Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflections on Snow





As 2009 winds down to a close, I thought I'd end it with a poem by my friend, Cathy Quaglia, owner of Aspen East, a terrific ski shop in nearby Killington, VT. I love the peace and imagery of it. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!


Reflections on Snow


Snow's origin, not so obvious
as glancing in a mirror
catching your image in a puddle
or standing at the edge of a lake.


Snow possesses more depth and magic
falling flakes slowly pile up
like minutes and months and miles
nature's glistening white story.


Each unique shape, a cold ornament
artfully decorates the forests
roofs, hillsides, brooks all transform
into one resting blanket of silence.


Sun warms and combines invisible crystals
rising moon provides a vast night light
wind pattens the landscape
and the elements play their game.


Past child imagines and excites in the wonder
creates and plays out an adventure
now skillful gliding curves renew the freedom
as we soar over varied frozen surfaces.


Drifting thoughts suggest balance found
in snow's purity, truth and promise
reveal meanings in winter's bright gift
ever grateful for mountain life.


-- Cathy Quaglia

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, December 27, 2009

In the negative.

Ever had negative thoughts while skiing? Times when you're less than confident or when you beat yourself up for not skiing as well as you think you should?

You're not alone.

This was the subject of a thread on TheSkiDiva.com, and I thought I'd share a few of the ways our members have of dealing with this:


  • Pump up the jams, baby: Listen to music. It'll distract you from feeling nervous or uneasy. If you don't have an iPod, sing! 
  • Take a break, do something different: It might help you break the cycle.
  • Reassess: Figure out what's causing the negativity.  If it's the cold, go in and warm up. If it's the people you're skiing with, head off by yourself for a while. In short, think of a positive way to change the situation.
  • Remember that it's not a competition. You're not in the Olympics. You don't have to be the best one out there. Just be yourself.
  • Repeat positive affirmations. Give yourself a pat on the back for the things you can do, rather than beat yourself up for the things you can't.
  • Pack it in for the day. It's okay to quit. There's always another day.
  • Take a lesson. Improving your skills is a good way to set yourself up for future success. And make it easy for yourself to learn. Don't try to learn to ski bumps when they're icy hard, or learn to ski crud when it's like a coral reef out there.
  • Find a comfortable run and hang out there for a while. You don't have to ski the most challenging stuff all the time. It's okay to relax and back it down.
  • Adjust your expectations: Realize you can't be an expert skier in a day or even a week. Set realistic goals for yourself, and work to achieve them.
  • Visualize: Envision that you can do it, and picture how it should be done. Getting the right way set in your mind's eye can do wonders.
  • Don't try to control the things that you can't: The weather is not up to you. Neither is the grooming or the light or a million other things. Accept what is and only change what you can.

    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, December 22, 2009

    The reviews are in....



    And so far, so good.

    I'm talking about reviews for my debut novel, DOUBLE BLACK: A SKI DIVA MYSTERY, coming January 5 from Minotaur Books.

    Here's what Publisher's Weekly had to say:

    For all its fluffy powder and Green Mountain gemütlich, Vermont's Spruce Peak has a decidedly sinister side in Clinch's easy, breezy debut. Bostonian Stacey Curtis, a grad student turned ski bum, quickly discovers that when she finds a dead man with “the jagged oily chain from a chain saw yanked tight around his neck.” Though she has headed for the hills in hopes of lessening the drama in her life (think cheating fiancé), spunky Stacey's amateur sleuthing efforts send her schussing into fresh intrigue, danger, and just maybe romance with hunky ski patroller/trust funder Chip Walsh. Clinch, a Vermont resident who runs a popular Web site for women who ski (www.TheSkiDiva.com), clearly knows—and loves—the terrain, conjuring the kind of bewitching winter wonderland and endearing New England characters that will leave readers antsy for a return visit.

    There are more, too. About.com recently ran a review that partly said this (for the full review, go here):

    You'll love Double Black if you ever ski bummed awhile, you'll love it more if you only wished you did. Wendy Clinch gives us the personality of a small ski town and all the personalities that live there and that the mountains draw there, and the subtle animosity of ski town locals to the flatlanders that they can't make a living without. Clinch presents neat crispy skiing times on bluebird powder days and full moon nights that will have you tuning skis even if it's summer.

    And there was a feature about DOUBLE BLACK that ran in this past Sunday's issue of The Rutland Herald/Barre Times Argus. You can see it here.

    Hard for me to believe the book will be out in just a couple weeks, though it's already available for pre-order at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and IndieBound.com.

    And if you're looking for an autographed copy, you can order it from my favorite bookstore, Northshire Books in Manchester Center, VT. When you order, just note in the Comments field that you want a signed copy.

    Happy reading!

    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, December 17, 2009

    Bailing on a ski day (or how to avoid frostbite).

    Have you ever bailed on a ski day?

    I did this morning. I heard it was going to be cold, so I bundled up and felt pretty good as I headed out. Even though the thermometer in the car read 5°F, I've skied in worse. But the closer I got to the mountain (I only live 7 miles away) the windier it seemed to get. And when I got out of the car, the wind was blowing so hard I could hardly make it up to the lodge. Still, I did it, carrying my skis, wondering just how quickly it takes to develop facial frostbite in what seemed to be 40 mph gusts at frigid temps.

    Suffice it to say that until the friend I was meeting walked in, I was the only one there. The lifts were down -- at least for the moment, the winds were whipping like mad, and needle-like particles of snow were blowing in pain-inducing sheets. We could only imagine how bad it must be at the top. A wind chill of -30° at least. We bailed.

    I think if I'd driven, say, three hours to get there for my one and only ski day of the week, I might have had second thoughts. But the beauty of living so close to the mountain, having a season pass, and the ability to ski during the week makes bailing a whole lot easier. It's just not worth the risk of frostbite.

    Which brings me to something important: what is frostbite and how do you know if you have it? I found this online at a site called Outdoorplaces.com, and thought it'd be worth posting here:

    Frostbite is a medical condition that can happen to anyone. In the most basic terms frostbite is when the skin and/or the tissue under the skin freezes and causes cell damage. This is caused by exposure to cold, either through the air or through a chemical exposure, like to dry ice (frozen CO2) or highly compressed gasses. Under extreme conditions frostbite can occur in seconds. The elderly, young children, people with circulator disorders, and people from tropical climates have a higher risk factor of getting frostbite. People who have had previous cold injuries are also particularly at risk of getting injuries again in the same places.


    Frostbite comes in three levels of severity or degrees.


    First degree, also called frost nip: Most people who live in very cold climates or do a lot of outdoor activity in the winter have had first degree frostbite (just as most people have had a first degree burn when they get sunburn). Frost nip presents itself as numbed skin that has turned white in color. The skin may feel stiff to the touch, but the tissue under is still warm and soft. There is very little chance of blistering, infection or permanent scarring as long as it is treated properly.


    Second degree, superficial frostbite: Superficial frostbite is a serious medical condition that needs to be treated by a trained medical professional. The skin will be white or blue and will feel hard and frozen. The tissue underneath is still undamaged. Blistering is likely which is why medical treatment should be sought out. Proper treatment is critical to prevent severe or permanent injuries.


    Third degree, deep frostbite: The skin is white, blotchy and/or blue. The tissue underneath is hard and cold to the touch. This is a life threatening injury. Deep frostbite needs to be treated by a trained medical professional. The tissue underneath has been damaged, in severe cases amputation may be the final recourse to prevent severe infection. Blistering will happen. Proper medical treatment in a medical facility with personnel trained to deal with severe frostbite injuries is required to aid in the prevention of severe or permanent injury.


    Just what does frostbite do to the tissues? When you are exposed to cold with the extremities including your feet, hands, nose, ears, and face being at the highest risk, the blood vessels constrict. This is a natural reaction to prevent body heat loss and hypothermia. With a loss of warming blood flow (or in extreme cases where blood flow can not compete with the extreme cold) the fluid within your cells and tissues start to freeze forming ice crystals. These ice crystals take up more room within the cells then when in a fluid state, and cause the cells to rupture. Also, sudden warming can cause the cells to rupture. This is why large blisters can form when there is superficial or severe frostbite.


    Frostbite can occur in as little as thirty-seconds in extreme conditions, and even faster in the case of chemical injuries (which we won't cover here). Factors like wind chill, alcohol consumption, altitude, getting wet or being damp and how long you are exposed to the cold all impact how quickly and how severe frostbite can be. Long term exposure to moderate cold with wet boots can cause a more serious injury than a short-term exposure to severe cold with inadequate boots in the case of your feet. It is a complex equation that needs to be weighed careful when being outdoors in the cold 
    There's no shame in cutting a ski day short or giving it up altogether. I hate to miss any day on the slopes. But given the real danger from frostbite today, I think I did the right thing. It takes a lot for me to bag a ski day, but this definitely would not have been pleasant.

    And of course, there's always tomorrow.

    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, December 13, 2009

    Ski Review: Volkl Tierra

    I've spent two days on this ski now to give myself plenty of time to see how I liked it, and my verdict is in:

    It's a great ski.

    Why? It can do it all. It rides the ice like it's on rails. It has a huge shovel so it can go in the chop, the crud, and in several inches of pow without a hitch. It's stable, steady, but with great energy. And it has a huge sidecut, so it turns like nobody's business.

    The dimensions: 129-78-99. I have it in the 156. I'm an advanced skier, 110 lbs, 5'1".

    The Tierra has Volkl's new Bio-Logic system which they say puts a female skier in a more neutral stance. According to the rep I spoke with a while ago, traditional bindings have the heels jacked up. When you combine that with the higher ramp angle you typically find in a woman’s boots, you end up being tipped too far forward. To combat this, Volkl has raised the toe in the binding. The result is better balance of the hamstring and glutes and more efficient muscle use. They’ve also tapered the tail angle so it releases more readily at the end of a turn. The tip is a bit wider, and they gave the ski a more consistent flex pattern.

    To be honest, I'd be hard put to evaluate the difference between the old and new Volkl technology, unless I skied the two back to back. What I will say is that I had no problem with it. I felt comfortable, in balance, and in control.

    The ski is fun, fun, fun. What could be better than 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, December 07, 2009

    Rad Boob!

    No, I'm not calling you a name or commenting on your appearance.

    "Rad Boob" refers to a calendar put together by a group of kick-ass women skiers to raise money for breast cancer. Organized by skiers Sarah Frood, third place finisher in 2008's Overall Canadian Freeskiing Tour and the Lake Louise Freeski Competition, and Tessa Treadway, third place finisher in 2008's Canadian Freeski Tour, the calendar features top women skiers in some amazing action shots, along with personal stories of how breast cancer has affected their lives. It's a calendar that everyone -- Ski Divas and non-Ski Divas alike -- will want to own. And with the holiday season approaching, it makes a great gift, too!

    Here, Sarah gives us some background on this remarkable calendar.


    Q: What was the inspiration behind the calendar? How and why did you decide to do this?

    A: It seems like everyone has a breast cancer story, whether it’s personal, a friend, a mother, an aunt; it affects so many people. My mother had breast cancer about two years ago and is still going strong as a survivor, but it was a terrifying experience for my family.

    We had a group of girlfriends that would ski together at Kicking Horse a couple of seasons ago. We were all wearing pink one day for a promo video we were filming and we randomly came up with the idea. It took a couple of seasons of talking about it, but last year we finally went into action. The support we’ve received from our friends and families has been amazing!

    Q: The women in the calendar are incredible. How did you select them? And how'd you go about getting the pictures?

    A: The women in the calendar are all friends or women we’ve met through skiing. The ski community is pretty small out West so it was easy for us to think of twelve girlfriends that rip! They were all excited to be a part of the project as soon as we mentioned it. We basically sent out an email to everyone asking if they would be willing to donate photos from their ski season for the calendar. We started collecting photos February of last season and it’s been ongoing since then. It’s definitely been a learning process. Luckily the photographers were happy to donate their photos to our project and we didn’t have to organize any photo shoots. We have photos from Jordan Manley, Dave Mossop, Re Wikstrom and so many more! Holly Walker put hours and hours into the design of the calendar (she’s Ms. December too!) and she did an amazing job.

    Q: How are people finding out about the calendar? What's response been like?

    A: Most people are learning about it through radboob.com. We’ve been trying to spread the word through a lot of social networking. We’re trying to encourage blogs to write about us and forums like TheSkiDiva have really helped us out. So thank you for all of your support! Also, I bring it up in every conversation I have. I’ll throw in a “…speaking of….have you heard about the rad boob club calendar?” We’ve had some articles written about us on Doglotion.com, Biglines.com, and some local newspapers as well.

    Q: How did you choose "Rad Boob" as the name?

    A: The name "Rad Boob" actually came from a group of female skiers in Golden, BC. We used to ski with a group of guys called the Rad Dude Club who wouldn’t allow girls to join, so we started our own! We basically just ski around together and have fun.

    Q: Where's the money you raise going? Do you have a specific goal?

    A: We’re aiming to raise $10,000 for Rethink Breast Cancer. Here’s a short description about them from their website:

    “A charity helping young people who are concerned about and affected by breast cancer through innovative breast cancer education, research and support programs. Rethink is a national volunteer-driven registered charity. We are thinking differently about how to beat breast cancer.”

    We chose to donate the money raised to Rethink because we felt like it would be an effective use of the funds. They support some exciting research in the field, but they also encourage prevention and awareness. They were also very supportive of our project and gave us a lot of advice along the way. As skiers we all lead fairly healthy lifestyles and it was important for us to support an organization that would have similar values.

    Q: Is this a one time only thing, or is it something you plan to do every year? Also, I see on your website that you're planning to travel around to raise awareness of breast cancer. What do you plan to do, and where?

    A: We’re not sure if we’ll do it again next year. I think we want to get through this year, make sure we sell all our calendars and raise a big chunk of money for Rethink and then go from there. It’s been a lot of work, very rewarding but we’re not ready to think about next years project until this one is done!

    As for travel plans, these are our confirmed dates:

    Sat Dec. 19 Kicking Horse
    Sun Dec. 20 Lake Louise
    Thur Jan. 7 Whistler "Deep Winter Photo Challenge"
    Sat Jan. 9 Revelstoke

    We’ll also be selling the calendars at various stores throughout Whistler and Vancouver and Squamish, such as:

    Surefoot in Whistler
    The Zephyr Café in Squamish
    Steed Cycles in North Vancouver

    And more to come!

    Q: Are you planning any other fundraising events?

    A: Nothing as of yet, but we’ll keep you posted!

    Q: Do you and Tessa coach or instruct anywhere?

    A: Yes, we both coach for Girls Day Out. It’s a really fun weekend. I recommend it to all women out there! We’ve both done some big mountain ski competitions, as well. Tessa skis for Carrera, Faction and Peak Performance and coaches for Extremely Canadian in Whistler. I’m getting support from Rossignol and Smith and am still searching for that “perfect job."

    # # #

    To order your own copy of the Rad Boob calendar or to see these amazing pictures -- after which you'll definitely want to order this calendar -- go to radboob.com.

    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, November 23, 2009

    And so it begins.



    Even though my book, DOUBLE BLACK: A SKI DIVA MYSTERY, isn't coming out til January 5, reviews are starting to pop up.

    So I thought I'd share them here.

    From Publisher's Weekly:

    For all its fluffy powder and Green Mountain gemütlich, Vermont's Spruce Peak has a decidedly sinister side in Clinch's easy, breezy debut. Bostonian Stacey Curtis, a grad student turned ski bum, quickly discovers that when she finds a dead man with "the jagged oily chain from a chain saw yanked tight around his neck." Though she has headed for the hills in hopes of lessening the drama in her life (think cheating fiancé), spunky Stacey's amateur sleuthing efforts send her schussing into fresh intrigue, danger, and just maybe romance with hunky ski patroller/trust funder Chip Walsh. Clinch, a Vermont resident who runs a popular Web site for women who ski (www.TheSkiDiva.com ), clearly knows-and loves-the terrain, conjuring the kind of bewitching winter wonderland and endearing New England characters that will leave readers antsy for a return visit. (Jan.)

    And from Romantic Times, which gave it FOUR STARS:

    This first in the new Ski Diva mystery series set in the Green Mountains of Vermont features a smart and sassy lead character with a fun sense of humor and appealing supporting characters. Clinch captures your attention from the start and never lets go with a plot that must be similar to traveling down a slick slalom course with all its twists and turns. This is a wonderfully entertaining way to spend a chilly winter evening.

    The book's already available for pre-orders at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and Indiebound.com. So you can actually order it now.

    I can hardly believe there's just over a month til it's on the shelves. It seems so long ago that I actually wrote it (the summer of '08), that I almost forget what it's about. Maybe you should read it and tell 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.

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Walking to save our snow.

    Anyone who loves to ski knows we'd be lost without our most essential element: Snow. And though many of us are aware of the dangers of global warming, not many of us actually get out there and do something about it.

    That's not the case with Alison Gannett, a World Champion Extreme Freeskier and a true champion of environmental efforts.

    Founder of the Save Our Snow Foundation, Alison has trained individuals, businesses, and governments all over the world -- including Al Gore's Climate Project team -- on solutions to climate change. She was recently named "Ski Hero of the Year," and Outside magazine named her "A Green All-Star," next to Leonardo DiCaprio and Arnold Schwarzenegger. (By the way, I interviewed Alison way back in September, 2008. You can see it here.)

    Not content to rest on her laurels, Alison is at it again. To raise awareness and bring media attention to global warming, Alison is planning to walk over 200 miles towards the United Nation's Climate Change Conference, or Cop15, which will be held next month in Copenhagen, Denmark. The century's most important conference of its type, Cop15 will hopefully result in agreements to replace those reached at the conference in Kyoto, Japan in 1997. Throughout her walk, Alison will be carrying her skis on her back to bring ski and snow awareness to the urban landscape.

    Saving our snow goes way beyond just preserving the sport we love. Snow and ice together provide almost half of the world's drinking water and irrigation for food cultivation. It's an effort all of us should get behind.

    For more information and to contribute to her efforts, go here.

    Oh, and just for some skiing stoke -- and more about Alison -- check this 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.



    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Let The Women Jump


    Way back in December, 2006 (wow, has this blog been around that long?), I posted about the International Olympic Committee's refusal to include women's ski jumping in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Ski jumping is the only Olympic sport that doesn't allow women to compete. In fact, influential IOC member and FIS President Gian Franco Kasper told National Public Radio that ski jumping "seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view."

    Pretty amazing, isn't it? And this is 2010 we're talking about -- not 1910.

    The IOC has all sorts of reasons for its decision. So in the grand tradition of that TV show Mythbusters -- and borrowing heavily from the Let The Women Jump website, I thought I'd explode a few of them here.


    Myth: There are not enough women ski jumping for it to be included in the Olympic Winter Games.

    Fact: Over 130 women from 16 nations are registered as international competitors with the International Ski Federation (FIS). Hundreds more compete in their own countries at the national and club levels.


    Myth: Women are not good enough to compete at the World Cup level.

    Fact: The FIS Continental Cup format is used for the elite level of women's international competition. In 2004 organizers from ski jumping nations chose to forgo asking the FIS for a Women's World Cup tour in order to reduce production costs and facilitate growth in the sport.


    Myth: Women's ski jumping is not developed enough. There is not enough "universality."

    Fact: 16 Nations (AUT, CAN, CZE, FIN, FRA, GER, ITA, JAP, NED, NOR, POL, RUS,SLO, SWE, SUI, & USA) have women registered as international competitors with the FIS. This season’s Continental Cup tour will include 25 events hosted by 8 countries in Europe, North America, and Asia.


    Myth: Only a few women athletes can jump respectably.

    Fact: 35 different athletes from 9 nations have placed within the top 10 in FIS Continental Cup competition during the past two seasons. The depth of field parallels the men's tour.


    Myth: There must be two World Championship competitions held before an event can be included in the Olympics.

    Fact: This criterion has had exceptions made to it in the past. The most notable being the inclusion of the women's marathon event in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics after a single World Championship in 1983. The first Women's Ski Jumping World Championship will be held in Liberec, Czech Republic in 2009. By 2010 there will have been four World Junior Championships.


    Myth: There is not room on the 2010 program to include the women jumpers.

    Fact: Currently there are six men's ski jumping medal events (three ski jumping and three Nordic Combined) planned over six days. A single women's event could bescheduled on available days.


    Myth: The cost of including a women's event on the 2010 program would be prohibitive.

    Fact: Women ski jump on the identical jumps that the Men use. The venue would not be required to be modified in any way.

    There's a petition about this over on the Let The Women Jump website, and I encourage everyone who reads this to sign it. Even if it's too late to get this included in the '10 games, maybe if enough of us speak out, we can hope for 2014. As they say, better late than never.

    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, November 09, 2009

    So much for "best of" lists.

    Outside magazine just came out with its top 16 ski areas. SKI magazine lists its top 50 every year . And Skiing has its own top ten.

    Number one? For Outside, it's Alta. For SKI, Deer Valley. For Skiing, Whistler/Blackcomb.

    They're all great ski areas. But the fact that each magazine has a different resort in its top slot clearly demonstrates: It's all a matter of opinion.

    I don't know about you, but I don't pay much attention to resort ratings. The whole thing is so subjective, simply because what's good for one person may not be good for another. Everyone has different priorities. For example, you may love Okemo, VT. But for someone who wants to nail the chutes at Jackson Hole, for example, Okemo isn't going to cut it.

    It really depends on where you are with your skiing and what you're looking for. My advice? Get the best match, and you'll be a happy skier.

    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, November 03, 2009

    My quiver for the new season.

    I'm entering the new ski season filled with excitement.

    That's nothing unusual. I'm always excited for ski season to begin.

    But I'm especially excited because I have two new pairs of skis this year: a pair of Volkl Auras and a pair of Tierras, also from Volkl. And I'm keeping my trusty old Fischer Vision 73's, too. I can't bear to let them go.

    So here's a quick review of what my quiver looks like this season, so you can recognize me on the mountain:



    The Aura has been receiving a lot of love from the women on TheSkiDiva.com, and SKI and Skiing magazines seem to like it, too. Similar to the Mantra but 20% lighter, the Aura features a sandwich construction and measures 130/94/113. It has a reputation for terrific edging on the hardpack, but its wide waist makes it great for the powder, too. I'm looking forward to having a lot of fun on this one!

    And for my next ski.....



    the Volkl Tierra, which features the company's new Bio-Logic Technology. Volkl's raised the toe in the binding, which they say puts a female skier in a more neutral stance. They claim it improves the balance of the hamstring and glutes to result in more efficient muscle use. They’ve also tapered the tail angle so it releases more readily at the end of a turn. The tip is a bit wider, and they gave the ski a more consistent flex pattern. The Tierra's dimensions: 129/78/99

    And here's ski #3....



    My Fischer Vision 73's. I've had these skis since 2007, and they've served me well. They're fun, lively, snappy, happy -- just tons of fun for carving, making short turns. They're great on soft snow, plowing through ice cookies, and hold a terrific edge. A great East Coast ski. Love 'em. They're 118/73/105.

    So that's where I stand, on the brink of the '09/'10 season. Now if only I could get out on these babies!


    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, October 28, 2009

    You are not alone.

    One of the most common questions we get over at TheSkiDiva.com has to do with which ski to buy.

    It's a good question. The type of ski you select, in my mind, is as personal as the type of jeans you wear or the toothpaste you like. Everyone has different preferences. What I like to ski on, you might hate, and vice versa. Mix that up with different abilities, the types of conditions you ski, and the amount of money you have to spend, and you could end up jabbering to yourself in a corner.

    But there are some things you can do to decide which ski you might want to choose, before you plunk down the big bucks:

    1) Talk to people. Talk to people who you know ski the way you do under similar conditions, and see what they like. No, they're not experts, but it's a starting point.

    2) Talk to the equipment experts in your ski shop. Don't lie about how you ski or what you're looking for. You won't do yourself any favors if you do.

    3) Visit the websites and read the reviews. Okay, these are not exactly objective. But they will let you know if a ski is for beginners or experts and something about its technical specifications: construction, dimensions, etc. All this is valuable information.

    And 4) If at all possible, demo. I can not stress how important it is to try before you buy. It may cost a few bucks, but some shops will subtract the cost of the demo from the purchase price, if you decide to make a purchase.

    Of course, we always welcome conversation about selecting skis on TheSkiDiva.com, but this advice can go a long way in making your task a little easier.

    One final thing: If you don't get the ski of your dreams, don't sweat it. Sell it and try again.

    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, October 18, 2009

    K2 Race for the Cure


    If you're like me, you ski because it's fun, it's great exercise, and it's a wonderful way to enjoy being outdoors in the winter.

    But now there's another reason: to help facilitate a cure for breast cancer. Because on December 12, K2 Skis is sponsoring the K2 Pink Chase, where teams of three women each will compete at Keystone Resort, Colorado, to see who can ski the most vertical.

    Sure, there are prizes. And sure, it's fun. But it's also a great way to help beat a disease that kills thousands of women every year. In 2009 alone, more than 190,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. These are our mothers, our sisters, our friends, and our daughters. And it could easily be you or me. Because even though great strides are being made all the time, it's pretty clear that we still have a long way to go.

    Some of the women on TheSkiDiva.com are forming their own team. I'm very proud of them. They'll be raising money for the cause, and I hope you'll be kind enough to donate. I'll post more about that, as info becomes available.

    Kudos to K2 for organizing this event. And kudos to all the great women who'll be participating. Even though I can't be with you physically, I'll be with you in spirit.

    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, October 11, 2009

    Allow me to toot my own horn.



    Yep, it's an advance reader copy of my book, DOUBLE BLACK: A SKI DIVA MYSTERY, coming out January 5 from Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin's Press.

    What's an advance reader copy? It's a copy of the book that's sent to the sales force and reviewers, to promote the book before actual publication. Yes, there are typos. And yes, it's in soft cover, even though the book will actually be coming out in hard back.

    I'm pretty excited. This is my first novel, and seeing it in book form is pretty amazing to me. Even though I've been down this road before with my husband's first book (FINN, Random House, 2007), it's a little different when it happens to you.

    Here's a quick synopsis, straight from the book jacket:

    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.

    I had a lot of fun writing DOUBLE BLACK, and I think you'll enjoy reading it, too. And in less than three months time, you can!!!! But who's counting......

    BTW, for more about the book, check out my web site at wendyclinch.com.

    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, October 05, 2009

    Have you ever cat skied?


    No, this has nothing to do with kitty cats on skis, with their whiskers blowing in the wind and their tails streaming behind them. (Though I'm sure that would be a sight to see!)

    I'm referring instead to being transported up a mountain by a vehicle known as a "snow cat," then skiing down through fluffy pillows of powder. And yes, it's done by people, not cats.

    I haven't done this yet, though I've always wanted to. From what I hear, it's an experience not to be missed!

    Catskiing works a lot better for me than heli-skiing. I have a real fear of going up (but more especially, of coming down) in a helicopter. Cats never leave the ground; a definite plus, in my book.

    A number of resorts offer catskiing. Monarch, Powder, and Copper, to name a few. One operation I've heard great feedback about is Powder Cowgirls, a three-day, all women's catskiing tour that operates on the Western slope of the Lizard Range of the Rockies, in SE British Columbia. I've heard that the Lizards have amazingly deep, dry snow, as well as fantastic terrain and tree skiing. Nothing wrong with that! Plus Powder Cowgirls sends along a Level 4 CSIA instructor to give you powder skiing tips (which as an east cost skier, I could definitely use!). They also provide lodging, meals, even powder skis, if you need them. I'm Diva enough -- and old enough, I guess -- to prefer a little of the creature comforts in life, and Powder Cowgirls looks like the mix of comfort and kick-ass skiing that appeals to me.*

    Is catskiing for you, and does it mesh with your ski ability? My understanding is that there are catskiing operations for a wide range of abilities, from intermediate on up. A conversation with a tour operator can give you a better idea of whether or not your ability jives with what they have to offer.

    There's a thread about catskiing going on now at TheSkiDiva.com. If you're a woman who's a member, log in to talk about it. And if you're not a member, register so you can.

    *Full disclosure: Power Cowgirls advertises on TheSkiDiva.com. But that doesn't mean I don't really think it's cool!

    Saturday, September 26, 2009

    Great deals. No kidding.


















    Getting the kids interested in skiing is a win-win situation. It gets them out into the fresh air and involved in a sport they can enjoy throughout their lives, and it gives you an excuse to be out there, too ("But honey, the kids have to ski this weekend!").

    To keep costs down, a number of state ski organizations are offering some pretty killer deals. Take a look:

  • New York: Fourth Grade Ski and Ride Passport. For $19. a booklet, you get three lift tickets to each of 35 resorts. There's a Learn to Ski Passport, too, which offers one free beginner lesson and 20% off a second. Go to 44Free.com

  • Colorado: Fifth & Sixth Grade Passports.: Fifth graders get three free days at each of the 21 participating resorts. Sixth graders get four days at each resort for $99. Go to coloradoski.com

  • Michigan: Cold is Cool Ski & Ride Passport: Fourth graders get three free lift tickets to each of 22 participating resorts. Go to goskimichigan.com

  • Utah: The Fifth Grade Passport offers three free ticket at each of the state's 13 ski reosrts. The Sixth Grade Snowpass gets one free day at each. Go to skiutah.com.

  • Vermont: Fifth Grade Passport offers three passes to each of the state's 21 resorts. Go to skivermont.com

  • New Hampshire: Fourth Grade Earn Your Turns Program. Fourth grade students must research some aspect of the history of skiing in New Hampshire, and summarize the information in a report to their teacher. If the teacher finds it satisfactory, the student gets a book that gives him one free lift pass to each of the state's 37 resorts. Go to skinh.com.


  • 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, September 21, 2009

    What you need to know about NASTC.

    A few weeks ago I announced the first ever TheSkiDiva/NASTC clinic, which will place March 1-3, 2010, at Lake Tahoe.

    I am so excited about this! NASTC, or the North American Ski Training Center, is one of the best clinic organizations out there. And it is going to be a real blast skiing and learning with the fantastic women from TheSkiDiva.com.

    To give you a better idea of what NASTC is all about, I recently spoke with Jenny Fellows, who heads NASTC with her husband, Chris.




    Q: What is NASTC, and what makes it different from any other ski clinic?

    A: NASTC is an independent ski school with a proven unique philosphy and methodology towards ski improvement. NASTC offers full immersion, multi-day ski improvement programs at some of the best mountains in the world. NASTC ensures that your ski training experience is rewarding both physically and spiritually. Our goal is for you to have the best time on and off the snow.

    Q: Tell me about the history of NASTC. How and when did it get started? Do you have a particular philosophy for the clinic?

    A: My husband, Chris, and I started NASTC in 1994 to offer the general public a "ski academy" alternative to the quick-fix, one hour or half-day lesson. NASTC was modeled in part on the European ski school model for instructors, the Austrian Bundessportheim, which Chris had been chosen to attend for a season in 1989. We wanted people to have the chance to truly improve, to bring their skiing up a full level. Or, if they had "plateaued," to get off that intermediate or advanced plateau and up into the next realm of skiing. We felt, and still feel, that one only improves at a sport via a total immersion, multi-day approach where you have the chance to breakdown old movement patterns and rebuild with new ones. We also feel that by following and learning from the best pros in the ski business, your skiing will improve much faster and more permanently. The name we chose for our school, NASTC, or the North American Ski Training Center, contains the original vision of a home base, a "training center." We even had lodge plans drawn up by an architect friend. But we quickly saw that our clients wanted to go to different resorts, not be stuck at just one. So we now offer 28 clinics at 18 resorts in Tahoe, the US, and worldwide.

    Q: Tell me something about your staff. What does it take to be a NASTC instructor?

    A: Our staff is comprised of some of the top instructors in the United States. Our trainers are all Examiners and National and Regional Demo Team members, who have gone through a rigorous certification process and made a career of helping skiers like you have a better time on the snow. We handpick our instructors based on their excellence as skiers and coaches and their ability to create a fun and welcoming environment.

    Q: How do you envision TheSkiDiva clinic? Levels, group sizes, skills taught?

    A: We envision TheSkiDiva Clinic as a really good opportunity for women to come and improve their skiing, and also as a really good time with lots of laughter and smiles! Our NASTC Women's Team is excited to work with such an enthusiastic and passionate group of women. We will likely have several groups of different levels. Skiers will be grouped according to their skiing level and goals for the clinic. Each group will have about 7-8 skiers and will have their own focus based on the needs and goals of the group. The clinics begin with a short orientation where we split into groups and discuss our goals for the clinic. We head out to the snow and take a couple of warm up runs and make sure that everyone is in the right group. We ski all the way up to lunch. After that, you can head back outside for more free skiing and practice. We also take footage of everyone skiing, and your trainer reviews your footage with you. After the video review sessions we generally have a short tech talk on a topic that enhances your performance and knowledge of the sport. Typically the whole group gets together and goes out to dinner at one of the many wonderful local restaurants.

    # # #

    This is truly something not to be missed. The cost for the clinic is $790., which includes three half days of instruction, three days of lift passes, and one group dinner. Lodging packages are available at the Cedar House Sport Hotel.

    And get this: if you register by November 1, you'll get 5% off!

    To sign up or for more information, go to the NASTC web site or email NASTC at ski@skiNASTC.com.

    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, September 17, 2009

    To buy or not to buy?

    That, indeed, is the question.

    Last season I vowed I'd buy nothing. Nadda. Zip. No new ski equipment at all.

    Yeah, right.

    Aside from skis, I bought all new everything: gloves, boots, poles, jackets (2 of these, actually), ski pants, base layers. You get the picture.

    It's really shameful. But the deals were just too good. I just couldn't pass them up.

    This year I vowed the same. After all, after last season, what else could I possibly need? Except I blew it already. During my visit to the outlets at Freeport, Maine (home of LL Bean), I succumbed. I ended up with a North Face Thunder Jacket (but it was just what I was looking for! And at such a good price!) and a classic ski sweater (perfect for book signings!).

    Did I need these things? No. But skiing is my weakness, and need had nothing to do with it.

    Anyway, my intention when I started this post was to direct you to a listing of the many ski swaps you can find this time of year; excellent sources for gear that's either used or just left over from last year. Follow this link to a thread over at TheSkiDiva.

    And happy shopping. Like me, you may find a deal that's just too good to pass 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.

    Saturday, September 12, 2009

    40 miles and 7 lighthouses.

    That was the theme this morning, when my husband, Jon, and I did the Maine Lighthouse Ride, a fundraiser for the Eastern Trails Alliance in Portland, Maine. We came to Portland from Vermont especially to do this scenic ride.

    Well, that and to eat lobster rolls, of course.



















    It really was a lot of fun. The coastline of Maine is beautiful. The ride took us along the shore, where we could see the islands of Casco Bay and enjoy the boats and ships going in and out of the harbor.

    About 300 people registered for the ride, some for 100 miles, some for 62, some for 40, and some for 25. We opted for 40, and for me, it was enough.

    Here are a few of the lighthouses we saw:





































































    What does this have to do with skiing? Well, if skiing starts in the middle of November -- and hopefully, it will -- it's important to concentrate on getting in shape. And biking is a great way to do it.

    This was a great day.

    Now excuse me -- it's time for more lobster roll!

    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 31, 2009

    Is three too many?

    Websites, that is. Because yes, I have another one.

    But before you call me narcissistic, hear me out. I can explain!

    First I started this blog so I could spout off about all sorts of things. Well, mostly about skiing. Then I started TheSkiDiva.com, so women who love to ski could talk to one another about anything ski-related.

    But then I wrote a mystery: DOUBLE BLACK: A SKI DIVA MYSTERY. It's coming out from Minotaur Books on January 5, and yes, I needed a website for that, too.

    The site is WendyClinch.com, and if you visit, you'll find all sorts of stuff about the book. Which -- surprise of surprises -- has to do with skiing, too.

    But DOUBLE BLACK isn't just for skiers. I wrote it so anyone could enjoy it. There's financial intrigue, dirty dealings, a little bit of romance, and of course, murder. There's also plenty of New England atmosphere. And a lot of local color.

    It's fun. I think you'll enjoy it. And you'll enjoy the website, too.

    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, August 26, 2009

    Thanks, Ted.


    I'm talking about Ted Kennedy, who died last night from brain cancer at the age of 77.

    I'm sure you'll hear everything you need to know about this distinguished senator from the news media. But I wanted to pay special tribute to Kennedy here for two important reasons:

    First, Kennedy was instrumental in the passage of Title IX of the Education Enactments of 1972. Even though Title IX was not initially about athletics, it did a huge amount in establishing gender equality in sports budgets and competitions. Before the law passed in 1972, girls made up only 7 percent of high school sports participants. Now, more than 40 percent of high school athletes are female, according to data from the National Federation of State High School Associations.

    And second, Kennedy also sponsored the Family and Medical Leave Act in 1993, which guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid leave a year following the birth or adoption of a child, or as result of a serious illness in the immediate family. This made it possible for many women (and men, too!) to address serious family concerns without fear of losing their jobs.

    Today, many of us take these pieces of legislation for granted. But these were truly groundbreaking when they were enacted, and have done much to change the way we live our lives.

    Kennedy wasn't perfect, and in the coming days I'm sure we'll all be subjected to the same sort of canonization we witnessed with the death of Michael Jackson. But he did do an incredible amount of good, and for that, we owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

    So I'll say it again, for millions of American women: Thanks, Ted. May you rest in peace.

    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 24, 2009

    Kayaking the Connecticut

    Even though we're in the final throes of August, it seems like summer's just getting started, here in Vermont. June and July were nearly total washouts: cool and rainy, without much opportunity for outdoor activities. As a result, we've had to cram a lot of our summer fun into recent weeks.

    For me, this included kayaking the Connecticut River. For those of you who don't know, the Connecticut is the river that separates Vermont from New Hampshire. And the part that we kayaked -- from Hartland, VT, to below Cornish, NH -- is a beautiful stretch. No houses or buildings lining the shoreline. Just trees, a view of the mountains, and now and then an eagle soaring into view.

    This was not a rapids running, heart thumping sort of a trip. After being transported 12 miles upriver, we launched our rented kayaks into water that was as smooth as glass.

    Here's the view, heading down the river:


















    Here we're approaching the Cornish-Windsor Bridge, the longest double-span covered bridge in North America:


















    And here I go, under the bridge:


















    No, it wasn't skiing. But all the same, a great way to spend a summer 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.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    We have a cover....


    ....for DOUBLE BLACK: A SKI DIVA MYSTERY, my debut novel, coming to your favorite bookstore on Jauary 5, 2010.

    DOUBLE BLACK is a ski-related mystery about a young woman who heads for a Vermont ski town to pursue the ski-bum lifestyle, only to stumble upon financial intrigue, bitter family warfare, and murder. It has lots of quirky characters, loads of New England atmosphere, and stars a young woman with nerve, spunk, and a sense of humor about it all.

    Here's the first line:

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

    Intriguing, huh?

    It's a lot of fun, if I do say so myself, for skiers and non-skiers alike.

    You can even pre-order it now at Amazon.com. Hey, why wait?

    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 10, 2009

    Learn from the Best, and Ski with the Divas!

    Here's your chance to ramp your skiing up to the next level and have a blast doing it!

    TheSkiDiva.com is partnering with the North American Ski Training Center to offer our first ever women's ski clinic, March 1-3 in Tahoe, CA.

    This is going to be fanastic. NASTC is a top drawer organization. Headed by Chris and Jenny Fellows and headquartered in Tahoe, their instructors are members of the PSIA Demo Team and/or the LUNA Ladies Team, an elite group of women instructors sponsored by LUNA Whole Nutrition for Women and NASTC. The clinics will take place during the mornings of March 1st, 2nd, and 3rd — you'll have the afternoons to practice and explore. We'll spend one day at Squaw, one day at Alpine Meadows, and one day at Sugar Bowl. Group sizes will be kept small and the instruction will be top notch.

    Truly, this is something not to be missed!

    The cost: $790. This includes three half days of instruction, three days of lift passes, and one group dinner. Lodging packages are available at the Cedar House Sport Hotel.

    And get this: if you register by November 1, you'll get 5% off!

    To sign up or for more information, go to the NASTC web site or email NASTC at ski@skiNASTC.com.

    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, August 05, 2009

    Mark Your Calendars!

    Because five months from today, January 5, is the publication date for my debut novel, DOUBLE BLACK: A SKI DIVA MYSTERY.

    Published by Thomas Dunne, an imprint of St. Martin's Press, DOUBLE BLACK follows the adventures of Stacey Curtis, a young woman who ditches her cheating fiance and heads for a Vermont ski town to pursue the ski-bum lifestyle. Instead, she stumbles into financial intrigue, bitter family warfare, and yes, murder. It was a lot of fun to write, and I think it's a great read not only for people who love to ski, but for anyone who loves a good story.

    Right now I'm hard at work on Book #2 -- DOUBLE BLACK is the first of a series -- so be sure to mark your calendars so you can get in on where it all begins.

    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 29, 2009

    The Countdown Begins




    Even in the heat of mid-July, some of us are dreaming of when the landscape changes from green to white.

    Loveland Ski Area in Colorado has posted its snowmaking countdown.

    To see when they'll start blowing the white stuff, go here.

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

    Friday, July 17, 2009

    Home is where the heart is.

    I grew up on the Jersey Shore. And even though it felt like home while I was living there, it certainly doesn't anymore. Over the years the area's changed so profoundly that I barely recognize it. What was once a town where everyone knew one another has become a large, ugly place characterized by traffic gridlock, suburban sprawl, and over population.

    After graduating college, I moved to suburban Philadelphia. And though I lived there for nearly thirty years, somehow it never really felt like home. To me, home is a place where you feel truly comfortable. Truly yourself. And suburban PA, with it's shopping malls, heavy traffic, and housing developments, didn't do it for me, either.

    Then a few years ago I moved to Vermont. Something about the area spoke to me, unlike any other place I'd been. When I entered the state, I could feel my soul exhale. And though I've only been here a few years and will never be considered a native (the old timers will always call me a "flatlander"), to me, it is truly home.

    Everyone defines home differently. My parents and sister think my move to the Green Mountain State is just short of madness. They're perfectly happy in Florida in an environment that's the complete opposite of where I live. Florida -- well, let's just say it's not for me.

    A friend of mine, Jessica Brilliant Keener, has started a blog called Confessions of a Hermit Crab, where you can share your joys, sorrows, and reflections about home. And even though it has nothing to do with skiing, I encourage you to pay it a visit. Because even after we're done skiing, we all have to go home. Why not talk about 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, June 02, 2009

    Alison Gannett, Off Season



    Here's another genuine Ski Diva weighing in on how she stays fit during the off season:

    Alison 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.

    Q: What athletic activities do you participate in during the off season? Why did you choose these and what is it that you like about them?

    A: I surf, road bike, bike tour, mountain bike, practice yoga, and run. I don't "train" per se, rather I choose things that are fun for me. I love to bike tour -- great exercise while enabling me to get exercise while traveling for work on the road. I love using different muscle groups and doing something really different -- like surfing. I love the peace of the water, working on a really hard sport, while using my arms and back more than I normally do.

    Q: Is there any particular activity you do that keeps you in shape for skiing? How? How often do you do it and what does it involve?

    A: I like sports that exercise my whole body. Surfing big waves keeps me in killer shape while having fun, as do all my biking sports, while yoga keeps me balanced -- especially after eight knee surgeries. I like to vary my exercise so that it is fun and different. I try to do something every day.

    Q: Do you ski during the summer months, say in South America or some other location? Is this for fun or for training purposes? Can you tell me about it?

    A: I used to ski a bunch in the summer in South America, but I really like the change of the seasons and really enjoy my other sports and also compete mountain biking. That being said, I live at 9,000 feet, and we can ski almost all year round here, if you want to!

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

    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 27, 2009

    Kristen Ulmer, Off Season


    Ever wonder how a genuine Ski Diva keeps in shape during the off season?

    We did, too, so we asked one:

    Kristen Ulmer.

    A pioneer of the extreme sports movement, Kristen was a mogul specialist for the US Ski Team in the '90's and appeared in a number of ski movies, jumping off cliffs and making heart-thumping, jaw-dropping, knee-knocking descents on some of the world's gnarliest terrain. She's been named by both the media and her peers as the world's best big mountain (extreme) skier and overall woman skier, beating out Olympic Gold medalists. And in a cover feature about her life, Powder Magazine called her "the biggest icon the ski industry never expected" and the "protoplasmic mass of the ski industry." During ski season, she heads the Ski To Live clinic, which combines ski coaching with a western form of Zen teaching called Big Mind.

    Q: What athletic activities do you participate in during the off season? Why did you choose these and what is it that you like about them?

    A: I ride my road bike a lot -- a Cannondale Synapse 3 which I just bought and fell immediately in love with. I ride it super slow for transportation, usually listening to my ipod, and consider it meditation. Even chubby girls wearing flip flops and riding Huffy's pass me by. It's definitely not a "sport" for me; it's more of a slow down in life, then I just ride far enough it's a workout too.

    I also love kiteboarding and take at least 3-4 trips per summer to go kiting. Been doing this for 8 years now which is a long time in such a new sport. Love it because it's adrenaline based and learning new tricks can be super challenging. It's also cool just to know how to do it.

    Q: Is there any particular activity you do that keeps you in shape for skiing? How? How often do you do it and what does it involve?

    A: Biking for sure. I probably ride 25 miles 3 times a week. When the ski season is coming back 'round I start riding up the Canyons in Utah -- Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood, maybe 2 times a week. Other than that a little bit of weight lifting and I'm good to go. I don't ski hard anymore and have a pretty efficient technique so I don't really need to get in shape for ski season anymore. I coach Zen while skiing now, and I don't ski with pros often.

    Q: Do you ski during the summer months, say in South America or some other location? Is this for fun or for training purposes? Can you tell me about it?

    A: I don't ski in the summer unless someone hires me to ski with them and facilitate a wisdom experience alongside the sport. I'll always love skiing -- kind of like I'll always love my ex-boyfriends -- but it's no longer my passion. My work with Big Mind and Consciousness through the sport of skiing is my current passion.

    You can find out more about Kristen Ulmer's Ski To Live clinics at her website, www.kristenulmer.com.

    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, May 22, 2009

    What shape is your summer?


    It's Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer.

    So what are you doing to stay in shape for skiing next season?

    Today I'm going for a nice, long bike ride through the beautiful Vermont countryside. That's me in the picture, biking with a friend last summer. We plan to lunch at King Arthur Flour in Norwich today, when we're done.

    Hey, you gotta live, too, right?

    Biking one of the ways I stay in shape over the summer. I try to do some sort of exercise every day, whether it's swimming laps, working out in the gym with the elliptical and weights, or just walking around the lake where I live. It's fun, makes you feel good, and keeps you in shape so you're ready to get out there and ski.

    Here's wishing you all a safe and fun holiday weekend!

    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.