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You’re not a real skier unless you [fill in blank]. August 15, 2011

Posted by Wendy in General skiing.

Ever hear anyone say something like the following:

“You’re not a real skier unless you:

……ski x number of days;

……ski off piste exclusively. No groomers;

……ski first chair to last;

…..don’t stop for anything, not even to go to bathroom (you can go in the woods);

……[fill in your own qualifier here].”

I know, I’m a sap. My first impulse is to check to see if I’m doing whatever it is they say I’m supposed to do. Am I a real skier? Oh, please let the answer be yes. But then I give myself a good dope slap. What are you, crazy?

It’s mystifying why anyone would set parameters for what qualifies someone as a real skier. I mean, what is that, exactly?  Isn’t anyone who skis a real skier? What’s the alternative? And anyhow, what’s the difference?

In case anyone’s forgotten, skiing is supposed to be (now get this, folks) fun. And last time I checked, skiing didn’t require any sort of certification or license, like practicing medicine. You can call someone a real doctor, as in someone who’s qualified to write prescriptions and perform surgery. But a real skier? Naaah.

Perhaps they don’t mean “real” at all. Maybe they mean “committed.” But how can anyone measure someone else’s level of commitment? Is someone who lives five minutes away from the mountain and skis everyday more committed than someone who saves for weeks for a lift ticket, gets up at 4AM, and travels five hours each way for a day on the slopes? Maybe someone who skis a lot is geographically lucky. Maybe they just have more time on their hands. Maybe they’re unemployed or retired. Or perhaps they’re incredibly rich.

You can see my point.

All I’m saying is that before we get our thermal underwear in a knot about whether or not someone is a real skier, let’s not lose sight of why we’re out there, folks. And let’s set all this silliness aside. Really.

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.

It’s a Small Ski Diva World July 19, 2011

Posted by Wendy in General skiing.
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The internet is an amazing place.

Nearly five years ago, I started TheSkiDiva.com as a place for women to talk about skiing. And so far it’s been a tremendous success. Today, the forum has nearly 3,000 registered members from all over the world: the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Europe. There are amazing conversations about gear, technique, resorts — anything and everything that has to do with skiing.

But the most remarkable thing about it is how it’s become a genuine community — a place  in which friendships are formed. where we share one another’s joys and sorrows, where we help each other out, even if it’s not related to skiing.

Take forum member BraveSkiMom (yes, everyone has a user name to protect anonymity. The world can be a scary place.) BraveSkiMom was looking for some travel tips for a family trip to Ireland. So she posted about it on the forum — with incredible results.

Here’s what she said about it on her blog, BraveSkiMom.com (which, by the way, you really must visit):

Perusing various topics on TheSkiDiva.com forum in November, I ran across this query:

“What are your skiing goals this season?”

I have the same goal each and every season, so I quickly responded, facing the cold, hard truth, that yes, I am old.

“My goal every year since I turned 40 (sigh) is to ski at least as many days as I am old. So far, so good. Can’t wait til I’m 80!”

With that I went on my way, posting a few other items, responding here, responding there, recognizing women with whom I’ve communicated before and enjoying a good 1/2 hour of skiing-related chat.

A couple of hours later, however, I got a reply in my email from 3VSki (Most women choose a forum name, rather than use their own name. Mine is braveskimom — surprise!).  She responded,

“Oh I love the idea of skiing the same number of days as I am in years but that just might mean bankruptcy cause I live in Ireland!! I managed 24 days last season so to match that would be good.”

I thought to myself, “How cool is that? A skier from Ireland responding to me, a skier in Colorado. Not only that, she’s got a great sense of humor!” And I thought that was the end of it…

TheSkiDiva.com Community

Now, if you are not familiar with TheSkiDiva.com, here is the back story. In 2006,author, PR whiz and skier Wendy Clinch started TheSkiDiva.com as a way to connect with other women skiers.

She explains, “I didn’t really know many other women who skied, and I wanted to find people I could talk to about skiing in a way that I could relate to. That wasn’t the case with other ski forums on the web; they’re dominated by men, so the atmosphere is, shall we say, pretty testosterone-charged. It’s pretty hard to get any input on women’s equipment or the things I wanted to talk about.”

Wendy was clearly not the only female skier feeling isolated, because within 4-1/2 years,TheSkiDiva.com has grown to nearly 3,000 members and is the leading site for women who ski. I found TheSkiDiva.com when I was researching the online “competition” for family skiing information. Once I joined the forums I quickly realized that unlike the majority of chat room/forum sites, TheSkiDiva.com really is a community. Within hours I felt like I had friends and you know what, I did.

One Ski Diva from Massachusetts volunteered to be interviewed for a Brave Ski Mom review of Smugglers’ Notch. A couple of other Ski Divas from Colorado and I tried to set up a few ski dates (which fell through because I caught a cold). But we were all game and we’ll ski together some day. And then there is 3VSki.

Skiing Advice, Travel Advice

In June, 3VSki and I actually met and got our families together at her home in Northern Ireland. As my family was planning our summer vacation, we were looking for an off-the-beaten track, best-possible-place in Ireland to rent a cottage for a week. The guidebooks weren’t helping much. Nor was talking to friends and relatives here in the U.S. For one thing, I was being picky. I’d already visited Dublin and traveled in that area, so I knew I wanted to visit the West Coast. Yet everything we read repeated the same beauty spots and made them all sound crazy-busy with tour buses. Just not our style.

On a whim, I contacted 3VSki through TheSkiDiva.com. Immediately she responded enthusiastically, “Look no further than County Donegal on the North West coast for beautiful scenery (though the weather is never guaranteed).”

Divas Unite

And you know what, we didn’t look any further. I knew that she was a skier, I knew that we are almost the same age and I knew that she knew what she was talking about (she’s the native after all). What more did I need to know? Our holiday in County Donegal was perfect! The scenery was drop-dead gorgeous, the beaches were pristine and golden, the village of Dunfanaghy had everything we needed and no crowds, and the company was outstanding.

For that was the real highlight of our visit to Ireland. We had dinner two consecutive nights with 3VSki and her family and spent an afternoon hiking (women) and golfing (men). We connected, our husbands connected and our children, well, they just need a ski holiday together to get over a bit of shyness.

And speaking of ski holidays, we compared notes. While I may not yet have convinced them to visit us and ski at Aspen, they have convinced us to visit them and ski at Les Trois Vallees in France. Hundreds of kilometers of trail, endless piste and chalets with chefs. Yes, you read that right. French Chefs. I’m sold.

Thank you 3VSki for all of your assistance, hospitality and generosity. You have a sincere, open invitation to visit us at any time. Until then, I’ll meet you at TheSkiDiva.com.


Living Vicariously. July 7, 2011

Posted by Wendy in General skiing.
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While most of us are sweltering in the summer heat, it’s mind boggling to think that some of us are still skiing. In July. In North America. And no, not at Mount Hood.

There’s no denying that it’s been an incredible season with record snow packs. But while my season ended in April (yeah, I’m in the east), some Ski Divas celebrated the Fourth of July by strapping on their skis and making some turns.  I thought I’d post a few pix, so the rest of us could enjoy their good fortune.

Here’s A Basin:

A Basin in July

A Basin in July

And here’s Mammoth:

Mammoth in July

Maybe not ideal mid-winter conditions, but skiing in July???? I’d take it.

To see more pix, 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.