Think back to when you were thirteen. Your hormones were raging, your skin was erupting, maybe you were just getting your period. You weren’t exactly a little kid anymore, but you certainly weren’t an adult. Heck, I have shoes that are older than thirteen.

But in the tech world, things are very different. Anything that’s thirteen is ancient, provided it’s even still around. Over the last thirteen years, websites have come and gone, software has appeared and matured and then vanished, technologies have emerged and become obsolete.

Is it any wonder I’m excited that TheSkiDiva is turning thirteen? Because whether you view it in human or techno terms, a thirteenth birthday is quite a milestone (Hey, if TheSkiDiva was Jewish, it’d rate a Bat Mitzvah!)

We’ve lasted this long for a very good reason. We fill a need that had long been unmet in the ski world: a place where women can feel comfortable talking about anything and everything ski related. At TheSkiDiva, women’s concerns, women’s gear, women’s issues are front and center. And that makes it very different from any other forum — or even any other ski media — out there at the beginning or now.

Ski Divas at Big Sky

 

What makes it work? A lot of things, but most importantly, a shared passion for skiing.

Back in the dark ages (before I started this site),  I thought I was the only woman who loved to ski. None of my friends skied, and no one I knew had any interest in talking to me about anything to do with the sport.

So I did what everyone does today: I turned to the internet.

At first I wasn’t very successful. The established ski forums were predominantly male with a decidedly male dynamic — lots of chest thumping and very little interest in anything to do with women’s skiing or gear. If you were a woman, you were automatically perceived as a beginner who was clueless about anything to do with skiing or equipment. Plus there was a fair amount of sexual objectification going on that I found pretty distasteful.

So I took matters into my own hands. I decided to create the sort of site where I’d feel comfortable — one where women could discuss skiing in a way that I could relate to.

And TheSkiDiva is the result.

Thanks to the TheSkiDiva, I’ve learned that I’m far from alone. There are women like me all over the world. I’ve made loads of friends. I’ve learned that it’s okay to be a jacket slut; what to do when I’m boot shopping; why I simply must have powder skis — you know, all the important stuff. Whenever I have a question, I know all I have to do is ask the Divas, and their collective wisdom will see me through.

But that’s not all. The site has had another, unexpected benefit. Even though it started out as a group to talk about skiing, it’s become something even greater: a community of friends. When one of us is ill, loses a loved one, gets a promotion, has a baby — whatever — all of us share in the event. Even though we all participate using assumed names, that doesn’t diminish the friendships that develop.

Today, TheSkiDiva.com has nearly 6,000 members and gets thousands of visitors each month. We’ve become the leading online community for women who love to ski. Yes, I’m proud of what I’ve created. But the truth is, I’ve gotten so much more out of it than I’ve ever put in.

Administering TheSkiDiva is an honor and a privilege. The caliber of the people, their tremendous spirit, and the friendly, supportive nature of the community makes it a truly remarkable place to hang out. A forum is only as good as its members, so it’s a tribute to the Divas that it’s so much fun.

So what does it mean, now that the Ski Diva is 13?

Are we going to bend the rules, have irrational crushes, and once in a while, behave unexpectedly like an adult?

Maybe. If you want to find out, join us over at the forum. It’ll be fun to see what happens.