More than marketing behind this ‘Thang’ |

More than marketing behind this ‘Thang’

Catherine Lutz

The first thing I noticed when I took out my first pair of women-specific skis is that everybody wanted to help me. Maybe it’s the paranoid feminist in me, but I could have sworn that the gondola attendants took one look at those bright pink, elaborately flowered things, thought “helpless female,” and rushed to load and unload the skis, because I clearly was not capable of doing so myself.

K2, with its “Luv” series (“Lotta Luv,” “Phat Luv”), dominates the women’s ski market – some days it seems like every other woman sashaying up the gondola steps is proudly displaying those flowery sticks on her shoulder. To be fair, the women I know who have them, well, “luv” ’em.But the whole concept of women’s skis, in my opinion, is suspicious – too much clever marketing and emphasis on feminine graphics. Is there any substance behind them, though?So it was with some trepidation that I agreed to try the new Head women’s ski line: the “Thang” series. The first warning sign was in the press release, which mentioned the color of the skis (“fiery red,” “bright yellow”), but nothing about their dimensions or available lengths.

I decided to take out the “Wild Thang,” which, according to the press release, is “a freeride ski that’s versatile enough to go from untamed powder to graceful groomers – in bright orange.” My preconceived notions nearly got the better of me. This ski was 163 cm short and only 72 mm in the waist – I’m a fat-ski snob whose everyday ski is 175 cm long and 90 mm underfoot.I have to admit, on a few inches of new snow – almost a powder day – the Wild Thang did just great. It handled the powder really well (thanks to its 117 mm tip, it acted like a fat ski), absorbed the bumps nicely and stayed super stable on the high-speed groomers.

According to Rob Small, Stefan Kaelin rental/repair shop manager, a group of men recently tested the Thang series – the skis were disguised – and raved about them. Apparently Head is making even more improvements in the series for the 2006-07 skis.The lineup includes skis for all abilities and preferences – there’s the Fast Thang, a slalom ski; Sweet Fat Thang, a big-mountain ski; Hot Thang, an all-mountain advanced ski; Cool Thang, an all-mountain cruiser; and Fine Thang, a beginner/intermediate ski. If any of those skis perform like the Wild Thang, they just may make a convert out of a prejudiced, slow-to-change skier like me.

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