In the post-modern, postfeminist, post-buzzword world we live in, it may surprise some that women are still being treated as secondclass citizens, marginalized in arenas that hit close to home, and none closer than the world of professional skiing. The women’s ski jumping contingent has been locked in legal battles since the lead-up to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, fighting for inclusion alongside their male counterparts on the sport’s biggest stage. And while those efforts eventually failed, there has been some good news, welcome encouragement for women.
Last season, an improved talent pool led X Games organizers to step up with equal prize money for the first time ever. And on the big-mountain front, sheer numbers and passion caused the Freeride World Tour operators to backtrack on plans to all but dismantle their women’s events for winter 2011. Despite no shortage of roadblocks, the women keep fighting the good fight. Which got me thinking. All this momentum towards equality has got to be useful for other marginalized groups, and what better place to start than the lowest of the low: ski media. We’re already there at every event, freezing our extremities off, and trying our best to get the shot. That’s got to be good for something, no?
Sure, we may not be able to throw those fancy Double Flips—or Singles for that matter— and there’s no guarantee that we’ll be able to follow the pro guys and gals down their big-mountain lines without sustaining serious injury. But there are good reasons for that. Most importantly, our bodies are different. Weaned for years on the free beer and energy drinks that make our day-to-day lives livable, and having to subsist on ramen noodles and other bargain diet items due to the low payouts in our line of work, our overweight, under-muscled physiques just can’t handle the same rigorous pursuits as the professional men and women we look up to.
But that’s just negative- Nancy talk. So let’s take the next step and start fighting for our own piece of the pie. It may not be pretty, but as long as the money and TV time are flowing, there’s no reason we can’t put on a good show. Even if it ends up being the blooper reel.
Chris O’Connell, editor