Jeannie Thoren talks about the evolution of women’s skiing equipment at Vail library |

Jeannie Thoren talks about the evolution of women’s skiing equipment at Vail library

Melanie Wong
U.S. Ski Hall of Famer Jeannie Thoren speaks in Vail on Tuesday about the mechanics and science behind women's specific equipment, and how tweaks to boots and skis can help correct common problems, like sitting too far back or wandering ski tips.
Special to the Daily |

If you go ...

What: “Women Are Not Small Men,” with Jeannie Thoren.

Where: Vail Public Library, 292 W. Meadow Drive, Vail.

When: 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5.

Cost: Free.

More information: Call 970-479-2187.

VAIL — Jeannie Thoren began skiing in the 1960s, but it took the former ski racer until 1980 to perfect her ski setup.

The tweaks she made to her boots and skis helped her to ski aggressively and confidently. She remembers riding the chairlift and looking down at the skiers below.

“I was watching people wishing I could get a hold of them and fix them,” she said. ”Then I realized I was looking at all women. They had the same problems I had had.”

She’s been helping women “fix” their setups ever since and went on to help build the first women’s-specific ski for Blizzard Ski Co. in 1986. She’s traveled throughout North America, helping women improve their equipment through her ski equipment seminars before opening Jeannie Thoren’s Women’s Ski Center in Lionshead Village. She was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2015.

Vail audiences will have a chance to hear Thoren talk about the evolution of women’s skiing equipment and some of the differences between male and female skeletal structure that influence their ability to make a ski perform properly.


She’ll also address solutions for some of the most common skiing problems for women: sitting too far back, wandering or crossing ski tips, heels lifting in the boots, cold feet and/or cramping, fatiguing easily and skiing knock-kneed. The free presentation, called “Women are not Small Men,” will be held Tuesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Vail Public Library.

Thoren will also answer questions and invite women for consultations at Outdoor Divas in Lionshead Village, with which she is currently affiliated.

“You wouldn’t believe the tiny adjustments that can be made — like inserting heel wedges — that aren’t that expensive but make a big difference,” she said.

At the core of her philosophy, Thoren believes that women aren’t small men, and therefore, women’s ski equipment shouldn’t be a smaller version of the men’s model. In the early days of creating women’s skis, she was the one to point out that women’s bindings should sit further forward than men’s because women generally have smaller feet.

“That was a real game-changer,” she said.


Thoren had to close her Lionshead shop due to family health problems, but she has partnered with Boulder-based Outdoor Divas to open a similar women’s ski center in the same location.

“They’re young and have had a shop in Boulder for years. I believe they’re the right people for this. It’s a passing on of the baton, and they do fantastic work,” Thoren said.

Men are also welcome at the presentation and are encouraged to attend. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call 970-479-2187.

Assistant Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.

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