Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hello, Goodbye.

So here it is, the last day of 2008. And while I'm sitting here looking out my window at the snow coming down, I thought I'd reflect a bit on the year that's coming to a close:

Here are some of my memorable ski-related moments, from 2008:

  • Meeting and skiing with members of TheSkiDiva.com at Solitude during Diva Week in Utah;

  • Meeting and skiing with tmembers of TheSkiDiva.com during Okemo Diva Day;

  • Breaking a personal record of ski days, with 63 days for the '07-'08 season. This meant LOTS of fun days on the snow;

  • Nearly destroying my nearly new Queen Attivas at Magic Mountain (hey, it was memorable, all right!). I took a huge chunk out of the base, but was able to get it repaired;

  • Getting to try next year's skis at the industry demo days at Stratton in February. I felt like a kid in a candy store! You can see my reviews here and here.

  • Getting TheSkiDiva sign on Good Morning America, when the show came to Vermont;

  • Expanding the site to include an E-store for great TheSkiDiva.com gear, a directory of women's ski resources, and a new home page with ski news and member pix;

  • Publishing TheSkiDiva.com Cooks!, a cookbook with recipes submitted by forum members. If you'd like a copy, go here;

  • Getting a publisher for my ski-related mystery, tentatively called DOUBLE BLACK: A SKI DIVA MYSTERY, and coming from St. Martin's Press in January, 2010; You can find out more about it here.

  • Passing 1,000 members in TheSkiDiva.com.

  • Here's hoping that 2009 brings us all more terrific ski memories. And here's wishing you a safe, happy, and healthy new year.

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

    Sunday, December 21, 2008

    Booting up!


    To celebrate my recent book deal, I did what any self respecting Ski Diva would do: I celebrated by getting myself some new gear.

    What did I get, you ask? New ski boots, of course!

    My old boots were getting packed out, so I headed for my favorite local bootfitter, Shon Racicot, at Bootpro in Ludlow, VT, for some help. After making a careful examination of my feet and stance, Shon suggested the boot he felt would do the best job: the Atomic Hawx. I tried them on, and even though I really liked what I was feeling, I thought to myself, "This is far too easy. NO ONE gets boots this fast." So I set out on a "bootquest" of sorts, visiting a number of ski shops in the area to try on boots from a variety of manufacturers. But no matter how many I tried, I kept coming back to the same thing: none of them worked for me like the Atomic Hawx. So back I went to Shon.

    Here's some info I found that describes the Atomic Hawx:

    New concept that allows forefoot flexibility through special gills at front of boot that gives better balance, better transmission, more performance for less effort. Less pressure and force on the metatarsal area for superb comfort. The New I-Flex technology puts your stance in a more upright position and with the new Elastic I-Flex Zone it goes to absorb vibrations and unintentional forces to the skis. A new I-Flex Chassis is a mixture of flexible plastics in varying thicknesses for improved comfort, precise fit and performance. Softer components around the cuff and instep area makes the Hawx putting on/taking off easier and gives a more precise fit. .

    All I can say is that I've skied on these boots seven times with zero issues. That's right -- none. Which is amazing in a new ski boot. They're actually a full size smaller than my previous boots. And while the fit is snugger -- a good thing in a ski boot -- there are no hot spots or pressure points. The snugger fit gives me a better feel for my skis and permits better response to the movements of my feet and ankles. The result: better edging, better control, better skiing.

    I can't say if these boots would work for you. The important thing in a ski boot is fit, fit, and again, fit. And to get the best possible fit, don't just buy boots off the shelf from some big box store. Make sure to visit someone who really knows ski boots, like Shon. Your feet will appreciate it. I know mine do.

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

    Thursday, December 11, 2008

    I just got a book deal!


    Many of you know that my husband, Jon Clinch, is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning novel, Finn.

    Well, he's not the only writer in the family anymore. I just sold a ski-related mystery novel, DOUBLE BLACK, to Thomas Dunne, an imprint of St. Martins Press. It'll be published in January, 2010, and it's part of a two book deal that'll include a yet-unwritten sequel to the first.

    Here's a synopsis:

    In DOUBLE BLACK, Boston’s twenty-something Stacey Curtis ditches her cheating fiance and heads for a Vermont ski town. She’s looking for the life she’s always dreamed about, but she stumbles instead into financial intrigue, bitter family warfare, and murder. Populated with quirky characters, loaded with New England atmosphere, and starring a young woman with nerve, spunk, and a sense of humor about it all, DOUBLE BLACK is an exciting run down some treacherous mountain trails.

    Here's the first line of the book:

    “When Stacey Curtis found the dead man in the bed, she knew it was time to get her own apartment.”

    I am sooooo excited about this. If you don't mind my saying so, it's a fun book that I really think all of you are going to enjoy. And while it contains plenty of skiing and ski-related stuff, I think it's something that just about anyone will like.

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

    Thursday, December 04, 2008

    The "R" Word.

    Not that "R" word -- the one that has to do with precipitation. The other "R" word -- the one they've been bandying about on the news lately. Recession.

    It's official. We're in one. And I don't have to tell you: skiing isn't cheap. So how can you still participate in your favorite sport, while minimizing the financial pain?

    Here are some tips, suggested by members of TheSkiDiva.com:

  • Get a season pass: The initial outlay is large, but if you ski a lot at the same mountain, it can considerably reduce your cost per day. A season's pass can have other benefits, too. Some provide discounts on lift tickets at other resorts, nearby lodging, and on-mountain retail locations.

  • Bring your lunch: Food at the mountain can cost nearly as much as a pass. So bring something that costs less, tastes better, and is much healthier for you: food from your own kitchen.

  • Get a job: The cheapest way to ski yet. Work at the mountain, and they'll give you a season's pass. You'll even earn a few bucks in the process.

  • Carpool to the hill: Yes, gas prices have come down. But the last time I checked, gas still wasn't free. Drive with a friend.

  • Join a club: If you don't live close to a mountain, join a club that has a house or lodge. Weekend rates are far cheaper than the cost of hotel and sometimes even include meals and a cook -- which can make life very nice after a day of skiing.

  • Buy ahead off site: Sometimes you can get a deal on a day ticket if you buy before you go, either from the resort's web site or at designated ski and outdoor shops. It's not a huge discount, but it'll save you a few bucks.

  • Pick a card: Some resorts offer their own discount cards. At Mt. Snow, for example, a "Fan Fare" card costs $99, and gives you 50% off during the week, 25% off weekends and 10% off on holidays.

  • Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, the online home especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008

    TheSkiDiva Cooks!


    Tomorrow's Thanksgiving. And at the time of year when food plays such a big part in our celebrations, consider this:

    TheSkiDiva Cooks, the new cookbook featuring recipes from members of TheSkiDiva.com community.

    There's everything from SnowHot's Famous White Hot Chocolate to Diva Dude Chili and Face Plant Cake — more than 150 recipes. Enjoy mouthwatering appetizers, beverages, soups & salads, desserts, main dishes, and more. And of course, it makes a great holiday or hostess gift.

    To order your own copy, go here.

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

    Friday, November 21, 2008

    WOOOO-HOOOOO!!!!


    My ski season has started!!!!

    Today was my very first day of the season. And even though it wasn't a full day (I was only out there for a few hours), it was great to be finally skiing.

    My home mountain is Okemo, Vermont, and they always do a great job making snow. Not too much terrain was open, but the conditions were good and it snowed early in the day, which made it extra nice. Okemo is blasting its snowmaking guns like crazy, so more trails will be opening each day.

    Interesting, though -- every year I have the same crazy, irrational thought: What if I've forgotten how to ski? I know it makes no sense, but there it is. Usually it's gone after just a few turns. But I wonder -- does anyone else feel this way, or is it just me?????

    Here's wishing all of us a great '08/'09 season!

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

    Friday, November 14, 2008

    Skiing with the Girlz.

    Want to spend the day with women who love skiing as much as you do, while taking your skills to a higher level?

    The answer may be as simple as a women's ski clinic. Today there are women's ski clinics at just about every resort. It's a great way to gain confidence and improve your skiing in an encouraging, supportive environment, free of male machismo.

    Here are a few you might want to investigate:

  • Okemo Women's Alpine Adventures (Okemo, VT): This well regarded women's clinic is headed by Maria Tomaselli, honored by Skiing magazine as one of "America's Best Instructors." Okemo offers five, three, and two day programs.

  • Copper's Wednesday Womens Program (Copper Mountain, CO): Here's a program where you can come every week, or just drop in. Held every Wednesday throughout the ski season.

  • Ski with Kim (Beaver Creek & Aspen, CO): Kim Reichelm’s skiing resume is impressive, with two World Extreme Skiing Championships and winnings in the U.S. Extremes and the South American Extremes. She's also skied with the U.S. Ski Team and the Women’s Pro Tour. Kim's Women’s Ski Adventures are 4-day, 5-night instructional ski vacations that are educational, informative, and lots of fun.

  • Jackson Hole's Women's Ski Camps: JH runs two 4-day sesssions: one in January, and one in February. Join Jackson Hole's top women instructors as they help intermediate, advanced, and expert skiers conquer the big stuff on this amazing mountain.

  • Women's Extreme Edge: Didi Lawrence heads up a four days session open to skiers Level 8 and up who are eager for the challenge of double-black terrain, and offers coaching in both the technical and psychological aspects of extreme skiing. Didi is an amazing instructor whose enthusiasm and expertise will have you doing things on skis you never thought possible! You can see my interview with her here.

  • Mermer Blakeslee's Women's Fear Clinic: If fear is holding you back, this is the clinic for you. Mermer Blakeslee, the ski industry expert on fear and author of the renowned "In The Yikes Zone," (see my interview of Mermer here), holds a four day clinic in January just for women at Windham Mountain (NY).

  • Snowbird's Women's Ski Camp: Held for four days in January and four days in March. The January session features guest instructor Robin Barnes, who has twice earned a spot on Ski Magazine’s Top 100 Instructors list. Snowbird also offers Women's Monday Getaways, held every Monday morning throughout the season.

  • Holly Flanders' 3-Day Workshops (The Canyons, UT): Sessions are held in January, February, and March, and are headed by Olympian and World Cup Champion Holly Flanders.

  • There are many other women's ski clinics to choose from, too. Call your favorite resort -- chances are they'll have one.

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

    Thursday, November 06, 2008

    Ski for the Cure!




    Never say that skiers are just out for a good time (though yes, that is part of it).

    Recently I posted about K2's Breast Cancer Research Fundraiser. Now here's another one that's ski-related:

    To raise money for the Breast Cancer Three Day and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Kitties for A Cure, an independent group, is raffling off lift tickets for a number of ski resorts in the Northeast. A single raffle ticket costs $1., or you can get a Super Ticket that covers all the areas for $5.


    The following have donated tickets to the cause:

    Black Mountain, NH
    Bromley Mountain, VT
    Pat’s Peak, MA
    Ragged Mountain, NH
    Saddleback, ME
    Shawnee Peak, ME
    Waterville Valley, NH
    Whiteface/Lake Placid, NY

    The drawing will be held December 9. You can go to the Kitties For A Cure website to participate or to find out more.

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

    Friday, October 31, 2008

    I'm not the Morals Police....


    ....But I do have a problem with the new "Playmate" snowboards recently introduced by Burton.

    Now, I know I'm not the intended audience here. First of all, I'm not a boarder. And second, to be blunt about it, I'm no kid, either. And though I do believe that yes, the body is beautiful and yes, we should encourage artistic freedom of expression (the umbrella that Burton is hiding under), I don't think these boards were rolled out in celebration of either of these things.

    My feeling is that these images are merely a shrewdly calculated marketing device designed to capture a particular market segment -- in this case, adolescent boys -- to whom graphics of naked women are very appealing. Instead, what they actually do is objectify women as sex objects -- something we've been trying to move beyond for decades -- as well as alienate a very large segment of the population.

    I think Burton tries very hard to market itself as an "edgy" company. It does a lot of stuff purely for shock value. Face it, there's a certain element that likes to buy stuff because 1) it either ticks people off, or 2) it makes people do a double take. Plus it gets Burton a lot of exposure, like when they encouraged boarders to poach skiing-only resorts last year.

    This type of marketing is what you do when you're completely out of ideas. The oldest trick is the book is to show an image of a naked lady. It's Neanderthal, it's juvenile, and it's just plain dumb. I think Burton should know better than that, and I'm incredibly disappointed that they don't.

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

    Friday, October 24, 2008

    The Pink Chase.

    That's the name of K2's breast cancer fundraiser.

    As many of you already know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And as part of this, the women of K2's women's development teams will ski as much vertical, or walk as many kilometers, as they can to raise money for breast cancer research.

    Anyone who makes a donation or a pledge though K2 will have the opportunity to win prizes, including a complete K2 Skis package, travel luggage, Polar watch, tickets to Arapahoe Basin and more. The fundraiser runs through October 30, so there's still time to participate. Go here for more information on how you can participate.

    Who among us doesn't know of someone who has been stricken by this awful disease? Here's our chance to make a difference. How incredible would it be if there was a cure for this in our lifetime!

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

    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    I love Fall.



























    I really do. It's a beautiful time of year, especially here in the Green Mountain State. So I thought I'd post a couple pictures to share the beauty of the season.

    Right now my local mountain is scheduled to open on  November 15, but things are going to have to change dramatically for that to happen. All the same, A-Basin is open in Colorado, as is Loveland. So the season is ramping up, and pretty soon, the leaves will be down here and everything will be covered in a blanket of white. I don't know about you, but I can't wait. 

    Still, when you look at these pictures, it's nice to have such a beautiful world to look at, in the meantime.


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

    Thursday, October 09, 2008

    Show Your Inner SkiDiva.



    It's easy, when you visit the new TheSkiDiva.com store.  You'll find a wide range of apparel featuring the TheSkiDiva.com logo available in a variety of embroidery colors. There are fleeces, vests, jackets, hats, shirts, and more, perfect for the cooler weather.

    To commemorate our Grand Opening, we're offering a special edition TheSkiDiva.com hoodie for only $19.99. Be sure to stop in and take a look.

    While you're at it, visit TheSkiDiva.com, the online home especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

    Friday, October 03, 2008

    The Deal on Kids.



    Anyone who wants to make skiing a family affair knows how expensive it can be. But in a few states, skiing is more affordable, thanks to programs offered by various state ski associations. 

    In my home state of Vermont, the Vermont Passport allows fifth graders to ski or ride free free at a number of resorts, when accompanied by a paying adult. 

    Here are a few states with similar programs:


    Granted, requirements vary -- in some states, the program is for fourth graders, in others, for fifth graders, and so on. There are also various fees involved. And your child must be enrolled to participate.

    Another way to save is to check with your ski resort.  Many offer free tickets for children up to a specific age. And virtually all offer discounts for junior skiers.

    No matter how you do it, there's no denying that getting your kids out there is a great way to introduce them to a lifetime of fun.

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




    Saturday, September 27, 2008

    A conversation with Allison Gannett


    We can learn a lot from Allison Gannett. In addition to being a world champion Free Skier, a ski film star, a ski designer, and a master instructor, Alison has dedicated herself to championing environmental causes,  tirelessly working to make our planet a better place. She's worked on the environment with Al Gore, started the Save Our Snow Foundation and The Office For Resource Efficiency, teaches environmental awareness with the Global Cooling Tour, and been named one of the Green All Stars by Outside Magazine.

    Alison is also member of TheSkiDiva.com forum for women skiers, and she kindly consented to answer some questions for us.

    Q: Many athletes are involved in supporting various causes, and I know you’re extremely involved in the environmental movement. Tell me what led you to become so active in this. When and how did you begin? Was there some sort of epiphany?

    A: I have been involved in the environmental movement since childhood and especially college. I was an environmentalist, and worked on consulting for global warming for the last 20 years. My professional freeskiing career came afterwards. I did have an epiphany to blend my two careers when I injured both my knees at the X Games. I realized then that the ski industry was pretty shallow, and that I was just a number. I needed more, so I sought sponsors that cared about doing good for the planet, and that had ideals like my own. Everyone said I was crazy, but it turned out to be the best desicion I ever made. Seems like if you follow your heart and not the masses, things work out better!

    Q: As part of this, I hear you’ve built a straw house in Crested Butte. Why did you build it? What were you trying to demonstrate or accomplish? How is it different from living in a conventional house, and is it something you see as really taking off? 

    A: I've always been determined to walk the talk, so building my home was a natural place to show what is possible. Showing is always better than preaching. I built it in 1997, and it was the first straw bale home in a National Historic district - in Crested Butte, Colorado. I designed it and general contracted it. I wanted to show that being green doesn't have to cost more or look weird. That you can have your cake and eat it too - a beautiful non-toxic home, with super energy efficiency and insulation, built with local materials, and solar electric, solar hot water, and passive solar heating, also.

    Q: Tell me about your Global Cooling Tour. What does it involve, where have you been, and where are you going? Does it take up a lot of your time? 

    A: I started my official Global Cooling Tour two years ago. My aim is to educate the world on solutions to global warming, but doing it with exciting images and movies from my crazy adventures around the world. I work with individuals, businesses, events, communities, trade shows, and governments, teaching my four-step CROP framework for solutions to climate change. I work to show solutions, such as my Ford Escape SUV, converted to a plug-in hybrid vehicle that gets 100 miles per gallon, and the first SUV in the world powered also by solar power. I do many presentations around the US and all over the world.

    Q: What led you to choose freeskiing over other types of skiing? What skill sets do you find most valuable for it? 

    A: I was a bad ski racer as a kid, and also a mountaineer, so both gave me great technical skills. Many years later, I was discovered by Warren Miller's film crew, and that is how my ski career started. I never could stay inside the gates racing, so it was a natural fit to express myself more freely.

    Q:  I’ve seen videos of you skiing down some incredibly hairy stuff in Alaska. Can you tell me what goes through your head when you’re doing something like that? 

    A: The really hairy stuff takes some work, but I think my mountaineering background really enabled me to adjust to Alaska uber steeps easier than most. I could read terrain really well, and knew crevasse rescue and avalanche safety, and I was comforable being alone on top of a remote peak. It still is one of the craziest rushes in the world, but like anything, if you are prepared, it comes naturally. It still is weird having terrain so steep that you can't see your next turn, with all the snow pouring down around you, and literal free-fall between turns. I also loved showing the boys that women can really rip just as hard as the men!

    Q: Is there a particular run or place that really scared the stuffing out of you? If so, what was it and why? 

    A: I would get the most scared when the people I was filming with did not have avalanche training or big mountain skills, which was pretty much all the time. You are only as safe as your crew to save you if things go wrong, and that drove me nuts filming the sick stuff. When the avalanche conditions would get creepy, I'd get a sick feeling and I learned that it meant to pull the plug and hop a plane home. Lots of bad stuff usually went down when I left. But I also had some close calls with avalanches, and almost complete burials, when I wasn't paying attention to my gut, knowledge and intuition.

    Q: I know you’re involved with Head skis. What do you like about them, and what do you ski on? 

    A: I am on the Head Women's team - there are 14 of us, each from a different country around the world, and we get together to design the Head skis, inside and out. I don't think there is another company in the world that actually has skis designed for women, by women, and I love that. I like that they are easy to ski, yet fun, and the graphics are really cool. I usually ski on the Head Sweet One, which a fat skis that rips on the groomers, and of course is fantastic in powder and crud. Fat skis make me a hero skier, and will do the same for any woman wanting to expand her horizons. We are working on a super fat ski called the Head Bitchy One, and I can't wait!! It will be 110mm under the foot, but can also ski groomers amazingly well.

    Q: What clinics will you be doing this year? When and where? 

    A: Right now I'm doing the Head Rippin Chix Steeps Camp on Feb 14-15 in Crested Butte. It is open to women who tele or alpine ski black runs and goes up from there in seven levels. I sell out every year, and it was chosen as one of the three best camps in the country. I have special guest champion freeskier instructors, like Wendy Fisher, Carrie Jo Cheroff, Jill Sickles Matlock, and Susan Medville. I'll be working on several other camps also - check www.alisongannett.com for more info.

    Q: Between your skiing and your environmental work, you've accomplished so much. What’s next? 

    A: Well, saving our ecosystems such as our snow and water is a tough job, because it never ends. This year I had some great honors, such as training Al Gore's staff, and being selected as a Green All-Star next to Leonardo DiCaprio and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but the planet is in dire circumstances. My goal is to bring the message of solutions to climate change to Hollywood and the world, working to brand my four-step CROP solutions framework so that people are not so confused in what to do to make a difference. My athletics such as skiing and biking give my life real balance, as my enviro job can be pretty depressing. We are also launching a film on my adventures to document glacial recession in Pakistan this year, and that will be fun going to the big film festivals, while also getting the solutions message out there. I'm also working on educating politicians on solutions, because Washington seems pretty clueless on climate change. I also want to have some fun, by teaching more Rippin Chix camps. And I also work hard to prepare my life for what I predict will be a tough future - rising oil prices, more extreme weather, decreasing food availability, overpopulation, etc. I am working everyday to make my own life more sustainable.

    Don't forget to CROP your life! remember my four east steps to greening your life:
    C - calculate your carbonfootprint - www.carbonfootprint.com
    R - Reduce your carbonfootprint - eat organic - Clif Bar, and local when possible, support companies making a difference such Patagonia, Osprey, and Smartwool, get an energy audit on your house by contacting your electric company, inflate your tires, take your roofrack off and by a high mileage vehicle.
    O - Offset your carbonfootprint - www.carbonfootprint.com
    P- Finally, after you have reduced your footprint, produce your own power with wind, solar, etc.

    Q: What's your idea of the perfect ski day?

    A: A remote hut in the woods, deep powder, tons of great food, my boyfriend, friends, or family.

    Q: What's your favorite apres-ski meal? 

    A: I have to say that pizza is my favorite apres meal, but I love chocolate chip cookies, also.

    To find out more about Alison Gannett, visit her web site at www.alisonganett.com

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

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    Save Our Snow!

    Anyone who loves skiing should know about the Save Our Snow Foundation -- for obvious reasons. Lose the snow, and you lose something we skiers feel passionately about. After all, if there's no snow, there's no skiing. Just last year a ski area in France actually closed due to lack of snow (Abondance),

    But as they say, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Nearly 50% of the world's drinking water comes from glacial and snow melt. No snow, and a lot of the world goes thirsty. Conversely, glacial and snow melt can drive up ocean levels, sinking low lying areas and submerging islands. 

    There are other problems, too. Global warming can cause more extreme, unpredictable weather, leading to more severe, frequent droughts and storms. And it can allow warmer weather insect species to invade and devastate our northern forests and crops. 

    As snow lovers, we can't just sit idly by and allow this to happen. Save Our Snow is a good place to start. The organization was formed to educate people on the problem of global warming. Believe it or not, there are some people who still don't believe this is a reality. Even the CEO of General Electric, whom I saw on the Stephen Colbert show the other night, remain unconvinced. (I'm shaking my head even as I write this; it boggles the mind.)

    You can check out Save Our Snow or donate to the cause here. Every little bit helps.

    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, September 16, 2008

    Do you wear make up when you ski?

    Generally, no.

    With my helmet, goggles, gaiter, and sometimes even a face mask, it's hard to tell if I have a FACE, let alone if I'm wearing any make up.

    Still, I am getting older. So sometimes I'll cave in and put some on. If I know I'm going to skiing with a bunch of friends -- just so I don't scare them away. I know it's vanity. I know it's futile. But I'll do it, anyway.

    Far more important than makeup, however, is sun screen. You can get a mean burn from the sun reflecting off the snow. Make sure it has a high SPF, and be sure to re-apply. And when you get off the slope, moisturize. The wind and cold temps can dry out your skin. Definitely worth it.

    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, September 09, 2008

    Saving money on ski gear.

    I don't know about you, but I'm always on the lookout for ways to save a buck with ski gear. So imagine my delight when the same folks who brought us SteepandCheap.com opened up Tramdock.com. It's just like SAC, except it's all about skiing.

    How does it work? They sell one item at a time at a deep discount until it's gone. Then they introduce something else. Could be skis, jackets, sox, ski boots -- anything ski related.

    Forgive me if this sound like a commercial, but it's too good not to spread the word. Check it out!

    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, September 02, 2008

    A talk with a boot expert.















    Want to know what's new with women's boots? I did, too, so I went to talk to Shon Racicot, owner of Bootpro, a new shop opening in late September in Ludlow, VT.

    Shon is one of the great bootfitters in the industry. He's been working with boots since 1986, and is a 15 year graduate of Masterfit University. He previously worked with Northern Ski Works in Ludlow, VT.

    Q. Why is bootfitting so important?
    A. I've always felt that the boot is the key component to comfort. You can buy any brand of boot, but you have to tweak it to adjust it to an individual's biomechanics and anatomy. That's key. Just like a ski; if it's not tuned correctly, it doesn't work, no matter how much it costs. The last 10% of adjustment is 90% of performance.

    Q. Can you describe the difference between men's and women's boots?
    A. It's driven by anatomy. Women typically have a narrower heel and foot, so women's boots tend to grip the heel a little tighter. Many women come in and say they have big calves, so their calves hurt in their boots. The truth is that women's achilles tendons are shorter, so the calf is farther down in the boot, and that makes it seem like they're larger, even though they're not. A men's boot is going to fit higher on the calf. So for women's boots, you want to make sure you have a scalloped calf.

    Women also have a different hip angle than men. The new women's skis have the mounting point more forward because a woman's hip structure is farther back. This centers the hips over the skis. This can cause a woman to crouch, pushing the calf forward and really working the quads. It's like doing wall sits all day; your quads end up killing you. Women need to stand up straighter to support themselves skeletally rather than muscularly. The trick is to let the calf go out the back of the boot and maybe even elevate the toe. That can help you stand stronger.


    Q. That's interesting. I've always heard that a lot of women need heel lifts to make them more forward over the ski.
    A. Heel lifts can definitely work. But I've noticed that reducing ramp angle in a ski boot can help you stand taller. Everyone is different. It could be driven by the new shaped skis, too. You're very upright, and you want to lead into that turn with the shovel of the ski. With the old skis, there was a lot of dynamic motion where you had to start at the shovel, work to the middle and end at the tail. Now it's a very stable position with more subtle movements. Then again, heel lifts may work for some women. Everyone is different, depending on anatomy and biomechanics of the skier.

    Q. So what's the latest in women's ski boots?
    A. One of the biggest innovations in ski boots is the co-molding of plastics where you can have a soft plastic co-molded with a stiff plastic. So in the zones of the boot where you need rigidity and edge transmission you put the hard plastic. Then you put in softer material where you need the flexibility that allows the skier to suck up terrain and make subtle changes without throwing the ski. Women's boots can now be made softer, with easier flex.

    Atomic has a very good program with its new Hawk series of boots. These have a suspension-like system in the forefoot that allows the boot to really steer the ski. It's softer, so it allows better edge transission. It's like an accordian in the forefoot.

    We're also seeing new materials in the liner, so the boots are warmer than they've been in the past. Some are actually using wool in their liners. Lange is even using quilted down. Some boots have it just in the toe, and some in the whole liner.


    You can get in touch with Shon at his new shop, Bootpro, by phoning 802/228-2776 or by emailing info@bootpro.net

    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, August 26, 2008

    The Ski Reviews Are Coming Out!

    And that's a sure sign that ski season is coming, too.

    All the same, pardon me if I don't get too excited. The reviews in SKI and SKIING magazine, for example, are hardly reviews at all. Not one negative comment about any ski (can't upset the advertisers!), and some lines are completely left out (where are the Head skis in SKI magazine? I LOVE Head skis!!!) To be accurate, they should really call it a Gear Listing; more accurately, a Partial Gear Listing, since they left out so much.

    For better reviews, go to RealSkiers.com. You have to pay to sign up (I think it's twenty bucks for the year), but you get much better reviews. Or women can check out the Gear Review section on TheSkiDiva.com, where real live skiers like you and me talk about skis they've tried out.

    Of course, the best way to determine whether a ski is right for you is to try it yourself. No review in the world can be a substitute for that!

    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.

    Monday, August 18, 2008

    We're almost at 1,000 members!

    It hardly seems possible, but TheSkiDiva.com, the internet home for women's skiing, is nearly at 1,000 members.

    This is especially exciting, because on September 4, the site celebrates its second anniversary!

    If you haven't visited or registered at TheSkiDiva.com, now's as good a time as any (but please, women only). It's a great place to talk about all things related to women's skiing -- travel, gear, technique, and so on -- in a setting where you can be entirely comfortable. There's nothing else like it on the web, and it's a wonderful community made up of women who share your love and addiction to a fantastic sport.

    Stop in and register. Maybe you'll be our thousandth member!

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Appreciating the Summer Olympics.

    Yes, I am capable of appreciating summer sports. Michael Phelps is amazing. And Dara Torres has become a personal hero of mine (41 years old! She rocks!).

    So here are some of my random thoughts about the Olympics:

  • Wasn't that the most amazing opening ceremony ever???? Stunning. Incredible. Eye-popping. These don't even begin to describe it. If you haven't seen it, find a way to. You won't be sorry.

  • Michael Phelps is incredible! Probably the best swimmer of all time! That said, I wish NBC wasn't turning its coverage into the Michael Phelps Show. I mean, there are plenty of other athletes there, too. It's a bit much.

  • What's with women's beach volleyball? Why do they wear bikinis and the men wear shorts and t-shirts???? Am I the only one who finds this odd???

  • How does one get to be an Olympian in some of these sports?

  • The American women had a clean sweep at fencing: Gold, Silver, and Bronze! Go USA!!!

  • Those synchronized divers are amazing. How do they do it???

  • Some of the Chinese women gymnasts look like they're 8 years old.

  • All in all, the summer Olympics are an amazing display of what talent, ability, and incredible hard work can do. Every athlete there should be congratulated. I salute them all. And I'll keep tuning in.

    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, July 30, 2008

    Summer camp: It's Not Just For Making Potholders

    To most people, summer camp brings to mind sing-a-longs, doing arts and crafts, and toasting marshmallows over a campfire under the stars.

    Not the case for rippin' skiers. For them, summer camp means time to hone their skills at Mogul Camp.

    One of the women who participates in TheSkiDiva.com just got back from the Momentum Adult Mogul Camp in Whistler, BC, where she spent a week working with some of the ski world's best coaches. The camp is run by John Smart, a 13-time World Cup medalist, 2-time Olympian, and Canadian Ski Hall of Fame member. You can read about her adventure here. But be prepared to turn green with envy -- it looks like an awfully good time, especially if you're as ski-starved as I am right now.

    Mount Hood has a summer mogul camp, too. It might be too late to sign up for this year, but how about next?

    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, July 19, 2008

    Women's Ski Reviews: '08/'09

    Check out my articles on About.com!

    There are two. The first, "Selecting Skis for Women", explores the differences between men's and women's skis and discusses things you should keep in mind about when you're looking for a new ski. The second, "Women's '08/'09 Skis," reviews some of the skis you'll see in the new season.

    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.

    Monday, July 14, 2008

    Do you make your kids wear a helmet?

    A lot of people do. Yet some of these same people refuse to wear one themselves.

    I've heard all the arguments: I don't fall much, I don't ski fast, I'm very careful, It's not comfortable, etc. etc. etc..

    Look, whether or not you wear a helmet is a personal choice (though in my opinion, a misguided one). But it doesn't set a good example for your child if you don't wear a helmet and you make them wear one.

    This past season my husband fell in a very easy area -- he just caught an edge and went down -- and his head hit so hard that his helmet cracked. I shudder to think what would've happened if he didn't have one on.

    All kids should wear helmets. All patrollers and instructors should wear helmets.

    In fact, I think everyone should wear helmets.

    They're not just for kids.

    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, July 02, 2008

    Ski the Fourth!

    The Fourth of July weekend may seem like an odd time to think about skiing, but here are some random thoughts to help you make it through the summer:

  • Loveland Ski Area starts making snow in just over two months. Go here for an actual countdown to the big day.

  • Snowbasin is celebrating the Fourth with a ski and snowboard race. You can sign up and race, if you like. Go here for more information.

  • You can always get your ski fix satisfied at some of the great internet ski forums, where they talk about skiing all year long. If you're a woman, try this blog's sister site, TheSkiDiva.com, the premiere internet community for women who love to ski. A terrific forum for everyone is EpicSki.com. And if you're European, try Snowheads.com.

  • Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    Give me some leeway here....

    It's the off season. So permit me to brag a bit:

    My husband's novel, Finn, has been named a Notable Book of the Year by the American Library Association. They only name about ten books for the year, and of those ten, invite maybe three authors to address their annual convention.

    Jon is one of them.

    He's off to Anaheim, CA, this weekend to receive this tremendous honor. And I couldn't be more proud.

    Finn was also named one of the year's best novels by The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and The Christian Science Monitor. And it was a finalist for the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize, and the recipient of Philadelphia's Athenaeum Literary Award.

    So if you're looking for a great read, look no further. Hey, you gotta fill up those off season hours somehow, right?

    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, June 19, 2008

    Raise your hand!

    Want to volunteer at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics?

    The Vancouver Organizing Committee is looking for up to 25,000 enthusiastic, dedicated volunteers who can help out before, during, and after the Olympic Games. A couple things to keep in mind, however. You must be 19 years old before September 1, 2008. It's strongly recommended that you have your own accommodations. And you'll have to pass a background check and numerous security clearances, before you're accepted.

    Still, imagine the opportunity to be right there, in the midst of all the athletes, the games, and the glory!

    Anyone interested must register with VANOC (the organizers of Vancouver 2010) before the end of June this year. Go here for more information.

    Do we have any takers?

    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, June 14, 2008

    It's always ski season somewhere.

    I know an instructor here in Vermont who spends half the year instructing at Okemo, and the rest of the year teaching in Australia. For her, it's endless winter.

    It is possible. You could ski all year round, if you like. While we're sweltering in the heat, ski season is getting underway in New Zealand and Chile.

    But if you're looking for something really exotic, how about Africa??

    One doesn't usually put skiing and Africa in the same sentence, but this morning I read about Afri-Ski, a ski area in Lesotho, an African kingdom surrounded by South Africa. The area features a single slope a kilometer long. It's been open since 2005, and bills itself as the largest in Africa. Some 10,000 guests visited Afri-Ski in 2007, and 15,000 are expected this year.

    So how about a trip combining a visit to one of Africa's Game Parks and some African turns? Would that be cool or what?

    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, June 04, 2008

    Will The High Cost of Gas Put A Crimp In Your Skiing?

    A very good question, indeed, with gas already over $4. a gallon in many areas of the US.

    I live within five miles of my home mountain, so for me, the high cost of gas won't keep me away. But most people don't live that close. For them, it could push skiing out of their reach, especially when you combine it with the high cost of the sport, in general -- equipment, lift tickets, and so on.

    The effect this will have on the ski industry can't possibly be good. Ski areas depend on ski visits for profits. And if people cut down on their visits, it'll make it harder than ever for resorts to make money. What's more, ski areas need fuel, themselves, for basic mountain services. Could we be seeing more cutbacks? Even higher lift tickets? Forced closures?

    I shudder to think.

    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 31, 2008

    Women's Ski Jumping Takes A Fall: Part 2

    There may be hope yet.

    Last week a lawsuit was filed in the British Columbia Supreme Court on behalf of some of the women ski jumpers.

    “Women ski jumpers meet all the technical and universality requirements,” said Deedee Corradini, Women’s Ski Jumping-USA (WSJ-USA) President. “There are certainly more than enough qualified women jumping from more than enough countries. The women are ready and we have tried to communicate that to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but to no avail. We were forced to conclude it is a matter of discrimination and decided we had no choice but to launch a lawsuit.”

    The lawsuit names the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) as respondent, Corradini said. The statement of claim asks the Court to allow women’s as well as men’s ski jumping events to go ahead in Vancouver in 2010. The individual plaintiffs include six of the top 10 internationally ranked female ski jumpers in the world, including athletes from Norway, Germany, Austria, Slovenia and the United States. Marie-Pierre Morin, a retired Canadian Ski Jump National Champion and Karla Keck, a retired American National Champion are plaintiffs as well.

    We'll have to keep an eye on this. Not to allow these women to compete is beyond the beyond. Good luck, ladies! We're rooting for you!

    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 25, 2008

    Women's Ski Jumping Takes A Fall.

    When I first posted about women's ski jumping almost exactly two years ago (see Jump for Joy), it seemed like its inclusion in the next Olympic games was imminent.

    Boy, was I wrong!

    Instead, the IOC has recently decided NOT to include Women's Ski Jumping at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, even though in 2006, the FIS voted to add an individual event in the 2009 World Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic -- a necessary step to the sport attaining Olympic status.

    IOC President Jacques Rogge said, "We don't want the medals to be diluted and watered down, that is the bottom line." He argues that the international sport only has 80 competitors worldwide, and that allowing them to participate in 2010 would dilute the value of the medals. But according to the president of Women's Ski Jumping USA, Rogge's numbers are wrong. She says the US has at least 150 jumpers nationwide and that Norway has between 500 and 600 female jumpers! That gives ski jumping more seasoned competitors than women's bobsled and skeleton had when those sports were added to the Games in 2002.

    You can sign a petition to help get these deserving women a chance to compete. Go here

    And for more info on Women's Ski Jumping in the US, go here.

    Let the women jump!

    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 14, 2008

    Are you still skiing?

    Sadly, I'm not.

    My season here in the Green Mountain State ended on April 15.

    But some lucky people out west still are.

    Still open:

  • Snowbird, Utah til June

  • Araphahoe Basin, Colorado

  • Mammoth, California

  • Squaw, California

  • Timberline, Oregon

  • Mount Bachelor, Oregon

  • Brundage, Idaho.

  • Some of the women from TheSkiDiva.com were out at Araphahoe Basin this past weekend, and had phenomenal conditions.

    So if you're still taking turns, take one for me.

    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 08, 2008

    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.

    Sunday, May 04, 2008

    Swimming to nowhere.

    Staying in shape during the off season is important. I know, I know -- it may seem like a long time til ski season starts back up. But you have to do something between now and when the snow flies again. Otherwise, you'll end up paying big time.

    Besides, it's fun.

    So what am I doing, now that my ski season is over?

    A variety of things. For starters, a couple weeks ago I joined my local fitness center. And I began swimming laps.

    Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. You get the idea.

    For starters, I'm swimming half a mile. Can't do it straight through without stopping yet, but I'm working on it. Once I get that down, I'll increase the distance. It's great exercise. And when I'm done, I really feel like I've had a good workout.

    Hey, my Dad is 85 years old, and he swims half a mile three or four times a week -- WITHOUT STOPPING!!!! If he can do it, shouldn't I be able to, too????

    Swimming has its advantages over running. You don't get hot and sweaty. It's low impact, so it's easy on your feet and joints. And it's kind of calming. I can think about all sorts of things, while I'm in the pool.

    It's not skiing. But it's not bad. I'll let you know how it works out.

    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, April 26, 2008

    Counting the days.

    Are you as obsessive as I am about keeping track of your ski days? I mean, really, what's the difference if you ski 25 or 35 or 45 days per season? Isn't it all just supposed to be fun??

    Well, yeah. But for me it's fun to see if I can ski more this year than I did last. So I installed the Snowbook application on my Facebook profile. It's pretty cool. Not only does it allow you to count your days, but you can put in where you skied and comments and pictures, too. And you can post your profile, too -- years on the snow, the equipment you have and so on.

    You have to belong to Facebook to use it. So if you are and you love to ski, give it a try.

    By the way, I had 63 days on the snow this season!

    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, April 22, 2008

    Winter on its way out.




















    The first picture was my deck in February.

    The second, my deck on April 19.

    Winter is on its way out, but there's still plenty of great talk about skiing on TheSkiDiva.com, the internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    Ski Review: Volkl Aura



    Today was my last day of skiing for the season, and I had a pleasant surprise: there was a demo day of Volkls going on. So I finally had a chance to demo the Auras! After all, these have received tremendous reviews from many of the women on TheSkiDiva.com. And I had to see what the fuss was about!

    The specs on me: 5'1", 110 lb., an advanced skier who likes to go fast.

    The specs on the skis: 163 cm, 130/94/113, with a 19m turning radius.

    The conditions: Typical spring skiing: firm first thing in the morning, becoming softer as the temps worked through the 30's and into the 40's, with the snow ultimately turning into soft, sticky piles as the day went on.

    With a 94 mm waist, it'd be tempting to save these just for powder days. But no -- these skis can do it all. I was able to get them up on edge and felt totally in control over the few icy spots I hit. They also did great in the spring crud, and were stiff enough to bust through the gloppy piles that built up as the soft snow got pushed around.

    My only regret is that I couldn't try them in the powder. I'm sure they'd be a blast, but there's no way I could judge that today.

    One think that's kind of odd: instead of the deep, solid wood-bat-hitting-a-softball "thwwwunk," the Aura had more of an aluminum-bat-hitting-a-baseball "twaaaaank" sound. Kind of weird; just took some getting used to.

    And a word on the graphics: the '08's are totally different from the '07. For anyone who's seen them, you know they feature a woman in what's supposed to be some sort of traditional Asian garb, with her breasts practically falling out (I can't understand the reason for this; why would this make a woman want to buy these skis??), but I actually like the new graphics better the old ones. It's a personal thing, I know, but I think they're kind of cool.

    My take on the skis: They're lively, easy to turn, lots of fun, not too heavy or stiff, but definitely not wimpy, either. I don't think I'd have any problem using these just about anywhere, except maybe on eastern boilerplate -- and I say that not from experience, just a guess. I'd LOVE to try these babies in powder.

    I give them two thumbs up.

    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, April 09, 2008

    So what did you accomplish this ski season?

    Sadly enough, the ski season is coming to a close here in the northeast. The snow is softening and melting, the days are becoming warmer, and yesterday I saw my first robin. I truly hate to see it end.

    Nonetheless, it's been a terrific season. The snow conditions have been epic here in Vermont all winter long -- quite a change from last year. I started skiing in mid-November and even skied today, April 9, getting in more than 60 ski days, a new record for me.

    In addition to racking up more ski days, some of my highlghts this year have been:

  • Skiing Alta and Solitude: Never been there before, and it was absolutely fabulous. Loved the terrain, the weather, the skiing; I'll definitely be back!

  • Meeting more of the great women from TheSkiDiva.com: Many joined me at the aforementioned Alta and Solitude, where I spent a week meeting and skiing with some terrific women from across the country. Others came to ski with me here in the norheast. You can't imagine a more fun group of ripping women skiers! Truly a delight to meet each and every one of them.

  • Pushing my comfort zone: Even in skiing, it's easy to get stuck in a rut, particularly when you ski the same area most of the time. On my trip to Utah, I definitely pushed my boundaries, skiing terrain I probably wouldn't have attempted on my own -- and it was a blast!.

  • Definitely a season I'll long remember.

    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, April 02, 2008

    Sex, violence, and snow sports.






    Doesn't seem like they go together, but to some ski manufacturers, they seem to make perfect sense.

    Take Nordica Olympia skis, for example. Great skis. But why the silhouette of a naked lady on the top sheet? It's not that I find the female form offensive (I know, I know, it's the Goddess Victory). but couldn't they come up with something better? Do we HAVE to have a naked woman on our skis to understand thet these are for women? Besides, she looks like the woman on the truck mud flaps!

    What I find particularly offensive are the violent images used in some snow sport products. There's a jacket by Grenade, for example, that has the text, "Die, Die my Darling," on the back, with the image of a woman being murdered. I know, I know, it's from a Misfits song. But it's offensive on so many levels I hardly know where to begin. I actually find the entire Grenade imagry offensive. Obviously, I'm not the target audience for Grendade's products, but the message of violence this sends is appalling.

    Or how about K2's Hellbent ski? Ridiculously violent. And why?? To appeal to 12 year old boys?? And if so, what's the message they're sending? Sheesh.

    I think ski manufacturers can do a lot better. Don't you?

    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.

    Friday, March 28, 2008

    Why Women's Gear DOESN'T Suck.

    There's a thread going on over at a major ski forum, EpicSki, entitled "Why Women's Skis Suck." In it, the writer poses that there is no need for women's equipment. That manufacturers should just make skis in varying lengths and flexes, with different mounting points, and boots should be produced in varying widths and shell sizes.

    My feeling is that'd be great in a perfect world. But it's not a perfect world. Manufacturers don't make a lot of unisex (read "men's") skis in the shorter lengths, etc. that women need. And if it takes marketing to women to make them do it, then I'm all for it. Hey, I want performance, so I'll get it wherever I can find it. At 5'-1" and 110 lbs, I used to have to resort to junior equipment to find something that fit my height and weight. Now, thanks to women's specific equipment, I don't have to. Manufacturers have started making a lot of kick-ass women's skis and boots. Now if they'd finally figure out that they don't have to make them pink or use flowery graphics.......

    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, March 22, 2008

    Spring skiing is officially here.

    There's little doubt. The first day of spring has come and gone, Easter is upon us, and daylight savings time is in effect (don't you love the longer days?).

    Spring can be a great time of the year to ski. But the warmer temperatures, softer snow, and brighter sun do merit special consideration. Here are some things you should take into account to have a great ski day:

  • Wear sun screen. The sun is stronger now, so make sure you protect your skin with an SPF of at least 15. Apply it liberally and often.

  • Dress is layers that can be easily shed. The day may start out cool, but it can warm up pretty quickly. Be sure to dress in layers that can be removed to prevent you from overheating.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids. You're probably perspiring more, so make sure to replace the fluid you lose. Your body will thank you for it.

  • Take changing snow conditions into account. The snow's a lot softer now, so you'll have to ski differently to accommodate these new conditions. Keep your weight more evenly distributed across both skis.

  • Wear sunglasses or goggles. The sun is stronger now, so be sure to wear appropriate eye protection.

  • Happy spring skiing!

    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, March 18, 2008

    Now Available in Paperback!

    Okay, this has nothing to do with skiing. But it has everything to do with Finn, the terrific book written by my husband, Jon Clinch.

    The news: It's now available in paperback.

    Finn is the dark story of Huckleberry Finn's father. It's about racism, madness, alcoholism, slavery, dysfunctional relationships. love, murder, greed, & disillusionment. And I must say, it's beautifully written (really). Picture Cormac McCarthy meets William Faulkner. What's more, you don't need to have read Huckleberry Finn to enjoy it. It stands all by itself.

    Finn was named one of the best novels of 2007 by the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Tribune, heck, even Amazon.com. Not only that, it was a finalist for the John Sargent, Sr., First Novel Prize, which honors the best first novel of 2007. And it was named a Notable Book of the Year by the American Library Association.

    So if you're looking for a good apres ski read -- in addition to TheSkiDiva.com, of course -- head to the bookstore and pick up a copy. You're going to love it.

    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, March 12, 2008

    I have a letter in SKI Magazine!

    Yep, that's me in the March/April issue.

    I was responding to a column that appeared in January, where Warren Miller blames the downturn in the ski industry to the fact that women no longer wear STRETCH PANTS on the slope.

    I mean really. I don't think I'm the only one who finds this demeaning, ridiculous, and just plain creepy.

    So here's what I wrote:

    Editor:

    Warren Miller's contributions to the ski industry are legendary. But like all legends, he's showing his age.

    His editorial in your January issue, where he blames the lack of growth in the ski industry on the absence of women in stretch pants, is ridiculous, offensive, and demeaning. Granted, ski fashion could use some improvement. And sex does sell. But the idea that women have to look sexy in order to attract skiers (read "men") to the sport is simply beyond comprehension.

    In Warren's World, it's male athleticism that counts; women are there only to decorate the slopes. I'd submit that although Miller may be comfortable in that long-gone neverland, Ski Magazine owes its readers some more contemporary thinking.




    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, March 05, 2008

    Frozen In Place.

    I've never made any claim about being a super skier. Au contraire. I'm simply someone who loves to ski. A lot.

    So here I am at Solitude Mountain Resort. And some of the people I'm with encouraged me to do something I've never done before: ski a double black. In Utah.

    Usually I don't let myself get pressured into doing things I'm not confident about. But like an idiot, I went along.

    I should've had a clue when the sign at the trail head said, "Danger. Cliffs Ahead." That messed with my mind a little, but I forged ahead, anyway.

    How was the trail? Steep. As in s-t-e-e-e-e-e-p. And narrow. With rocks. And trees. And a view across the canyon that literally gave me vertigo. My world started to spin. And I absolutely froze. Couldn't move at all.

    I've heard about this happening to other people. The thing is, it'd never happened to me. The longer I stood there, the worse it got. A truly humbling experience.

    Then I remembered an interview I'd done -- for this blog, in fact -- with Mermer Blakeslee, the ski industry expert on fear. She said if you can just get moving, you'll be okay. If you change your focus, you'll be okay. If you break it down into smaller increments, you'll be okay.

    I knew I either had to do something or change my mailing address. So I started to move. I focused on keeping my hands in front of my body. And I concentrated on the next few turns.

    In the end, I made it down. It wasn't pretty, but I was intact..

    My point here is twofold:

    1) Don't let anyone pressure you into doing anything you don't feel confident about. You don't have to prove anything to anyone.

    2) Fear just happens. This is the first time it ever hit me like this. Now I know what the fuss is about. And if you do freeze, do what Mermer suggests. Move. Focus. Break it into smaller bits.

    I am truly humbled by this. I mean, I'm a pretty good skier. But as I said, this can happen to anyone.

    Afterwards, I went and skied things I felt more confident on. Hey, you gotta get back on that horse! And I think it made me feel better.

    All in all, the whole thing was a learning experience. So I guess it was actually a good thing. It gave me a better understanding of what new skiers must feel.

    I think it was Churchill who said, "The only thing to fear is fear itself." Know what? I think he may be right.

    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, February 28, 2008

    Making ski friends.

    It's almost time for my annual trip out West. I usually try to make it out there once or twice a year. This year, sadly, it's once, but I'm particularly excited because I'm going to be skiing with a number of women who belong to my forum, TheSkiDiva.com. Thanks to this forum, I've been able to form friendships with women skiers all around the country -- heck, even all around the world.

    It's a fact that there more men than women skiers. But that doesn't mean that if you're a woman, you're doomed to ski alone or with your husband/brother/signicant other/male friend. Join the forum and you'll be amazed at all the women who care as passionately about skiing as you do. The friendships I've formed there have been incredible. Many of the women I'll never meet, except in cyber-space. But the support, discussions, and information I've been able to gain from the site have been far beyond anything I imagined in the outset.

    Give us a try.

    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, February 23, 2008

    Now someone's interviewing me!

    Very often I'm the one who does the interviewing. But recently I was interviewed by a web site called PoshCravings.com. It's a web site directed at keeping new moms up to speed on things other than being a new mom. Which is a good thing. Being a new mom can be pretty all-consuming. Too often the "Mom" part of our identity overshadows everything else. so it's nice to remind ourselves that there are things out there that're just for us.

    In any event, I thought I'd share the interview with you. You can find it 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.

    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    Things I don't get about skiing.

    I never claimed to be, as they say, the sharpest knife in the drawer. But there are some things that go on during skiing that I frankly don't get. Get ready -- this may sound cranky, but I have a cold today. So take that into consideration:

  • Skiing and Smoking: Okay, so you're out in the fresh air doing an aerobic activity, and you still light up? I mean, I know it's a habit. But skiing and smoking just don't go together, in my book.

  • White ski outfits: A good way NOT to be seen. Which makes you a target for anyone else on the hill.

  • Not wearing a helmet: All the evidence is in. Helmets protect your head. Everyone should wear one -- especially patrollers, ski instructors, and parents who force them on their kids.

  • People who go up to the top of the mountain, when they've never skied before. Would you fly a jet airplane without a lesson? Skiing takes some skill. It's not just point down the mountain and go.

  • Parents who take their kids on trails they're not ready for. Usually it's because it's a trail they want to ski. Then they go down ahead of them. What will they do if the kid falls? Hike back up?

  • I'll stop now. Maybe I'll be over my cold and less cranky next time.

    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, February 10, 2008

    A sneak peek at next season's skis -- Part 2.

    My second day at the Shop Demo Days at Stratton was completely different from my first. Snow throughout the night and during the day left us with several inches of fresh powder on top of some icy stuff that every now and then broke through. On the whole, though, a good day to ski the wider stuff, but not a great day for narrow-waisted skis.

    For me, the big problem was overchoice. There were far too many skis I wanted to try, so the ones I skied I only skied for a really short time. Because of this, I'm hesitant to even call this a "review," since I don't feel like I gave each ski a fair evaluation. It really is just a sneak peek. Please keep that in mind as you read below.

    So here's what I tried, and here's what I learned, for what it's worth.

    Volkls
    Aurora: Oh. My. God. This is a new ski for next season, and let me put it this way: I know what alllllllll the Divas are going to want! A fantastic ski. Features their new "Wide Ride System;" the internal Power Transmission (iPT) binding interface is built into the ski body and slides into position on the ski's inside rails. The rep says this gives it a rounder flex pattern. Whatever. 112-85-129, 14.7 m. I loved it. Great in the big turns, smooth, stable, and can really hold an edge.
    Fuego: 121-73-105 (12.9m) No, this isn't a new ski, but I wanted to try it all the same. If the Aurora is a Mercedes, this is a sports car. Spirited, fun, light, quick, easy to edge.

    Roxy
    Joyrider. 74 underfoot. This is based on the Rossi Z line. Has carbon rods to disperse the energy so you can really hold an edge. I really didn't expect much from this ski, given the "Barbie" like presentation of the Roxy line. They seem to be all about the graphics. Still, a very fun, responsive, smooth ski.

    Head
    As I said in my last post, they've changed the Head names, getting away from the "Thang" and instead using "One." Let me also say that I've always had a soft spot for Heads, ever since I coveted my sister's black metal Head 360's back in the 70's.
    Every One: 75 underfoot. This ski reminded me a lot of my Monster IM 70's. Responsive, fun, easy to turn.
    Wild One: Fat(ter). Fun. Stable. Nice. Didn't get the dimensions, but think the waist is in the 80's.

    K2
    They've changed the graphics on these skis, and for the better, I think. Very, very nice. They also have a lateral sidewall now instead of a cap construction.
    Burnin' Luv: I last tried the Burnin' Luv about five or six years ago, and wasn't wowed. Let me say this: I don't know if it was my skiing, the conditions, or what, but I really liked this ski. Maybe it was the lack of ice: I'd heard that these aren't great of hard pack. Anyway, they've increased the waist from 68 to 70.
    Lotta Luv: Well NOW I know what the fuss was about. The Lotta Luv is a Lotta Fun. Cuts through all kinds of stuff, no problem. Good carver.

    Nordica
    They got rid of the female silhouette graphic!!!! Yay!!!! A big improvement; it reminded me of the woman you see on truck mud-flaps. Nice graphics on the new skis.
    Olympia Victory: A VERY nice ski. 78 underfoot. Fully integrated binding. A playful ski that performs in a wide range of conditions. Very stable and smooth.

    Dynastar
    Exclusive Legend: New graphics. 75 underfoot. VERY versatile. Smooth in crud, good rebound, and good on edge.

    Blizzard
    I hate to break it to you Eos lovers, but the Eos has been discontinued for next year. In fact, there's no fat ski at all. They say they will in '09-'10.
    Viva Magnum: 76 underfoot, vertical sidewall, wood core. Handles a wide range of conditions very nicely. I liked this ski, too.

    I've skied a LOT of skis in the past few days, and they actually began to run together. So for me, here are the stand-outs (in no particular order). I think any one of these would warrant further investigation.

    Salomon Opal
    Volkl Aurora
    Atomic Cloud 9
    K2 Lotta Luvs
    Nordica Olympia Victory
    Nordica Fuego
    Blizzard Viva Magnum
    Dynastar Exclusive Legend
    Roxy Joyrider


    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, February 05, 2008

    A sneak peek at next season's skis.

    Today I was lucky enough to participate in a Demo Day of next season's skis, held at Stratton, VT for northeast ski shop employees. It was phenomenal. Lots of different manufacturers set up in booths in front of the lifts. You could click in and out all day, which we did. It was ski gear heaven.

    Unfortunately, the conditions were less than ideal. Rain and fog made visibility practically nonexistent for much of the day. And the snow was a thick, messy glop. Also, a big part of the mountain was closed. So all the things I'd love to find out about skis -- how they perform on ice, in powder, in bumps -- were impossible to determine. What's more, at this point I could only demo what the shop wanted me to demo. And I couldn't spend much time with any one ski. I was on/off/on/off. So I was too busy and rushed to get any specs.

    What follows, then, are are basically my impressions formed by one or two runs in crappy conditions. So take it for what it's worth.

    First, I did pop into a couple booths before I started skiing. Saw next year's K2s. They've changed the graphics (finally), and I must say, they really look great. Everything is pretty much the same, except the Burnin' Luv is now 70 underfoot, instead of 68.

    I also managed a quick look at the Heads. The names have changed. They've gotten rid of the whole "Thang" nomenclature and replaced it with "One." So there's the Every One, the Power One, and so on. The graphics are different, but other than that, the skis remain the same.

    And I (quickly) checked out the Volkls. There's a new ski called the Aurora that looks very, very cool. 84 underfoot. A gorgeous looking ski. The bindings are designed to go right out to the edge for improved edge-to-edge responsiveness. I have to give these a try! The Fuego and the Tiara are the same. And the Aura has different graphics.

    Then I got to demoing. Mind you, these are very quick impressions with very little specs. But here goes:

    Atomic: On the whole, the graphics for the women's skis are incredibly ugly. Seriously. They look very dark, very Goth -- like something Der Fuhrer would come up with. But maybe that's just me. The Minx series is gone and been replaced by a new line. Here are a few I tried:
    Heavens Gate: 74 underfoot, 10.5 turning radius. The women's Metron. A nice ski. Very turn-y. It's this year's Foxy Mama. A black and purple color scheme.
    Cloud 9: A VERY nice ski that replaces the Royal Minx. I liked this one a lot. The ski has four flex zones in the front and two in the back. 11 turning radius, I think 74 underfoot.
    Cloud 7: The same line as the Cloud 9, but one step down. Three flex zones in the front, one in the back. A softer ski. Didn't like it nearly as much as the 9. Got pushed all around in the gloppy stuff.

    Rossis:
    Attraxion 3: New graphics, but didn't really like the ski. Got thrown around a lot in the gloppy stuff.
    Scratch: A twin tip! Very cool graphics. And really a lot of fun, though it'd have been better if someone else who skied in the park could try them out.
    Voodoo: The best of the lot of the Rossis I tried. Still, I was't wowed. This is one I would've liked to try under different conditions. And the graphics were a little too pastel for my taste.

    Fischer: I must admit, I have a soft spot for these.
    Vision Exhale: The core consists of a channel filled with a composite surrounded by wood on either side, so it's very light with the characteristics of a wood core. A very zippy, fun ski.

    Salomon:
    Temptress: This is more of a park ski than the Minx, which can actually be used all around the mountain, Fun. Again, it'd have been better for someone who knew park sks to try them out,
    Topaz: An okay ski. 71 underfoot, 11.5 furning radius. Not a wood core ski. More forgiving.
    Opal: This ski rocks. Gets on edge easily, very smooth yet fun. 73 underfoot, 11.4 turning radius

    Elan:
    Wave Spice: Very, very nice. These skis busted through the crud like nobody's business, and were still able to get up on edge. 80 underfoot.
    Free Spice: Definitely the coolest graphics of the day. A wide ski that's also great in the crud, but not as good as the Wave.

    So there you have it.

    Favs of the day: Salomon Opal, Atomic Cloud 9, and the Wave Spice.

    I plan to go back on Thursday to demo the skis that I want to demo. I'll post Part 2 later.

    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.