jenny.
Snow Sports Director and Recreational Manager Heidi Jo Karlsson came up with the idea for ‘Ride Like a GRL! (Giant’s Ridge Lady)’ as a way to get women into sports.
"I have been in the industry for some time, and I just have a huge passion for writing programs and getting ladies into sports," Karlsson said. "A lot of them have their children and they stop doing sports and then they want to come back out and they don’t quite know how to do it. So creating a community that’s comfortable for everybody to be in is a great way to get everybody out."
The group met once a week for six weeks, building skills and and friendships along the way.
"It’s been nice to see the women’s progression every single week because we come back week to week and then it’s even fun to see our progression as riders because we’ve been able to push ourselves because we’re in a community where we feel comfortable surrounded by women," explained Sammy. "We don’t have those males standing out there."
"My husband was basically the one that kind of encouraged me," explained Deanna. "I’ve been a skier all my life, but for some reason, this year, I got a little scared, and I think I need a tuneup. So when I found that they were doing this ski like a girl, I thought this would be perfect for me. Plus, the camaraderie after we go up and we eat and and have beverages and have a laugh and new people I’ve met."
This was the first "Ride Like a GRL!" event, but Karlsson is just getting started.
"It’s going to be a four season program," said Karlsson. "We’re going to bring it into our mountain biking, doing women’s specific programs in the summer."
Skiers of all skill levels were able to participate in this event.
"We had the never, ever skier up to the advanced skier, and we break them into the different groups," explained Karlsson. "They have all certified instructors that teach for this program."
"I think because as you get older, you get more insecure about things and your balance and everything," said Deanna. "My instructor helped me to use my edges more and my turns more and corrected some of the things I was doing wrong. It’s made me stronger and less afraid to go down the big hills."
Those who attended "Ride Like a GRL" enthusiastically recommend going to future events.
"It’s such a nice thing for getting together with women and having fun and laughing and getting more confidence," said Deanna. "I plan on doing it next year, and I’m encouraging my friends to do it next year."