Women in the United States are starting to make a name for themselves in the Nordic skiing world. Last winter, two members of the US team took home the top honor at the Quebec World Cup Relays. This summer, Olympian Liz Stephen set a new course record at the Catamount Trail Association’s North Face Race to the Top of Vermont as she began her path to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. The Catamount Trail Association is welcoming all women to join the Nordic ski world, whether to hone their skate technique, practice their tele turn, or simple learn to kick and glide, at the 6th Annual Ladies Nordic Ski Expo, happening this year on January 11th at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. The spectacular location draws participants to the event, and helps women of all ages find their niche within the Nordic skiing culture.
The Von Trapp family, who created Trapp Family Lodge over 60 years ago, are rooted to their skiing heritage, and to this day, the women of the family are teaching and passing the tradition of winter sports down from generation to generation. Last winter we shared a cup of coffee with Kristina von Trapp Frame, granddaughter of Maria von Trapp, to learn about the women of Trapp Family Lodge. Kristina quickly noted that her mother was instrumental in making sure that she and her brother Sam participated in their family’s culture of Nordic skiing. As children, they grew up in a sugar-free household, unless they skied all the way to the picnic knoll at Trapps, in which case they could earn bites of chocolate for their efforts. (Incidentally, women participating in CTA’s Ladies Nordic Ski Expo on January 11th will also “earn” their chocolate, a treat provided fireside at the end of the day from Nutty Steph’s, along with wine and cheese in the welcoming Mozart room at Trapp Family Lodge.)
Kristina describes her grandmother Maria as a “strong and impulsive woman.” Maria did not learn to ski until she was about 50 years old, but her passion, along with that of her son Johannes (Kristina’s father), has lead the Trapps Nordic skiing facilities to be among the best in the East. Their elite equipment and instruction mixed with rustic charm and Austrian flavors has made the Nordic trails, the site for the Ladies Nordic Ski Expo, a favorite destination for skiers throughout the world.
Being raised in the rugged, yet peaceful environment of Trapps, Kristina became an avid skier, always searching for the “fun adventure” that Nordic skiing provides. One of her most memorable accomplishments on snow was completing the Elk Mountain Traverse in Colorado. Starting in Crested Butte at midnight and skiing over 40 miles to Aspen, Kristina and her partner relished racing under a full moon in the silence of powder, deep in the Colorado backcountry. Her team finished in third place after about 10 hours on skis, a testament to her enthusiasm for winter adventures, which she now shares with her own young daughters, ages 8 and 10.
On Friday afternoons, Kristina helps coach her children’s after school Nordic ski program at Trapps. Afterwards, her daughters mimic their mother and Uncle Sam, working in the ski shop for a few hours at the end of the day. Their reward for doing so takes them into the woods of Trapps, skiing home with their mom; school backpacks on, absorbing the silence and beauty of their own backyard. “It is important to them too now,” Kristina described, showing how the von Trapp family tradition is continuing on to the youngest generation. “We take advantage of what we have in our back yard. It is important to love what we have.” The Stowe Derby is one of the family’s newest traditions, with Kristina taking a year off from competition recently to become the “support crew” for her oldest daughter who participated for the first time in the derby’s youth Nordic race.
Kristina von Trapp and her family are just one example of how skiing can bring together friends and families, keeping them healthy, happy and appreciative of Vermont’s natural environment. Whether skiing with a toddler for the first time, spending the afternoon surrounded by fir trees and white snow along a backyard trail, or spending a weekend with friends taking lessons, improving technique and enjoying local food at Trapp Family Lodge, Vermont is a state that caters to women looking for ski camaraderie and adventure.
Join the Catamount Trail Association at their Ladies Nordic Ski Expo to meet other women from around the state and beyond who are looking for beginner instruction all the way to advanced technique tips. It’s also an opportunity to cultivate new winter friendships and share stories about how families are enjoying winter together. With Trapp Family Lodge providing a historic and exquisite backdrop, this event is one that no skiing woman should miss. Check out the Catamount Trail Association’s website at www.catamounttrail.org for more details and to sign up today!