February 5, 1995

Women-Only Ski Instruction Available At Most Area Resorts

By The Spokesman-Review

Former Olympic ski racer Tamara McKinney never had any trouble keeping up with the boys.

But now that she conducts ski clinics across the country, she’s found that sometimes the most effective way to teach women to ski is without the boys around.

McKinney, who recently ran a women-only ski clinic at Silver Mountain, recalled an “extreme skiing” clinic she hosted once for a mixed group.

It attracted “a bunch of men who thought they were extreme.”

“One lady came with her boyfriend,” McKinney recalled. “He was really condescending to her.”

The boyfriend repeatedly told the woman that she should take a less challenging route down the mountain than the men were choosing.

“I saw that she was actually not held back by herself, but by her boyfriend,” McKinney said.

No one holds her back. She retired as one of the world’s best alpine ski racers, and now runs her own business at Lake Tahoe, conducts ski clinics and does charity work.

McKinney said she does mixed clinics as well, but enjoys the womenonly groups for the camaraderie and the way they help some women get past feelings of intimidation. “I think we can get out there and have a little sisterhood,” she said.

Carol Kontos, a 31-year-old skier from Coeur d’Alene, said the McKinney clinic allowed her to get beyond the plateau she hit after her husband taught her to ski.

“I am kind of less intimidated when it’s just women,” she said. “I think everyone’s more themselves.”

Look for more women-only ski clinics to be offered soon. Here are some of the women-only instruction options in our region:

Schweitzer will hold “Women’s Super Saturday” on March 4, with instruction by and for women, for intermediate through expert skiers. Cost is $40, including lessons, video analysis and lunch. It’s $20 more if you need a lift ticket, too.

Big Mountain, near Whitefish, Mont., will host a “Women’s Week” March 6-10 with five days of instruction by and for women, video analysis and some meals, for $463 including lift tickets. Lodging packages are available. Reservations: (800) 858-5439.

Mount Spokane, Red Mountain and Schweitzer all have women’s ski lesson series, all on Wednesdays. These sessions are for women only, though the instructors may be men. Call their ski schools for information.

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