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Strange compliment

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Yesterday I received a compliment from a stranger: he mistook me for a man! Now, ordinarily, if a hetero woman is mistaken for a man, she would not take it as a compliment. But if the compliment comes from a male skier who is remarking on your prowess as a skier, then being mistaken for a man is not just acceptable, it adds a few points to the compliment.

Twisted, sister?

Yes it is. Because if the fellow making the remark had not made the mistake about my gender, his compliment, "You ski great," might very well have carried the provision, "for a girl."

This is not a political statement or milking an opportunity to tell everyone what a superstud skier I am. This is an observation about our world.
post #2 of 29

We don't have that problem in Aspen any more (to any great extent).

Anda Rojs takes all the guys to school in the town league races.

The quality of the women who teach our women's seminars is tops on all levels--teaching, skiing, and being.

In the six major departments in our ski & snowboard school, three of them are operated by women--Dina Bozza at Snowmass (although on maternity leave), Sue Way at PreSchools, and Katie Fry who runs Highlands AND our training.

Vail has the same deal with Dee Byrne, Maggie Loring and Carol Levine in top positions.

Interestingly, Curt Chase, former director of the Aspen Ski School was one of the first directors to recognize the incredible value of women pros beyond the little kids world. That opened a lot of doors to women getting the recognition they deserve.

We'll win this one Nolo, but there are still pockets of Al Guyda that you have to deal with.

your twisted brother,

post #3 of 29
A few weeks ago, I was at Beaver Creek with my skigirrrrl, and she was skiing about 8 or so bumps ahead of me on Spider, right under the Rose Bowl chair.

As we were going down that bump line folks were watching us ripping through the bumps with playful lines. Overheard on the chair? "Oh my gawd, that's a GIRL". Of course, I had to holler back, "Yeah, and that's MY girl". Fast feet, and she keeps the beat!

She gets a lot of comments like that. She considers it a "twisted compliment" and laughs when it happens.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 22, 2002 05:19 AM: Message edited 1 time, by SnoKarver ]</font>
post #4 of 29
I dunno about you guys, but I'd sure like to ski with a girl who skis like a girl....
post #5 of 29
Has any guy here received a compliment on their skiing because someone thought they were a girl? Did someone ever yell from the chair "God! That's a _guy_!"?
post #6 of 29
I've known a group around Vail for 25 years that called themselves the TOLs (tough old ladys). Not only did they have to be tough (few males kept up) they had to be over 50. A couple of the TOLITs (tough old ladys in training - under 50) kept me around as a mascot and food bearer for the annual spring picnic on the mountain.

The husbands and SOs eventually organized a counter organization. The SOBs (soft old boys).

As we've said in other threads ability is not limited by gender or age. Congrats nolo. Just rip.
post #7 of 29
It's Pat!
post #8 of 29
When I was a cadet, Dee Byrne was my trainer. I thought saying, "you ski like a girl" to a guy was a pretty steep compliment. I can still remember watching a group (i was on the chair) rip some steeps with Dee in the lead, ripping harder and better.
post #9 of 29
I mentioned this is another thread. I once watched Weems ski on an OLN segment. I don't want to use the "like a man, like a woman" description, but I have to say, it was the most beatutiful blend of yin and yang I have ever seen in skiing.
post #10 of 29
I think nolo has it goin and she wanted to drop a line, plain and simple.

So good for her.
post #11 of 29
scsa, I think Nolo has it goin' too, but I think her point is really a good one--that it is so odd that guy's expectations of women's skiing are so low, when there are so many fabulous women skiers around. This is such an incredible anachronism.

And Lisamarie--I love you!

Actually, I do appreciate your comment because in my skiing, I believe in the balance between power and grace, and it's very nice to hear that I sometimes succeed. (Because I often don't!)

I watch great skiers--both men and women--and try to pull their stuff into mine. As a teacher, I've noticed tremendous courage, strength, adaptability, and will in men, and I've noticed wonderful finesse, timing, grace, and intelligent strategy with women. (Obviously, any of those qualities are present in any gender, but these are what tend to jump out at me.) As an athlete, what a wonderful idea to try to develop alla dat stuff.

In the old days, when women were sort of denied opportunity in phys ed classes, it was fascinating to see how well women did in learning to ski, and how little credit they got from their threatened menfolk.

When I was teaching in Taos, I used to tell the married couples in my groups the following, "...and guys, when I give your wives an instruction, there is no need for you to translate it to her. She's way smarter than you think!"

Guys that put down women's sports skills, even through a twisted compliment like the one to Nolobolono, really miss a lot.
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

An insightful post! Your wife is a lucky woman.

I'll give you 75% on stating my point, because 25% of it was that I gave the compliment extra sincerity points because he mistook me for a guy. And I'll bet cash money that 95% of the female skiers and boarders would do the same.

And dat's what's twisted, bro.

post #13 of 29
That may be twisted, but it's also excellent.
post #14 of 29
Sorry, I have to disagree. I would not prefer to be mistaken for a man and given a hearty compliment. That doesn't carry more points in my book than being recognized as a woman and given the same compliment. I hate gender modifiers and comparisons. Lisamarie summed it up best, yin and yang are both required.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 23, 2002 01:36 PM: Message edited 2 times, by WhosThatGirl ]</font>
post #15 of 29
I think when anyone observes a skier, we evaluate them using 2 criteria. One would be technical, the other relates to our own personal esthetics. The first word that came to my mind when I saw the clip of Weems skiing was "beautiful".

From what we've seen of Weem's personality here, I'm sure he finds that flattering. But I think certain guys would be horrified to hear their skiing described as beautiful, because it implies a quality that is usually described as feminine.

In contrast, when I first began skiing, I purchased an instructional video by Martin Heckelman. Although I cannot say anything about his technical skills, his STYLE
does not appeal to me, since it seems to be too yang and no yin.

WTG summed it up in another thread, where she used the phrase "powerful elegant skiing".
post #16 of 29
Whosthatgirl, I understand what you're saying, and maybe Nolobolono's percentages are off. But the twist she is talking about (I think) is that since skiing traditionally has dissed women's skiing, it may very well be that some women (like Nolo) righteously get a kick out of not only the sincerity of the compliment (the guy was truly impressed with the skiing), but also the lack of ability to express it in a gender neutral (or respectful) way.

Nolo, tell me if I'm wrong.

But yeah, to ski with all the great elements of the feminine and the masculine--that's a worthy goal.

Certainly the stereotypes of each gender's skiing qualities are way off. That's why the expression "ski like a girl" used by really hot skiing women has such a wonderful irony.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 23, 2002 05:49 PM: Message edited 1 time, by weems ]</font>
post #17 of 29
Would the compliment have been there if the guy who made it knew she was a girl? Would it have been a qualified comment..."for a girl." ?
I am a larger woman (hetro as well) and get similar comments when I have a hat or helmet on. Just let my hair hang out, and the comments stop.
post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 
Weems, you speak for me very well. I enjoyed the compliment, especially since my (male) student got such a kick out of the mistaken gender identity that he felt it necessary to set the record straight. The complimenter may have assumed that such a manly fellow as my student, who stands about 6'4" and weighs over 200 pounds, would naturally choose a male instructor. It's hard to know precisely where such perceptual filters originate, but a fair guess would be cultural conditioning.

Skierteach, I had to laugh a moment at your comment about showing my locks to establish my gender. At an exam a few years ago, I was counting the noses in my group. One of the participants was putting skis on, back to me, shiny, full, luxurious blonde hair cascading down almost to the waist. Clamped in, the skier turned to join the group. Yeah. A guy.

I was jealous of that gorgeous hair!

When I take my hat off, I believe the closest comparison would be a fright wig.
post #19 of 29
I had an intersting twist involving this thread today. I was watching a skier as I rode the chair and the thought that came to mind was "she skis like a girl". This thread came to mind and I started trying to analyze the style to see why I had made that observation. A graceful, smooth style but not an extremely powerful style and, you guessed it, it was a guy. Then I was so confused I couldn't make any valid observations.
post #20 of 29
PJ: I think your observations were valid. You just couldn't make any valid classifications based on gender.

I think gender confusion is one of the coolest parts of modern civilization: women soldiers, astronauts, ski patrollers, ceo's.

This has really changed us and specifically in the ski industry. I will never forget the moment at the fall Examiner's training in PSIA-RM--maybe about 10 years ago, when I noticed that there was suddenly, and finally, a critical mass of women in the trainer's group, and that because of it the whole atmosphere had changed. From its tradition as a slightly competitive event it had finally become a real training/supporting/nurturing event and most of the destructive guy games evaporated (leaving only the dumb fun ones!).

And we're already in the second stage--where the women don't have to be more like the men than the men in order to succeed.

How cool is that? Women rule!

I'm getting out of this thread due to advanced gender confusion which is beginning to threaten my identity as a dirty old man.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 24, 2002 05:47 AM: Message edited 1 time, by weems ]</font>
post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 
I hope the last line was just humor, Weems, because I would like to explore the difference between life in the RM division's training corps and elsewhere. In NRM, where I hail from, women have elected not to play the competition game with the boys. The lack of female role models is becoming an issue, even with the guys (!).

I did my last exam three years ago, having come to the conclusion that I had fought too long and hard for gender equality and I didn't need the stress in my life. I love being a civilian, but my leaving decimated the representation of women in the examiner ranks--from four to three active female examiners.

I had a call from the Alpine Chair the other day, who brought up the topic, as candidates at the last exam he'd conducted were criticizing the lack of women role models and he couldn't figure out why women weren't taking the risk of competing for examiner slots. In fact, he had just had a promising trainee resign, citing her distaste for the tooth-and-nail competition.

The state that has evolved in RM sounds almost Utopian to me, where competition has given way to collaboration. Any ideas of how other divisions could engineer their metamorphosis from male-domination to some ratio that roughly mirrors the membership composition?

Clearly, there's cultural conditioning to contend with and those perceptual filters seem welded into place: the Alpine Chair felt that they had created a "female-friendly" environment. I told him, "Well, I guess not, or females would not be reading the situation as NOT CHANGED."

Obviously, this is an issue I have lived with a while. Around these parts we have a saying, "Montana is tough on horses and women..."
post #22 of 29
Weems- The most disturbing part of the experience was that my sub-conscious told me this was a woman skiing below the lift and I then consciously realized I had done a gender classification.

I'll put another twist into the mix. My son has been demoing skis this spring and found one he really enjoys. It's a Viper XL. The chauvinist in the ski shop did us all a dis-service (and cost himself a customer) by deriding him for wanting to even demo a "womens ski". Why would a ski company even label a ski as a womens ski these days unless it was entirely driven by the marketing department? Perhaps we should ask Rossignol what it means to ski like a woman.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 24, 2002 08:44 AM: Message edited 1 time, by PowderJunkie ]</font>
post #23 of 29
Okay, Nolobolono, I'm back.

But I don't know the answer to your question. It just seems to me that all these women just appeared (obviously after many years of hard work and skillful growth), and they won their jobs through competition, and somehow they were strong enough to withstand the sexism until it became more of a backwater issue.

I also think that we had help from some very special people who led the way: First and foremost was Annie Vareille from Telluride. She has been a giant for women in our division. But then she was followed by such wonderful stars as Dee Byrne, Carol Levine, Ellen Foster--and then our later generation with Katie Fry, Martha Rose, Megan Harvey, Jennifer Metz, and many others that I hope will forgive me for not mentioning them. One other special one stands out and that was Kelly Davis from Vail. Her skiing was so impeccable, that the question about women's skiing was over before it was asked.

These women just were there and stayed with it. I think that the same will happen in Montana or wherever, but it is up to each woman to decide what she is willing to put up with until things get "normal".

Utopia here? I think so, but there may be women in our division who still think it's a men's club. We may not have achieved everything we want to achieve, but we're a far cry from where we were.

No don't worry your pretty little head about this anymore, and bring me my pipe and slippers.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 24, 2002 10:47 PM: Message edited 1 time, by weems ]</font>
post #24 of 29
PJ. This is great. I love the confusion.

As for the skis, I think it is totally legitimate to build women's skis. Some women like skis that are softer or lighter than the men's, and some like the balance point in a different place on the ski.

Even so, the ski issue for women, may have some marketing bs associated.

However, with boots--boots designed especially for women are incredibly important--and this is not a cosmetic issue. Women's boots need to deal specifically with women's anatomy while having all the high performance characteristics of men's boots. The boot manufacturers, to their credit, are finally learning this.
post #25 of 29
I've seen a few articles in weekend papers recommending what equipment to buy. The boots are split into various categories usually:

post #26 of 29
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SnoKarver:

Good for you for walking out. The "L" means light, right?

Good point. I wish Rossy would market them that way. But I'm sure there are a lot of women who like the idea of buying a "womens ski".

How much of the "ski like a woman" is brought on by women (not meant as any derogatory way)?

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Did you get the Viper L's?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not yet. The kid is growing like a weed and could easily change a boot size and a ski length increment by next season. I think we'll have to wait for the fall sales.
post #27 of 29
Maggie Loring and Carol Levine at Vail. They can really ski, but, don't forget Ingie Franberg too. It's very humbling to ski with these women.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 25, 2002 09:58 AM: Message edited 1 time, by WVSkier ]</font>
post #28 of 29
Who was it, either Nord or Slatz that made the comment that if guys want role models for their skiing, they should watch the female racers, because the technique of male racers may be unatainable for many!
post #29 of 29
Good skiing is unisex, imagine that!

The differences in a skiers motivation, style, and learning between men and women though, my goodness.

It's a constant source of humor and discussion in group lessons. Or those his 'n her privates. Well usually it's funny. :

I love the comment "you don't need to translate for her". I'm gonna use that sometime!

yea, this forum sometimes gets really interesting, doesn't it? [img]smile.gif[/img] Really glad you're here!

Martha Rose (was Marno then) hired me at Breck in '94. I trained in her clinics a lot. She's terrific, riiiiips, and is a great teacher. Physicist doing applied physics, eh?

Recommended and sold a number of Viper L's as a unisex ski for lighter people.
Working in ski hardgoods, I tried to demo a lot of intermediate and "ladies" skis to try them. Viper L is an nice ski. Better bump and terrain ski for many folks than the "burly" Viper 10/2's.

Don't even get me started about some of the sillier "womens" ski boot designs. : Pet peeve.

Good for you for walking out. The "L" means light, right? Did you get the Viper L's?
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