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.