The snowfields are a known sausage factory. Why? Because blokes and chicks ski and snowboard differently, we approach the mountain from a different perspective.
Blokes want to be the first down, ski or ride fast, get air, go large. Girls are more into technique and getting it right. That’s why when you combine a female who has the getting it right gene and the go large gene you get someone as amazing as Ingrid Backstrom or Andrea Binning.
But I digress. As a ski journalist I get to ski in all sorts of places but the ratio is always the same, more blokes to every girl. The higher you go the wider the gap. Heli skiing lodges are filled with testosterone fuelled folk who think it’s only for Bond types, leaving the missus at home quaking in her ski boots.
Silly missus, you could be making your mark in fresh powder too as you don’t have to be an expert skier to heli ski. Not that they’d tell you, that would halve their boasting rights.
I digress, again. I do that. When on tour I meet lots of men, married men, single men, newly divorced men, young men, old men, men who used to be men, men in training, men who like men.
Most of them are with other men, mates who they bond with by skiing and riding all day and doing blokey stuff by night. As a chick who likes to ski I often find myself on the chairlift, in the cat, in the heli, hiking a hill with these men and lining up at the bar with those same men after dark. Some just want to hang with me in the hope of getting their name in print, others are just pleased to see a new face to add to the foray.
It’s always platonic, unless they’re single and then it may be romantic, but more often than not it’s just mates bonding over a love of snow. Occassionally the blokes are ‘single above the snow line’, meaning they won’t let you know they’re attached in case you’re an option.
Which is why I do my homework, a quick Google search can reveal all sorts of marital status. I may be with blokes but I’m a woman’s woman at the end of the day.
The real trouble is, even when they talk openly about their wife and girlfriend, when it’s clear neither of us are attracted to each other and we’re all after the same thing, a damn good time in the powder, I’m still a chick and it’s hard to explain a platonic chick to your girlfriend or wife back home. So when they say ‘we must go for drinks back in Oz or I’ll add you on Facebook or let’s Skype’ I know it’s not going to happen.
What girlfriend or wife wants to meet the girl that was allowed on blokes tour, who was let in on the fun and in the tradition of blokes tour can’t reveal what went on tour even though it was nothing?
But it makes me sad and genuinely melancholy, because I’ve met some amazing people while skiing, some true gems of human beings whose wives are seriously blessed and lucky to have them.
I’ve laughed myself silly, connected with blokes who would be my friends in any other life, genuinely enjoyed the male energy and made some cool memories. Only they and their mates get to go home and share the memories with each other and I have to just hold them to myself because more often than not I’m working and on tour alone.
I will let the girls with boyfriends and husbands in on one thing. I’ve been stuck in a ski lodge with four blokes and only me for four days and they were honestly more interested in being boys than noticing I wasn’t. I have been in a heli lodge with thirty five men and five women and the blokes were really enjoying the company of the mates they brought with them, platonically of course. Of course there are always rascals in every crowd, though they’re more scarce than you know.
I’m convinced the art of skiing and riding is the closest thing that blokes will have to sex with each other and the downtime off the slopes after all that back slapping powder is all just part of the afterglow.
Trust me women, this is a good thing.