Ain’t no harm in that.

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but until recently I thought the words to the Gwen Stefani song, “Ain’t no holla back girl,” were “Ain’t no harm in that, girl.” My daughter informed me otherwise. I guess I’m showing my age.

Anyway, “Ain’t no harm in that” has sort of become a family catch phrase. And I’m using it here to promote exercising during the off season. After all, “Ain’t no harm in that.”

Keeping in shape in the off season can mean fewer sore muscles when ski season rolls around. I go to the gym 5 times a week, where I do half an hour on the ellipitical machine, and half an hour of weight training. On days when it’s just too beautiful to stay indoors, I like to bike (great for leg muscles), roller blade (ditto), hike (ditto), or swim.

The most important thing is to find something you enjoy. That way, you’ll be sure to keep at it. I know, I know — finding the time to exercise with the kids, the job and/or school, laundry, errands, etc. etc. can be a real challenge. But — and I know you’ve heard this before — staying in shape is imperative not just for skiing, but for warding off all kinds of health conditions and for making you feel better all around. (It’s also important for looking great in a swim suit this summer. But that’s for someone else’s blog.) Even if you can only exercise a few times a week, try to make that a regular part of your schedule. The payoff is incredible.

What do you do to keep in shape? Yoga? Pilates? Tennis? Swimming? Walking? Post it here. After all, the fitter you are when the snow starts to fly, the less ibuprofren you’ll have to take next winter — and the more easily you’ll fit into this season’s ski clothes. Ain’t no harm in that, girl!

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February isn’t just for skiing.

Something else exciting is going to happen, too. And although it has nothing to do with skiing or women and skiing, I’m so proud that I have to put it out here:

You see, my husband recently sold his first novel to Random House. It’s called Finn, and it looks like it’ll be in book stores everywhere in February, 2007. Way cool.

Here’s the description from Random House’s catalog:

Wicked meets Cormac McCarthy — a masterful debut centered on one of the most notorious characters in American literature.

In this resonant, remarkable novel, Jon Clinch tells the story of Finn, Huckleberry Finn’s brutal and mysterious father. Finn begins and ends with a lifeless body, the mirror of a corpse glimpsed but unnamed in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, drifting down the Mississippi. The circumstances of the murder and the secret of the victim’s identity comprise Finn’s story.

Along the way, Clinch introduces the reader to a mesmerizing cast of characters: Finn’s own fearsome father, known only as the Judge; Finn’s brother, the sickly, sycophantic Will; the hermit Bliss, a blind moonshiner; the strong and quick-witted Mary, a former slave who becomes Finn’s mistress; and of course young Huck himself (and the mysterious secret regarding his birth).

Finn is a novel about race, about the stain of slavery, and about the burdens of paternity. Written in a style both precise and thunderous, understated and violently elemental, it draws from our literary heritage to create something original and new. Finn is a hypnotic, completely original, distinctly American story.

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? I have to say, too, that it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. And I’d say that even if it wasn’t my husband who wrote it; it’s that good. What’s more, Jon’s a great skier and a terrific guy. ( I know that’s totally unrelated, but I thought I’d throw it in.) Film and foreign rights are for sale, too. Anyone interested?

By the way, you don’t have had to have read Huckleberry Finn to enjoy Finn. It’s great all on its own.

Jon has a blog you can visit, too: The Horsehair Couch. Be sure to drop in.

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Here’s to you, Ski Moms….

…for all you do. Making sure everyone has the hats, goggles, ski pants, boots, etc. 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. Accomodating multiple bathroom breaks and 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.

For all you do, ski moms, for all your unwavering love, devotion, and support — we salute you!

And to my own mom, who doesn’t ski and never did, here’s to you, too. Thanks for supporting my skiing when I was growing up, and for continuing to support it — without ever asking ‘why’ — now that I’m an adult.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Tech Talk: Summer Storage

Are you a techie? Do you tune your own skis? I don’t know any women who do, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a female techie in a ski shop, either.

Someone may call me on this, but I think I’m pretty safe in saying that ski maintenance is still predominately a man’s world. I wonder why…but that’s a topic for another entry.

Anyway, whether you do it yourself or have someone do it for you, it’s important to take a few precautions when you store your skis for the summer. A survey of a few local ski shops resulted in the following advice:

1) Coat the bottoms with a base conditioning wax to keep them from drying out. If you want to try this yourself, there’s a great article in Skiing magazine that shows how it’s done.

2) Store them in a dry environment. This means keeping them off a concrete floor, which can hold moisture and cause the edges to rust. I also read somewhere that coating the edges with Vaseline can help prevent them from oxidizing over the summer.

Anyone have any other tips? If so, post ’em here. Remember — take care of your skis, and they’ll take care of you.

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Risky Business.

Granted, there are a number of women who ski with no fear — who have the skills and nerve to tackle just about any situation on and off-piste without a second thought.

But for all of those with no fear — and I salute you — there are dozens of other women who are reluctant to push themselves to the next level, or who may even give up skiing, for fear of getting hurt.

Is it that women are more averse to risk than men? Do we know that we’ll still have to go to work, take care of the kids, do the laundry, cook the meals, clean the house, and so on and so on, even if we’ve torn our ACL or fractured our tibia? Or is it some macho thing that causes some men to turn into super competitors who are willing to try anything on the slopes, even if it’s beyond their abilities, no matter what the cost?

I know I’m generalizing. I know there are plenty of men who’ll do the housework and take care of the kids, and many women who’ll rip down the slopes, launching themselves off frozen waterfalls and zipping down untracked couloirs. Of course the whole concept of what’s risky — and what isn’t — is purely personal. It probably has a lot to do with past experiences, social conditioning, upbringing, role models, expectations, and so on.

But still, when I see how male dominated skiing seems to be, it makes me wonder. What do you think?

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Don’t Forget Mom!!!!

Mother’s Day is May 14th. So this year, instead of getting your mom the traditional flowers and perfume, how about trying something different:

Ski gear!

Of course, this only works if your mom skis. (My mom doesn’t, so this would go over like a lead balloon. Then I’d have to take the stuff off her hands, and….hmmm……maybe I’m onto something!) But if your mom does ski, there are some great end-of-season deals at your local ski shop. And it’s never too early to plan for next year.

If you’re a mom who skis, be sure to send a link to this post to the father of your children. Sometimes all it takes is a friendly reminder to get the season’s pass/gloves/skis/helmet/pants/boots/boot bag (I could go on, but you get the picture) you really, really need.

Remember, when Mama’s happy, everybody’s happy.

Need I say more?

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Girl Friends.

So how many of your female friends ski? Me, I can think of two. No, make that three. (And no, once-a-year skiers don’t count. These have to be people who get out fairly regularly.)

I guess it all depends on the circles you travel in.

I honestly can’t figure out why more women don’t ski. Is it the cold? Child care? The incredibly busy lives that most women lead? Is there something about ski culture that puts them off? Or is it because men ski — could staying off the slopes be a way to get away from men, when they’re out skiing?

Part of the mission of this blog is a selfish one: To connect with other women who like to ski. I think women skiers have different perspectives than male skiers. Different concerns. And maybe even different ways of interacting with the ski universe.

And I’d love to expand my circle of female ski friends. Because even though I love skiing with my husband, it’d be awfully nice to have more women out on the hill.

Don’t you agree?

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So is it over?

Alas, my ski season is. And I think I’m in withdrawal.

I know, I know, spring and summer have their benefits. But since they don’t include skiing, what good are they, really?

I also know that somewhere — out west, maybe even at a couple places here in the east — the ski season goes on, albeit in a limited fashion. Are you one of the ones who’s still pressing on? And if not, how many ski days did you get this season?

As I said in an earlier post, I wracked up 37, which isn’t too bad, considering the winter. What about you?

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On Posting and Saving Money.

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone for the great response this blog has been getting! It really seems to have struck a chord with a lot of people. I know there are women skiers out there — yes, I mean you and you and you — and it’s great to know I’m not alone in my love for this fantastic sport.

Between now and the beginning of ski season, I’ll probably post just once or twice a week (that’ll change when the season kicks in). So if you don’t check back every day, don’t sweat it. In the meantime, if anyone has any ideas for things they’d like covered, feel free to post ’em. Let’s get this thing rolling!

Now on to something that’s near and dear to all our hearts: saving money. After all, the first step to getting more women on the slopes is to make it as affordable as possible. And a good way to do that is to buy your season’s pass for next winter NOW, while many ski areas are selling them at a discount. You might want to check with your favorite ski area to see when these discounts end. For example, here in Vermont, discounts end April 28 at Okemo and Stratton; May 2 at Killington and Mount Snow; May 3 at Sugarbush, and May 31 at Burke.

It’s really incredible how much you can save with a season pass. I have a mid-week pass at Okemo, which is also good at Stratton and Sunapee. Last year this cost me around $260. (this may not be the exact amount — can’t remember — but it’s close enough). I skied 32 days at Okemo (5 days elsewhere), which brought my cost down to just over $8. a day! Compare that to $63. for a daily lift ticket at Okemo, and it’s easy to see how fast the savings add up.

There are lots of other early season pass discounts out there. If you know of any good ones, post ’em here! And tell your friends! Better yet, buy a pass yourself.

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Welcome to Ski Diva!

How many times have you entered a ski lodge or stood on a lift line and noticed that there were hardly any other women present?

I know I have. More often than not, the majority of the skiers you’ll see on any given day are male. And far too often, this is the audience that’s addressed in the editorial of ski magazines, in ads for ski products, and on major ski websites.

To all of the aforementioned I say, “Hey, what’re we — chopped liver?”

Women ski, too. And even though we may be in the minority, we have just as much — hey, maybe even more — passion for skiing as alot of men out there.

Just like men, we put on our ski boots one boot at a time. And just like men, we love to rip it down a fall line on a clear bluebird day with a foot of fresh powder.

So women skiers, unite! It’s time to take back the lift line! Here’s a blog just for you.

Bookmark it. And come back often. We Ski Divas have to stick together.

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