Words by Mike Rogge

“I don’t understand what it is,” is often the response I get after barking the reasons I enjoy using Twitter. “It’s a unique way of absorbing news and information,” I say, “directly from the source!” Despite my nerdy excitement, the conversation usually ends there and the conversee and I slip onto another subject along the lines of, “Did you see (insert hometown friend here) is in the police blotter again?” But Twitter is more than a weird tech medium geeks lovingly embrace. It’s helping ski companies, athletes, and skiers everywhere connect directly. Don’t believe me? Here’s an example.

On Monday night, around 11:30 Pacific time, I checked the Powder twitter account, as I routinely do, and spotted this tweet from one of Powder’s followers:

Ms_Miranda: Is it okay for women to buy men’s skis? Or should I stick to the limited girls selection?

Instead of a simple response from a 24-year-old dude, I asked Powder’s followers on Twitter to answer the question. Here’s what we got:

Side Note: Twitter users can group posts together by topic or type by use of hashtags – words or phrases prefixed with a #. The @ sign followed by a username is used for mentioning or replying to other users. For this conversation, we used the hashtag #girlskis. User names are in bold.

RonTon: Absolutely. My quiver consists of Scott Punishers, Volkl Kikus (Gotamas with a pretty topsheet) and Volkl Kuros. DO IT #girlskis

PepFujas (Pep Fujas): only real women buy mens skis #girlskis

amymcdermid: woman can buy mens skis. It just means you have to ski like a man- I use 179 BD Megawatts/183 Atomic Thugs

HannahBowling: One thing I do like about #girlskis is how light they are…

Photo_John: What do I like about #girlskis? Girls.

Jonnyklemchuk: feel free to rock a guy’s ski and kill it! you’ll have a bit more ski to throw around too. #girlskis

Skiershop: Girls rocking guy skis are rad: #girlskis

Realduran: I switched to mens’ skis and couldn’t be happier. Volkl Katana all day long!

Losuch: Girls can totally rock guy #skis. I love my #Anthems and #Prophet 90s- they are a good in between. If in doubt demo it. #girlskis

MyShellParker (Michelle Parker): I do have to say that some of the skis in the K2 line are stiffer than some of the mens skis. #girlskis aren’t less of a ski

Ms_Miranda: thanks everyone in the #girlskis discussion :) its definitely much appreciated

Elysesaugstad (Elyse Saugstad): the salomon skis I use are the same construction as the mens, different chic graphics, which look way cooler! #girlskis

Elysesaugstad: & powder skis like the czar I don’t consider to be a men’s ski, it’s a ski made for anyone who likes to ski pow! #girlskis

Greteeliassen (Grete Eliassen): I ride both women’s and uni-sex skis : ) Try them all. Volkl Pearl on groomers/park and Chopsticks in pow pow

Chinesedownhill: Love the #girlskis talk going on. Def agree w/much that has been said. Don’t choose skis based on gender label, but how & what u like to ski

Bobby_Brown1 (Bobby Brown): #girlskis

PowderMagazine: As a manufacturer of both mens and womens skis, @4FRNT what are your thoughts on this? #girlskis

Siasnowsports (SIA): Cool discussion going on abt women using mens skis. We says yes but the right ones RT @PowderMagazine: Check it out on the hashtag #girlskis

SanFrancisLo: I’ve skied both mens and womens, but I am loving the womens’ specs, topsheets, design teams, and pros. #GirlPower #girlskis

Tahoejenn: @chinesedownhill Totally agree. I’ll admit that I’ve not found any women specific skis that skied as well as the mens skis. #girlskis

4FRNT (official Twitter account of 4FRNT Ski): We’re happy anytime a woman gets on a pair of 4FRNTs, & build the womens specific model to fit more styles & body types #girlskis

SalomonFreeski (official Twitter account of Salomon Freeski): On the aggressive end of the Salomon Women’s range, construction is the same as the guys, cause girls rip too! #girlskis

Losuch: If it has the proper support/ shape and you can flex it, I suppose it would be fine, but I think I’ll stick to my womens ski boots #girlskis

Elsa_A: I think it’s ok for women to use men skis, I ski on mens skis, fx rossignol only makes twin tip skis for men so I had to buy mens #girlskis

Sallyfrancklyn (Sally Francklyn, Online Editor, Skiing Magazine): buy girls skis that ski like mens skis- the volkl kiku, in particular. #girlskis #skiing

PowderMagazine: Ladies, what do you look for when choosing skis? Graphics? Dimensions? Gender specification? Join the convo with the hashtag: #girlskis

SuzieLin: I don’t care about gender specification when buying skis. It’s all about performance & yes, graphics help #girlskis

DarcyMorse: Agreed RT @SuzieLin: I don’t care about gender specification when buying skis. It’s all about performance & yes, graphics help #girlskis

Ms_Miranda: so uhh more specifically which guys skis work well for gals? #girlskis

Kstebbs: depends what and how you ski.I have both – Armada JJ’s for deep pow,K2 lotta luvs for groomers now all I need is an all mt fatty. #girlskis

SuzieLin: Guys skis that work well for women..that depends on the woman, what she wants from the ski & isn’t that why you demo skis #girlskis

Garethspor: What about guys buying women’s skis?? I always wanted a pair of those K2s w/ the pink flowers. So sick… #girlskis

Losuch: Factors…#performance, #longer lengths, and if possible graphics more like the guys twins but no weapon’s, blood, or bugs. #girlskis

Hnee15: Honestly don’t look at graphics or gender claim of ski. It’s all about performance

Tessweaver (Powder Mag Correspondent Tess Weaver): My Mumbo Jumbos are actually dude skis w/ a girly top sheet, which I luv. #girlskis

SuzieLin: @ms_miranda Good point & how nice that’d be. It’d be great to have a gear guide we ladies could use when looking to buy mens skis #girlskis

NoyesyGirl: It matters that you ski, not what you ski on. #girlskis

CaseyS4: Of course graphics, but not too girly. Leave out the pinks and pastels, please. Dimensions, core, flex #girlskis

GreteEliassen: personally, I like skiing on girl specific skies. And they usually look better too. #girlskis

Tessweaver: I believe in female specific construction. They make ’em every shape/size so they are adequate for 99% of girls. #girlskis

Mollyhelmreich: A lot of women’s skis I’ve tried are just too soft #girlskis

Ms_Miranda: I think after all this discussion I will end up with some more masculine skis :) more specifically- the rossignol s2 or s3

InfamousKRob:i like the K2 lineup of #girlskis, if i was a chick i’d probably want those new missbehaved sticks, they look sick.

JenSchmidtphoto: #girlskis are worthless 4 real skiers, if you ride hard you need something men’s; no sissy “all-mountain” softies either

Angeli_V (Angeli Van Laanen): I came late to the convo but I think every girl should try stiffer skis! However that doesn’t mean men’s skis. #girlskis

Angeli_V: There are many stiff rockered Woman’s skis on the market these days. I ride the @Atomicski Century and love ’em. #girlskis

Angeli_V: my advice is to not be intimidated by length or a new shape. Demo something new, powder skiing will become easier #girlskis

Angeli_V: I fully support women skiing on men’s skis… Whatever works for you! I highly reccomend trying a variety. #girlskis

PowderMagazine: Thank you to all the tweeters that participated in the #girlskis discussion.

So what does this mean? For one, it means I just meticulously copy and pasted every single one of those tweets from Twitter to a word document and wasted a bunch of company time. But more importantly, it simultaneously proves that Twitter can be used as an effective conversation tool that brings real people together for a discussion. I’ve found when folks are limited to 140 characters or less, they’re forced to think more, talk less shit, and provide valuable insight. Try finding that in a web forum.

To follow Powder Magazine on Twitter, click here and for more information on women’s (and men’s) skis, pick up a copy of our 2011 Buyer’s Guide, on sale August 17th.