Take a hike!

As accustomed as we are to thinking about our favorite ski area as a place for winter fun, have you ever hiked one in the summer?

Many of them have great hiking trails. For example, I recently hiked the Healdville Trail in Ludlow, Vermont. This trail goes up the back of Okemo Mountain and ends at an old fire tower at the top of South Peak. Climb the tower, and you get a beautiful 360-view of the Green Mountains. Breathtaking.

Plenty of other ski areas have hiking trails, too. It’s a great way to enjoy them during the summer months. And it’ll give you a different perspective of the trails you ski during the winter. (Hmmmm, who knew that rock was there??)

See ya at the top!



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Male or female instructors?

To me, it doesn’t matter. As long as the instructor is knowledgable, patient, and able to explain and demonstrate things well, I’m happy.

But I wonder if it matters to you.

Some people have told me that female instructors are more patient (if the instructor is a mother, could this be from dealing with kids?), while others have told me that male instructors push them harder.

Both are good traits to have. I like to be challenged, but I also like some understanding and patience, along the way.

What do you think? Any preference?



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Lost and found.

Here’s a fun way to spend those idle hours at the computer: looking at web sites about lost ski areas.

Seriously. In this world of mega-resorts and high speed lifts, there are a lot of ski areas that’re no longer around. Skiing’s a tough business, and for whatever reason, some areas just couldn’t make it.

Weeds grow on the slopes. Rust accumulates on the chair lift towers.

It’s pretty sad, when you think about it. But by going to these web sites, you can get a sense of skiing as it was years ago. Hey, you may have even skied at one of these places. In that case, prepare yourself for a trip down memory lane:

New England Lost Ski Areas: 573 lost ski areas in New England and 61 elsewhere
Colorado’s Lost Ski Areas: 140 dormant ski areas
Mid-Atlantic Lost Ski Areas: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina; 34 dormant areas
Lost Ski Areas of Washington: 47 lost areas
Alaska’s Lost Ski Areas: 96 lost areas
Lost New Mexico Ski Areas: 8 lost areas

Just totaled it up — that’s 959 areas right there. Wow. Imagine if only a fraction of these opened again!

 



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Goodbye to a great one!

From Ski Racing Magazine:

Veteran American World Cup star Kristina Koznick retired from the sport on Monday after 16 seasons on the World Cup.

Koznick raced the Olympic giant slalom with a completely torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee after a training-run mishap on Feb. 5. She finished the season ranked 13th in the World Cup slalom standings, 28th in giant slalom and 31st overall.

She was fourth in the slalom standings in 2004-05 with three podium appearances and five top-six results. The product of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, retires with six career World Cup wins. She was the 1993 Ski Racing U.S. female junior alpine skier of the year, and took home Ski Racing’s top alpine female honor in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002.

Hats (or helmets) off to Kristina, a true champion.



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Women’s clinics

Anyone attend a women’s ski clinic this past season?

I understand they’re a great way to build skills, boost confidence, and experience the comaraderie of skiing with other women.

To me, all this sounds great.

Even though I’ve never participated in one, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

So anyone who’s been in a women’s clinic, please post here and let me know what it was like. Where’d you take it? What’d you do? And was it worthwhile?

After all, there’s always next year….



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Another reason to ski….

…or even exercise: it’ll improve your memory and boost your creativity and reaction time.

Middlesex University researchers in London discovered that 25 minutes of aerobic exercise boosted scores on subsequent creativity tests. And one study found physically fit workers were 12.5 percent more efficient at the end of the day than their nonphysically fit counterparts. What’s more, a study in the journal “Nature” reports that sedentary senior citizens who took up walking for 45 minutes, three days a week, were able to significantly improve mental skills that decline with age.

We all knew we were smart for skiing. This just proves it!

Now if I could just remember where I put those keys…..



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Girl Talk.

It’s no surprise that one of my favorite things to talk about is skiing.

All the same, with so few skiers among my of my female friends, I often feel obligated to keep this part of my life under wraps. Don’t get me wrong — as I’m sure you can imagine, I have no problem talking about lots and LOTS of things. But skiing is often a different story. I don’t want to bore my non-skiing friends with something they’re not interested in. And to someone who’s not into skiing, how can I communicate the excitement I get from hurtling headlong down the mountain, the almost spiritual uplift I get from the view at the top, the sense of achievement I get from mastering a difficult run? With what women can I discuss new equipment, compare mountains and trails, and share tips on technique and ski clothes? Is it just me, or do any of you feel the same way?

As I noted in my first post on this blog, It ain’t easy. And that’s what makes Ski Diva so special. Here I can get as carried away as I want with people who understand. And you can, too.

So if you find something you want to talk about in the ski world, post it here. We know how you feel. And we’re happy to listen.

Have a safe and happy Fourth!



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Ski your way to better sleep.

Have trouble sleeping? Maybe you should ski more.

The National Sleep Foundation reports that exercise in the afternoon can help deepen shut-eye and cut the time it takes for you to fall asleep. However, a 2003 study found that a morning fitness regime was key to a better snooze. Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center concluded that postmenopausal women who exercised 30 minutes every morning had less trouble falling asleep than those who were less active. The women who worked out in the evening hours saw little or no improvement in their sleep patterns.

No studies have proven conclusively the best time to exercise, but there’s unanimous agreement that exercise helps you fall asleep better and sleep more restfully.

Hey, it’s as good an excuse as any to hit the slopes.



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The great, completely unscientific energy bars taste test.

Raise your hands — how many of you like to take energy bars to the slopes?

I’m sitting here with my hands firmly on the keyboard. Not just because I’m typing, either, but because I’ve never found an energy bar I really liked. To be fair, maybe I just haven’t looked hard enough. After all, the concept of energy bars is tremendously appealing. It’d be great to bring something along for a quick snack on the lift.

So I thought I’d do a limited, unscientific taste test. Limited, in that I’m only going to test four bars. And unscientific, because it only involves one taster — me.

Here’s what I found:

Zone Perfect (strawberry yogurt): 210 calories. 15g protein, 21g carbs, 7g fat, 1g fiber. A sweet yogurt coating surrounding a grainy strawberry-flavored interior. Not too bad.

Kashi Go Lean (oatmeal raisin cookie): 280 calories. 13g protein, 49g carbs, 5g fat, 6g fiber. Chewy with a sweet exterior coating. Again, not bad.

Clif Energy Bar (carrot cake): 240 calories. 10g protein, 46g carbs, 4g fat, 5g fiber, 4g fat. Doesn’t taste even remotely like carrot cake. In fact, it has a strong cinnamony flavor. No exterior coating. Didn’t like this at all.

PowerBar Performance (apple cinnamon): 230 calories. 9g protein, 45g carbs, 2.5g fat, 3g fiber. Flat, sticky, and hard to remove from the foil packaging. Very gummy texture that turns grainy in your mouth. Has a slight apple flavor and a decidedly non-apple aftertaste. Ugh.

Of course, everyone’s taste is different; you might like something that I don’t, and vice versa. What’s your favorite energy bar? List it here. I’ll test more in the future.



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Sure, I’m sure!

Even though it’s come and gone, here’s a day worth noting: National Women’s Confidence Day.

If you missed it like I did, here’s some background: National Women’s Confidence Day was established on June 7 by Vanity Fair (the lingerie company), and announced to the world by none other than their spokesperson, Queen Latifah. The idea of the day is “to recognize women who project the power of confidence and encourage other women to gain confidence and self-esteem.”

As much as I abhor this as a blatent ploy to sell women’s underwear, I guess I must be a sucker at heart. Because I can’t help but applaud the notion behind it. After all, there’s nothing wrong with encouraging women to be confident.

This is especially important in skiing, a sport where head games can do a real number on you. Lack confidence in your ability, and you can pretty much guarantee yourself a white knuckle, teeth chattering, toe clenching ride down the mountain. In other words, you won’t have any fun. But feel fairly confident, and the run’s a different story.

Seems to me that lack of confidence is more of an issue with women than it is with men. Chalk this up to social conditioning, intimidation, or who knows what. I’m not saying you should over estimate how well you ski and take unwarranted risks. On the other hand, why not give yourself permission to recognize the ability you do have? Instead of talking yourself down, boost yourself up. You’ll ski better, feel better, and have a much better time.

I’m sure of it.



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