5 Things I Learned Backcountry Skiing With Teenage Girls

This past spring, Keely—of Keely's Ski Camp for Girls—and I took a group of six teenage girls to the Bell Lake Yurt in Montana's Tobacco Root Mountain Range for an introduction to backcountry skiing. The weekend was filled with laughs, powder skiing, dance parties, delicious food and a wealth of backcountry knowledge. Although the camp was designed as an educational experience for the girls, we learned new backcountry tips from the girls as well!

1. Teen girls can be tough, strong, smart mountain women, too.

For all of the girls, this was their first time backcountry skiing, first time skinning, and first time using backcountry equipment. Throughout the three-day camp, I was continually impressed by the girls' ability to grasp new concepts and techniques and immediately apply them. The absence of ego and the openness of minds helped the girls excel rewarding their coach/guides with fresh new perspectives of backcountry skiing.

2. After a long day of touring, don’t be afraid to dance it out.

After the first day of the camp, which entailed a combination of hiking and skinning a few miles into the yurt, some of the girls mentioned that they were sore from the day. Keely and I suggested stretching, but the girls had a better idea—a dance party! After a few hours of Macklemore, Taylor Swift and Annaliese’s brilliant rapping, we called it a night. The next morning everyone woke up feeling fresh. It turns out yurt dance parties are the answer to sore legs.

3. 13- to 15-year-old girls have the same conversations as 30-year-old men.

It turns out whoever you are, and whatever age you are, when you are at a yurt or in the backcountry there is a lot of poop talk which inevitably results in a bellyful of laughs. Farts are funny at any age, but we all know that…

4. Don’t be Afraid to Give a Holler

Skiing powder in the backcountry is fun so claim it! And skiing powder with 6 ripping Keely’s Campers is truly unbelievable. The level of enthusiasm for each other as people were skiing down was contagious. It is truly a special feeling when you get to the bottom of a run and are embraced by cheers and hollers from the entire group.

5. When conditions warrant go higher!

To quote Hannah, a Keely’s camper from Montana, “if anyone in the group is going higher, I am definitely going up, because I don’t want to hear everyone talking about how good the powder was up there.” If you’ve got the energy, if the conditions warrant, and people are going up higher, you don’t want to be the one to miss out on the experience because you couldn’t muster up that little bit of extra energy. Dig deep and enjoy the skiing, even if it means just a little bit of suffering.