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Advanced women's ski camp at Schweitzer mountain

by SAMMY BERRYMAN
Sports Reporter | November 26, 2022 1:00 AM

You may have seen Shannon Mahre ripping it up on the mountain with a rad girl gang trailing close behind.

Mahre and her husband, pro skier Andy Mahre, have been coming to Schweitzer for the last couple of years to run coached cat ski trips.

Previously they hosted their coaching camps in Canada — but then COVID hit. A contact from Selkirk Powder reached out and said that he noticed they couldn’t go to Canada anymore then tossed out the idea of bringing the camp to Idaho. They agreed.

“I couldn’t believe how big Schweitzer was,” Mahre said. “And the people are so nice.”

Three years later, Mahre is now gearing up to host her first week-long, all women’s advanced ski camp. She’ll be accompanied by two to three other female coaches and capped the group at 15 to make sure that everyone gets the attention they deserve.

“I want all the women to leave feeling like they got a ton out of it,” Mahre said, “A smaller group provides that.”

Mahre grew up skiing at Alpental at Snoqualmie Pass, just outside of Seattle. Her mom was a mogul skier and taught her to love them from an early age.

“If you can ski moguls in any condition, you can basically ski anything on the mountain,” Mahre said.

She’s excited to share this nugget of wisdom with the women who sign up for her ski camp and teach them how to have fun skiing moguls. Mahre joked that she needs to make a sweatshirt with “I love moguls” on it because by the end of the camp, the women love them.

“By the end I’ll have taught them how to ski moguls,” Mahre said. “That it’s not a rush to get to the bottom and survive but more of a game.”

Mahre got into coaching when she was in grad school. She was asked to coach a middle school girls soccer team and through the process shared her story with the young girls.

“I shared with them my story not thinking it was going to be a big deal,” Mahre said.

A little while after, two of the girls she coached reached out to her to tell her that she had changed their life.

“I thought holy cow, if I can make a difference in these kids' lives when all I did was share my story and coach them, what can I do for women and girls in the sports that I love to do now as an adult,” Mahre said.

A year later Girls with Grit was born.

It started as a passion project which has turned into full time work with Mahre now coaching year-round. Her focus changes with the seasons; paddle boarding, trail running, mountain biking, skiing, and a new all-women’s fly fishing camp in the works.

“I’ve found coaching women in all-women environments don’t mind failing as much,” Mahre said. “They laugh and move forward.”

Which brings us to her upcoming camp. The Girls with Grit all women’s advanced ski camp will be held on Schweitzer from March 12-17.

Kicking off on Sunday, there will be a meet-and-greet with drinks up at Schweitzer. Monday and Tuesday mornings will start with coffee at the mountain then two hours of clinic-style drills (hello, moguls). The group will break for an hour lunch then meet back up for another two hours of shredding before finishing off with happy hour.

After two days of hard work and shredding, Wednesday will be an optional day. If riders choose to, they can head to Schweitzer and free ride with the coaches for a few hours in the morning. After breaking for lunch, Mahre and team will host an “intro to backcountry” clinic inside at the base area of Schweitzer. Here, they’ll learn about what gear they need, how to use the gear, how to navigate, and how to choose lines and routes in more difficult, avalanche prone terrain. The day will end with a group happy hour.

Thursday will begin with coached shredding in the morning followed by afternoon drills in more difficult terrain. Wrapping up on Friday, the group will have coaching all morning, break for lunch, and then wrap up so that people can head home.

If this sounds fun but intimidating, Mahre wants to put your mind at ease.

“One of the main things we do as women is tend to not think we’re good enough to sign up for things,” Mahre said. “I want women to know that if you classify as high-level intermediate to advanced, that’s fine.”

If you ski black diamonds but not necessarily fancy, fast, or pretty, but you try – Mahre said this camp is for you. If you’re already shredding black diamonds, Mahre can help you shred them better and hit natural airs.

“The older we get the easier it is to stay where you are and not level up,” Mahre said. “But I think it’s important to keep raising the bar.”

If you’re interested in signing up for the advanced all women's ski camp at Schweitzer on March 12-17, head to girlswithgrit.fit or email Shannon directly at shannon@mahremade.com.

There are also three spots left in the co-ed coached cat ski trips coming up in unison with Selkirk Powder on Jan. 29-Feb. 2 and Feb. 5-9. Shannon and Andy Mahre will be leading the trip, which is reserved for advanced to expert level skiers to help them find confidence in taking new lines.

“We absolutely love Schweitzer,” Mahre said. “It’s chill, fun,and the terrain is great for skiing and coaching.”

If you’d like to follow Shannon you can do so on her Instagram @shannonmahre or learn more about the Mahre duo at mahremade.com.

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