As you can imagine, I get a lot of emails from people asking me all sorts of questions. So chalk it up to laziness, chalk it up to efficiency, I thought I’d handle all my replies here in one shot. Here we go — answers to the most common questions that crop up in my inbox:
Q: How often do you post in your blog?
A: When I first started this blog in September, 2006, I was plenty enthusiastic and posted just about every other day. This was the days before I launched the forum, so I really didn’t have any other outlet (BTW, this is post 691. But who’s counting.). Now that I’ve calmed down a bit, I’ve decided to give everyone a break. I generally post once a week — usually on Tuesdays.
Q: Can I suggest a blog topic?
A: Sure! If you have an idea, I’d love to hear it. Sometimes the story ideas come fast and furious, other times it’s a real struggle to come up with blog topics. So yes, if you have something in mind, feel free to get in touch. Please keep in mind, however, that I will not shill for your business. That said, I love to do interviews, and I’m happy to do product reviews, too. Just be advised that I can not be bought; my reviews are 100% honest.
Q: I’d love to participate in TheSkiDiva forum, but I’m a man. Why can’t you open the forum up to men, too?
A: Fair question. I started the forum for two reasons: 1) Selfishly enough, I didn’t have any women friends who skied, and I was looking to find some; and 2) I found that other online ski communities — and conventional ski media, as well — didn’t pay much attention to women. Anything to do with women’s skiing was seldom addressed, and when it was, it was only in a very secondary manner. I wanted a place where women skiers were front and center — a testosterone-free zone where women could feel comfortable talking about skiing in a way that they could relate to. I’m sorry if this hurts your feelings, but the forum is our little corner of the world. You have all the rest to play in.
Q: Can I write for your blog?
A: The short answer is no. Yes, I have featured guest writers a time or two, but in general I find it’s much easier to limit the blog to my own stuff. This way, I avoid the hard feelings that can occur if your piece needs a lot of revising or editing. I’ve been doing this a long time, so I guess I’m just set in my ways. It seems to work out this way.
Q: I see the Ski Diva forum has meet-ups throughout the year. How can I get in on that?
A: Well, first you have to be a member of the forum. Anyone who participates is welcome to join, and yes, these are open to significant others, as well. We generally have two meet-ups a year: one out west and one in the east. Everyone is responsible for their own lodging and travel arrangements. We generally meet to ski and for apres ski fun. It’s always a good time, and it’s a great way to connect with other members of the community, in real life.
Q: You seem to do a lot of interviews. Is there any one that stands out?
A: I’ve been fortunate to have spoken to a lot of amazing people. Some of them absolutely blew me away. Suzy Chaffee, for example, was a childhood idol of mine, and it meant the world to me to speak to her. I think the most inspirational, though, was Muffy Davis. She was on the Olympic Development Team and had an awful fall when she was 16 that left her paralyzed from the mid-chest down. She’s gone on to win medals on the US Disabled Ski Team and US Paralympic Cycling Team, and is now a member of the Idaho State Legislature.
Q: I’m having some trouble skiing moguls. Can you give me some pointers?
A: I’m not an instructor. It just never appealed to me to do that; I’d rather just ski for the fun of it. So no, I won’t give you tips. However, we do have a number of instructors and expert skiers on the forum, so there’s a lot of great talk about technique. If you’re looking for advice, it’s a great resource. I also encourage everyone to take lessons. Skiing is one of those things where there’s always room for improvement. And the better you get, the more of the mountain you’ll be able to enjoy. By the way, just for the record, I’ve never raced or patrolled, either.
Q: I skied as a kid and then I stopped. What do you think about someone taking up skiing as an adult?
A: Definitely go for it! I first started skiing when I was 13, though I only went 10 or so times a year. When I was around 23, I stopped entirely. Personal things got in the way, and I didn’t ski again til I was 40. Surprisingly enough, I still remembered a fair amount. Since then I’ve been working like crazy to make up for lost time, and I think I’ve done okay. This year I got in 90 ski days, so not bad. If you do start again, be sure to take lessons. That can make a huge difference.
Q: Can you recommend skis for me/my wife/my daughter?
A: Choosing skis is a pretty personal process. That’s why there are so many skis out there. You may love the skis I hate, and vice versa. The best way to determine which skis are right for you is to demo, demo, demo. But if you’re looking for information on where to start, you should definitely check out the Gear Reviews section of TheSkiDiva.com. There’s a lot of good stuff to read there. If you’re looking for skis for someone else, encourage them to register and ask for help. There’s no reason anyone else should do this for her.
Q: What skis do you have?
A: Right now I have two pair of Renouns: the Z-77’s and the Z-90’s, and these babies are fantastic. You can see my review of the 77’s here, and the 90’s here. I also have a pair of Nordica Santa Ana 93’s, which I love — it’s a great all around ski, a pair of 6 or 7-year old pair of Head Era Rallys, which are great on hardpack . My boots are Dalbello Krypton Chakras. I’m on my second consecutive pair. They just work with my feet.
Q: What do you do in the off season, anyway?
A: The off season is hard, just because I can’t find anything I love as much as skiing. I try. I really do. I used to road bike a lot, but I had a bad accident a couple years ago, so I’ve backed off a bit. Most days I hit the gym. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling this summer, so I haven’t really had a chance to get bored. Nothing comes close to skiing, though. But you knew that already, right?
Q: Are you working on a new Ski Diva mystery?
A: Here’s where the guilt comes in: (says in a small voice) No. I know, I know. Awful. My intent was to only write during the off season, and to be honest, my off seasons have been really, really busy. So while there are two Ski Diva mysteries for you to enjoy: DOUBLE BLACK and FADE TO WHITE, I don’t have any others in the works at present.
On a brighter note, my husband, the fantastically-gifted novelist Jon Clinch, author of FINN, KINGS OF THE EARTH, and THE THIEF OF AUSCHWITZ, has a new book, MARLEY, coming out October 8. Keep an eye on this space for some shameless promotion.