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!

No comments: