Snow Ponies - women in the snow world

RACHAEL OAKES-ASH
Last updated 08:00 19/07/2013
Snow women

ON HER WAY: Wanaka's Shelly Gotlieb cleans up the Womens Snowboard-Slopestyle event of the NewZealand Winter Games at the Remarkables ahead of Jamie Anderson USA, and Aimee Fuller GBR.

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In the plagiarised words of Beyonce, "who runs the snow world? Girls". If you are a female skier or boarder then I know you just sang that out loud and I know it is, in the current snow climate of 2013, mere wishful thinking.

Few women are reaching the upper echelons of ski resort management. That ceiling isn't glass, it's made of ice.

The competitive snow sports industry of Australia is also dominated by male decision makers. Yet it is the ladies who have put our sunburnt country on the global map as a serious snow competitor.

According to my calculations (I'm no Big Bang Theory wizard) of individual podium medals at FIS and Olympic events in Australian competing history, the women have won 73 percent of the three hundred and one individual medals we have secured.

Yes, that's right, seventy three percent. That includes household names Torah Bright, Alisa Camplin, Zali Stegell and Lydia Lassila.

New Zealander Annelise Coberger was the first person from the Southern Hemisphere to win a medal at the Winter Olympics when she took silver in the slalom at Albertville in France in 1992.

I for one look forward to cheering on and adding more names (male and female) to the household list come Sochi 2014.

The Chicks With Stix progression camps in Australia give young girls wanting to improve their skiing and snowboarding and have fun in a non testosterone-fueled environment the opportunity to train with Australia's best. 

X Games gold medalist and former world champion slopestyle skier, Anna Segal, her Freeride World Tour athlete sister, Nat Segal and skier cross athlete Katya Crema are just three girls in a team of 12 female coaches who hold Chicks with Stix days in ski resorts in Australia.

Kiwi snowboarder Shelly Gotlieb is among the medal hopes for Sochi, and only a backinjury at the X-Games in Colorado last northern winter has held up Taupo skier Rose Battersby's chances.

Thankfully the ski resorts recognise the need to give women and girls their own environment in which to prosper, away from the testosterone peer pressure that predictably happens when you put young blokes in low pants and wide skis in a terrain park filled with big jumps. 

Trust me, the need for women's only ski and snowboard programs is not because we can't keep up with the men, it is simply because we approach the world of snow differently.

It is all in the hips, known as the Q Angle, our dimensions mean the way we approach a ski or a hill is not physically the same as how a man does, not better or worse, just different.

Release Retreat in Wanaka has a Mission WOW Women's Ski Touring backcountry retreat for five nights from August 28. 

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Who said women don't like it tough?

- The Age

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