I wanted to be fast, really fast. I started ski racing at a late age of 15, approximately 8-10 years later than the majority of people that I was going to be competing against. I was at a disadvantage from get-go and it wasn’t easy. I worked hard at dryland and training on the hill, and went to as many races as were feasible for me. Despite my hard work, I wasn’t super fast, there was a mental block that I just couldn’t seem to overcome.
One day at training, one of my coaches told me that I was probably the strongest female on the team and I had the talent, I just needed to overcome that block. I didn’t know what to do,
and it was so frustrating. I pushed myself as hard as I thought I could. One of the last runs of that day, I was stomping in the starting gate about to kick out, and my coach screamed at me, “don’t ski like a girl.”
With fury and a hundred swear words flowing through my brain, I kicked out of the starting gate and skied the fastest run of the day, probably of my life at that point.
Why was I so mad? Looking back, I think I was mad because skiing like a girl was being portrayed as weak, slow, not powerful, and I didn’t want to be associated with that. How on Earth could my coach have associated me with something like that? Well probably because I am a girl, and I was not as fast as the boys.
Today, I still find this statement to be interesting and annoying. It bothers me because 1. It did make me faster, despite how I felt toward it, but also 2. Why wouldn’t I want to ski like a girl? Some of the most amazing skiers on this planet right now are women, and they are in my age group. But for some reason, the idea of doing things “like a girl” has always had a negative connotation. The way I see it today, I am a girl and I think I always will be, and I am beyond thankful for that. As I have gotten older, I’ve realized how amazingly powerful women are, so I absolutely want to ski, hike, bike, climb, feel, laugh, and live my life “like a girl.”