Women and Skiing

From the Top

It was 1984 when I met my wife-to-be. I was working as the editor of the newspaper in Breckenridge, Colo., and she was with the local chamber of commerce. I was drawn to the Rockies by the skiing; she was lured by summer in the mountains and had skied only a handful of times. That was going to have to change. n She soon became more interested in skiing. But it didn't help much that on one of our first dates, I took her to Steamboat, where I was competing in a Masters race. I insisted that she ride the gondola to the summit with me, and in my haste to get to the race course I told her she would have no problem skiing there on an "easy black-diamond." She sprained her knee and ended up riding down in a patrol toboggan.

As jobs took us to Aspen, to Sugarbush, Vt., and then to Boulder, Angie became a solid, graceful, advanced skier. She even raced on a rec league team in Aspen, though she recalls me describing her style as akin to "someone falling out of an airplane without a parachute." Despite being a good athlete, she lacked the confidence necessary to ski tough terrain, and was always underselling her ability¿in part, perhaps, because of the Steamboat incident. So as we skied around the world, she enjoyed the sport but was never passionate or aggressive. Until last season.

It started with new skis. She's been on shaped skis since they first came out, but her new pair is shorter, lighter and easier to bend into an arc. She also had her boots refit and added a heel wedge to keep her forward on her skis. And she signed up for Women's Wednesdays, a popular weekly instruction clinic at nearby Eldora Mountain Resort that is taught by women for women. Soon, she was talking non-stop at dinner about ski technique and of venturing into double black-diamond terrain.

The next time we skied together, I was amazed by the transformation: Angie was skiing much faster, carving from edge to edge, venturing into the trees, seeking out moguls¿and smiling all the while. With new female-specific equipment and insightful instruction¿plus my absence from the entire process¿she had become an expert skier.

For our annual Buyers Guide, SKI Managing Editor Natalie Kurylko witnessed similar transformations while attending a women's clinic at Vail hosted by renowned gear guru Jeannie Thoren. Her account¿"Ski Like A Girl!"¿is followed by Senior Contributing Editor Edie Thys' review of women's skis. The ski industry has finally devoted time and talent to women's products and programs, and SKI Magazine is dedicated to helping make women more knowledgeable and passionate about the sport. If you have suggestions on how we can do a better job, I'd like to hear them.

I can't wait to ski this season with my wife. But she's going to have to learn to tune her own skis.