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Ch-ch-changes! September 1, 2011

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The summer is typically a slow time for ski blogs and websites. So I generally view it as the perfect time to make changes, before the new season ramps up.

As part of this, I’ve re-located my blog and incorporated it into my newly redesigned website. You can find it here.

For those of you who’ve been subscribers, you’ll have to re-subscribe, but that’s very easy to do. Just submit your information on the new blog page. If you haven’t subscribed and want to (and I hope you do), you can do that, too.

While you’re there, take a look around! I think you’ll like what you see.

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Skiers who should die in a zombie apocalypse. June 20, 2011

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I’m feeling a bit cranky today, so just go with it:

  • Anyone who takes someone on a slope way above their ability and tells them, oh sure, you can handle it; just go. This goes double for adults with little kids.
  • Parents who don’t wear ski helmets, even though they force their kids to wear them.
  • Anyone who spreads out all their stuff in a lodge to “save” a table for lunch.
  • People who don’t tip ski instructors.
  • People who swing their skis on the chair lift (when I’m sitting with them).
  • Anyone who skis too fast and out of control.
  • Anyone who collides with someone and doesn’t stop.
  • Anyone who smokes in a lift line.
  • Those who refuse to alternate in a lift line.
  • Skiers or boarders who block a trail.
  • People who don’t look uphill to see if anyone is coming before they take off.
  • Ski resort people who lie about snow conditions.
  • Inattentive lifties who don’t clean the snow and ice off a chair, or who don’t make sure the seat is in a down position.
  • Anyone who skis or boards with their pants around their knees.
  • Anyone who wears a thick wool hat (not a liner) under their ski helmet. It just looks dumb.
  • People who jump without first checking to see if anyone is in their landing zone.
  • Anyone who litters on the hill or who doesn’t clean up after themselves in the lodge. Slobs!

That does it. For now.

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.

Thanks, Dad. June 15, 2011

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Back in May I posted a Mother’s Day tribute to all the ski moms out there. Which is only fitting, since my blog (and my forum, too) are geared toward women.

But with Father’s Day approaching, I thought it only appropriate to give the Dads their due.

My Dad, in particular.

See, my Dad is the one who introduced me to skiing way back when I was 13. No, we weren’t a skiing family. I grew up on the Jersey Shore, which is flat, flat, flat, and where the closest thing to skiing is surfing. Which isn’t really close at all.

But for my 13th birthday, my Dad took us all up to a small resort in the Catskills (that’s in New York state, for those who don’t know), where there was a small hill served by a rope tow. Of course, we all had to try it.

It was dreadful.

Rope tows are evil devices invented primarily, I think, to separate the wheat from the chaff. You have to really want to ski to stick it out on a rope tow. The rope absolutely shreds your gloves. And if you don’t keep your feet in the exact track of the skis ahead of you, you’re going to go down, baby. If you’re like me and fall without letting go of the rope, you end up being dragged a good distance before it occurs to you to drop the rope, idiot, and roll away so no one skis into you and there’s a nasty pile-up with you on the bottom, crying.

Suffice it to say I fell in both directions: up and down.  I hated it. The only thing that kept going was sibling rivalry. My sister was better than I was, and damn it, I couldn’t allow that to happen. I learned the basics, and by the end of the weekend had (sort of) perfected a wobbly snowplow that got me down an incline not much steeper than a parking lot.

And yet I stuck it out.

Even after that weekend, I continued to ski with my Dad. We’d head to north Jersey (Great Gorge, Vernon Valley, Snow Bowl), New York State (Bellayre), even into Vermont (Mount Snow, Killington, Haystack, Hogback), And ever so gradually, my skiing improved until I was better than my sister — who, by the way, eventually gave up skiing and moved to Florida, where she complains it’s freezing if the thermometer dips below 60. Wimp.

My clearest memory of skiing with my Dad is the way he used to sing when we went up on the lift — corny songs at TOP VOLUME so that everyone, I thought, alllllllllllllll over the mountain could hear, laugh, and point. When you’re a teenager, this is devastatingly embarrassing.

My Dad doesn’t ski anymore. Like my sister, he lives in Florida, and while he’s in excellent health (knock on wood), he’s 88 and his knees aren’t what they used to be. This doesn’t stop him from swimming half a mile three or four times a week. The man is an absolute machine.

Still, what I wouldn’t give to ride up the lift with him and have him sing to me — even at TOP VOLUME — one more time.

So thanks Dad, for everything. You’re the best.

My Dad at Mount Snow, 1971

For more memories of Ski Divas skiing with their Dads, 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.

Glub, glub. May 19, 2011

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I think I’m drowning here. And I’m only just a little bit kidding.

It’s official. This is the wettest spring on record here in Vermont. The creeks and rivers are high, Lake Champlain is well above flood stage, and we’ve had days on end of rain, rain, and more rain.

For me, the transition from ski season to off season is never easy.  I actually get a little depressed when I can’t ski anymore. But even a die-hard like me knows that ski season can’t last forever. I know, I know — they’re still skiing at some places out west. And during the summer, there’s always Chile or New Zealand. But for me those are out of the question, as a quick scan of my bank account confirms.

Usually by this time of the year I’ve moved on to other sports. Vermont is a great place for biking, kayaking, hiking — all kinds of outdoor pursuits. But with all the rain, I’ve been limited to working out at my local fitness center, riding the stationary bike, lifting weights, swimming laps. It’s not terrible, but it’s not ideal.

Vermont’s the Green Mountain State for a reason. It rains. If it didn’t, we’d be like Arizona or Utah. Places where there’s cactus (cacti?), tumbleweeds, alkaline flats and arroyos. They say the desert holds a special kind of beauty. That may be true, but it’s not for me. I love the green rolling hills, the rushing creeks and rivers, the astounding varieties of wild flowers.

So even though I’ve essentially had it up to here with downpours, mud, and soggy shoes, I should probably embrace the rain and have faith that it can’t last forever. I’ve heard a rumor we may see the sun by the middle of next week. And even though I won’t be skiing, maybe it’s time I moved on to other things. At least for a while.

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.

Moms are Ski Divas, too. May 2, 2011

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Just because someone’s a Mom doesn’t mean they can’t be a Ski Diva, too. Believe me, I know it’s rough. The hard stuff always falls to the Mom. She’s usually the one responsible for making sure everyone has the hats, goggles, ski pants, boots, etc. they need on the slopes. Dressing and undressing the kids. Assembling the lunches. Hauling the equipment. Harboring a secret stash of tissues/sun block/chap stick/energy bars for that unavoidable emergency. Accommodating multiple bathroom breaks with all the dressing and undressing that go with ’em. Providing encouraging words after a fall. Driving to and from the ski slopes. Attending ski races. Wiping noses. Wiping tears. Administering first aid. Putting on and removing boots/jackets/gloves/helmets. Making sure nothing gets left behind. Arranging ski lessons. Making sure the kids wear helmets.

So this Mother’s Day, get the Mom/Ski Diva in your life something special. Here are a few things I think would make great gifts:

The Ski Diva Necklace

Let your mom show the world she’s a Ski Diva. Available in a choice of stones. I have one of these — okay, I have two; one in cubic zirconia stone and one in garnet, and they never fail to get noticed. Go here.

Ski Like A Girl T-Shirt

Beneath that sweet exterior, you know your mom’s a bad ass. Now everyone else can know it, too. Features TheSkiDiva.com logo on the back. Available here.

A massage or facial:
This winter I discovered the joys of a facial, and couldn’t believe it took me so long. It’s that wonderful. Don’t let her repeat my mistake. Skiing can be rough on skin, so get her a gift certificate to her favorite spa. She’ll love it.

Season pass for next year:
Birds gotta fly, Ski Moms gotta ski. Get her something she’ll thank you for all season long. Most resorts have special savings if you buy before a certain date. Well worth looking into.

A new camera:
Mom’s always love pictures of their kids. Give her a way to take her own with a new camera. I just got one myself — a Nikon Coolpix S8100 — and I’m really excited about it. This camera received terrific reviews in Consumer Reports and has a ton of special settings, along with HD video and burst shooting, so you can get great action shots on the slopes.

Ski Gear:
Always appreciated. See my reviews for the class of 2011/2012 here, or TheSkiDiva’s selections for our first-ever Best of the Year awards here.

Mother’s Day will be here before you know it, so you better get moving. Don’t make me have to tell you again [Yes, I’m wagging my finger at you]!

Seriously, your Mom deserves it.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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

You can’t always get what you want. April 24, 2011

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You know that old song by the Rolling Stones? Well, that’s what was playing this morning when we entered the base lodge at Killington.

Yep, even though you can’t always get the conditions you might like, you can still ski. Which is what we did today, April 24, 2011. Hey, I’d never skied on Easter before. And even though I was sure I ended my season two weeks ago,I figured why not. We’d had a few inches of snow yesterday (albeit wet, heavy stuff). And I had some vouchers I’d neglected to use.

So with the temperature hovering around 50° this morning at 7 AM, we hauled out the rock skis and drove to mountain, determined to get in  a few runs.

It didn’t look too promising outside the lodge:

But looking up at the hill was a bit more encouraging:

Unless, of course, you looked over here (yes, this was open):

Still, it was fun. The views from the top were still beautiful. After all, it is Vermont:

And I was plenty happy. It was Day #81 for me. We only skied eight runs. The temperature reached 60°, and it got pretty gloopy real fast. All the same, a great way to end my season!

Yep, those are Day Lilies coming up at my house. Spring is here!

Happy Easter, all!

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.

Early season vs. late season? March 20, 2011

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Which do you prefer?

Me, I’m torn. Nothing beats going out to ski after the long summer-imposed ski drought. That first time I click on my skis, ride the lift, and slide down the mountain is a true release.  To me it almost doesn’t matter if it’s ice or pure powder; I have so much pent up longing that I hardly even care. Here in the east, the slopes are pretty empty before Christmas. So with the exception of some other die hards, during the week I almost have the mountain to myself.

Then there’s spring skiing. After the crushing cold of winter, it’s an incredible relief to ski without freezing; to feel the sun on my face, unimpeded by a face mask or gaiter. And when the sun turns the snow into beautiful, carveable corn, and the rock hard ice boulders into soft-as-butter mounds (again, we’re talking east here), pure perfection.

So like I said, I’m torn. Perhaps I’m being too picky. Maybe it’s all good, and I should just learn to enjoy the moment. And hope the season goes on a bit longer.

Really, there’s no pleasing some people.

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.

Pix! From Space! February 2, 2011

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If you’re reading this and you’re in the US, chances are you’re being affected by the monster storm that’s hammering practically the entire country.

Groundhog, I think you’re officially snowed in.

Here in Vermont, we’re expected to get about 2 feet. Add this to the snow already on the ground, and you’re talking some serious coverage. A big improvement over last year, that’s for sure.

I found these great pix of the storm from outer space, and I thought I’d share them here:

 

How cold is too cold to ski? January 23, 2011

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It differs for everyone.

Right now I’m in Sugarloaf, Maine, a resort known for its extremely cold temperatures. The high today is forecast for -1°F, the low tonight, a bone-biting -22°F.

Yeah, that’s cold.

This is tough. I hate to be  cold, but I love to ski. So yes, I’ll still go out there. I’m not sure how long I’ll last, and I’ll probably have on everything I own to stay warm.  But this is New England. It’s January. The alternative is to stay indoors and wait for summer.

In case you’re interested, here’s what I’ll have on, from bottom to top:

Feet: Thin pair of ski sox, Hotronics boot warmers, Boot Gloves (these go over my boots) with a toe warmer heat pack placed underneath it.

Legs: three pair of base layers (Hot Chilly’s micro-fleece, Smart Wool, Mountain Hardware Power Stretch Tight), Cloudveil Madison Pants.

Torso: Thin baselayer followed by heavier one; Patagonia Nano Puff pullover; EMS Prima-Loft layering piece; Cloudveil Down Patrol jacket

Face: Definitely a face mask & goggles

On my head: My Smith Variant helmet

Whew! Sounds like a lot to go through, just to have some outdoor fun. I feel kind of like an astronaut gearing up for a space walk. Or a scuba diver getting ready for a big dive. Will I look beautiful? No. Will I stay warm? Hopefully. Am I crazy? Probably.

As I said in the beginning, everyone’s tolerance of the cold is different. There’s even a discussion about it on TheSkiDiva.com.

The bottom line is you have to do what you can to stay as warm as possible, avoid frostbite, and have fun. Let’s hope that’s in the cards for me today.

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 Heeeeere! January 4, 2011

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Yep, today’s the day my second book, FADE TO WHITE, hits the stores.

As all of you know, I looooove to ski. Well, I love to  write, too. So during the off season, when there’s no skiing to be done, I get myself through by writing about skiing. It’s the perfect intersection of two passions for me, and great therapy for a ski addict in withdrawal.

Last year, the result was DOUBLE BLACK: A SKI DIVA MYSTERY. This time it’s FADE TO WHITE, the second in my Ski Diva mystery series.

Yes, it features the same main character: Stacey Curtis, ex-grad student turned ski bum/bartender, as well as some other familiar faces from DOUBLE BLACK: Chip, the hunky ski patroller; Guy Ramsey, local sherrif and Stacey’s landlord; and Tina Montero, massage therapist and barfly. But there are some new characters,  too. Stacey’s cheating ex-fiance, Brian, makes an appearance, as does Harper Stone, a washed-up movie actor who’s come to Stacey’s ski town to film a mouthwash commercial  (and is anything but happy about it). There’s also Buddy Frommer, local ski shop owner and drug dealer, and film director Manny Seville, who’s crossed paths with Harper Stone before.

FADE TO WHITE finds Stacey up past her ski boots in yet another murder. When Stacey and Chip find Stone’s body during a late night ski date, Stacey ends up trying to find out who killed him and why. It’s Hollywood meets the Green Mountain State, and the result is hilarious culture clash, as well a plenty of intrigue and excitement.

Here’s a review from Publisher’s Weekly:

Clinch’s enchanting second Ski Diva mystery (after 2010’s Double Black) opens on a crispy day under a cloudless blue sky, a winter rarity in Vermont. Avid skier Stacey Curtis plans to take full advantage of it by spending the day on the slopes of Spruce Peak before she reports for her night job in the Broken Binding, a local bar. Unfortunately, the lift line is closed due to the filming of a commercial, and to complicate matters, her ex-fiance, Brian Russell, is supervising the shoot. Later, when a snowstorm makes conditions on the the slopes perfect, ski patrol friend Chip Walsh joins Stacey for some spectacular night skiing– spectacular at least until she hits something that turns out to be a dead body. Stacey once again turns sleuth in a fast read sure to appeal to skiers and nonskiers alike.

I had a blast writing FADE TO WHITE, and I think you’ll have fun reading it, too.

Signed copies are available from Northshire Books in Manchester Center, VT, or The Book Nook in Ludlow, VT. For more about both books, go to 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.