Skiing, Perseverance, and a Whole Bunch of Fizzy Tea

It would’ve been a lot easier to cancel.

Those words ring true for just about everything that’s happened in the last 12 months, but they were especially true for our second annual Sisu Ski Retreat. A women’s-only nordic ski event in one of Colorado’s most remote corners, it’s a weekend built on connection, learning new skills, and stories shared over home-cooked meals. So as you can imagine, COVID-19 threw a bit of a monkey wrench into our perfect plan. 

Last year’s event was nothing short of magical. We gathered in February, when “corona” was still a word associated with a beach vacation. Instead of battling with face masks and collective fear, we battled with 30 inches of fresh snow. The biggest storm of 2020, of course, fell directly upon our little cabins nestled into the Gore Range. While some girls were unable to join us until midway through the weekend thanks to road closures, once we were all together it was really just special. 

Fast forward to today, a few weeks post-Sisu number two. The skis are in need of fresh wax and the welcome gifts (including boxes and boxes of our favorite fizzy tea) are no longer stashed in my spare room. They’ve long since been enjoyed! Reflecting now, it seems like we were missing a little bit of that magic fairy dust.
Yes… something was off. But of course something was off! We were defying all odds. Our obstacle wasn’t record snowfall, it was persevering in the face of a global pandemic. Safely, of course. We wore masks while inside, ate our home-cooked meals prepared by our hosts at socially-distanced tables. This is all despite taking COVID tests prior to the event, and several ladies already having received the vaccine. 

It might not have been normal. But, we did it.

That’s just the thing. When faced with obstacles, the women who attend this ski retreat (and the many other individuals who make it all happen) put their heads down and do it anyway. It’s an attitude that lends itself to living in Colorado, where discomfort–because of weather, traffic, or simply having too much to do–is a common denominator and without it you aren’t going to get very far. It’s an attitude that lends itself to cross-country skiing, work, relationships—the list goes on and on.


It’s an attitude we share at Sisu. And it’s going to propel us up that steep-as-heck ski trail, through unforeseen obstacles in life, and through the good times, too. I’m honored to have created an event that brings out the very best in women who are trying their hardest to say yes to life, even when it gets hard. 


Written by: Whitney James
Photography: Emily Sierra


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