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Women & Skiing - Page 2

post #31 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by nolo:
You are uncomfortable and saddened when gender issues are raised? I am saddened and (almost) discouraged when women's issues are swept under the rug. [/QB]
I should have chosen my words more carefully. I am saddened when gender and athletic performance are intertwined and differentiations are made based upon sex. I don't think gender has anything to do with an individuals ability to perform well on skis.

On the subject of equipment. I understand the difficulties involved in finding the "right" boot, however is this really a funtion of gender?

Could it merely be a ploy on the part of manufacturers to sell more stuff. Again, I know there are women who contend they have difficulties vis a vis where their calves connect to their achilles tendon. I also teach several women who have horrific issus with genu valgum (knock knees) I guess I would contend varyances occur with men. I have a very high instep, a very wide foot, a kicking case of hammer toe and very skinny calves. I can't get into a boot and then my lower leg slops around when I find a boot I can get my high, wide foot in.

Aren't we all just shaped a little differently?

I also wonder as I type how many folks are actually in a boot with the right ramp angle, delta angle, and alignment?
post #32 of 56
Speaking as a beginner skier for many years now, for me, it's been a combination of cost, finding friends to ski with, and an inherent lack of athleticism which leads to a big lack in confidence. I have no doubt that if I had the money and opportunity to ski more often, my confidence would go way up and my skill level would significantly improve (I'm working on proving that theory with my golf game!). Also, in just observing skiers in general, I think women tend to be more cautious and careful, and mean tend to be more aggressive and fearless.
post #33 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by altagirl:
I think it just has to be in you to want to ski. [/QB]
That is it.

I began teaching a woman 15 months ago who had never set foot on skis. She says she went home after the first lesson in tears.

To make a long story short we hired her this November as an instructor and she passed her level I exam last month.

She was the hardest working, most determined individual that I have ever met.

All she does is practice, practice, preactice.

She wants to ski.
post #34 of 56
Difference is, Rusty, that up until about 5 or 6 years ago in the little italian valley in the Dolomites where all boots are designed and manufactured.....they only used male feet to construct their lasts....maybe you could cast yours and send it in.....after you take it out of your mouth! Just kidding!
post #35 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Queen B:
How do you KNOW that your boots are fitting you for optimum performance and comfort?

This is an excellent question, Bonni. One way to tell if your size is close is to take the liners out of the shells, put your stocking feet in the shells, assume the skiing position (toes should slide forward to the front of the boot), and have a buddy check the clearance at the heel. If there is less than one inch of clearance, you are in the ball park. If there is more than one inch, you have too big a boot. The boot should also be wide enough to allow your foot to load without crimping on the sides--you want loading of the foot to increase the surface contact of the sole of the foot and the sole of the boot.

You should not be able to buckle the boot to the last setting. That is too big. Further, when you buckle a boot that tight it will cause the shell material to deform, which is not good.

Let's face it, a post on a message board is not going to cover a topic that requires at least 2 hours in a hands-on clinic setting...My personal gauge of whether the boot fits is:

1) After I buckle up for the first run, I don't have to loosen the buckles for chair rides or lunch, etc.

2) My feet are happy all day long and when I remove the boots they are still happy.

3) I am able to connect to the ground like a magnet while riding an edge and able to disconnect and reconnect smoothly in transition.

4) I am able to ski tall and flex into the boot.

5) When I switched from a men's comp boot the difference was immediate and didn't feel right because I wasn't fighting the boot. It took a day or two to learn how subtle my inputs could be.

6) I bought a back-up pair of boots for when my current pair breaks down. They aren't making this model any more and I consider it "my boot."

7) The boot is the Dolomite Sintesi Junior Race model. It has no bells and whistles, but comes out of the box set up just right for me with a short, straight shaft. I removed the rear spoiler to ease off the forward lean. It has a 3 degree ramp angle (by my measurement) which is perfect for me. My old (1987) Peterson footbed seems to work beautifully.

I hope you can find the right boot for you because it's a wonderful feeling and it opens up more wonderful feelings on skis, and you too will be able to say, "I love my boots!"
post #36 of 56
I don't like to lump anything into automatic gender categories but I think there are some truths concerning woman and skiing.

This thread started with some stats that I can't verify nor do I have stats for my belief that more men ski than woman overall through all categories. I believe that at the intermediate level which is the largest group men greatly outnumber woman. However in bootfitting I see more woman than men which would be disproportionate to participants. Do men tough it out and women whine? That might explain part of it. More likely the boots woman use just don't work for them that great. The search for the 'right boot' is probably much harder and sometimes not possible.

The truths;
1) On average woman's feet are smaller. This means a 10 mm difference heel to toe in a binding set up will have greater impact on an average woman's 285mm boot sole than an average males 315mm boot sole.

2) On average woman are shorter and will have less leg length to compensate for the increase in binding ramp angle.

3) On average woman carry less muscle mass in the upper body (chest and shoulders) which means they must move the upper body further forward to adjust for stance problems in the lower body. Severe breaking at the waist is a common affliction as is back seat skiing.

4)In general men don't wear high heels. I deal with a lot of British clients and it seems corporate culture there sees the norm for woman to wear heels. I see woman with such poor ankle dorsi flexion that they cannot walk in flat shoes. Boot fit hell at this point trust me.

5) Woman tend to have lower insert of the calf muscle and often a very low very bulky calf. This is true for the most athletic and least athletic albeit for different reasons.

The ankle flexion and calf problem will often put woman in a boot close to endpoint ROM, this can cause many other problems in other areas of the foot that often aren't indentified with the calf or ankle issue and therefore don't get solved. In fact many woman get distressed when they describe their forefoot problem and then I focus on their calf or ankle. Some think I haven't listened even though I explain the reasons which ironically some don't bother to listen to.

I think Nolo's point 4 is critical and the one that is most often missed. In fact I know many woman who badly want to ski well, work very hard at improving and can't break through a plateau because the boot won't let them function in a full range of leg length (often times not that long a length).

I'm not a big believer in womans ski sidecuts and mounting points because I think that just compensates for a problem that starts at the boots.

Not every woman has these problems but it's shocking how many do and fact is a lot of them just don't stay involved in the sport long enough to address the issues because it just isn't fun for them.

Flattening ramp angle in bindings, heating and flaring back boot backs, sometimes opening the achilles area of the boot so they aren't pushed forward there, heel lifts are all solutions that can be miracle cures for many women's skiing. Sadly they are often dismissed.

One more point, although woman can be notorious for poor extremity circulation I find a great many complaining of cold toes have calves big and low enough that they are squeezed by the top of the boot and cut off blood to the whole foot. The issues are there and they are real. They are not universal but they are frequent enough that they should at least be addressed through knowledge and education and one day maybe by the equipment manufactures.
post #37 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by L7:


..... I believe that at the intermediate level which is the largest group men greatly outnumber woman. However in bootfitting I see more woman than men which would be disproportionate to participants. Do men tough it out and women whine? That might explain part of it. More likely the boots woman use just don't work for them that great and that Max and I are Uber babe magnets....
post #38 of 56
Hi Ya Nolo!

I'm still alive and tearing up the Idaho Ski Hills (and occasionally lurking at this site).

This post reminds me of my oldest daughter who is an excellent (level 8 or 9) skier, former Jr. racer and former level II instructor. For years when she was in her teens and early 20's, she would tell guys that she was an "intermediate" skier.

I once asked her why she did that. She answered, "well Dad, if you ever even hint to most guys that you are any good on snow, they either want to show you how much better they are, or they won't ski with you at all".

Gotta be a male ego thing, I guess? (And, on occasion, she did destroy a few of those egos.)
post #39 of 56
Some of the best skiers I know are female - my first year at Whistler, the training director said to us at the new staff training - "you will learn & improve, once you get used to being beaten by women" - I wasn't sure if she was talking about gates or whips? Yep - there were some great women skiers up there and I learned a lot.
post #40 of 56
Quote:
posted by nolo:

Let's face it, a post on a message board is not going to cover a topic that requires at least 2 hours in a hands-on clinic setting...My personal gauge of whether the boot fits is:

1) After I buckle up for the first run, I don't have to loosen the buckles for chair rides or lunch, etc.

2) My feet are happy all day long and when I remove the boots they are still happy.

3) I am able to connect to the ground like a magnet while riding an edge and able to disconnect and reconnect smoothly in transition.

4) I am able to ski tall and flex into the boot.
Hmmm...food for thought, nolo. I'll address each point:

1. Not loosen, but tighten, so that's ok.
2. My feet don't feel bad, get cold, or have blisters.
3. I don't connect to the ground. It seems like I have to lift and manuever my foot to get the skis to move. I'm getting better at that, but there is still slop. How much slop is acceptable? It isn't heel, it's toe slop.
4. I guess I do, when I do.

This is something else to ponder!
post #41 of 56
I don't think the PITA factor has been brought up yet. Skiing is a major hassle, especially if you don't go a lot and don't have a routine worked out. When you have a family, it's even worse. Yes, it's a stereotype, but generally the mom has a heck of a lot of more to deal with/remember (does everyone have hats? gloves? goggles? sunscreen? snacks? ski passes?) than the dad does.

Add to this that many women are overworked and stressed to begin with, and a day at the spa or on the beach or in your bed doing zilch sounds much more appetizing than spending your free time cold, wet, scared, hurting, etc.
post #42 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by the bag:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by L7:


..... I believe that at the intermediate level which is the largest group men greatly outnumber woman. However in bootfitting I see more woman than men which would be disproportionate to participants. Do men tough it out and women whine? That might explain part of it. More likely the boots woman use just don't work for them that great and that Max and I are Uber babe magnets....
</font>[/quote]That's funny first I thought you forgot to post then I actually read it. It's Brian and me now since I moved to GS down the road.

Take you for example, there was one of you for the male gender and you brought in 2 babes. More of the disproportionate, of course you may be the uber babe magnet if we forget one was your daughter.
post #43 of 56
Quote:
posted by segbrown:

I don't think the PITA factor has been brought up yet. Skiing is a major hassle, especially if you don't go a lot and don't have a routine worked out. When you have a family, it's even worse. Yes, it's a stereotype, but generally the mom has a heck of a lot of more to deal with/remember (does everyone have hats? gloves? goggles? sunscreen? snacks? ski passes?) than the dad does.

Add to this that many women are overworked and stressed to begin with, and a day at the spa or on the beach or in your bed doing zilch sounds much more appetizing than spending your free time cold, wet, scared, hurting, etc.
I'll say you're stereotyping. Dad's playing on the computer while mom runs her ass ragged caring for Peter Pan and his kids who are also learning to be Peter Pans? Sounds about right.

As for your idea that skiing for women is spending your free time cold, wet, scared, and hurting, it's a wonder we women ever go at all! All you missed was HUNGRY! :

Some of us actually have spouses who help, and we find skiing every bit as attractive as the men do, and some of us enjoy it more. Perhaps if we had more Spousal Support, it would be easier on us.

(Hmmmmm.....sounds like it might take a little effort on the male side.......best scratch THAT!)
post #44 of 56
Thank the heavens I'm single. If married I don't think I could stand the quilt of knowing I was putting a women through such agony with my innate male selfishness. :

Oh wait, I'm male, sure I could!
post #45 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by delta888:
Very interesting.

The most interesting will be if your sister who's an advanced skier will teach her kids to ski, considering that her partner doesn't. In other families I can think of where a man skies and his wife does not, the kids *were* taught; whether the ski bug bit is another story entirely.
Delta and all, I'm male, well, it shows I hope.
My mother introduced me to skiing, or I'd better say she "drill-sargeanted" me into it (I don't resent this, that's the way she is).
My father hate skiing, endured the mountains until I was groe up enough to spend the day skiing with my mother or with the ski school
then stopped coming.
The bug bit, I am stil lskiing some 32-years later.
Am I an expert? I don't know, honestly.
Is my mother an expert, don't think so.
But at 65 she (bitching, I agree, but at the bottom she smiled) comes down a bump run, if I suggest we ski down it.
At 55 she tried her first ever jump...
At 56 she still volunteered down an offpiste trail, in deep heay snow, just for the fun of it
(and of course she was bitching all the way down, but she still smiled once to the bottom)
post #46 of 56
I think....therefore I am single!

...because of this I am able to be a woman who skis. I have no worries.

Skiing is not just a MAN's sport! There are many women who really enjoy it and are not Prima Donna's worried about being cold or getting wet!

Nothing....I repeat...Nothing comes between me and skiing. I have even skied injured on many ocassions. About 18 years ago now, I injured my back at work...I had a student with seizures that they failed to warn me about and he went into a Grand Mal on the stairs(which had steel edges). I caught him in his fall and in the process injured my back...I could hardly move. I spent Christmas and New Years in bed on serious pain killers. Come January 4th (my B-day) I decided...unable to pick my right leg up at all and hardly able to move faster than a snail, that I would go skiing...against doctors advice and against the wishes of family members. I dragged myself to the car and somehow drove to the local area. Struggled to get my boots on and ski into the boot and took 5 runs (total of 1000vt.ft.) on the t-bar accessed hill. I had NEVER missed skiing on my birthday since the year I started and was not about to do so then.
Believe it or not...I felt much better after skiing....Like I said, NOTHING stops me from skiing!

If I could afford it I would become a full time ski bum!!!!
post #47 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by Arcmeister:
(much snipped).....that 67% of those leaving the sport are women.
...haven't had the time today to read previous replies, but my $.01 guess is that:

A) Pollsters work on the weekends.
Women who ski the fall-line ski during the week...weekends are catching up with friends.
*Weekend skiing in NE is a blend of SkiCross and football, who needs it...
B) Whenever a woman is with a guy, the guy is the one polled....by the time the pollster is done, everyone is maxed out from the questions...
post #48 of 56
I agree on comments about he industry's attitude toward women. For example, have you ever seen a pair of 150cm skis in a demo van?

Women are not as agressive and are led to believe that they need a man's strength to ski.I always tell the never evers that skiing is much more like dancing than like football. This helps a lot, BUT women are not risk takers, especially if they are skiing with their children.

Men are from ...
post #49 of 56
Kudos to Salomon for having several pairs of Scream 10 Hots in 155cm at their Demo Day yesterday! And several other choices for me, too.
post #50 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by Queen B:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> posted by segbrown:

I don't think the PITA factor has been brought up yet. Skiing is a major hassle, especially if you don't go a lot and don't have a routine worked out. When you have a family, it's even worse. Yes, it's a stereotype, but generally the mom has a heck of a lot of more to deal with/remember (does everyone have hats? gloves? goggles? sunscreen? snacks? ski passes?) than the dad does.

Add to this that many women are overworked and stressed to begin with, and a day at the spa or on the beach or in your bed doing zilch sounds much more appetizing than spending your free time cold, wet, scared, hurting, etc.
I'll say you're stereotyping. Dad's playing on the computer while mom runs her ass ragged caring for Peter Pan and his kids who are also learning to be Peter Pans? Sounds about right.

As for your idea that skiing for women is spending your free time cold, wet, scared, and hurting, it's a wonder we women ever go at all! All you missed was HUNGRY! :

Some of us actually have spouses who help, and we find skiing every bit as attractive as the men do, and some of us enjoy it more. Perhaps if we had more Spousal Support, it would be easier on us.

(Hmmmmm.....sounds like it might take a little effort on the male side.......best scratch THAT!)
</font>[/quote]I think you misunderstand me. I'm not talking about you, me, or 99% of women who access this site: If we're here, we're already somewhat obsessed. We're willing to deal with the hassle, the weather, the traffic, the expense. But we're NOT typical, far from it.

I know a lot of women who, practically speaking, gave up skiing when their kids were old enough to go alone. These are athletic women and lifelong skiers, not Cosmo girls, and instead they snowshoe or hike, or chill out in their Vail houses -- but they're done with skiing by mid-40s. Because what they want to do with their free time is something low-key and comfortable. (And, possibly, alone.)
post #51 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by Blizzard:
For example, have you ever seen a pair of 150cm skis in a demo van?
I'm a Fischer pro rep, am the second leading salesperson in the Rockies, have one demo and it's a 155 soft slalom (WC SC).

You'll have the right length ski if you want to sell skis.
post #52 of 56
Now here are some words from daslider in another thread "Teaching the Timid Skier", which I think open another door in this discussion around female attrition:

"I think there is a pressure on people to use skiing as a fear management exercise where they are continually expected to push their envelope out further. The problem with 'further' is it's unattainable...
I used to subscribe to Skiing magazine, but actually got bored of the pervasive Huck, Hit, Zap stuff as if it were just a grownup comic..."

Identity as a legitimate participant sustains the pursuit of skiing as a longterm passion just as it does for climbers, surfers, kayakers, etc. How many women whose motivations for participation may be different than the "risk" or "conquer" paradigms eventually leave the sport? - because they're unable to feel a sense of identity as "skiers" or buy-in to the proscribed "rules of engagement" as framed by loved ones, advertising and magazine media, and perhaps instructors.

The cautious, the physically diverse, the fair weather participants and the plateau'd tend to think they have terminally unique technical or psychological "issues" barring the door to inclusion as bonafide "skiers." Mermer Blakeslee talks about turning these "marginalized students" into skiers by reframing their challenges as "skiers' issues." Then they swim not out on the edge, but right in the mainstream.
post #53 of 56
Vera, interesting post, but then I would say that...

It is probably a cycle, but the skiing scene does seem to be dominated by the atheletic over the aesthetic, when ideally we would have a balanced blend of both. Maybe skiing's attempts to curry favour with its dissident snowboard wing has over-emphasised the more aggressive aspects? While I don't accept all of his ideas, I do like the way Lito remains very much an advocate for the more aesthetic pleasures of skiing itself or even of merely being in the mountains.

Now clearly athleticism is fairly fundamental but unless it is channeled as in ski racing, and unless it is moderated, it is bound to lead to a rather pointless quest for the bigger-sicker adreneline-seeking challenges by which ordinary skiers may feel threatened if it becomes skiing's defining ethos.

What I find really dismaying, more than the stupidity of the closed-area junkies and all the bad manners etc, is hearing kids saying they're bored (I've done blades, I've done skiing, been there/done that...) which is preceisely what happens when the thrill becomes the goal rather than just one of the many benefits. (Which sounds as if I am trying to hijack this discussion for the 'intent' thread, but I'm not- but there is considerable overlap, and besides, I'm not sure I'm qualified to talk on female attrition!).

Anyway I found your post very stimulating.
post #54 of 56
Thread Starter 
So did I, Vera.

Skiing's popular image is all about POTENCY. To marketers, skiing is a wonderful vehicle for selling products because it is perceived by consumers in survey after survey as a sexy sport that sexy people do, even if they themselves have no intention of ever skiing, snowboarding, kiting, parapenting, rock climbing, skateboarding, etc. etc.

Marketers don't care about whether they portray skiing accurately in the media--they just want to sell Dasani and Escalades and the like.
post #55 of 56
Nolo, you're probably right about the potency of image of skiing. Just like all those open roads selling mass-produced but 'lone' cars, skiing is analogous with Freedom but in all the very best senses, particularly the shackles of an ageold adversary, that 32ft/sec/sec demon Gravity.

Skiing, as Hannes Schneider observed, is as close to flight as our clayfeet can manage. It is just a shame these uplifting thoughts are mired by that other aspect of Freedom, the one in which our shackles are eachother and where power and aggression are the necessary means of escape (there's a cheerful thought for Easter Saturday!).
post #56 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by altagirl View Post

I know a bunch of women like that myself. The one big excuse you didn't list: "It's too cold!"

Nolo- I do agree that with the right equipment and coaching you could get the vast majority of terminal beginner/intermediates to make gigantic leaps forward. But there are some people who are never going to like it or put any real effort into learning. They might try it a couple times because their spouse/children/friends talk them into it, but you can tell it just isn't their thing. I think that's why beginner numbers wind up so high. I know women who just aren't willing to accept any risk of injury, aren't interested in sports, and cannot fathom why anyone would voluntarily exert themself or stay outside in winter. I think it just has to be in you to want to ski.
So completely true, altagirl. Most of my woman friends are utterly unwilling to place themselves in any situation -- be it on a bike or on skis, my two great loves -- that causes any concern about their personal safety or comfort...or messing up their hair. Too cold, too hard, too fear-provoking, these are their reasons for staying indoors, choosing shopping or mani/pedis over living. Not sure how this has come to pass. Is it equipment? Somewhat. I struggle to find gear that works, being a feather-weight female who wants the same breadth of choices my male counterparts have. But my desire outweighs my discomfort. I will choose being uncomfortable for as long as I live before I choose the mall over the slopes. I just can't say why.
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