Wimpy womens skis follow dodo bird | VailDaily.com

Wimpy womens skis follow dodo bird

J.K. Perry
NWS Women's Boots BH 2-15

EAGLE COUNTY The options were drab five years ago for women buying equipment physically fit for their bodies. Unisex skis made for men got a flowery paint job and were pawned off as womens equipment.Five years ago they were not expert caliber for women, said Edwards resident Linda Guerrette. That was kind of the downfall for the womens market because they were wimpy. Basically it was just a paint job on a poor unisex ski.Wimpy paint jobs need not apply any longer as womens- specific ski equipment now is getting more girl friendly.Its really quite exciting, the ski manufacturers are paying attention to that part of the market, said Beaver Creek instructor Guerrette, who tests planks for SKI and SKIING magazines. When I recommend skis to women, I never recommend a unisex ski to them.Womens-specific ski equipment is increasingly becoming a hot commodity. Twenty-six percent of ski-equipment merchandise available is women specific, a significant increase over past years, said analyst Jim Spring, president of Leisure Trends Group in Boulder.Its large compared to what it used to be, Spring said. The manufacturers are beginning to wake up that women are built differently. Women are saying Yeah, Ill buy it if you make it for me.Buying they are. While women represent 40 percent of skiers and snowboarders, they accounted for 49 percent of sales increases last year, Spring said.I think were not far away from very distinct sections on the wall for womens boots or mens boots, said Lisa Densmore, consultant for Head and former U.S. Ski Team member. I think women are starting to expect that.Head recently released the Thang Series line of womens specific skis, which Densmore helped design. Other companies, including Salomon, K2 and Rossignol sell womens equipment.Indeed ski shops are catering to women with the product and knowledgeable staff, Guerrette said. I was in a couple shops the other day and they have a whole wall set up just for womens products, Guerrette said. A couple years ago you wouldnt see that.Womens specific equipment means boots and skis tailored to conform to a womans body, unlike the mens stuff made for men. Physically were not as strong as men, Guerrette said. Well never be able to muscle something around like a guy can. It just caters to our physique.

To meet the needs of women, manufacturers are building lighter, more flexible skis with better dampening qualities.Theyre lighter and theyre easier to turn than the unisex version, but they havent lost the performance, Guerrette said. Just because theyre lighter doesnt mean theyre wimpy.Unisex boots also once presented problems for women. The boots were too stiff to flex and threw women into the backseat. In terms of footwear, you wouldnt expect a woman to go out and buy a mans running shoe, Densmore said. The same is true for a ski boot.Compared to men, women tend to have narrower feet, higher arches and lower, wider calves, Densmore said. Women have a center of gravity around the hips, while men hold theirs around the upper chest.Guerrette straps Nordica Dobermans onto her feet. The boots flex easier, have a lower cuff to fit her calf and the heel pocket is narrower.Overall, getting into womens equipment can enhance the fairer sexs experience on the mountain, Guerrette said.If people arent having fun out on the slopes why be there, she said. And if you can help them out and educate them on the products, thats good.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or jkperry@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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