The topic of "women's clinics" does seem to be "heated" for some but not for the women who take them. I sometimes wonder why this needs to be.
What is the source for the questioning, disapproval and in a few cases, sniggering that goes on among folks who may have little interest otherwise?
As one who has coached these (among just about every other type of clientele and product) for 13 years, I've observed that most women who participate seem to really enjoy them, benefit from them and many return on an annual basis. Many also participate in "coed" lessons, but seem to welcome the opportunity for camaraderie, learning and challenge provided among a diverse and motivated group of same-sex peers. The women involved fit no stereotype - they are single, engaged, married with children, all ages.
Why do they come? Lots of reasons, but I will address just one below.
What I have found often among women in my upper level groups (6-9) particularly is that many are quite competent skiers, but genuinely appreciate and embrace the chance to develop and hone decision making, risk taking and alpine assessment tools among other women.
As a wilderness instructor who also conducts mountaineering, rock climbing and canyoneering courses in the summer for people of all ages, I have seen over 18 years in the field that it is a very common tendency, though not universal, among many women to defer in these types of situations and environments to others, men in particular.
The rest of us can say they shouldn't do this, but they have and they do. Quite frankly, I have not seen women attend these skiing clinics to bemoan the above and bash men (as is rumored). They come, simply, to gain confidence and skills in a setting which they feel accelerates their learning process.
In single-sex clinics with a capable instructor they get lots of practice making decisions and feel they gain competence. Most are excited to return to their husbands, partners, families and friends and share their newfound skills. [img]smile.gif[/img]
The rest of us, men and women already confident, perhaps might feel even more fortunate for being so.
While this is an interesting discussion and definitely worth conducting, if questions around these clinics' validity or efficacy continue to burn for us, one might ask if we can or want to understand the answer. The fact that some women are growing and learning and happy [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] in these clinics to me begs whether our questions really matter.