Monday, May 28, 2007

Separating Sunscreen Facts From Fiction.

When I was a kid, I used to slather on the baby oil and sit on the beach and roast. The idea, of course, was to achieve the "perfect tan." What I usually ended up with was the perfect burn, instead.

What fools we were back then.

Now, of course, we know a lot better. Sun exposure can cause all sorts of damage to your skin, not to mention contribute to skin cancer.

So when I saw this on CNN about common sunscreen "myths", I knew I had to post it here.

Myth No. 1: Sunscreen is all you need to stay safe.

Reality: "Sunscreen is only one part of the sun-protection picture," explains Francesca Fusco, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. "Just slathering it on and doing nothing else isn't going to cut it because, even with sunscreen, there's still up to a 50 percent risk that you'll burn."

You also need to seek shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when sunlight is strongest; cover up with clothing, a broad-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses; do regular skin self-exams; and get a professional skin evaluation annually.

Myth No. 2: SPF measures levels of protection against both UVB and UVA rays.

Reality: The SPF (sun protection factor) measures only the level of protection against UVB rays. But several of the 16 active ingredients approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in sunscreens also block or absorb UVA rays, says Warwick L. Morison, M.D., professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins Medical School and chairman of the Skin Cancer Foundation's Photobiology Committee.

Ingredients include: avobenzone (Parsol 1789), octocrylene, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide, as well as the recently approved Mexoryl SX. Make sure one of these is in your sunscreen, or look for products labeled "broad spectrum," which means they protect against UVB and UVA rays.

Myth No. 3: Some sunscreens can protect all day.

Reality: "Regardless of the SPF or what the label says, sunscreens must be reapplied every two hours," Fusco says. "The active ingredients in most products begin to break down when exposed to the sun." Only physical blockers such as zinc oxide stay potent after two hours, but not all sunscreens are made with these ingredients.

Myth No. 4: Some sunscreens are waterproof.

Reality: The FDA does not recognize the term "waterproof," so don't count on sunscreen to last through hours of swimming. The agency does recognize "water/sweat/perspiration resistant" (which means a product offers SPF protection after 40 minutes of exposure to water) and "very water/sweat/perspiration resistant" (which means it still protects after 80 minutes). To be safe, reapply sunscreen after swimming or sweating.

Myth No. 5: A sunscreen can provide "total sunblock."

Reality: "No sunscreen blocks 100 percent of UV rays," Fusco says. An SPF 15 protects against 93 percent of UV rays, SPF 30 protects against 97 percent, and SPF 50 wards off 98 percent. You should slather two tablespoons on your body a half-hour before going outside, so the sunscreen has time to absorb into your skin.


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

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Teenage girls and skiing.

Just learned of an interesting article in January's Ski Area Management magazine about teenage girls and skiing -- specifically, why they drop out and how that's being addressed -- or should be addressed -- by ski areas.

Go here


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

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Where have all the skiers gone?

According to a recent report by the National Ski Areas Association, skier visits were down 6.9 percent from last season's record-setting 58.9 million visits.

That's not much a surprise here in the northeast, where a miserable early season got things off to an especially late start. Add in a miserable storm over MLK Weekend that essentially destroyed what little snow there was, and the decline is hard to offset, even with some terrific late season storms.

Poor conditions are a mixed blessing. They can help keep the crowds down, which is great for those of us who choose to ski. But they can also translate into bad financial statements for the resorts. And when the resorts suffer, so do we all.

Here's hoping that things are better next year.

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

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Best Trail Names.

Do you choose a trail based on its name? Avoid something named "Suicide" or "Certain Death" out of fear?

Trail names can be either revelatory or completely deceiving; it can go either way. That's why it makes sense to find out about 'em, before you give 'em a try.

Here are what I think are some of the best trail names out there:

Widowmaker (Sugarloaf)
The Spin Dryer (Sun Peaks)
Jaws of Death (Mount Snow)
Goatsucker Glade (Sunshine)
Elevator Shaft (Lake Louise)
CPR Ridge (Kicking Horse)
Dead Bob's Chute (Crested Butte)
Idiot's Option and Chicken's Option (Attitash)
Agony (Sunday River)
Oh God! (Jungfrau)

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

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Here's to you, Ski Moms....

...for all you do. Making sure everyone has the hats, goggles, ski pants, boots, etc. etc. they need on the slopes. Dressing and undressing the kids. Assembling the lunches. Hauling the equipment. Harboring a secret stash of tissues/sun block/chap stick/energy bars for that unavoidable emergency. Accomodating multiple bathroom breaks and all the dressing and undressing that go with 'em. Providing encouraging words after a fall. Driving to and from the ski slopes. Attending ski races. Wiping noses. Wiping tears. Administering first aid. Putting on and removing boots/jackets/gloves/helmets. Making sure nothing gets left behind. Arranging ski lessons. Making sure the kids wear helmets.

For all you do, ski moms, for all your unwavering love, devotion, and support -- we salute you!

And to my own mom, who doesn't ski and never did, here's to you, too. Thanks for supporting my skiing when I was growing up, and for continuing to support it -- without ever asking 'why' -- now that I'm an adult.

Happy Mother's Day!

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

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Are you afraid of getting hurt?

Can't blame you. No one wants to get hurt. The problem is when the fear of injury takes over until you work yourself into such a nervous tizzy that your skiing suffers and you actually end up doing yourself some damage.

Funny thing is that you can get hurt doing just about anything. One of the women on TheSkiDiva.com posted about someone she knew who got hurt washing her car; she tripped over the hose and woke up in the hospital with a shattered femur and a number of torn ligaments. It was one of the worst injuries the therapist there had ever seen.

This doesn't mean you should take needless risks. But fear of getting hurt doesn't help your skiing. It can dampen your enjoyment of the sport and keep you from realizing your full potential.

The best advice: know your limitations, maintain your equipment, and keep yourself in shape; good balance and good core strength can go a long way in keeping you out of the emergency room.

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

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Skiing with the boyz.

Some of the women on TheSkiDiva.com have been talking about skiing with the boys. And it's made for some interesting discussion.

Seems in some cases, a platonic skiing relationship just isn't enough; the guys want to be more than just "skiing buddies."

Which is too bad. With women who ski in the minority, sometimes the only people we have to ski with are guys. And a guy who tries to step over the line can turn a perfectly nice ski day into something considerably less than perfect.

Let's be honest -- this isn't just limited to men. I'm sure some women are looking for something else on the mountain, too. But for those of us who aren't, it'd sure be nice if we could just, well, ski without all this other stuff getting in the way.

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