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Holiday Skiing. December 26, 2010

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For a lot of people, Christmas Week isn’t complete without skiing. You’re off from work, the fam is all together, and besides, you have those vacation days you have to use up. Nonetheless, this isn’t the easiest time to be out on the mountain. There are loads of like-minded individuals who are going to be there, too. But if you’re determined to ski this week, there are a few things you can do to make it more fun:

Start early: I know it’s vacation time. But really, the earlier you start skiing, the better the snow. So while a lot of people are still in bed nursing their hangovers, make an effort to be out there when the lifts start spinning. Really, you get out of bed early for work and that’s a heck of a lot less fun. I know you can do it.

Lock your skis: Don’t let the beautiful surroundings lull you into a false sense of security. Yes, there are some nasty characters around, and yes, they have their eye on your skis. Well, on anyone’s skis for that matter. I can’t fathom how these sleazebags get their jollies making off with someone else’s equipment, but somehow they do. Ebay is full of them. So if you’re going into the lodge, lock up your equipment. You’ll save yourself a lot of pain, and maybe put the sleazies out of business.

Bring your lunch: Unless you  have a hankering for a hamburger that tastes like cardboard and is made from God knows what, this is really the way to go. Food at ski resorts doesn’t just taste bad, it can cost a small fortune. So bring your own, save big bucks, and eat a lot healthier.

Try the singles line: If you need a break from your friends and family, this is definitely the faster way to get up the mountain. Besides, you never know who you’ll end up on the lift. Hey, it could be Brad Pitt under that face mask!

Leave plenty of time: For EVERYTHING. Renting equipment, buying lift tickets, parking. It’s all going to take longer, especially if you have kids. Recognize this. Embrace this.  If you do, it’ll keep your blood pressure down.

Have Fun: The seems so basic, but a lot of people forget to enjoy themselves, especially since skiing during the holidays can be full of frustrations — the lift lines, the crowds on the slopes (I don’t need to go on, do I?). Realize there are lots of things you can’t control, and decide at the outset that you’re going to have a good day. Your attitude can make a big difference not just in your own enjoyment, but in the enjoyment of people around you. So suck it up, buttercup. Leave your complaints in the car.

All this is easy for me to say. After all, I won’t be skiing this week. I have the incredible luxury of being able to ski after the crowds have gone home, mid-week.

But remember, ’tis the season and all that. Have fun, and happy holidays.

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.

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It’s not just ski season. November 27, 2010

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You’d have to live in a cave to be unaware that the holiday shopping season is in full swing.

But as any shopper knows, getting the right gift for someone isn’t always easy.  It’s a delicate balance of what someone wants with what you can afford. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), there’s a lot of stuff associated with skiing. Ergo, there are loads of gift choices for the skiers in  your life.

All the same, it can all be somewhat daunting. So to make your life a little easier, here are some gift suggestions you might want to check out:

The SkiDiva necklace

Truly, a one of a kind item, handcrafted in Vermont by Wenda (no, that isn’t me), this silver pendant on a matching silver chain is the perfect gift for the Ski Divas in your life. Available with your choice of stone: cubic zirconia (diamond-like), amethyst (purple), garnet (dark red), and topaz (blue). 16″ or 18″ chain. Go here.

Hot Gear Bag

Keeps your boots warm and dry so you say “Ahhhhhhhhh” instead of “Brrrrrrrrrr”  when you put them on. Ski Divas can get 10% off by clicking here.

Opedix Base Layers

Opedix tights and posture shirts are engineered to improve joint alignment in the knees and shoulders. This can increase stability and strength while also reducing wear and tear by ‘unloading’ the joints. Go here and use discount code SkiDiva10 for 10% off.

Lift tickets

What could be better than treating someone to a day of skiing? You can get discount tickets for areas all over the country through Liftopia. Go here.

Boot Gloves

Am I hung up on warm, toasty feet? Could be. But when you’re skiing in brutally cold temperatures, nothing beats the BootGloves, a neoprene sleeve you wear over your boot for continued warmth.  Go here.

Double Black. Or Fade To White.

Okay, this may be a little self serving, since both books are written by me. They’re ski mysteries that focus on Stacey Curtis, a young Bostonian who ditches her cheating fiance, moves to a small Vermont ski town, and takes up the life of a ski bum. Along the way, she encounters a host of quirky characters, some exciting adventures, and yes —- even murder. Double Black came out in January, 2010, and Fade To White hits the stores a little late for Christmas — January 4, 2011 — but you could pre-order it at your local bookstore. You can find out more about them here.

Do you know many women who ski? November 22, 2010

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Until a few years ago, I could literally count them all on one hand.

Sad, I know. I guess I traveled in the wrong circles. (Is this going to get me in trouble? Yes, friends, I still love you. Even though you don’t ski.) But having ski friends is important. It’s nice to have someone who understands where you’re coming from. Truly, it’s discouraging when  you start talking about something that means a lot to you, only to see your friend completely zone out.

I remember standing on line for the gondola at Steamboat, looking behind me and  noticing how it was almost all men.  It was a revelation. Where were all the women? I wondered. I can’t possibly be the only woman in the world who loves to ski. Or am I?

If the women weren’t on line at the gondola, and if they weren’t in my social circle, then where were they? I decided to try to find out. So I registered at the web’s largest ski community. After all, if they wanted to talk about skiing, it stood to reason that that’s where they’d be. But that wasn’t necessarily the case. The vast majority of the participants were men. And while everyone was friendly, the dynamic wasn’t what I wanted, either. For the most part, there was little discussion of the sort of things I wanted to talk about. And the interaction, though pleasant, was decidedly testosterone-driven.

That’s when I decided to take matters into my own hands. So in September, 2006, I started an online community specifically for women skiers: TheSkiDiva.com.

At first, it was pretty slow. But as time went by, more and more women joined the site. Today, we have nearly 2,300 members. That’s 2,300 women who are passionate, avid skiers. 2,300 women with whom I can talk about skiing, whenever I want. We cover it all: Gear, technique, resorts, apparel — anything and everything ski related. And of course, some things that aren’t.

For me, it’s been an incredible experience. Certainly, I feel considerably less alone than I did in the past. I now know that there are other women who share my passion for skiing and want to talk about it as much as I do. Even better, I have ski friends wherever I ski.

But one of the best things about TheSkiDiva.com is how it’s grown to become a true community, albeit the virtual sort. The support and friendship of these women has definitely enhanced my life and my love for the sport. Truly, it’s been a remarkable experience.

So if you’re a women who loves to ski, don’t for a moment think you’re alone. There are a lot of us out there. Stop by TheSkiDiva.com and find out.

Skiing for cheapskates. November 8, 2010

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If you’re like me and love to ski but hate spending money, take heart. There are ways to minimize the damage to your wallet. Granted, it does take some effort. But if you’re willing to put in the time, you can get some relatively good deals on lift tickets:

Work at a ski area: Hands down, the cheapest way to ski. Get a job at a local ski area, either paid or volunteer, and you’ll get a comp ticket. As in free. But you will have to put in the hours. It’s a trade off, and one you have to have the time and inclination to make.

Season pass: Whether or not you save with this really has to do with how much you ski. And of course, there’s a considerable charge up front.  But if you do plan to ski a lot, it’s really the best way to go. Try to figure out how many days you’ll be on the hill, then look at the price of the pass. Simple math can tell you if it’ll pay off or not. For me, yes. For you, maybe not. But it’s definitely worth a shot.

Discount Cards: Many ski resorts offer cards that provide discounts off  the window rate. For example, at Killington, here in Vermont, you can get an Express Card for $79. This entitles you to buy mid-week lift passes for $39.50 instead of $79. and a weekend ticket for $63. instead of $86. Again, you’ll need to apply a little math to see if it’ll work for you. But it can definitely be a money saver.

Off Mountain Discounts: Sometimes you can get passes at reduced rates at off-mountain locations like ski shops, discount or grocery stores, even gas stations or motels.  These are usually listed on the resort’s web site, but you might want to check with your local business to see if they offer this service.

Multi-Day Passes: Buy multiple days instead of one day at a time. This works if you plan to ski several consecutive days. Again, check your resort’s web site for details.

Resort Specials: Ski resorts want you to come. It’s how they make their money. So resorts will occasionly run specials. For example: Ladies Day. [Insert state here] Day. Wacky Wednesday. Wear Green on St. Patrick’s Day. You get the idea. Check your favorite ski resort’s web site. They’ll be sure to post them there. BTW, in the past Okemo, also here in Vermont, has run a great special around holiday time. Bring a couple canned goods for the local food bank, and get a discount lift pass. I wouldn’t be surprised if they bring this one back.

Ski Clubs: You can get great discounts by joining a ski club. Each one is different, but most will provide access to discount tickets at a variety of resorts.

Liftopia.com: This online company partners with ski areas to offer great discounts —  if you’re willing to buy in advance. Simply enter where you want to ski and for how many days, and check the results. Careful, though. There are no refunds, exchanges, or cancellations.

Anyone have any other ideas?

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.

What to do when other people have started their ski season….. October 28, 2010

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…..And you haven’t.

Tough, isn’t it?  Pictures of happy people skiing are starting to appear on the internet, and there’s no snow within 300 miles of your house. Yes, it’s depressing.

What do you do? How do you handle the heartbreak?

Well, short of booking a flight to Colorado or Utah or wherever the resorts are open, here are some ways for you to cope:

  • Tell yourself the delay gives you more of a chance to get in shape. Work out like a fiend. Run. Bike. Lift weights. No early season soreness for you! Feel superior in your fitness.
  • Try on all your ski gear. Model before the mirror. Ask your wife/husband/significant other how you look. Don’t believe them when they say you look great. Decide you just have to have a new jacket/fleece/pair of ski pants. Start making the rounds at your local ski shops. Look for something on clearance, but when there’s nothing you like in your size, end up buying something that isn’t on sale. Seethe, but look great doing it.
  • Visit your skis in the attic. Caress them. Whisper sweet nothings. Tell them all the wonderful things you’ll be doing together in the months ahead. If you listen hard enough, you might hear them answer back. Worry if you do.
  • Go through your financial statements to see if you can afford that big ski trip this year. Think how maybe you shouldn’t put it off. What if you’re hit by a truck? Shouldn’t you live for today? On the other hand, what about saving for your retirement or your kid’s college? Feel conflicted. Visit all the travel sites on line and see if you can get really a good deal. Convince yourself you will. Keep looking.
  • Clean out your boot bag from last year. Find dirty tissues. Unwashed base layers. One unmatched mitten. A sock with a hole in it. Also that boot heater you were looking for (YES!) and five dollars in change. Put the change in the jar you use to fund ski trips. Feel rich.
  • Put your snow tires on. If you don’t have any, visit your tire store. Despair over how much they cost, but realize your safety — and the safety of your family — depend on them. Bite the bullet and buy them.

All this should keep you pretty busy. Believe me, ski season will be here soon, and before you know it, you’ll be posting your own ski pictures on the internet and bragging about your exploits in online ski forums, like TheSkiDiva.com.

Hang in there. You’ll make 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.

Use Your Head. October 17, 2010

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Who here doesn’t wear a helmet? [looks around room]

I do. And proudly so. But not everyone does. Some argue that a helmet really doesn’t offer much protection in the event of a high speed crash. Or that they ski carefully, so there’s really no need. Or that they just don’t like the way it looks.

Me,  I just feel safer in one. That doesn’t mean I think that wearing one allows me to ski like a maniac or indulge in risky behavior. I’m just one to take precautions. I wear a seat belt when I’m in a car. And I wear a bike helmet when biking. So to me, wearing a ski helmet is sort of like that. If there’s a chance it’ll help me avoid a head injury, then I’m all for it. My husband had a nasty crash a couple years ago and actually cracked his helmet. If that’d been his skull, I’d be a widow right now. So yes, I think wearing a helmet makes sense.

More and more, it seems like helmets have become the usual rather than the exception.  At some resorts, helmets are mandatory for children in ski school. A good idea, I think. Personally, I think all ski instructors and patrollers should be required to wear them, as well, to set a good example for the kids.

So how do you know if a ski helmet fits?

Simple. Try it on. It should fit snugly, but not too tight. It shouldn’t rock back and forth when you shake your head. If the skin on your forehead moves, you have a good fit. It ‘s important to keep in mind that not all helmets fit the same. Head shape is a factor in your helmet selection as well. In most cases, your helmet will fit if you get the right size, but there are circumstances where the helmet will not fit due to the shape of the helmet and the shape of your head. In cases like this, you may have to try on a few different models to find the right one.

And if you think helmets look dorky, maybe you need to amp it up a level or two. Check these blingy models out from Ice Couture:

First Flakes in the East! October 6, 2010

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Well, if it’s not the first, it’s pretty damn close. Who would’ve thought it’d fall in West Virginia?

All we’re getting here today in Vermont is rain, rain, rain. Still, it did my heart good to see this video. So even though it’s not enough snow to amount to anything, I thought I’d share it with you:

In your dreams. September 16, 2010

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A friend of mine recently told me she dreamt there was a ski boot in her bed. “Does this mean it’s going to be a bad winter?” she asked.

I’m hardly qualified to interpret anyone’s dreams. But it seems to me that dreaming that there’s a ski boot in your bed isn’t necessarily a harbinger of good or bad weather. Maybe it just means you want to be ready to rush out to ski at a moment’s notice. Or maybe you’re just excited about your equipment.

Who knows.

If you love skiing as much as I do, I’m sure you’ve had quite a few ski dreams of your own. Sometimes they’re frustrating: I’ve forgotten my goggles, my poles, my helmet, or I can’t make it to the lift for one reason or another. Sometimes they’re wonderful: I’m having the best run of my life. The conditions are amazing, it’s a bluebird day, and I’m skiing like Lindsey Vonn.

I did an internet search on what it means to dream about skiing, and here’s what I found:

  • To dream that you are skiing suggests that you are pushing yourself and putting your mental and/or physical ability to the test. You are your own fiercest competitor.
  • To dream of a skier signifies that you are being difficult with the money.
  • To dream that you see a skier signifies that you have a problem that you do not solve for a long time.
  • To dream of ski jumping suggests ugly and serious danger ahead.
  • To dream that you ski downhill indicates that you have adventures ahead that you do not consider.
  • Dreaming of a broken ski means that you will not get along with your partners

Pretty wild. I don’t think whoever came up with this list ever skied a day in their life. All I know is that I dream about skiing because it occupies a very large place in my brain. And until ski season comes, it’s the only place I can go to get some runs in.

Sweet dreams.

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com , the leading online community for women skiers, for some great talk about anything and everything ski related.

After Labor Day/Before Ski Season. September 9, 2010

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Welcome to the season otherwise known as fall. Well, that’s not entirely true. Because even though fall doesn’t officially begin til September 22 (at 11:09 AM, to be exact), here in the US we traditionally put fall as anything post Labor Day/pre-Thanksgiving. So since I’m an American (and proud of it), I’ll go with that.

So what does a Ski Diva do in the fall (besides tap her foot while impatiently waiting for winter)?

Right now I’m on the coast of Maine, doing some hiking, some biking, and eating a lot of this:

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Yes, it tasted just as good as it looked. Here’s a plug for Red’s in Wiscasset, Maine. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, don’t even think about passing it by. Just go. You won’t be disappointed.

Anyway, yesterday we hiked up Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. This is the highest mountain on the eastern coast of the US. The mountain is known for its outstanding views. On a good day. But on this particular day, there was so much fog we couldn’t see a blasted thing on the way up. The park ranger counseled us to “look for the pretty little pond.” We were within 10 feet of that “pretty little pond” and didn’t even know it was there. It’s lucky we didn’t walk off a cliff.

Happily, the sun came out right when we reached the top, and voila! Beautiful views, just as advertised. The trip down was lovely. Well worth doing.

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Today we have more hiking in store. Then tomorrow and Saturday, biking. We’re doing a ride in Portland, Maine, that’ll take us past eight (count ’em, EIGHT) lighthouses.

As much as I love skiing, this is a very nice trip. As Mr. Ski Diva says, it can’t all be about skiing. And in a moment of weakness, I can see his point.

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.

Well, hello there. September 5, 2010

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IIt’s been a while. I haven’t exactly forgotten you; I’ve just kind of let my blog posts slip this summer. And for that, I can only say I’m sorry.

But Labor Day is here, and with it, the unofficial end of summer. There’s a definite cool down going on. Temps are in the 50’s here in Vermont, and the leaves are actually starting to turn here and there. This weekend saw the re-opening of my local ski shops, and I even made the rounds to troll for specials. (No, I don’t need anything, but it doesn’t hurt to look)

As much as I love fall — if it weren’t for skiing, I think it’d be my favorite season — I’m definitely looking forward to seeing some white stuff fall from the sky. I have my season pass, and I am so ready to go!

In the meantime, if you’re a woman who loves to ski and want to get a jump on the season, be sure to stop by TheSkiDiva.com for some great ski talk. With colder weather approaching, there’ll be plenty to talk about. Then again, there always is. 😉