Seriously, though, can we have an optional variation on this that starts, "You know she's an athlete (skier) when..."?
Now, there has never been the slightest question in my mind that women could rip in a way that neither asked for nor wanted any invidious comparisons between the sexes nor pathetic self-important praise from men. I watched too many Martina matches in my young adulthood to have any doubt about that. Not to mention ... well, the list is long.
Anyway, my most recent "ah-ha" experience in this area happened two or three years ago on a Wednesday race night at my local low-base-elevation hill. The high school kids were having a race that night, too. On this particular evening I happened to be in the chair at just the right moment to see something important. A skier in a GS suit was just dropping onto the main pitch under the liftline on the upper half of the mountain. It's a blue slope that people from some parts of the country might label a black, and it's generally, um, very firm, on a winter night. The area has about 1,300' of vertical, and I'd guesstimate the vertical drop of this particular pitch at about 500'. The skier made a couple of shallow warm-up turns in the narrow alley at the top, and then melted into about three or four of the cleanest, most fluid and effortless-looking deep arcs I have ever seen any skier make in any location under any circumstance, vaporizing vertical in casual 100' bites as though it were cotton candy. This was about when I noticed the long braid flowing out of the back of her helmet like the tail of a snow leopard. When she approached the mid-station, the juxtaposition between the blur of her suit and the stasis of the shack made my neck snap. Ever since then I try to remember that vision of grace and think to myself, "I want to ski like that."
[Epilogue, I later learned that this girl was a top NE regional skier at the HS level.]
Edited by qcanoe - 11/15/13 at 7:22pm