Here's a twist: I've skied since I was 4. I had to wait till I was 35 before I met a man who skis at the same level as me. We met skiing at Jay, so I knew right off he was worthy on skis.
Together, we are very adventurous and our skiing has improved and expanded in the 7 years since we've known each other.
I ski stuff today that I never dreamed I would even go near.
But, until I met him, I knew very few women who were as addicted to skiing as I am. I'm a ski writer, but most of my colleagues are content on groomers and don't feel the need to ski every weekend.
My husband is a volunteer patroller at Jay Peak and there are quite a few women patrollers, plus the patrol director is a woman. Some of the patrollers' wives are very good skiers as well.
Most if not all of these women are like me: always skied with the guys (in my case, brothers and cousins). That's why they are such skilled and adventurous skiers. If you want to keep up with the guys, you've got to push yourself. Yet, despite these great odds, I STILL ski terrain that a lot of these women will not ski.
I do think it's also related to a state of mind. These women are all very athletic and more willing than many other women to "take risks." In our society, generally speaking, it's not the norm for women to be risk-takers, but for men, it's expected. So, interestingly enough, many men who are not necessarily adventurous or risk-takers find themselves doing activities that make them LOOK that way so they are accepted by others. Women, in the meantime, are being directed into more "socially acceptable roles and activities."
I think it's a good thing that society now is more accepting of girls and young women being more athletic, adventurous and willing to push themselves. It gives them a healthier take on life. We are certainly seeing more women in sports. I am not that old, only 42, but when I was in high school and college, women still had few choices for sports participation. Those choices have expanded exponentially for this younger generation, and I'd like to think it's because those of us who came before them pushed for things to be better for our children/grandchildren.
Of course, if you really want to know why women are not staying in adventurous sports like skiing, or have dialed back their adventurous ways to lower levels of risk, just go read the thread about skiing and pregnancy, which also applies to "any sport" and pregnancy.
: Pregnant women are told to stop skiing and then the kid comes along and there are all kinds of reasons not to ski and then they just don't ski as much, if at all. While they're dialing back their participation, their husbands are continuing the sport and improving and quickly surpassing their wives...and wondering why suddenly they are skiing without their wives.
Thank goodness for guys like Phil, who introduced their wives to skiing in a way that the ladies could enjoy the sport. Even if she never skis the same terrain as Phil, they can share lots of fun and special moments on the mountain. And the more women who ski, even if "only on the goomers," the more young girls see that it's an acceptable sport and the more those young girls will discover they can do whatever the guys do on the mountain, if they so desire.
I know for me, I was a skilled skier who stuck to the groomers and bumps until I reached my 30s (met my share of guys to ski with, just never a guy I'd want to spend my life with). Then I took an XTeam clinic, followed by two more, and I found a new love for skiing. The challenge, adventure and excitement returned for me! Then I met my husband. Having a husband who nurtures this and feeds off it helps!
By the way, nothing ticks me off more than going into a ski shop, telling the sales guy where I ski and the terrain I ski, telling him I'm interested in a particular ski or boot model, and then having him try to talk me down to a mid-performance product. Doh. Thwack! Of course, I walk out. Can't tell you how many times I've encountered this. Thankfully I get much of my stuff on pro deals now.