For the past four years, Laura Price has managed coaching sessions run by women, for women.
Big White has put on Park Chic to get women skiers and boarders more comfortable breaking into the sport, using all female instructors.
“For me personally, parks always seem like a scary place and it’s a way to get girls over the hurdle and get the girls confident,” said Price. “It’s a fun way to get involved, and have fun, and also form some friendship groups.”
The two hour coaching sessions are Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons and come in at a reasonable $74. Price said the interests have been increasing every year.
“Last year was a big turnout with a 200 per cent increase from the year before. We’ve added boarders recently and we’ve had people come back again and again,” said Price.
“We had to add the second day because of how busy it got. We have nine coaches that help with the program now.”
Skiers and boarders over the age of 10 are welcome to Park Chics, and the coaches are set up to handle all skill levels. Price stresses that, besides giving instructions to enthusiastic riders, Park Chics is also a social and empowering opportunity.
“The park is an area of the mountain that once seemed scary to me, it is now a never ending source of fun,” said Park Chic participant Nina Bozas. “It’s the perfect place to meet like minded girls and, under the close guidance of the coaches, to push ourselves and each other to learn a whole new aspect of skiing and/or snowboarding.”
When Price got involved in skiing, there wasn’t as much push or drive to get females involved in any of the sports.
“It was something that I would have wanted when I first started,” said Price. “We’d like to see it become a little community, where (riders) can meet some likeminded females, form friendships, and be social. Taking the first steps into the park is (tough), but we’ve had positive feedback and getting more (opportunities for the program) is not out of the question.”
The slopes can be an intimidating place for young riders and for people who may feel like they don’t fit in. Park Chics is a simple solution to these factors: allowing women of all ages and skills a little social support to get confidence for riding down a snowy mountain.
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