Saturday, July 29, 2006

Random summer thoughts.

Just some brain ramblings on a hot, hot summer day:

Will summer ever end? I know it will. Just seems like it lasts forever -- especially with the temperature approaching 90 degrees.

When will ski season begin? Last year we had an "October Surprise" in the Northeast, but the real season didn't begin til much later. Let's hope that we have a strong early snowfall that doesn't melt or get washed away. Let's see -- November 15, which I gauge as the unofficial start of ski season, is 109 days from today. Not too bad. We can make it!

Hope I remember how to ski! I worry about this every year, and every year I seem to do just fine. Who knows -- maybe it's muscle memory or something.

Hope I can ski a lot this winter. Last season I got in about 40 days, a personal record in a year not noted for great snow. This year I hope to beat it, but with my husband's book, Finn, coming out in February, it might be difficult.

It's July 29. Am I the only person who's thinking about skiing? I don't think so! After all, you're reading this, aren't you?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Speak your mind.

It could make a difference.

If you're less than pleased with something at your favorite ski area, it might be worth your while to let them know. Could be the child care or the children's program needs improving. Maybe the bathrooms or the dining area could be cleaner. Maybe you'd like to see them institute a women's clinic.

All too often, women are encouraged to be "nice" and not rock the boat. But this can be perceived as acceptance of the status quo. So bad situations stay bad. And you remain dissatisfied.

I'm not encouraging you to be a pain in the neck. But it only makes sense to let management know when you're unhappy (nicely, of course), and to offer any suggestions you might have for improvement. Skiing's a business, and ski areas want to keep their customers happy.

Conversely, if they're doing something you thnk is great, let them know about that, too. This way, they'll be sure to keep it up. And that's important, too.

You can find the appropriate person to contact at your ski area's web site. Give them a call or drop them an email. I'm sure they'd welcome your feedback.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Take a hike!

As accustomed as we are to thinking about our favorite ski area as a place for winter fun, have you ever hiked one in the summer?

Many of them have great hiking trails. For example, I recently hiked the Healdville Trail in Ludlow, Vermont. This trail goes up the back of Okemo Mountain and ends at an old fire tower at the top of South Peak. Climb the tower, and you get a beautiful 360-view of the Green Mountains. Breathtaking.

Plenty of other ski areas have hiking trails, too. It's a great way to enjoy them during the summer months. And it'll give you a different perspective of the trails you ski during the winter. (Hmmmm, who knew that rock was there??)

See ya at the top!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Male or female instructors?

To me, it doesn't matter. As long as the instructor is knowledgable, patient, and able to explain and demonstrate things well, I'm happy.

But I wonder if it matters to you.

Some people have told me that female instructors are more patient (if the instructor is a mother, could this be from dealing with kids?), while others have told me that male instructors push them harder.

Both are good traits to have. I like to be challenged, but I also like some understanding and patience, along the way.

What do you think? Any preference?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Lost and found.

Here's a fun way to spend those idle hours at the computer: looking at web sites about lost ski areas.

Seriously. In this world of mega-resorts and high speed lifts, there are a lot of ski areas that're no longer around. Skiing's a tough business, and for whatever reason, some areas just couldn't make it.

Weeds grow on the slopes. Rust accumulates on the chair lift towers.

It's pretty sad, when you think about it. But by going to these web sites, you can get a sense of skiing as it was years ago. Hey, you may have even skied at one of these places. In that case, prepare yourself for a trip down memory lane:

New England Lost Ski Areas: 573 lost ski areas in New England and 61 elsewhere
Colorado's Lost Ski Areas: 140 dormant ski areas
Mid-Atlantic Lost Ski Areas: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina; 34 dormant areas
Lost Ski Areas of Washington: 47 lost areas
Alaska's Lost Ski Areas: 96 lost areas
Lost New Mexico Ski Areas: 8 lost areas

Just totaled it up -- that's 959 areas right there. Wow. Imagine if only a fraction of these opened again!

While we're in a historical mode, here's another great site: It's a historical look at skiing through photos, trail maps, brochures, booklets, and other memorabilia. Check it out.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Goodbye to a great one!

From Ski Racing Magazine:

Veteran American World Cup star Kristina Koznick retired from the sport on Monday after 16 seasons on the World Cup.

Koznick raced the Olympic giant slalom with a completely torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee after a training-run mishap on Feb. 5. She finished the season ranked 13th in the World Cup slalom standings, 28th in giant slalom and 31st overall.

She was fourth in the slalom standings in 2004-05 with three podium appearances and five top-six results. The product of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, retires with six career World Cup wins. She was the 1993 Ski Racing U.S. female junior alpine skier of the year, and took home Ski Racing's top alpine female honor in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002.

Hats (or helmets) off to Kristina, a true champion.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Women's clinics

Anyone attend a women's ski clinic this past season?

I understand they're a great way to build skills, boost confidence, and experience the comaraderie of skiing with other women.

To me, all this sounds great.

Even though I've never participated in one, it's something I've always wanted to do.

So anyone who's been in a women's clinic, please post here and let me know what it was like. Where'd you take it? What'd you do? And was it worthwhile?

After all, there's always next year....

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Another reason to ski....

...or even exercise: it'll improve your memory and boost your creativity and reaction time.

Middlesex University researchers in London discovered that 25 minutes of aerobic exercise boosted scores on subsequent creativity tests. And one study found physically fit workers were 12.5 percent more efficient at the end of the day than their nonphysically fit counterparts. What's more, a study in the journal "Nature" reports that sedentary senior citizens who took up walking for 45 minutes, three days a week, were able to significantly improve mental skills that decline with age.

We all knew we were smart for skiing. This just proves it!

Now if I could just remember where I put those keys.....

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Girl Talk.

It's no surprise that one of my favorite things to talk about is skiing.

All the same, with so few skiers among my of my female friends, I often feel obligated to keep this part of my life under wraps. Don't get me wrong -- as I'm sure you can imagine, I have no problem talking about lots and LOTS of things. But skiing is often a different story. I don't want to bore my non-skiing friends with something they're not interested in. And to someone who's not into skiing, how can I communicate the excitement I get from hurtling headlong down the mountain, the almost spiritual uplift I get from the view at the top, the sense of achievement I get from mastering a difficult run? With what women can I discuss new equipment, compare mountains and trails, and share tips on technique and ski clothes? Is it just me, or do any of you feel the same way?

As I noted in my first post on this blog, It ain't easy. And that's what makes Ski Diva so special. Here I can get as carried away as I want with people who understand. And you can, too.

So if you find something you want to talk about in the ski world, post it here. We know how you feel. And we're happy to listen.

Have a safe and happy Fourth!