Follow the line no one else sees. Just hit it. You’ll be fine.

This Saturday is International Women’s Ski Day. While I’m pretty sure it’s something that K2 dreamed up as a marketing tool, I’m really glad they did and was sure to jump on the #IWSD bandwagon.

As the watchful sort, I see a lot of women-focused marketing around the ski/snowboard world, and I find a lot of it doesn’t apply to me at all. Some is focused on women who are busy parents who are less interested in the slopes than in getting their husbands and children bundled up. (This “snow bunny” will be bundled up in the lodge with either a hot chocolate or a Bloody Mary, thank you very much.) Some treats skiing women as tag-alongs in need of lessons in order to keep up with their 8 year-old sons on the trail.

Gag me.

No offense meant! Really! I’m sorry! But it’s an honest fact that neither of these ideas of “skiing female” resonates with me in the slightest. I find them both vaguely offensive, but that’s a product of who I am and my upbringing in a high-testosterone admit-no-defeat den of bro-dom.

I want to see women portrayed as athletes. Which is why my heart goes pitter patter whenever I see the name SheJumps or the Outdoor Women’s Alliance updates their Instagram account. This is why I refuse to retweet or link to any article that focuses more on Lindsey Vonn’s relationship status than her powerful downhill drive.

I say this even though I was too shy to join into the SheJumps event at Stowe last year. I was there at the mountain. I was the chick in the red coat and pink goggles standing off to one side before ducking my head and scurrying into the singles line before any of the bold women in pink tutus and powder skis could noticed me. (I’m working on it.)

To honor #IWSD, I pulled my coworker and web-content wizard, Courtney, aside. I told her about the day and asked her if we could profile some of the bold, brilliant, brave women at Stratton. Courtney ran with the idea. I cans till hardly believe how much passion she threw behind the project. Every day in the two weeks leading up to December 14, she’s posting a profile of a new Stratton lady on the Stratton Be. Blog.

Liz Millikin Stratton Blog Slider

To my surprise, she volunteered me as a participant. And, to my further surprise, she made me sound pretty cool. My favorite paragraph, of course, is the one that ties into the Slackcountry Living mission:

As for my advice, Millikin referenced something her brother once shared with her. ‘Follow the line no one else sees.’ “The path you take down the mountain is yours and yours alone,” says Millikin. “Be creative. Make your own path.  It’s yours. You got it.”

Of course, said brother called me out on that line. “I don’t remember saying that. I remember saying, ‘Yeah, just hit that. You’ll be fine.'” While this is a much better example of typical big-brother-to-little-sister advice, I maintain that he said what he said, even if not in the same words. He never told me to be creative, but he did tell me to look for my own line. In retrospect, he probably thought I was going to poach his.

Back on topic – check out the blog posts in honor of #IWSD. There are some amazing female athletes on the hill, maybe more than you thought.

Oh – and if you’re wondering, yes. I did hit it. And yes, I was fine.

What’s the best ski advice you’ve ever received?

The real women of freeskiing

 

 

Shades of Winter poster – Ladies who rip.
Shades of Winter – Ladies who rip.

In my post about women in upcoming ski films, I call out Sandra Lahnsteiner by name. I loved Sandra’s last film, “Suhkran Morocco,” and expected good things from “Shades of Winter.”

Two weekends ago, I drove the two hours from Burlington to Montreal for the premier. “Shades” did not disappoint. In fact, it was my favorite of the three films screened that day, the others being “Eye of the Condor” and “Valhalla.”

“Shades of Winter” is a polished romp through some of the most spectacular terrain in the world – soft pillows in Japan, wide open peaks in the Alps, big air at Nine Queens, and big lines in Haines, Alaska. Many of the shots are the drool-worthy, classic crowd pleasers in the ski film industry, but it was the heart that set “Shades” apart. I can’t think of another film that so perfectly conveyed the sheer joy of skiing. Big smiles abounded. Laughter punctuated candid shots.

In short, “Shades of Winter” is happiness incarnate.

Can you imagine my excitement (and nervousness) when the Outdoor Women’s Alliance asked me to interview Sandra Lahnsteiner herself?

Yeah, I was pretty excited. And now I’m even more excited to say, the interview is live. You can read it here.

The coolest thing about talking with Sandra is the balance she strikes between genuine kindness and genuine passion for life. Her love of skiing and filmmaking really shine through, both in her films and in normal conversation.

I heartily recommend following along with Sandra and “Shades” on Facebook, and when you get the opportunity to watch the full-length video, take it. (And let me know what you think!)

Also, check out the Outdoor Women’s Alliance. It’s a non-profit media organization that exists to support women and girls as they embark on their own outdoor adventures. I’m the Editorial Intern, and it’s already been an inspiring learning experience. See you there!

I bless the snows down in Africa

This film more or less sums up why I’m so enamored of the idea of riding in Morocco. (Although it was the family copy of Warren Miller’s 1993 film Escape to Ski that first planted the idea in my mind.)

“The conditions were probably not at the best… but it’s the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, just between the desert Sahara and the ocean. That’s skiing in Africa.”

Film from Female Wolf Pack, an awesome place to discover female athletes doing what they do best – kicking ass.