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.
4 thoughts on “Ski like a Man? Nah – I’m good.”
“Whatever it is about skiing that keeps you on the hill having fun, then that’s what you should be doing.” Amen, sister. Thanks for the post, Liz. Let’s get the girls out.
Thank you for reading and commenting, Lisa. I’m doing what I can to spread the love of snow… There’s nothing better.
See you in the mountains!
Ski the best you can, man or woman … I’ve thought about this topic quite a bit over the years since learning early in my tele days that, in my opinion, women often (not always) ski in harmony with the mountain rather than trying to conquer it. The best ski lessons I ever had were with a woman who showed me how to flow. On this topic, you might get a kick out of this essay. It’s older, but I still love it: http://www.newwest.net/main/article/confessions_of_a_free_heel_fanatic/
I love it! That essay is great – Jen sounds like she was an amazing teacher. Really embodying the love of the sport. … and maybe this is why I’ve been struggling in the trees this year so much more than usual – I keep fighting the mountain and ending up stuck and embarrassed.
Thank you, Bob. Looking forward to seeing you at #SkiChat this week!