Why Women Ski

Given that Waterski Magazine recently ran a story titled “Why Don’t More Women Ski?”, the topic naturally came up at Coble Women’s Week.  I would like to report that we have that question figured out – however, for this particular group of skiers, we are stumped. Every single woman in this week’s camp has in some way arranged her life so that skiing is possible. And not one of us is a tournament skier. We just spend, train and obsess like anyone else who is passionate about the sport.

So after much conversation (and maybe a glass of wine or two), we turned the question on its head: “Why DO Women Ski?” and the answers came pouring out. This is the kind of thing we heard:

  • “Skiing is my happy place-just don’t tell my husband that.”
  • “I’ve never felt so empowered as I do when me and my girlfriend take the boat out to pull each other.” 
  • “This is strength training for my soul.” 
  • “The adrenaline rush of skiing beats any sport I do and that happens EVERY time I get on the water.”
  • “It brings me back to my true self  – like when I was a child and I could feel unencumbered and joyful.” 
  • “When someone jumps in the water, it takes ten years off their lives.”

This is a sport where we can advance at a time in our lives when our body parts seem to feel the pull of gravity more every day. 

It uplifts us as we go around that next buoy, speed up the boat or run the full course for the first time. We learn to trust and try new things – including movements previously deemed impossible for our bodies and brains. We learn about life from observing our thoughts and actions on the water.

We have also pondered what makes this week so special. There is no competition, only support.  We are all cheering for each other to do better, to get back up after the scary fall and to cross those wakes with confidence. As one of the women said on the last day “I’ve never been with a less judgmental group of women.” Every one is enough, whether she goes around the “big buoys” or the mini course. We are learning to separate how we perform on the ski course from who we are. And just the feeling of skiing makes us feel strong (there’s that word again), empowered and confident.

Perhaps the most profound thing about this week: when one of us succeeds, we all feel the same sense of elation as the woman getting off the water with that giant smile.

As we close out the week, we are already planning our next times to ski together and promise to follow each other’s exploits through the year. We are lamenting the end of another summer and we know we will be back next year. A huge thank you to April Coble Eller and Coble Ski School for creating a special place where every level of skier can learn and grow.

This is a business blog, so I have to say something about the business that April Coble Eller and her family have built. It has been said that a true business has been built when the founder is absent and the business still runs like a top. So was the case this week as Shirley Coble, Chris Eller and April Coble Eller were all in Spain competing in the Over 35 World Championships.  The staff was highly professional and extremely motivated, living up the high standards April has set over the years.  They more than delivered on the brand promise of Coble Ski School, which can be boiled down to this: Safety first, focus on what’s working, celebrate your achievements while shaking off the disappointments, have fun and enjoy the family atmosphere. Perhaps that’s why over 90% of her customers return, and why Coble Ski School is ground zero for bringing new water skiers to the sport.

Many thanks to Coble Ski School for creating a place for such a magical week to unfold! Know someone who would love this article?  Email or share below!

Lynn Carnes accelerates change and unleashes leadership performance in organizations, especially in context of challenges without easy answers. She loves to hear about how your experiments with these ideas turn out. To contact her or share your experiences email lcarnes@carnesassociates.com.