Telluride’s Women’s Week Celebrates Thirty-Five Years

My Ladies and Me

My Ladies and Me

I just finished teaching skiing to some great ladies during the January session of Telluride Women’s Week at Telluride Ski Resort. It was wonderful and since there are two more sessions this year (in February from the 7th to the 11th and the 26th to the 28th), I thought I’d let you in on some of the fun. Originally published in Masters of the Mountain 2015-2016, the new Telluride Ski & Snowboard School, I’m posting my unedited version of my story below along with my own selection of Telluride Women’s Week photos from this year and years past.

Atop Prospect Bowl with My Ladies

Atop Prospect Bowl with My Ladies

Snowboard Instructor Lindsey Mesereau Photographed Atop Revelation Bowl by Her Lady

Snowboard Instructor Lindsey Mersereau Photographed Atop Revelation Bowl by Her Lady

Snowy Smiles

Snowy Smiles

Women, skiing, snowboarding, instruction, wine, apps, laughs, hot chocolate, girl talk, girl power, toasts, victories, sharing, learning, shopping, dining, fun. Of course all this and more occurs on a daily basis at Telluride Ski Resort, however, it happens tenfold during Women’s Week, ladies-only programs for skiers and riders interested in improving their skills within a supportive environment.

Founded by Annie Vareille-Savath, Telluride Women’s Week will be celebrating its thirty-fifth year this season with three sessions: one in January and two in February. “Whenever you immerse yourself with the same instructor and the same group of people for several days, you have the opportunity to get in depth knowledge followed up with consistent feedback and the support of the rest of the group,” says Annie, Telluride’s veteran ski instructor who is entering her forty-fourth season. “This really helps you to progress.”

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Ho, Ho, Ho, Happy Snow Year

Sugar-Frosted Trees at Telluride Ski Resort

Sugar-Frosted Trees at Telluride Ski Resort

Rainbow Snow and Cold

Rainbow Snow and Cold

Sunrise at T-ride

Sunrise at T-ride

Me in Telluride: One of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

Me in Telluride: One of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

You can tell the snow has been great since I haven’t posted in a while. Here in Telluride, we’ve had thirteen feet of snow so far this year. It’s turning out to be an epic season for Colorado!

On My Drive to Work

On My Drive to Work

On Top of the Mountain Facing Palmyra Peak

On Top of the Mountain Facing Palmyra Peak

Seeforever

Seeforever

The bulk of it fell just before Christmas and as you can see from some of the photos in this post, my car was buried in the snow twice. (Thank goodness for burly and well-prepared boyfriends and local mountain folk that always appear eager to help out those in need, especially when it comes to a snow situation.) It also was hard getting out the door a few times.

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Grateful for Telluride and the Telluride Ski Resort

The Town of Telluride, Colorado After the Storm

The Town of Telluride, Colorado After the Storm

With all that’s happening in the world, most of us are feeling extra stressed these days. This is true even in Telluride, Colorado, one of the safest and most beautiful places on earth. No one is immune to feeling reverberations from all these horrific terrorist acts. As I wrote in my story, Paris Attacks Hit Home, we are one.

The Telluride Scene

The Telluride Scene

Still though, we are so privileged in this sweet little ski town. Few people lock the doors to their cars and houses except during bear season, since our local bruin population has become pretty savvy about entering spaces redolent with lingering pizza, berry and pie smells. We live in a bubble of sorts where our biggest threats come from pushing it too hard on the slopes or getting caught in an avalanche during a backcountry ski.

Telluride Ski Resort: Ready to Roll

Telluride Ski Resort: Ready to Roll

Although Telluride is renowned for some of the finest music festivals in the world, our universe primarily revolves around the great outdoors. The mountains–and most specifically Telluride Ski Resort–reign supreme, offering us endless hours of fun, relaxation and recreation.

Snowmaking Before the Storm

Snowmaking Before the Storm

Telluride officially opens on Thursday, November 26, Thanksgiving, however, folks can test their ski and snowboard legs tomorrow on Donation Day by offering $25. to the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club in exchange for a day on the slopes. I’d imagine lots of snowsports enthusiasts will be hitting the mountain throughout the holiday weekend because with the over three feet of snow we’ve recently received, the conditions should be fantabulous. Plus, much more terrain than usual will be opened from the get-go.

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Summer Fun at Lake George, New York

Waterskiing on Lake George, New York

Early Morning Waterskiing on Lake George, New York

It's My Turn

It’s My Turn

I’ve been at Lake George, New York the past couple of weeks. With the exception of a stay in New York City, largely to attend the BlogHer 2015 Conference, I’ve been parked at my family’s camp on the east side of this thirty-two-mile-long body of water. Although I’m still spending inordinate amounts of time on my laptop, it has been delightful being at the lake and visiting with family and a few old friends.

My parents’ house, situated on the east side of Lake George, the predominantly residential part of this magnificent Adirondack lake, holds countless memories for me. I have spent many summers here over the past forty-four years and will always feel a very special connection to this place. It had been seven years since I had been here during this blissful season when the days are long and hot and the temperature of the lake is at its peak, so this visit has touched off an overwhelming sense of nostalgia in many ways. Water-wise, from jumping off the boathouse into the silky depths of the lake, to paddling around the bay in a canoe, to enjoying a sunset boat cruise with my parents, my heart has swelled in reliving some of my favorite summertime activities at LG these past weeks.

I didn’t realize that one of my most memorable moments from childhood would be recreated this summer. I never imagined that this summer’s big adventure would occur on Lake George with an adrenaline surge the likes of which I haven’t experienced in years. Twenty-five years to be exact. I’m talking about waterskiing as you’ve likely gathered from the photos at the top of this post. Phew–what a rush! I last waterskied two and a half decades ago in the Mediterranean, however, I hadn’t skied much on water ten years prior to that–in truth, I had hardly skied since I was a kid. Even then, I didn’t do it a whole lot.

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Girl Power Extraordinaire: Women from the Telluride Ski & Snowboard School, Part One

Marti, Cristina and Me on a Ski Break

Marti, Cristina and Me on a Ski Break

As I ease into off-season mode, I find myself almost sentimental about all the camaraderie I share at Telluride Ski & Snowboard School. Indeed, I’m now shifting into a more solitary existence, left to fend for myself–as a lone freelance writer–instead of being part of the team that helps to make magic at Telluride Ski Resort. Within Ski School, we’re very much like a family; we’re part of a tribe that speaks the same language and shares many of the same passions even though we are a mix of astonishingly unique human beings.

The women at Telluride Ski & Snowboard School feel like sisters to me and over the years I’ve come to love many of them in my own special way. They are strong, beautiful ladies that radiate a sense of well-being that’s surely the envy of many. They’ve chosen a lifestyle that embraces the outdoors and the physical and a profession that focuses on how to share their remarkable love of the mountains with others. These gals are hot–not so much from what they wear (although a new pair of shades is always remarked). But rather their sizzle comes from how they turn their skis and boards; or even better, from the self assuredness that those skills give them, on and off the slopes. They exude a self confidence and authenticity far superior to anything you might see on the runway or red carpet. Solid and grounded, our band of Telluride Ski & Snowboard instructors serve as terrific role models for women of all ages.

There are many gals that standout at Ski School. So I thought it would be fun to start highlighting them in posts here at my blog, a series that I plan to continue next year. This lineup is by no means all-inclusive. The idea is to spotlight some of the girl power in our special club and also perhaps to provide a few beauty tips along the way.

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Transitioning from the Mountain Into My Writer’s Life

My Fortune

My Fortune

I came across the above fortune a few weeks ago in our local Chinese restaurant here in Telluride, Colorado. That was when I was in the throes of spring break craziness and the end of ski season was drawing near. It seemed most à propos since I was already contemplating my flip side, or how I would soon transition from a predominantly physical existence–that of a ski instructor–to the more cerebral ponderings required of a writer.

Indeed, at that point I was craving a good read and near desperate to sit still for a while and give my body a rest. As hard as I may try, reading and writing during ski season is always a challenge, especially from February on when I go full tilt. I’m just too tired at the end of the day to do much more than swill a glass of wine from my couch, and so the stack of books on my nightstand piles up as high as the writing assignments awaiting me at my desk.

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Telluride, Forbes and Me

The Inn at Lost Creek:  A Forbes Favorite

The Inn at Lost Creek: A Forbes Favorite in Telluride, Colorado

A Sake-tini from Siam's Talay, Another Forbes Favorite

A Sake-tini from Siam’s Talay, Another Forbes Fave

Exotic Delights at Talay, the Signature Restaurant of the Inn at Lost Creek

Exotic Delights at Talay, the Signature Restaurant of the Inn at Lost Creek

We’ve had a huge month of March here at Telluride Ski Resort and this weekend we’re slated to brake our all-time record for annual skier visits. And we still have a week to go before the mountain closes!

I’m utterly exhausted, since like most ski instructors, I’ve been going full tilt all month (actually all winter). I just had my first couple of days off in weeks and I can tell you it feels great to put my feet up and stretch my toes as I bang out this story.

It’s no wonder there’s been so much buzz about Telluride this year. In addition to the word getting out about our great ski mountain and town in recent years, Telluride Ski Resort has been receiving a lot of attention from Forbes Travel along with once again being ranked #1 in the Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards.

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Loving the Crazy Powder Days

Exhilarated in the Gondola After Having Skied a Lap with Dave, a Fellow Ski instructor

Exhilarated in the Gondola After Having Skied a Lap with Dave, a Fellow Ski instructor

Snowy Telluride, Colorado

Snowy Telluride, Colorado

Just after I posted my story The West’s Dry, Sunny and Warm Winter of 2015, the big snows began to arrive in the West, especially here in Telluride, Colorado. Woo-hoo! It has snowed 46” within the past seven days and it’s still coming down. Everyone from beginners to experts and visitors to locals are struck with pow fever. It feels like the Fourth of July with all the boom, boom, booms that can be heard resonating from atop the mountain for avalanche control work and throughout the energy level of all the snowsports enthusiasts feels electric. Yay, winter is back!

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