“Warren Miller’s 2014 film, No Turning Back, pays homage to the 65 years of mountain culture and adventure filmmaking that has lead WME to every end of the winter world. We’re taking a legacy that dates back to before skis had edges and mountains had condos and we’re running with it to the steepest peaks around the globe and back to the Mom and Pop hills that define skiing and riding.
Since he began creating films in 1949, Warren Miller has known that as skiers and riders, there’s no need to look back, we have to continuously drive to keep our edge and chase the snow. This year, we prove that not much has changed when it comes to why it is these athletes tilt and turn down mountains and pray for storms. Sheer delight. Welcome this winter season and remember there’s No Turning Back.”
Utter the word DIVA and it immediately creates an image of a glamorous and admired woman, one at the top of her game. An image of a woman who is a personality, a tour de force, and a woman who has earned the right (or simply demanded it) to be completely, totally and royally spoiled in every way.
Tracing its origins, quite literally, to the Latin word for divine. diva (or divas, plural) lists as its synonyms goddess, princess and queen. And never mind that our dear friend Mirriam Webster also lists "prima donna" as both 1 and 2 in the same definition, all of us ladies know that we all have a little bit of the diva in us. This blog–DIVAS–is dedicated to finding the inner goddess in each of us (or at least what is left of the superwoman we all want to be in our daily lives).
DIVAS features epic moms and girls who kick butt, both on and off the slopes. Get inspired, get involved or just get away–this is your chance to shine.
And what better way to launch our blog, but with a story about a group of ripping alpine women skiers–named, appropriately, the DIVAS.
DIVAS stands for "Die Incredible Vimin Alpine Shredders" (best uttered, according to SunValley Snowsports Instructor and DIVAS founder Danielle Carruth, with a heavy Austrian accent). "The idea for the program has been in the works for about five years, but the timing was finally right and we are thrilled with the incredible turnout," says Carruth.
Modeled loosely on the success of VAMPS (their boot camp is legendary), which is Muffy Ritz’s Nordic program taught by women for women (and with a nod to the spirit of VAMPS through the name as well), DIVAS is a women’s ski group taught by a core team of all-women coaches from the Sun Valley Snowsports School who focus on improving technical skills over varied terrain.
You don’t have to be an expert: The only requirement is that you can comfortably ski any run on Baldy, from top to bottom. DIVAS meets one-day per week for 2.5 hours on Baldy, although many DIVAS continue to ski together after class.
"We focus on a new theme every week, with very targeted instruction to help improve skills," says DIVAS coach and co-founder Nicky Elsbree, who asserts that breaking into small groups of 5 or 6 skiers ensures that the instruction is personalized to each woman’s individual needs and learning style.
One week the theme may be balance, with instruction on hip position, proper upper body stance and weight transfer. Another week the DIVAS may run gates, focusing on the finish of the turn and angulation, as opposed to taking on a bump run in the bowls, which is more about the top of the turn, initiation and transfer of weight.
"We try to make all our learning fun," says Carruth. "We ran the skiercross on Dollar one day and everybody had a blast, and I don’t think anybody even realized that they were working on things like how to ride a flat ski or how to absorb the terrain," she says, "they might not know they are working on skills that will apply later in the bumps, but they’re doing it and having fun at the same time."
"Building confidence is important," adds Elsbree. "Essentially, we are teaching them how to make subtle changes in their skiing, depending upon the terrain that they are about to enter." The goal is to ensure that no matter what conditions they encounter–whether entering steeps or harder snow or bumps–DIVAS will have the eye and the technique to handle whatever is below them.
"That is what makes skiing so fun," says Elsbree, "It is never the same, so it is always challenging."
>> To sign up for DIVAS next season (or get on the waitlist for this winter season) contact Sun Valley SnowSports at (208) 622-2289 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on women’s specialty clinics and instruction.