Wild Ski Weekend – Why choose an all-women’s outdoor course?

By Snowsports Team

The Wild Ski Weekend is back for 2024 and so is the all-women’s group – we caught up with guide Amy Marwick to find out why the Women’s Discover the Wild Side group is so well attended year on year and whether there’s a real need for such a thing these days.

I’ve been working at the Wild Ski Weekend since its inception in 2018 and if you’re into earning your turns, learning new skills, meeting like-minded people (and you’re partial to the occasional dram), then you need to put it right to the top of your agenda. There’s nothing quite like heading out in the mountains of our own ‘backyard’ and scoring some sweet turns (no matter how tough the conditions were on the way up). I’ve been thrilled to lead an all-women’s group on each of the Wild Ski weekends so far and I’ve found that the all-female environment can really work well for those looking for a different learning experience that offers a change from the often male-dominated arena of outdoor pursuits.

Photo credit: Ed Smith Photography

“I feel very unsure of my skiing ability these days and I felt it would perhaps be less intimidating to be in a group with all women,” said Cat, 38, a Winch Paramedic and ex-ski instructor, who’d travelled back home to Scotland from the south coast of England for some long overdue time on her skis. “The course was even better than I had expected. In general, I’ve always believed that I prefer being in mixed groups for both the social aspect and because I would be pushed or push myself more in that situation. But having had this experience I realise that these beliefs are not necessarily true. I had loads of laughs, enjoyed the banter, top notch camaraderie and the whole group really pushed and helped each other when it was necessary. We were quite a range of ages but that didn’t seem to impact our ability have a lot of fun!”

With the silencing of traditional gender roles, I’ve noticed some of the women are more assertive, asking questions, and speaking up with their own opinions. It’s a great way to build confidence and enjoy some female company outdoors. For myself, I’ve found it a great platform to build my confidence as a leader and be inspired by the other women leading the groups. It’s great to see more courses like this being rolled out as an option and with a healthy uptake.

What’s more, I’ve had a couple of women return year-on-year to the Wild Ski women’s group specifically, which has been great to see. Helen, 57, has been on several ski touring trips and guide-led backcountry adventures exploring everywhere from the Canadian backcountry to the Silvretta traverse and came back to the Wild Ski in 2023 for her third women’s course.

“Besides learning new skills and practicing those already learnt, there is an element of learning about yourself and your capabilities,” says Helen. “Interestingly, on all the Wild Ski courses I’ve done, I have been able to relax and think more, something that is very rare when I’m in a mixed group.”

Photo credit: Ed Smith Photography

I asked Helen if she’d be booking onto another all-female course in the future? “Thinking back, the Wild Ski are the only all-female courses I have ever done. Back in my twenties there were few, if that, all-female courses, so maybe for me it’s a “novelty” in a very positive way. I will look to attending other all-female courses and I was thinking when I left Glenmore Lodge of taking up the all-female mountain bike course. The seed was planted by talking to another woman in the group and hearing about her MTB adventures. I can ride a bike, but I would really like to try to ride it down a trail!”

This year, I’ll be back at Glenmore Lodge for the Wild Ski Women’s course and have no doubt that we’ll have another year of top team spirit, wild weather, a lot of laughs, and most definitely some well-earned turns. If you’re keen to join us, find out more and book your place here.