United they ski at Snow Valley

Snow Valley Ladies’ Nights offer fun and challenge in a supportive setting. Learn how to ski this winter in Alberta


As the chairlift swung around the top of the hill at Snow Valley Ski Club in Edmonton, Amber Grant was nervous. She had snowboarded before but this was only her second time on skis in recent memory, and chairlifts intimidated her.

She had been coached by Vieri Berretti, her instructor, on how to get on and off the chair, but it still felt foreign to her. Several of the other women in her class who were riding the chair up with her shared her feelings. And so, as they prepared to stand and slide away, they all joined hands and rose together.

“We automatically just held each other’s hands,” Grant recalls. “Vieri was laughing, and saying it was very cute.”

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Learning to ski as an adult can be intimidating - fitting out new gear, learning to move in new ways, trusting your skis, adapting to new environments, sliding on snow. It involves a lot of challenges, physically, mentally and emotionally. As adults we simply aren’t as willing to trust others and relinquish control in unfamiliar settings.

“Adults have a whole other set of obstacles to overcome. It’s way more of a conscious decision to start skiing later in life,” says Berretti. “The most important thing is to face that fear and overcome it.”

It’s been well documented that in a sport setting, women and men have different learning approaches. (Try to imagine a group of men holding hands while unloading a chairlift.)

Women’s ski camps and classes have been growing in popularity at mountain resorts over the last 10 years or so. But until Snow Valley introduced its Ladies’ Night program, there wasn’t a dedicated offering in Edmonton for women looking to learn or improve their skills on snow before getting to the mountains.

SNow Valley Edmonton
Photo: Jeremy Derksen

Going into the class, Grant admits she was hesitant. “My husband signed me up for this,” she explains, then adds, “I was thinking I would be the only adult in a beginner class, but then I found out about the Ladies’ Night and I was a little more accepting about taking a class.”

The programs run one night a week for three or five weeks, for two hours a night, plus a final apres event. Thanks in part to a sponsorship with REP Physio, prices for the camps are exceptionally reasonable, at $95 for six hours of instruction (three nights), or $120 for 10 hours’ instruction (five nights).

Snow Valley Edmonton
Photo: Jeremy Derksen

The ski area also offers program participants deals on lift passes and equipment rentals. (For more information and to register for multi-week sessions in the new year starting Feb. 18, learn more.

Snow Valley Edmonton
Photo: Jeremy Derksen

For Grant, and her classmates, being able to learn in a non-competitive, supportive environment, with other like-minded women helped bridge their fears and give them the confidence to push their limits and take risks.

“It’s unique taking an all women’s camp because you feel more comfortable, you don’t feel intimidated,” she says. “Everyone was on the same page, you’re all learning together.”

After a night of testing themselves on the roller bumps, and a couple laps down the “big run” (Cascade), the night finished with smiles, glasses of wine and promises to return.

When You Go

Visit Snow Valley and sign up for one of their learn to ski programs.

Learn more about what Northern Alberta has in store for you this winter visiting our #SkiNorthAB page, where more stories and videos will be coming out all season long.

Are you ready to take the Next Step at Marmot Basin? Read about it here.

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