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.