Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Shop talk.

If ski shops were on the ball, they'd realize the tremendous purchasing power that women skiers have -- and they'd try to take advantage of it.

One smart retailer did just that. A friend in Michigan reports that her local ski shop, Brick Wheels in Traverse City, recently staged an evening event for women skiers called Wine, Women & Wax. The shop had more than fifteen representatives of the largest winter sports companies on hand to answer questions and show off their latest gear. There was food, entertainment, discounts, and door prizes. And to top it off, proceeds from a silent auction went to the city's Women's Resource Center.

This is a great idea on so many levels. It brings women into the shop in an environment in which they can feel comfortable and unintimidated; it's fun; and it establishes good feelings for the shop, which can translate into repeat business down the road. According to Brick Wheels, the event attracted 350 women and raised more than $3,600 for the women's center -- a winning situation for everyone.

It's good to see a retailer taking women skiers seriously. Kudos to Brick Wheels. I can't help believe that other retailers are missing the boat on this one.

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, a new internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

Friday, November 24, 2006

"Off The Grid" not on target.

Not for me, anyway.

Oh, I know I'm not the target audience. I think that's mostly 20 year old males. But like any ski-obsessed fool, I recently found myself among the crowd at the Lebanon Opera House in Lebanon, New Hampshire, sitting through countless commercials, waiting for the new Warren Miller movie to begin.

For a ski-starved audience -- the season hasn't really taken off in New England -- a Warren Miller movie is just what the doctor ordered. Everyone is so ready, so willing to appreciate anything ski-related that's up on the screen. I know I am.

And though it was fun, I just wish I liked it better. I mean, it really got me psyched for skiing (as if I need any more of that!). And I love to see the exotic locales (the segment on Kashmir was great). And though I respect the aerialists, after awhile it all looks the same (why would you want to ski off a 250 ft cliff? Yes, you read that right -- a 250 foot cliff. The same height as a 20 story building. Aside from skiing off the cliff, there's very little skiing involved. So what's the point?)

I know -- I sound like an old stick in the mud. But I do enjoy watching technically great skiing; the kind that makes me wish I could rewind the film so I could track what they're doing and learn something. And there was a considerable amount of that in the film. The skiing is truly outstanding. If I could ski anywhere near like the people in the film, I'd think I'd died and gone to heaven.

I'm sure I'll go see next year's Warren Miller movie, too. I'm a sucker for this sort of thing. I just wish "Off The Grid' was a little bit more on target -- at least for me.

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, a new internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Giving thanks.

It's Thanksgiving week; time when we pause to give thanks, stuff ourselves with turkey, and start to engage in that great American tradition, Christmas shopping.

I have plenty of things to be thankful for that are ski-related. And if you think about it, I'm sure you do, too.

Here's my list:

* The cooler temperatures that are finally reaching us here in New England: At long last, the local ski area can start making snow. With any luck, I'll be able to take some turns next week.

* My season pass: Sure takes the sting out of paying for a lift pass, day by day. When you ski a lot, it's the only way to go.

• An injury-free ski year: So far, knock on wood. Definitely something to be thankful for.

• Mid-week skiing: I'm among one of the lucky ones who does all my skiing mid-week, when the crowds are down. I have a thing about crowds in general, so I'm thankful I have a schedule that allows me to avoid them. Actually, every day on the mountain is something to be thankful for. Beats anything else, far as I can see.

• A husband who understands my obsession with skiing: Even though he isn't as nuts about it as I am, he's still out there with me, and still supportive of all things skiing. He is absolutely the best!

* The great women on TheSkiDiva.com: I've gotten to know some amazing women skiers on that forum. Their posts blow me away on a daily basis. If you're a woman and want some great ski talk, make sure to visit and register so you can participate.

• Your kind attention in reading this blog:
It's nice to have you here.

I have many many other things to be thankful for, too: friends, family, good health, and a happy home. For these, and many other things too numerous to name, I am truly blessed.

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, a new internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

Friday, November 17, 2006

So where do you find gear info?

There's a lot of ski equipment out there, most of it expensive. So before you plop down your hard-earned cash, do yourself a favor and do some research.

Here are some places to get some good gear info:

Internet Ski Discussion Forums such as TheSkiDiva.com or EpicSki.com. You can pick the brains (yech) of people who might already have the equipment you're interested in. Plus there are a lot of gear heads on these sites, so you're sure to get a lot of opinions.

Review web sites. RealSkiers.com is a good one; just note that this is a paid subscription service. However, it's a small investment to pay for getting the info you need to choose the right equipment. You might also try Ski-Review.com,

Ski magazines such as Ski and Skiing publish gear reviews each year, so check them out, too.

Of course, before you buy anything, the best thing you can do is demo, demo, demo to make sure the skis you choose are right for you. Because no matter how many gear reviews you read, no matter how many people you talk to, what it all comes down to is how it works for you.

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, a new internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Apparently, all buyers are not created equal.

True stories from women over at TheSkiDiva.com:

  • I was really serious about buying a Metron, didn't know if I wanted the M11 or the B5. So I went to the ski shop to get demos. Good idea, right? The shop manager actually looked at me, tried to talk me into different skis (lower intermediate models), and said, "I could let you demo the Metrons, but you'd never be able to use them to their potential". Guess where I didn't buy my Metrons?

  • The employee of a store I frequent (mainly for accessories and because they have given me good deals on kids equipment with buy backs, etc.) basically told me I was skiing the wrong ski (Dynastar Exclusive Legend.) The conversation started when I mentioned that I noticed they didn't carry Dynastar in their store. He never asked me how often I ski or my level. He just looked at my size and said that my ski was too stiff for me and too long (152 cm.) Now, I used these skis last year in CO and loved them and had no trouble. Fortunately the manager of this store knows me and doesn't treat me this way or I might not patronize them for my twins junior equipment. Just because I am small and light doesn't mean I need intermediate level equipment!

  • Man, I hope there are some ski retailers are reading this blog. Women skiers have a lot of purchasing power, and clearly we've had some bad treatment buying equipment. It's time people in ski shops realized that they should make no assumptions regarding a woman skier's abilities. Any decent sales person knows that it takes real engagement to make a sale. Asking questions, treating the buyer with respect without regard to gender, appearance, color, race, religion, etc. (you get the picture), and listening to the customer is key. Treating a customer the way reported here is more than just insulting; it's also an easy way to lose a sale -- not just from the woman who's there, but from her friends and family, as well, now and in the future. All in all, not a good way to do business.

    Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, a new internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

    Friday, November 10, 2006

    Helmet Hair.

    Yes, it's time I addressed the dreaded, the unspeakable:

    Helmet Hair!!!!

    See the helmet in my picture? It's there more than just to protect my skull. After I've worn it for a while, my hair's a disaster. Seriously, when I take off my helmet at lunch time, children actually cry! At the end of the day, I find it's in everyone's best interest -- mine and the people who see me -- if I wear a cap when I walk to the car.

    Still, it beats the alternative. I'd rather have really bad hair than a really bad injury. It doesn't take a genius to see that a hard casing around your head is better protection against spending the rest of your days in a vegetative state -- or ending your days completely -- than a soft wooly hat. So looks take a back seat. I'm thinking long term here.

    What I don't get are these guys -- particularly bald guys -- who wear no helmet or hat, even when it's freezing cold. What, are they afraid they'll mess up their hairdos? Give me a break.

    Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, a new internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

    Tuesday, November 07, 2006

    It's for your own good.

    Don't you hate that phrase? You know something awful is coming, like taking some wretched-tasting medicine or having to go on a diet. Still, there are a few things that would really be good for you to handle -- the first one has to be done today, and the next two before you hit the slopes:

  • If you're in the US, vote. You have nothing to complain about if you don't take part in the process. It's a privilege we all enjoy, so be sure to get out there today and make your ballot count.

  • Get your skis tuned up and your bindings checked. Don't even think about hitting the slopes if you haven't had your skis checked over and adjusted by someone who knows what they're doing. It's a matter of safety.

  • If you don't have a helmet, get one. Again, a matter of safety. I got mine a few years back after my daughter suffered a concussion snowboarding. I know it's not the greatest look, but it sure beats the alternative!

    Now that wasn't too awful, was it? None of them are too difficult, and all can make a difference in your quality of life.

    So what are you waiting for?

    Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, a new internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.
  • Friday, November 03, 2006

    A special day.

    How many of you know women who used to ski and then gave it up, for one reason or another?

    I'm sure many of you do. And I'm sure that many of these ex-skiers would take it up again, if they were only reminded of how much fun it can be. So here's an idea. We've all heard of "Take Your Daughter To Work Day." Well, how about staging our own "Take An Ex-Woman Skier To The Slopes Day"?

    It doesn't have to be a particular day. Just when it's convenient for the parties involved. And it doesn't even have to be a full day. Could be half a day. Or an evening, if night skiing is available.

    If cost is an issue, many ski areas have discount tickets available at ski shops, grocery stores, or municipal buildings. Some areas even have Ladies' Days during the week, with reduced rates.

    The idea is to remind these ex-skiers how great skiing can be, so maybe they'll come back to a sport they once enjoyed.

    It's a win-win situation. They'll have fun. You'll end up with a new female skiing buddy. And we'll all end up with more women on the slopes.

    Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, a new internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.