A few years ago, I got some really girly skis.
A Christmas present from my husband they were purple and white Dynastar Legends, notable mainly for the large rhinestone embedded near the tip.
The bling never failed to catch attention and inspire comment.
These Legends were my second pair of women-specific skis and since then, I’ve had two other pairs of girly skis – some mid-fat Rossignol S3s (which I love, love, love) and this year, K2 Remedies, which I can’t wait to try.
When it comes to skis, I’m totally sold on women-specific gear.
My friend Stephanie (my BSFF – Best Ski Friend Forever), is not. Or at least she wasn’t the last time we discussed this issue.
Stephanie and I became BSFFs when our kids were ski racing. Because our schedules dovetailed perfectly, we skied almost every weekend together for 4 years. When my children quit racing, her daughters continued on, achieving state, regional and national rankings, as well as becoming champion junior cyclists and mountain bikers.
As tough and driven as her daughters are, Stephanie is more so. So, it’s not surprising, that she’s not a fan of women’s gear, generally thinking of it (in my words) as dumbed-down and patronizing.
She also buys her own gear – after extensive research and demo’ing. Unlike me, a woman who will happily let my husband choose new skis and pretend they’re from Santa.
What Do You Think?
Clearly, Stephanie and I aren’t the only women with a difference in opinion. Earlier this fall, I found a forum thread titled, “Are Women’s Specific Skis Necessary?” at TheSkiDiva.com.
In it, women debated the pros and cons of women’s gear.
On the pro side, many women appreciate the lighter weight, easier flex and shorter lengths they find in women’s skis. Some of us even like the graphics, although TheSkiDiva.com founder (and my good friend) Wendy Clinch does not.
Manufacturers must “think we have some kind of demented circuit in our brain that’ll only respond if something is sugary sweet and cutesy,” she writes.
Which cracks me up, because although I don’t think of myself as “sugary sweet,” I do have a marked preference for floral skis, pink sandals and feminine skirts.
In addition to varying opinions on graphics, many women don’t like limitations in women’s gear.
They correctly point out that not all women need an easier flex and shorter lengths. Women come in all different sizes, and so should skis.
All skiers, male and female, also have widely varying abilities and preferences. There are plenty of stories in this thread about men skiing women’s boards.
Enter Coalition Snow
While most of us just debate the pros and cons of women’s skis and express our preferences through our purchases, Jen Gurecki, a California-based entrepreneur is taking action. This season, she launched Coalition Snow, her brand of women’s specific gear designed for more aggressive skiers.
Coalition skis and snowboards are designed for women who have been mostly riding men’s skis and snowboards, but are looking for something more.
As Jen puts it her gear is designed to “hold up in steeps, at high speeds, while being fun and playful, and at a length that a lot of female skiers can handle.”
The skis are designed with input from women, women with whom Jen skis and rides. It was important to her that women be heard and that the skis and boards be designed to take advantage of women’s strengths, not their weaknesses.
Coalition Snow launched at an October 2013 media event on Mount Kenya. Together, Jen and some friends summited the 16,500 foot peak and then skied and snowboarded down on their prototypes.
One year later, Coalition Snow has a product line designed in California and manufactured in Japan. Currently Coalition produces three models: The Abyss, a powder ski that is 114 mm under foot; SOS, a mid-fat ski at 105 mm under foot and Myth, a snowboard available in 147 cm and 151 cm lengths. You can find all the specifications and product details here.
Sales are mostly online at the Coalition Snow website, at goodpeople.com and in person at The Backcountry, a shop in Truckee, California. Demos are available at Mt. Ashland, Oregon and Tahoe Mountain Sports, in Truckee, California.
And as for graphics, they’re girly, but that’s okay, because they were all designed by women, for women. Perfect for those of use with demented circuits in our brains.
International Women’s Ski Day, December 13th
Look for Coalition at Sugar Bowl, California on December 13th, also known as International Women’s Ski Day. In partnership with the North American Ski Training Center, Coalition is sponsoring a women’s skills clinic.
Even if you can’t make it to Sugar Bowl, International Women’s Ski Day is a great excuse to get out with your girlfriends and ski. I know of events at Solitude, Utah and Crystal Mountain, Washington and there are plenty of others being planned around the country.
More on Women’s Skis:
- My Adventures In Ski Demo Land, January 6, 2011.
- Alta, Utah: The Ski Gang’s All Here, December 4, 2012.
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