I spent Saturday morning at the mountain, carving some much needed turns and practicing skiing solo. I ended up finding a friend and skiing a few runs with him and his 13 year-old daughter. Sharing the trail with a totally ripping girl, I couldn’t help but think of the blog post “How to Ski like a Man” by very talented writer and blogger Lisa Richardson.
Looking at my friend’s daughter, I realized what had bothered me so much about the post’s title when I first read it days earlier. The last thing this chick needs to do is ski like a man. She is kicking ass just fine as herself.
I know the phrase was used because it’s a common one. As the youngest of brothers, I’ve been told to “be a man” countless times. Even Disney’s all over it. But I think this a problem. The last thing a developing young woman needs to hear is “be a man” – because a female rider should be one thing and one thing only – the kind of rider she wants to be. You don’t need to amp up your aggression, unless that’s what you want. If you don’t like cliffs or speeding down the Hahnenkamm in a Spyder suit, that’s cool! Whatever it is about skiing that keeps you on the hill having fun, then that’s what you should be doing.
But – if you do want to frontflip off of the cliff on Jackson Hole like Jamie Pierre or lobby the FIS to race against the men on men’s skis like Lindsey Vonn, THEN GO FOR IT. Believe me – following someone else’s expectations of who you should ride like will at worst make you miserable and uncomfortable in a sport that is all about being awesome and trusting in your abilities. (At the very best, it will inspire you to write a feminist skiing blog years later.)
In short… ROCK IT, SISTER – and let me know how it goes in the comments. I’d love to hear what you think and how you ride!
There are other blog posts that get into the physiological differences between male and female skiers. It’s all true, and we do have different stances and need different gear. (I sort of dig into the separate-but-not-quite-equal aesthetics here.) Lisa also has a lovely post on the Liftopia blog that talks about the psychological differences.
All I care about is spreading the love – All for One Mountain, One Mountain for All.