Next week we kick off the 2014 Skiing Mag Indie Ski Test. I’m smiling because it’s a killer week where a bunch of talented skiers come together and cruise around Loveland Ski Area all in the name of testing out next year’s gear.
The test welcomes smaller ski brands like Folsom, Faction, Meier, Icelantic, Fat-ypus, and other industry renegades that consistently prove that the little guys make great skis. We spin hotlaps, drink beers, grill out, and enjoy the Colorado sunshine while gathering critical data for our fall Gear Guide. Anything can happen during the Indie Test. Two years ago, I landed an interning gig here at Skiing Mag after testing. Last year, I gained interesting insight from the male testers that shattered my perception of the macho skier-outdoorsman facade.
One tester was a Loveland local named Eben. And boy, Eben can ski. So fast and fluid, he seemed to know precisely where the pow was stashed and exactly how to approach the natural features that litter Loveland’s Rock Chutes off Chair 1 and the hike-to zone known as Wild Child. He was impressive. All of the other male testers were obsessed with him. There were so many self-proclaimed straight, tough guys talking suggestively about another dude. At one point, one of them said, “Eben gets me hard.” I’m dead serious.
That night as I threw back cold ones with three of the guys before noodle dancing into the wee hours at a killer bluegrass show in Frisco, we flipped through photos captured earlier that day. They sat oohing and aahing like 13-year-old boys who got their mitts on a dirty magazine. “That [insert ski term here] was sexy,” they’d say.
The sexualized language passed off as ski praise seemed to get these guys juiced. It was a bromance in which they skipped flirting and went straight to dirty talk. I sat there, alone in this sea of dudes, with no other female to bare witness.
I can’t hate on the guys for thinking that good skiing is sexy, because it is. Skiing is sexy. Boy or girl. These guys just had an awkward and a borderline creepy way of conveying it. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Men sexualize women in skiing—there is no shortage of pretty girls in the pages of the magazine (topic for another day)—but they also sexualize themselves and the sport in general.
Maybe there was something in that erotic vocabulary that contributed to the overall stoke of last year’s Indie Test? Maybe there is something in this love affair that makes skiing the rowdy fun that it is? Hey, as long as it’s consensual, it’s all good right?
Next week at Loveland, it’ll be time to get suggestive. It’ll be time for romance, bromance, and powder turns. It’s time for the Indie Ski Test. I’m fired up.