Thursday, August 31, 2006

A reqium for summer.

Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial close of summer. And while I rejoice at the now forseeable approach of ski season, I am not, as some people claim, a "summer hater." There are lots of things I actually like about summer. Here are a few:

Warm temperatures: Believe it or not, I actually don't enjoy being cold. It's just that I love skiing so much that I'm willing to, shall we say, overlook it. It's nice not to go outside dressed in multiple layers.

The beach: As someone who grew up on the Jersey shore, the beach is in my blood. There's something almost visceral about it to me. When I go to the beach, I feel like I'm going home. For me, the ideal would be a home in the mountains and one on the beach. But unless I hit the lottery, that ain't going to happen!

Summer shoes: What woman doesn't love the toe-baring sandals you get to wear in the summer?

Cooking on the grill: My husband and I grill a lot in the summer. Food just tastes better. I miss that in the winter.

Summer veggies and fruit: Corn on the cob, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes. 'Nuff said.

Flowers: I'm a big fan of anything that blooms. Green is nice, too.

To all that, I bid a fond farewell. See you next year. Now when do we ski?

Reminder: Coming September 4 -- TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers (see August 2 blog entry entitled "Coming Attractions"). If you'd like to know when it's up and running, send me an email and I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

"Know thyself."

That's a quote from Aristotle, And in skiing, it applies big time.

There's a thread over at Alpinezone.com where posters are listing their opinions of the steepest trails in the east. Some people look at this as a "to do" list. For me, that ain't necessarily the case.

I think I have a pretty good handle on my ability. And I don't think I need to prove myself to anyone.

This is probably generalizing, but it seems to me that one of the biggest differences between male and female skiers is the former's tendency to view skiing as a competition -- who can ski the best, the fastest; who can be the most extreme.

Most times, all it boils down to is who can talk the biggest talk.

Big talk can be impressive. But it can also lead to trouble. I've seen people who talk like they're the greatest skier since Jean Claude Killy end up in some pretty hairy situations, instead of admitting they're in over their heads.

As I've said in my previous posts, I'm all for accepting challenges. It'd be a pretty dull world if we didn't, and we'd all stay at the same level plateau. But I also think it's important to have a clear sense of your ability and to know what's right for you, instead of attempting something before you're ready.

Big talk doesn't make the skier -- only the skiing counts. And you can be the judge of that.

Reminder: Coming September 4 -- TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers (see August 2 blog entry entitled "Coming Attractions"). If you'd like to know when it's up and running, send me an email and I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Like the robins in spring.

Yep, one of the first signs of ski season is here: the September issue of Ski Magazine, where they review gear for the upcoming season. And even though I'm not in the market for new skis, it still gets my pulse going.

Not that I wouldn't love new equipment -- who wouldn't -- but I only have three seasons into my Head Monster i.M 70's; they're great skis, and I think they have a lot of life in them yet. I've vowed to keep them for three more.

I actually like them a lot. They're great on the hard pack (translation: ice) and crud we get in the east. Head ingrained Intellifibers into the core of the ski. As you turn, mechanical energy (vibrations) are converted to electrical energy, which is applied to these fibers to make them progressively stiffer. In a matter of microseconds, the ski senses and adapts to its surroundings, growing stiffer or softer torsionally as conditions and speed warrant. The ski comes with a binding, Tyrolia's LD 12, and an integrated plate system, Super Railflex, which allows the ski to flex unimpeded.

Still, it's hard not to be wowed by the latest and the greatest. I'm especially impressed by the many new women's skis that are on the market. Eventually, I'll have to give them a try.

Reminder: Coming September 4-- TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers (see August 2 blog entry entitled "Coming Attractions"). If you'd like to know when it's up and running, send me an email and I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Yes, it's hot out...

which brings to mind a great quote from Eleanor Roosevelt (I actually found this recently under the cap of an ice tea bottle):

"A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water."

Nothing to do with skiing, I know; just wanted to pass it on.

Stay cool. And pray for an early ski season.

Reminder: Coming in September -- TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers (see August 2 blog entry). If you'd like to know when it's up and running, send me an email and I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

In the bag.

Ever get a piece of ski gear you really, really liked? One that made your life oh-so-much easier?

I had that exact experience last winter, when I purchased a boot bag I can carry on my back. See, I used to hoist my skis over my right shoulder and steady them with my right arm, while I carried my boots and helmet with my left.

By the time I'd hike from my car to the lodge, my left wrist would feel like it was going to break off (those boots are heavy!).

So I found this great boot bag, with enough room to carry not just my boots, but my helmet, googles, and anything else I needed for a day on the slopes. And since it works like a backpack, my wrist didn't kill me all winter. To me, that's a big improvement.

I wish I'd found it sooner, but I guess I'm glad I found it at last. I don't think a day went by when I wasn't thrilled to have it.

Anyway, if you're looking for a better way to carry your stuff, I highly recommend it.

Reminder: Coming in September -- TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers (see August 2 blog entry). If you'd like to know when it's up and running, send me an email and I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Yard Sale Day.

Today is Yard Sale Day. By which I mean we're the ones having a yard sale -- not the ones making the rounds. We have all sorts of stuff for sale: old pots, dishes, toys, vases, a rug -- you get the picture. All the things we don't need anymore, but that are still in good shape, still useful -- a great value for someone else.

It reminded me of what terrific deals you can get on ski gear at this sort of thing -- especially for kids, who outgrow stuff in nothing flat. Even though it's not this year's equipment, does it really matter if they're just learning? And once in a while, you may even run into an adult who's getting rid of perfectly good equipment (God only knows why). That's great for you, too.

Anyway, yard sales can be a fabulous way to get ski stuff for cheap. Check 'em out!

Reminder: Coming in September -- TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers (see August 2 blog entry). If you'd like to know when it's up and running, send me an email and I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Some insight into why more women don't ski.

I was very impressed with the following post by Mollmeister on EpicSki.com and wanted to share it with you. The thread was exploring why more women don't ski, and as you can imagine, there were lots and lots of opinions. I thought this one was especially insightful. Read it and see if you agree.

After thinking a bit more *seriously* about this, there is one thing that keeps coming to mind, and it's a difference between men and women (especially moms) when it comes to thinking about time, and especially about time off.

The number one reason that I get ready quickly on ski mornings is the snow. I am an addict, no question. However, there's another driving force, and that's duty. If I don't get the two-year-old breakfast and a cold-weather outfit and a bag packed for daycare/ski school, it ain't gonna happen. Or at least it won't happen until Daddy has done his showering, made his breakfast burrito, watched some ESPN while devouring said breakfast burrito, and looked for his missing set of long johns that he "was just wearing yesterday!" You get the picture. Ski day is going to start late, late, late, if I don't handle most of this stuff. Plus, I go into the day knowing that I need to be done by a certain point, so that we can collect the munchkin on time, and maybe even have him demonstrate some of his on-snow skills before we head back to the condo or the car. I am programmed to be thinking about all of these things that *need to get done* while I am going about my day.

Now, my husband on the other hand, sees ski days as vacation, as true time off. And as a rule, the men in my life (husband, father, father-in-law) are much better at embracing time off to the fullest, much more so than the women. For the men, time off means getting started late if you get started late, and so be it. It means a nap on the couch. A little too long in the hot tub. Zoning in front of the TV. Leaving the dishes next to the sink. . . maybe until tomorrow. PURE relaxation. For me, time off is always a little bit tinged with the things that need to get done re: toddler or family or house or whatever.

I think that many women, as caregivers, learn this kind of behavior, and never shut it off. While a man, even into his twilight years, may be able to forget everything on the ski slope, the woman may be thinking not just about how she might hurt herself, but also about how she needs to get home to set out the hors d'oeuvres for the ski friends who are dropping by later. And will she have time for a shower before they come by?

Many, many women, especially in my mom's generation, seem to have this ingrained sense of needing to take care of everyone, including their husbands, while the men have an easier time really embracing a day off. This may affect womens' willingness to give time over to skiing, because it can be a very, very time-intensive sport, especially if you live in day-trip proximity to the big mountains. They may just be thinking about all the stuff that won't get done if they spend this or that day up in the hills, and then they go less, and their skiing doesn't get better. Meanwhile, the men are thinking, "Great! A day off, let's ski!"

I hope I keep loving skiing (and that my kids love it, too), because when I am ripping down the hill, it is the one time in my life when I am able to shut out all of the other things I *need* to be doing, to stop being a wife or a mother, and just be me. I really hope that doesn't get lost somewhere along the way. It's sanity for me at this point.


This is the sort of stuff we can address in more depth on TheSkiDiva.com, the new forum for women skiers coming in September (see August 2 blog entry). If you'd like to know when it's up and running, send me an email and I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Hail Vail!

In case you haven't heard, Vail Resorts recently announced it's going to purchase wind power credits equal to 100% of its annual energy use, making it the second-largest corporate buyer of wind power credits in the US (after Whole Foods Market).

According to Vail, the decision reflects a growing concern about global warming among U.S. ski resorts. They're not the first ski resort to do this: Aspen already offsets all its electricity with 21,000 megawatt hours of wind power credits.

Vail Resorts estimates that the 152,000 megawatt hours of wind energy credits it'll buy are equal to eliminating 211 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year -- the equivalent of taking 18,000 cars off the road. Companywide, Vail Resorts uses about the same electricity as about 14,000 homes. It operates the Keystone, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Vail ski resorts in Colorado, Heavenly Mountain ski resort near Lake Tahoe, the Jackson Lake Lodge in Wyoming, and other resort hotels from California to Vermont.

To anyone concerned with global warming (and I know all of you are), this is great news. Let's hope other ski areas take note and follow suit.

Two ski poles up for Vail! (And Aspen, too!)

Reminder: Coming in September -- TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers (see August 2 blog entry). If you'd like to know when it's up and running, send me an email and I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Coming Attractions.

When I first started this blog, I wanted to create an alternative to the decidedly male orientation you'll find in the current ski forums and magazines. As I've said in earlier posts (and in my profile), women skiers are often overlooked, underserved, and under-represented in the skiing world. And in much of the ski-related media, it shows.

Now I'm taking this one step further: I'm creating an internet forum dedicated exclusively to women who ski.

Curently under construction, the new forum will be a place where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related: equipment, resorts, techniques, clothing, family matters, trips, nutrition, etc. It'll be a place where we can discuss skiing in a way we can relate to, on topics that we find of interest.

I'm hoping you'll visit -- and beyond that, I'm hoping you'll register and participate (it's free!). It'll help get a potentially great thing off the ground. And it'll be a lot of fun, too.

Right now I'm looking at launching the site some time in September. So if you'd like to be notified when it goes on line, just click here and send me your name and email address. Tell your friends, too. Any and all women skiers are more than welcome!