From 31 January to 3 February, 28 excited and motivated women travelled to Lech am Arlberg to join the 10th edition of the Women’s Progression Days by Lorraine Huber. If you had been in the low-key Italian restaurant where the official meet & greet was held Thursday evening to kick off the event, you would have gotten the strong impression that these women have known each other for years. Not so. Most of the camp participants, ranging in ages from 25 to 55, travel individually from all over Germany, Austria and Switzerland to get the chance to ski with like-minded women and learn from a world champion. The fact that all these women share a burning passion for skiing off-piste, connects them instantly. About a third of the women had visited at least one WPD event before, for Bettina this was the fourth time.
The excitement the next morning before skiing is palpable. The large group of 32 women gathered around the front of the Strolz Freeride Store at the Rüfiplatz, all decked out in professional looking freeride gear, turned more than a few heads. Head guide and event organiser Lorraine explains to the participants that the last few days brought strong and warm winds from the south, making for some trickier snow conditions that day. Not that this is a bad thing. A lot of the women are here to improve their ski technique and gain confidence in more difficult types of snow conditions. The participants are asked to split themselves up into groups depending on how hard they want to charge that day and come up with a group name. The “Sharks” is the name of the fastest group, they are to ski with Japanese ski instructor and guide Harumi Kumazaki. Harumi has over 15 seasons of guiding and instructing at the Arlberg under her belt and is an incredibly gifted skier. The “Dolphins”, the “Rainbows” and the “Sea Horses” also meet their guides for the day and all four groups head up the Rüfikopf gondola to take a group photo. Each day, the guides will rotate through to a new group, giving everyone a chance to meet these special personalities as well as to ski with Lorraine.
After a morning of practicing off-piste ski technique, video analysis and testing freeride skis provided by KÄSTLE, the four groups meet up again to have lunch at Hotel Mohnenfluh in Lech. The afternoon is spent practicing avalanche rescue skills and re-familiarizing oneself with the emergency rescue equipment. The need to practice these skills year after year becomes evident to many of the participants there that afternoon. There is not much time after skiing before our next meeting point: our joint yoga lesson at the sport.park.lech with yoga teacher Rainer Neyer. Rainer’s teachings, which don’t differentiate between beginner or advanced level, feel just right after an action packed and exciting day on the mountain.
The next day is made of the stuff of dreams. 15 cm of fresh powder and sunny skies, with very few people in the ski area. Lorraine and her guides ski fresh powder run after fresh powder run, all the while enjoying that special atmosphere when women ski together.
Tired but happy, the participants meet again that evening to be invited by Strolz sports store to a glass of bubbles and treated to a film evening presented by Lorraine. Then it’s off to Lorraine’s favourite restaurant, the Alpenblick in Zug, where the participants are spoilt some more with good food and wine.
During the night it starts dumping and the Women’s Progression Days participants wake up to 30 cm of fresh snow and cold temperatures. We ski powder all day long, hooting and hollering and never wanting the day to end. After skiing we meet for a late lunch at the Hotel Burg because according to Lorraine, this is where the best Kaiserschmarrn is. A perfect end to the 10th edition of the Women’s Progression Days!
The next Women’s Progression Days will take place from 28 to 31 March as a ski touring camp just for women. 3- or 4-day packages are available, with or without accommodation.