1st it was chick lit, now it’s chick trips

By Kate Zimmerman  

Femmes lose the men & lip gloss, dive into Canadian adventure.

What’s the difference between a chick trip and a coed jaunt? One lip gloss.

If there are two ladies and two gents on a trip, women feel compelled to take along their lip gloss and men shoulder the toughest physical jobs, says Toronto, ON’s Evelyn Hannon. Hannon is host of www.journeywoman.com, a website for women travellers that includes classifieds for all-female tours. But when women travel together without men, Hannon says, they don’t worry about things like hat head. They focus on the experience while embracing its challenges. Hence, the “chick trip.”

First came chick lit, then chick flicks. Now chick trips are the hottest trend in active getaways – in Canada and the world. A survey of adventure travellers in 157 countries revealed that in 2006, 52% of the world’s adventure travellers were women, according to the Adventure Travel Trade Association.
Sure, gals love adventures that revolve around spa treatments and traditional female pursuits – shopping, wining, dining and theatre (see Montréal with Girlfriends, www.quebecartstours.com/vw/ac/c043.htm) – but it’s heli-skiing and paddling that are taking the front seat. Girl getaways are also getting longer (four days is the average) and going upscale, according to a recent American Express Travel poll.

Hannon says women of all ages and stages appreciate a same-sex trip, from teens on their first foray without a parent to a mother and daughter forging bonds, to a prospective bride and her best girlfriends, to a newly widowed adult. Divorced women, too, when they find themselves with the resources to try a new sport, will round up a few like-minded chums. And Canada is the ideal destination for the chick trip: it has a low crime rate, no cultural opposition to solo women or all-female groups, and a vast landscape for every challenge imaginable.
“Women are testing themselves against the world in a way they haven’t been able to do before,” says Hannon. “They’re able to rest, rejuvenate, have a few giggles, come home and be ready to rock and roll again.”

Ladies on the loose in Canada

Learn to surf and do Downward Dog in one adrenaline-boosting, stress-busting weekend at Yoga Surf Camp, a collaborative effort between Tofino, BC’s all-female surf school, Surf Sister, and the yoga-philes at Milagro Retreats. www.surfsister.com/camps-yogasurf.html

Bike the Galloping Goose Regional Trail on a cycling weekend with Gaia Adventures. The tour takes cyclists along the picturesque Vancouver Island, BC trail – called “The Goose,” which stretches between Victoria and Sooke. Watch for bald eagles and turkey vultures, deer and igneous rock en route. www.gaiaadventures.com/summer.html

Snowshoe the Yukon’s Auriol Trail, revelling in spectacular views and lush snowscapes as well as winter camping, storytelling and the icy grandeur of the Aurora Borealis. www.yukonwomenexpeditions.com/kluaneskiing.html

Saddle up to ride the range at a four-day, five-night “Cowgirl Getaway” in western Alberta. No pampered maidens, please – the escape entails down-to-earth ranch chores and bunking in a log cabin. www.adventures.ca/gasnet/2033-9.htm

Glide into northern Saskatchewan for “Women & Waves,” a canoe trip where female guides, a massage therapist and a musician accompany travellers paddling the Churchill River in Lac La Ronge Provincial Park, following the paths of First Nations and the country’s voyageurs. www.canoeski.com/womanschallenge.html

Tackle the challenges of ice fishing, dogsledding, cross-country or downhill skiing, plus snowboarding or snowblading in Wild Women Expeditions’ “The Ultimate Canadian Winter Adventure” in Thompson, MB. www.wildwomenexp.com/winter.html

Canoe Lake Huron, ON’s North Channel, a rugged trip ranked among the “Top Ten Trips for Women in North America” by the Ottawa Citizen because of its serene channels, open waters and hikes inland. www.wildwomenexp.com/paddling.html

Kayak the offshore islands of Nova Scotia’s eastern shore in a three-day tour with Coastal Adventures Sea Kayaking Tours, exploring the area, camping and buffing up paddling techniques. www.coastaladventures.com/school.html#AllWomen

Master the art of flyfishing at Pond’s Resort on the Miramichi in Ludlow, NB, sleeping riverside in a traditional cabin or the Old Lodge. www.pondsresort.com/thefishing.asp?cmPageID=103

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