Through her own struggles to become a better skier Jeannie Thoren discovered many of the industry innovations that we now take for granted. By studying the physiological differences between men and women, she made critical changes to her equipment with immediate results. Jeannie realized there was serious work to be done in ski equipment design if women were going to enjoy the sport as much as their male counterparts.
These realizations sent her running into the woods, chucking her skis in frustration that she had spent the better part of her ski racing career held back by bio-mechanical differences. Thoren then made it her mission to improve the sport for women everywhere, of all abilities by addressing these issues. Through this experience and subsequent research and testing she developed the “Thoren Theory”, which held that women’s bodies are built differently and these differences need to be addressed in ski equipment in order to allow women skiers to progress and become better skiers. In her words “The goal is not to produce a woman who skis like a man-simply to produce a better skier.”
Her key discoveries include:
-Most women benefit from having a slightly higher heel to forefoot ratio than men. In many cases, this involves adding some level of heel lift to the ski boot. This helps women be able to be more comfortable as well as flex their knees and hips at a better angle to pressure the skis tips.
– Moving the mounting position forward on skis helps combat two important, women specific issues. One has to do with our naturally lower center of gravity. The fact that we carry our mass lower and further back than men means that our weight naturally wants to weight the back of the ski more than the front. The other is our smaller boot size. Ski shape is designed to work best with a man’s 9 or 10, not a women’s 7 or 8.
-Stance alignment can be more noticeable and beneficial to women skiers. Women, due to our naturally wider pelvis shape (thanks to those childbearing hips!) tend to be naturally out of alignment more than our male counterparts. Canting, a way to accommodate these alignment issues, can have a huge affect on the progress of beginners and experts alike.
At outdoor DIVAS, we have seen the strides she has made in the ski industry. Her work has been fundamental in creating and directing women’s skiing. We are so lucky to have been able to partner with her in launching our shop in Vail.
She has spent the last 30 years researching the way women ski. The Thoren Theory evolved as a way to help women skiers radically improve their technique through equipment modification. Jeannie Thoren didn’t start out to save the world, she just wanted to be a better skier. Along the way she found herself revolutionizing the thinking of an entire industry. At outdoor DIVAS we continue to embrace many of the breakthroughs that Jeannie was responsible for and integrate them into our fitting philosophy.