Branchport woman, Bristol instructor, tests snow skis on Mt. Hood

Loujane Johns
Kerry Meyer on a pair of K2 skis.

The last thing most people want to see is snow in July.  But for Branchport resident Kerry (Reynolds) Meyer, the opportunity to travel to Mt. Hood in Oregon to test new ski equipment for K2 Sports was a thrill.

Meyer was one of five women chosen from across the country to make the trip to test a new line of skis slated for the 2010 product line.  She has been a representative of the K2 Company since 1983.

About eight years ago, she said, K2 decided to make ski products exclusively for women.  They formed the T-9 Alliance, named for the legislation granting women equal opportunities in sports.  This K2 organization also donates a portion of sales to breast cancer research.

Meyer was flown to Oregon for five days the second week of July. She and the other four women spent three days testing the skis.  The four types tested were all white, the only distinguishing markings were the numbers 1-4 in masking tape.

After runs, the women would write down what they liked and what could be improved.  Meyer said the best part was sitting down with the engineers after the tests and being able to give personal comments on the prototypes.

Meyer explained the T-9 Alliance was formed to develop ski equipment specifically for women. 

“A woman’s center of gravity is lower and the ski has a pivot point, so the center should be moved forward for women. K2 made new molds for skis just for the women’s line,” she said, explaining other companies just paint the men’s skis pink.

The Seattle-based company was founded in 1962 by brothers William and Don Kirschner.  Thus the name K-2. Many people think the name was derived from a mountain in Karakoram.

Accessories also are targeted for women. K2 helmets are tailored to fit women better and some are jewel encrusted. The poles have smaller grips to fit women’s hands. The line is designed for women by women.

Meyer has been skiing since she was 2 years old.  A level three skier, she has been an instructor at Bristol Mountain and a member of the ski patrol since 1980. She considers Bristol one of the best ski areas.  “It is technologically excellent.  Bristol is like a big resort in a little space.”

Giving instruction during the November to April season, it is no surprise that women are her focus. She said she has a lot of nurses who enjoy the sport and consider it a way to keep fit and active.

Although she has never skied outside the country, Meyer says she has traveled to many slopes throughout the United States. Her daughter, Alison Marshall, of Smyrna, Ga. is the only T-9 alliance representative in the South.

Meyer also serves as a full-time volunteer minister of Jehovah’s Witness and does some landscaping work. 

“Skiing is social, keeps you in shape and gives you something to do in the winter,”  she says.

When asked about the cold weather, she said, “The new ski clothes are thin and you can dress in layers without looking like the Michelin man.”