suabEveryone knows there is always a catch when something says free. Just like free samples in the mall, the catch there is you have to be annoyed by the marketers, asking you if you liked their product and why you aren’t buying. Although the catch is not monetary, it is in another form. Just like setting up a blog, it says free but they are actually asking for something else that is not in the form of money. They can either ask a big part of your earnings from blogging, add their name in your domain or site name, or they can make you work under them.

There are several tricks they play under their sleeves to somehow include their service for your so-called free blog. When setting up a blog, it’s better to always get a self-hosted site. Even though you will have to spend less than fifty dollars a year, you will actually earn more every month; so, fifty dollars is nothing. When you set up a blog, it is as if they are doing everything they can to use you and help get them known. So they are tricking you into getting their service by telling you their service is free but they are actually trying to make you get them known. Here are some other interesting tricks you should know about starting a blog.

How Do You Start A Blog Without An Idea What It Does?

How do you start a blog when you don’t even know what it is for and what it does? It will be sad if you do not know anything about it or how to do it except it makes money. Being a blogger is not just about using blog articles to earn, it is about pursuing what you love and whatever your passion. There are even people who create non-profit blog sites, they just want to keep people updated and they don’t want anything in return. They completely know what they are doing, capable of taking criticism as a challenge to improve, and they are satisfied with providing service without anything in exchange.

Always remember that how do you start a blog determines your cause. The beginning will show the people your main motive, it is if you are about keeping people informed or you want to get money out of it. There are actually many people who use blog articles as their daily news and that is one thing that keeps blog articles and bloggers in the track of trends. However, some people take advantage of being a blogger and that is by abusing the subscribers and readers by asking for donations. The quality of their blogs become poor as the years and fame pass by.

Get Some Time For Yourself

November 14th, 2013

My first solo trip was a tentative affair. My sister was bicycling across the country as part of a charity effort called Bike-Aid. I’d decided to join up for a day or two when the group rode through Nashville, Tennessee, which meant I first had to cover the 350 miles of back roads between there and where I lived in Bloomington, Indiana.

I hopped on my bike, carrying little more than a change of clothes and some Pop-tarts. A friend rode along for the first day, and we covered about 175 miles. When he turned around and headed back the secondary, reality sank in: I was a woman cycling alone through rural Kentucky and Tennessee, wearing a pair of pink bike shorts. Although my sister expected me to show up in a day or two, no one knew where I was or what I was doing, except the guys who booted as they drove by in muffler-free pickup trucks.

sgIt was after dark when I finally pedaled into the community center where my sister and her group were staying that night, I had cried, cursed myself for attempting such a ridiculous trip, and wondered about my sanity. BUt with all the sweat and tears, I also had a feeling of accomplishment that I had never know before. On that last day, I had been solely responsible for me, whether that meant deciphering a map, negotiating a nasty thunderstorm, or eating Moon Pies to gather enough energy to cycle those last 20 miles through the dark in pouring rain. It was my first taste of the pleasure and pain that can come from going it alone.

It’s rare that we find time to be alone. Our lives are filled with work and workouts, friends and lovers, kids, dogs, cats and, in my case, pet snakes, all of which bring us fulfillment, love and companionship but demand our attention. Constantly, Silitude — spending time with just yourself — is a scarce commodity. For many women, it’s also frightening to even contemplate being alone for an extended period of time. Solitude makes us feel vulnerable. Having no one to take care of you except yours truly puts the focus on and responsibility for your well-being right smack on yourself.

And that is the strongest argument I know of for going solo. Whether it be a bicycle tour, a backpacking trek or a long trail run, doing it alone can give a woman confidence in her skills, much-needed time for contemplation, and lessons in how to care for herself.

Since that first independent bicycle trip to meet my sister, I’ve been addicted to going solo. I still travel often with friends and loved ones, but traveling alone gives me a chance to reacquaint myself with myself. I know women who have done more extensive solo trips than I have, like my friend and neighbor who spent six months packing through the Southwest with only her dog and two llamas for company. I can’t afford that sort of alone time, at least at this point in my life, nor can most women. But I regularly steal a week, a few days or even a few hours for myself.

Living where I do now, in the heart of southwest New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness, I venture often into the backcountry by myself. Soloing in the backcountry affords a more complete solitude than any you can find in civilization. No catcalls, noisy cars or shady looks to plague you. Of course, no 7-Elevens or pizza joints, either. More than once I’ve returned from an eight-day trek to find my own voice sounds strange to me.

Each time a neighbor drops me off at a trailhead 40 miles away and I wave goodbye, I still panic for an instant. Did I bring enough food? What if the weather turns foul? Can I really survive for a week with only the contents of this pack that sits so heavily on my back? What if I fall and break an ankle?

Those are real dangers — and in a world more oft made safe and sound, something about that very realness appeals. I’ve had a few close calls, like the time I fell face first in the river I was crossing, the weight of my pack nudging me farther into the swirling water. I felt ridiculous as I scrambled around, finally managing to flip over like a turtle and unstrap my pack. I emerged with only a scrape or two and a soaked pack but also with the awareness that I had almost drowned. The third day out on that same trip, my stove quit. It was the rainy season, and two weeks of daily thunderstorms had soaked every bit of wood, making it impossible to start a fire. For four days, I subsisted on a rather crunchy diet of uncooked dehydrated food, envisioning the big plate of steaming enchiladas I would feast on at my favorite cafe as soon as I returned.

Experiences like those have taught me that even when things go wrong, I can rely on myself. Sure, it would have been easier and safer if someone had been along to pull me out of the river, but I knew as I sat there shaking, more from the realization that I had almost died than from the icy water, that I could do what I needed to do to survive. And as a cow elk silently watched me crunch my unreconsituted dried beans one evening, I knew that being alone in the backcountry was worth the cementlike paste that was slowly building up on the roof of my mouth.

Each time I’ve soloed, I’ve learned something more about myself — some things that I like and some things that I don’t. I’ve discovered that I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself and — thank goodness — that I rather like spending time by myself. When I’m traveling alone, I move at my own pace, stop when I want to, take a picture, write a letter or scratch out a poem I would never show to anyone, my dog included. Sometimes I eke out a few more miles than I had planned just to reach an inviting peak, canyon or creek. I eat when I’m hungry, sometimes granola for dinner and rice and beans for breakfast, sleep in the middle of the day and walk at night. In the backcountry, I skinny-dip in the river and dry myself, lizardlike, on warm rocks in the sun.

Soloing rewards the brave traveler with self-reliance and strength. I don’t look at my solo trips as taking time alone but rather as creating a space where only I can go. I return to that precious space when the rest of my life is in turmoil. When the deadlines pile up, I can’t find the time to train for my next race, the bills are coming in faster than the paychecks, the car breaks down and even my boyfriend tells me to get lost, I breathe deeply, close my eyes and go back to my solo space. It’s refuge that no one can take from me.

You work out hard to keep your body and mind in prime condition, and the last thing you want to do is pile on extra calories and fat by eating between meals, right? Well, no. Snacking can actually enhance your workouts by adding fuel and nutrients to your diet–as long as you make healthful choices. “You should think of snacks as ways of fueling up before a workout and then refueling afterward,” advises Nancy Clark, R.D., sports nutrition counselor at SportsMedicine Brookline in Massachusetts and the author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook (Leisure Press, 1990). Research has shown, too, that if you want to maximize the benefits of exercise, when you snack is just as important as what you snack on. Whether you’re competing, training or working out recreationally, keep reading for tips on how to fuel your active lifestyle.

What’s in It for You

bhehYour body gets hungry every four hours or so, and you shouldn’t ignore the pangs when they hit. Without enough nourishment throughout the day, you won’t have the energy you need to run, bike or do aerobics. “I see women athletes who eat too little because they want to lose weight. But that interferes with their ability to exercise, since they feel fatigued all the time,” says Ellen Coleman, R.D., a sports nutritionist and weight-loss counselor at The Sport Clinic in Riverside, California. Skimping on food doesn’t really work anyway–the metabolism slows when fuel is too scarce, and losing weight becomes more and more difficult. “It’s better to eat a bit more so you have the energy to work out,” Coleman stresses.

The best plan is to snack both before and after you exercise, which will keep your energy level consistently high and help your body recoup. But before you reach for the cookie jar, be sure you’re making your calories count. Fruit, vegetables and yogurt, for instance, can take the slack in a diet low on calcium, vitamins and minerals. Bagels, pretzels or air-popped popcorn are other good, light snacks to have handy. It’s important to keep in mind that carbohydrates are a more readily available source of fuel than fat, which may make you feel full and uncomfortable while you’re exercising. You should avoid eating anything high in fat within three hours of your trip to the gym. Instead, opt for a light, high-carb snack no less than an hour before you work out.

It’s All in the Timing

If you exercise before breakfast, you need to eat something first, even if it’s just a piece of fruit, an instant-breakfast bar, a glass of juice or a sports drink. “You’re just coming off an all-night fast,” explains Coleman, “so you’ve got to raise your blood-sugar level by eating something with carbohydrates in it.” If you regularly exercise at lunchtime or right after work, a midmorning or midafternoon snack such as lowfat yogurt and a piece of fruit can give you stamina for your workout.

When it comes to postexercise munching, what you eat can have a lot to do with how quickly you recover. “Especially for endurance athletes and those who do intensive training more than once a day, it’s vital to replenish carbohydrates after a workout so that the muscles and liver will store up adequate fuel for the next workout,” says Stephanie Sturiale, R.D., a New York City-based sports nutritionist. “If you don’t restore your glycogen, you’ll feel sluggish and fatigued the next time you exercise.”

And the time to replenish those carbs is immediately after working out, when your muscles are most capable of storing their depleted supplies of glycogen, the body’s primary energy source. In fact, notes Coleman, several studies have shown that you’ll get the best results if you reload on carbohydrates within 30 minutes after a high-endurance workout. This is the perfect time for a snack anyway because you probably don’t want a big meal so soon after exercising. A word of caution: Even though you may feel you deserve that candy bar after finishing a long run or bike ride, you’re better off avoiding fat right after your workout; it does nothing to help restore that much-needed glycogen. If you decide later that you just can’t do without a candy bar or piece of homemade pie, don’t fret too much. Just compensate by cutting back on fat for the rest of the day. As long as you try to avoid too many indulgences, snacks are an excellent way to supplement your diet and keep yourself in fighting trim.

Keeping It Testosterone Free

October 14th, 2013

Women only In recent years, the moniker has become an increasingly used selling point for classes, camps and sports vacations. While such events are growing in popularity, the reasons why are myriad–and as different as the women who keep signing up.

kitfSome instructors of women-only classes attribute their appeal to a basic difference between the way men learn and the way women learn. Like men, women are talented and gutsy when it comes to their sports. They just prefer to be talented and gutsy on their own terms. “Women often want to be pushed out of their comfort zone, and they want to be pushed with someone they trust,” says Mermer Blakeslee, a leader of fear workshops and a member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America‘s (PSIA) national demonstration team, which teaches and examines other instructors. “They don’t want to be caught in ego mania.”

Other instructors point out that men and women have different body types and therefore different needs when it comes to instruction. Still others say women have been at a disadvantage until recently because they’ve had to make do with men’s equipment. But those who have researched the subject say the physical differences between the sexes are incidental. The reason women are flocking to each other on the slopes, trails and rivers is this: Women think differently than men do. That difference in attitude, they say, means most women cut a different path down a mountain than men do. Why not learn how to cut that path with likeminded people?

Although women’s camps are available now in most any sport, the differences are more marked in sports such as skiing and surfing, which have been dominated and defined by men for many years. “Skiing classes were designed on a male model, so the way that women differed seemed deviant,” says Elissa Slanger, who became the pioneer of women’s instruction when she started a ski program for women at Squaw Valley, California, in 1975. “We were considered timid or wusses. But it really comes from a whole different way of looking at the world and at ourselves.”

Slanger, who co-wrote Ski Women’s Way in 1979, found her classes growing in popularity. “It was clear that many women were not comfortable with traditional ski instruction methods,” she says. To gain a greater understanding of the subject, she returned to school to earn her doctorate in psychology. “All of the things I felt intuitively then, which I put in my book, I’ve since learned really do hold water ” she says.

A key issue in learning situations, Slanger says, is that women are more interpersonally sensitive. “If you watch little girls play, they sit and face each other and talk,” she explains. “Little boys sit lined up facing outward, talking about something.” Carol Levine, a ski school supervisor at Vail and founder and director of PSIA’s Women’s Education College, says women also tend to be more process and task oriented. In other words, the goal for most women is to improve and master skills, rather than outperform others by any method possible. Women are interested in the means, men more in the end.

Sweeping psychological generalizations aside, Levine also points out that many women have grown up without being exposed to outdoor sports, particularly risk sports such as skiing and snowboarding. Without venues in which to grow familiar with various fears, women are often not as comfortable with the sensation as men are.

“A woman who experiences success [in sports] likely didn’t have any cultural barriers growing up,” she says. “Women who have a lack of athletic or recreational experiences can have a fear of injury.” It’s the teacher’s job to help a woman in that situation overcome her fears and gain the confidence to tackle the mountain, says Levine, whose annual conference explores the issue of women’s instruction. “Instructors will help her find her limits and tap into her strength by easing her into pushing those limits. A lot of guys, even if they’re fearful, won’t verbally express it but will try to overcome it by blasting down the mountain.”

Athena, a pro snowboarder who teaches snowboarding camps at Oregon’s Mount Hood, has seen the tendency start at an early age. “If you go to a ski resort and watch young boys and girls in a lesson, you’ll likely witness the boys flinging themselves down the mountain, swallowing their fear in fits of aggression,” she says. “Even if they fall every two seconds, the fact that they’re attempting the task fearlessly will lend to their feeling of accomplishment at the bottom. The girls, on the other hand, will actually be trying to do what the instructor has told them. Patiently, they will attempt the perfect turns, but unlike the boys, if they fall, rather than feeling the success of trying, they’ll beat themselves up for failing. And so the confidence factor remains unstoked.”

To make women more comfortable in her classes, Slanger says, she made lessons less performance oriented and tried to create a sense of community, encouraging the women to talk to each other. She also made it clear that a woman’s goals were her own, and she could proceed at her own pace.

For the most part, women’s clinics are taught by female instructors, who also serve as role models for their students. “Women learn differently, and their body positions are different, so it’s nice to have a woman to copy,” Slanger says. Former Olympic skier Kristi Terzian says women are more comfortable with a female instructor because they share the same experiences. “If I was learning and I had a male instructor, I might think, `How would you know?’” she says. Mary Seibert Simmons, director of the Jackson Hole, Wyoming-based Wild Women Snowboard Camps, concurs. “If women see a 15-year-old boy doing something, they can’t put it into perspective. But if they see their female coach do it, it’s no problem. Women learn more from other women simply because of the perspective it gives them.”

Several instructors point out one barrier unique to women’s learning, one that stems from a perspective that for the most part only women share. It seems the female “mothering” instinct is often in the back of a woman’s mind when she is undertaking a venture perceived as risky. “Women will think about crashing and worry, `What will happen it I crash? What if I fall and break my leg? Who will take care of the family?’” Terzian says. This external focus, typical of women’s viewpoints in many areas of their lives, is often best addressed by women instructors who can empathize.

Physically speaking, there are, of course, differences between a man’s and a woman’s body. The most pronounced differences are that men tend to be stronger and therefore can muscle through sports more easily than women, that a woman’s center of gravity is lower than a man’s and that a woman’s pelvis tends to be wider in relation to her upper body, whereas a man’s upper body is wider than his pelvis. But most snow-sport instructors don’t feel this affects the teaching or learning process significantly. In skiing for example, Levine says, a woman with poor technique uses her hips disproportionately because that is where her strength lies. But in doing so, she likely loses control of the tails of her skis. Men do the same thing, only with their torsos. In both cases, the skiers end up “sitting” too far back and need to work on controlling movements by using their legs. The end teaching result, Levine points out, is often the same.

One great advance that women’s clinics have been able to capitalize on is the booming interest in and manufacture of women’s gear. The unavailability of appropriately fitting gear has been a detriment to women’s learning in the past.

Throughout the winter, Jeannie Thoren hauls a 28-foot trailer filled with women’s demo gear from resort to resort. At each stop, she works with women to ensure that their equipment fits correctly. Sometimes a heel cup placed in a boot can help a woman get the forward lean she needs, or maybe a more forward mounting position on her skis will improve her turn initiation. “Getting to the next level of skiing comes from getting the equipment to fit,” Thoren says. “If a woman can’t translate what she has learned through her feet to the skis, then her lessons have been in vain.”

Blakeslee thinks that a lot of women’s fears are gear related. “Poorly fitting gear can cause lack of confidence,” she says. “Women are not used to being connected to their equipment, and they end up blaming themselves. So we work on the mental and the gear. Often when they get their equipment squared away, they develop a whole new relation to their bodies and to their self-confidence.” That mind-body connection, Blakeslee says, is what it’s all about.

And when a woman can overcome fear, improvement in technique follows, which in turn builds more confidence. Levine recalls one woman telling her, “Now when I ski with my husband and son and they want to ski a steep bumpy hill, I say, `No, I’m going over there to work on my technique, and I’ll meet you at the chair,’ and I’m proud of it. Before I would almost be in tears.”

And that’s precisely the end result most instructors of women-only classes are looking for: To allow women to have a comfortable experience that keeps them going back for more. “Most women’s programs are not foufou la-di-da, but rather try to teach something and challenge each skier,” says Levine. “I’d like to have a whole bunch of women come and gain confidence so they’ll have more fun skiing with the guys or then they’ll take a coed class to expand their horizons. We don’t want it to be, `I can’t ski unless I’m with a women’s group.’”

Seeing The Canyonlands

September 25th, 2013

It’s 8 o’clock on a Sunday morning. Johnny Cash’s gravely-voiced hymns soar from the car tape deck. The music is our spiritual link as we bounce down the road southbound from Moab, Utah.

crrMy four companions and I are heading with our guide toward Canyonlands National Park. Today is the first of a five-day backcountry driving and rafting vacation. After two days exploring the desert in a Chevy Suburban 4×4 and camping out under the stars, we’ll raft the Colorado River for another three. Our river route includes navigating Cataract Canyon, which during spring runoff has some of the biggest whitewater in North America. It’s late May. The river’s flow is already over 50,000 cubic feet per second. We know that we’re in for wild water.

That’s the formidable future. Right now, we’re content to explore the southern Utah landscape on foot and four wheels. The unusual combination of surf and turf activities is the perfect way to explore this vast park. Permits to camp and raft in Canyonlands are hard to come by. Recent efforts to preserve the park have closed some trails and prohibited human access in some sections. Visitors are warned to stay on trails and off the cryptobiotic soil, which is actually composed of living organisms. Looking like a dusting of well-crumbled asphalt over the desert sand, this soil protects against erosion and helps conserve moisture. It takes about 50 years for the slow-forming soil to regenerate from the damage of a single footprint.

In such a barren environment, going with a group feels secure. The desert is no place for a novice. Far from conveniences or means of communication, everything you need must be carried in, and you must be able to take care of yourself. Temperatures often rise above 100 degrees; sudden thunderstorms cause flash floods; even experienced campers find the trails difficult to follow.

For the first two days, our route is the White Rim Trail: Once the beach of a long-gone inland sea, it’s now a 100-mile strip of sandstone wide enough for our Suburban. Surrounding rocks form bizarre spires and mesas that reach up and out, like tentacles intermingled with table-tops. The air is clear enough to see the stratified colors of cliffs dozens of miles away.

Anasazi history graces the landscape. Our guide departs from the printed itinerary and leads us through cactus and pinion trees to look at pictographs and ruins. Staring up at the ochre and black figures high on the canyon walls, we are overwhelmed. Beyond the ancient art and dwellings, columns of rock in bands of red and brown and gray rise hundreds of feet from canyon floors and tops of mesas. Slabs the size of football fields balance precariously on the edges of skyscraper-high cliffs.

Our first night, we camp on the White Crack, a peninsula of rock and sand. Formations glow in the last of the twilight: The Needles, The Maze, the Doll House. The landscape is silent. Even the wind makes no noise. In the morning, mountain bikers wearing determined expressions and water packs pedal past us. We descend the final track, a 1,500-foot drop, to the river.

The Park Service strongly recommends that inexperienced boaters travel this section of the river with a commercial outfitter. Here the churning water is as unforgiving as the desert. Cataract Canyon is on the dedicated river-runners’ checklist of must-paddle rapids. For 11 miles beginning with Brown Betty, the river flows through a series of 27 rapids. This section includes “Mile Long,” a sequence of five rapids that merge into one during high water, and the Big Drops, three closely spaced rapids where the river drops 30 feet in less than a mile.

On a scale from one to 10, the second of the Big Drops rapids is rated a level 10, meaning the rapid is extremely volatile and intended for experts only. The wave formed by the drop is described as “a solid tsunami” between 15 and 20 feet high. My companions, all experienced river-runners, are excited. I am nervous. When I look at the roiling water, I’m thinking I’d prefer my next challenge to be hunting for a close-in parking space at the shopping mall. Our boatman, Darren Wallis, tries to skirt the far right edge of the drop. The river has something else in mind. The force of the water vaults him out of the raft when he tries to brace his oar against the wave. I grab his hand in time for him to scramble out of the river and back to his seat just as we hit the tsunami broadside. We “high-side,” throwing ourselves against the bottom of our now-vertical raft as it climbs the wave, then squirt through the wall of water without capsizing. Finally we hit calm water and head for the riverbank. The sequence takes less than a minute.

We camp in Dark Canyon, several miles downriver from Cataract Canyon. The stillness is a startling contrast to the roar of the rapids, still echoing in our ears. Channel catfish splash in the quiet water and the morning call of a canyon wren wakes us, but not until well past dawn.

Back in Moab, I find a t-shirt that boasts, “I survived Cataract Canyon.” I wear it home. The next time I start gauging my life in terms of parking spaces at the mall I’m going to put it on.

Best Skiing For Women

September 8th, 2013

What do women want from a ski resort? For the most part, we want what men do: deep snow, short lift lines, long runs, good food and a hot tub in a warm condo to come home to. But we also want ski schools that understand our abilities and our anxieties. We want instructors who don’t talk down to us, who know that men and women often learn and ski differently. We want ski-shop personnel who understand how to fit women’s ski boots and select the right skis. We want child-care centers that are sparkling and warm. And we want other opportunities to enjoy the winter air–like dogsledding, maybe, or snowshoeing, skating or cross-country skiing.

The good news is that more and more ski resorts are providing all these things. So many are, in fact, that we had trouble deciding which 10 have the most to offer. The following are the ones that we think are doing the best job of making women feel at home on the slopes.

Aspen, Colorado

crAspen has everything you always suspected it did–chic restaurants, pricey boutiques, beautiful people–but it also has incredible skiing on four mountains and a commitment to helping skiers improve. This year the Aspen Skiing Company is offering a weekly four-day Women’s Ski Seminar, which focuses primarily on dealing with fear and anxiety through techniques like visualization and proper breathing. Each seminar includes five hours of instruction a day, plus video analysis and equipment advice. Intermediate through expert skiers tackle Aspen Mountain; those with less expertise gather on either Snowmass or Tiehack. If you want to skip a day of skiing, you’ll find plenty of options: dogsledding, hot-air ballooning, telemark skiing and ice skating, not to mention world-class shopping, dining and people-watching. Call 800-525-6200.

Beaver Creek, Colorado

Beaver Creek, Vail’s 10-year-old sister resort, has a refined, cloistered aura–sort of like an upscale monastery with great room service. Located at the top of a road that winds past massive million-dollar homes, the militantly tasteful base village sits right at the foot of one of the most underrated and underskied mountains in the Rockies. To take full advantage of the setting, consider enrolling in one of four Technique Weeks, a four-day women’s seminar coached by a team of the resort’s best female instructors–including Dee Byrne, the ski-school trainer and a member of the superelite Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) demonstration team. Don’t hesitate to bring the kids. Beaver Creek’s top-notch day-care program accepts infants from 2 months, and the children’s ski school is recognized as one of the most innovative in the country. Call 800-323-4386.

Deer Valley Resort, Utah

Deer Valley is almost embarrassingly cushy. From the ski valets who whisk your equipment out of your hands to the corded-velvet grooming of the runs to the brass fixtures in the immaculate base-lodge powder rooms, this place obviously has one aim: to make its guests feel like royalty. The food in the mountain cafeterias is outrageously good, and toque-wearing chefs present it with all the flourish of a four-star restaurant. Children aged 2 months and up are elegantly ensconced at the licensed day-care center. Oh, and did we mention that ticket sales are limited, which means that there are rarely any lift lines? The instructors here are trained to focus on the positive, boost the ego and soothe the psyche. Women (advanced intermediates and above) can get a daily dose of that at the Ladies-Only clinic, held from 1 to 4 p.m. It’s a little embarrassing, but it’s fun. Call 800-424-3337.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

For too many skiers, Jackson Hole’s supertough reputation rules it out as a vacation destination. That’s a shame, because there’s much more to this resort than those elevatorshaft couloirs you see in all the ski movies. Nearly half the trails here, in fact, are rated intermediate or below. To help you negotiate the vast and varied terrain, the resort offers both ski and snowboard camps for women; there’s also a coed steep-skiing clinic co-coached by Emily Gladstone, the 1991 world extreme-skiing champion. Fine as the skiing is, though, much of Jackson Hole’s appeal lies off the slopes. With the majestic, snaggletoothed Grand Tetons as a backdrop, you can take a sleigh ride through herds of elk, soak in a steaming hot spring, cross-country ski through national parkland and even drop in for a free swing-dance lesson at the Cowboy Bar, one of Jackson’s rowdiest Western saloons. Call 800-443-6931.

Killington, Vermont

Killington, in the Green Mountains of central Vermont, is the East’s biggest ski resort. Sprawled over six mountains, it’s the kind of place where you need never repeat a trail–or a bar or restaurant, for that matter. You’ll find everything here, including plenty of segregated beginner terrain, unlimited intermediate cruising and some of the steepest, nastiest bump skiing in the East. To get the most out of Killington, try the Women’s Ski Escape, a three-or five-day session that focuses on your fears, abilities and goals. The program includes five-and-a-half hours of daily instruction by the resort’s best female teachers, daily video sessions, guest speakers and a comprehensive fitness evaluation. If you’re an intermediate or above skier who’s interested in becoming an instructor (or just skiing like one), you might want to enroll in Killington’s coed Instructor School, now in its 23rd season. Call 800-372-2007.

Squaw Valley, California

Squaw Valley, encompassing six Sierra peaks and overlooking Lake Tahoe, offers some of the most extensive, challenging and scenic skiing in the country. Some major improvements–deluxe new hotels and lodges, detachable quad chairlifts, and a state-of-the-art children’s center where on-snow instruction starts at age 2–have enhanced Squaw’s position as a top destination resort. The ski-school programs, covering everything from bumps to gates to freestyle to powder, also boost that reputation. Among the offerings: Just for Women, three- or five-day clinics with coaching, video feedback, and technical workshops on ski selection and care (participants stay at the Squaw Valley Lodge, which boasts a heated pool, spas, and a health-and-fitness center). Snowboarding is wildly popular here, and 40 percent of the snowboard instructors are women. If you want to give the slopes a rest, you can skate on a mountaintop ice rink, ski the cross-country trails or try your luck at bungee jumping. Call 800-545-4350.

Sugarloaf U.S.A., Maine

In the remote piney reaches of winter-throttled western Maine lies a surprisingly sophisticated resort. Clusters of slopeside condominiums, several good restaurants, day-care facilities, two hotels and a fitness club welcome skiers at the base of Sugarloaf’s domed peak. Weekend and five-day Peak Performance clinics for women teach skiing and snowboarding throughout the season. They offer a low coach-to-student ratio and four hours of instruction a day, along with video analysis and an awards banquet at the end of the week. Experts will find plenty of challenging steeps through the trees and, when conditions are right, on the only lift-served, above-the-treeline summit snowfields in the East. Just a few miles away is a bonus: the Carrabassett Valley Nordic Center, with miles of superb trails and an Olympic-sized ice rink. Call 800-843-5623.

Sun Valley, Idaho

With its alpine facades, timber lodges and palpable nostalgia, Sun Valley is surely one of America’s most romantic resorts. Where else has European panache merged so seamlessly and splendidly with Western mettle and Hollywood glamour? Somehow, spending time here makes everybody feel like a star. If you really want to shine, though, sign up for the resort’s Advanced Ski Clinic for Women. Taught by women instructors, including PSIA demoteam member Nancy Oakes, each clinic caters to the group’s interests: bowls, bumps, speed–whatever you come up with. These two-, three- and five-day programs are aimed at intermediate-and-up skiers looking for a breakthrough. Although Sun Valley’s strongest suit is intermediate and advanced terrain, Dollar Mountain, across the valley from Baldy Mountain, is set aside for beginning skiers. Call 800-786-8259.

Sunday River, Maine

High-capacity lifts, superwide groomed trails, high-tech snowmaking machines, shiny new condos and hotels–not exactly your notion of classic New England skiing, is it? Sunday River has thrown quaintness out the door and opted for maximum efficiency and ease. And it’s done that with remarkable success; the resort is now one of the biggest and most popular in the East. Its masterminds have decided to be just as forward-thinking in their approach to ski instruction. Sunday River’s Perfect Turn clinics are unique 75-minute special-focus lessons that run continuously throughout the day and concentrate on one skill. Also on tap are Janet Spangler’s Women’s Ski Experience programs, one- to five-day clinics that approach skiing with a decidedly New Age bent by working as hard on the psychological obstacles to improvement as on the physical. The sessions include coaching, video feedback, equipment-selection advice, nutrition information, massage therapy, goal-setting and body-awareness enhancement. Call 800-543-2754.

Telluride, Colorado

In spite of being constantly heralded as the “next big thing,” Telluride has managed to maintain a balance between the scruffy and the chic, the gritty and the glitzy. Sure, the burgeoning resort has its share of boxy condos, trophy houses and Hollywood stars, but it also has the raw, immutable beauty of the San Juan Mountains and some of the country’s best terrain for both beginners and experts. To get help in mastering your surroundings, enroll in Women’s Week, a three- or five-day program designed to improve your technique with video feedback, coaching and seminars. Experts can try heli-skiing, and two of the sessions include telemark instruction if you’re interested. Afterward you can sample one of the resort’s more chichi elements: The Peaks at Telluride offers visitors three swimming pools, a weight room, climbing walls, fitness evaluations, and more than 40 massage and treatment rooms for everthing from alpine-wild-flower hydrotherapy to deep-forest exfoliation.