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Shouldn't the second time be less frightening?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I skied the 2 feet of powder at Mad River Glen on Tuesday, and had an experience that made me really annoyed with myself.  There is a small, easy "cliff" under the double chair -- maybe ten feet max, probably less, with a really clean transition at the bottom and ice under the snow to protect your from getting hung up.  I know that is nothing to a lot of you, but it is a big drop to me.  

 

Anyway, I looked it over and watched a few people go on the way up, and decided I could handle it.

 

So I get to the top and it looks a lot bigger from the top.  After stalling for a long time (and apologizing to the people behind me, who were very nice about it) I finally went.  And it was very easy.  (Well, I sat down on the run out but that was fear-based and totally unnecessary.)  The drop was trivial, the transition was easy, no problems.

 

So I went around again.  And froze up on the edge again.  It was just about as scary the second time, even though my conscious mind knew it was easy.

 

Does this happen to other people?  Anybody have any fear-management tricks?

post #2 of 26

I know the feeling, you just have to go for it.  Eventually it will get easier with repetition as long as you know you can do it.  For me it was a trip out to A-Basin where they have many more cliffs, much bigger than stuff out east and I got to hit alot of them on a powder day.  When i came back out east everything out here seemed easier.  Sometimes it takes a fall or two to actually get over your fear of falling.  I was at Kingpine a few weeks ago with some fresh snow.  I hit the cliff under the lift a few times, the 4th time i decided to go bigger.  Upon landing lost one ski and tomahawked to the bottom of trail, depending on how you view it, it was an epic or a bad fall.  This helped me get over the fear cause i knew that falling wasnt so bad, went back to the top and hit it just as big with much less fear than earlier.

post #3 of 26

Eventually large drops become routine, but if you never have any sort of self-doubt or fear then you will never get any sort of exhilaration from sticking the drop. Its natural to feel extremely cautious if you're progressing in drop size. I'm sure if you went to a five footer you would have no second thoughts, but that's a huge drop for some people too. Its all about comfort zone. Just like how people freeze up on greens their first time, second time, third time, eventually they're comfortable and progress to freezing up on blues instead. Same deal.

post #4 of 26


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post

I skied the 2 feet of powder at Mad River Glen on Tuesday, and had an experience that made me really annoyed with myself.  There is a small, easy "cliff" under the double chair -- maybe ten feet max, probably less, with a really clean transition at the bottom and ice under the snow to protect your from getting hung up.  I know that is nothing to a lot of you, but it is a big drop to me.  

 

Anyway, I looked it over and watched a few people go on the way up, and decided I could handle it.

 

So I get to the top and it looks a lot bigger from the top.  After stalling for a long time (and apologizing to the people behind me, who were very nice about it) I finally went.  And it was very easy.  (Well, I sat down on the run out but that was fear-based and totally unnecessary.)  The drop was trivial, the transition was easy, no problems.

 

So I went around again.  And froze up on the edge again.  It was just about as scary the second time, even though my conscious mind knew it was easy.

 

Does this happen to other people?  Anybody have any fear-management tricks?


One thing you can try to do to help you with this is to keep moving, get in a rhythm and flow over the drop. Make sure you have scoped out the landings on these drops first but once you know what the landing is like keep moving down the hill. One way to practice this stuff is don't stop at the entrance to steeper trails and sections of steep runs that you know. Get that flow going and develop a cadence for your turns, when you get down a bit from the top then pull off to the side and stop and look what you accomplished. Standing up top and looking and looking at the drop or steep section is just freezing you up. Now standing for a bit and studying the line is completely different, even if you are not going to jump or drop in on 1 run doesn't mean you shouldn't study it a bit. Then ski around the drop and study the landing area and the run out where you can be seen and not blocking the landing area. Developing the confidence to go over the steep sections with out stopping will get you to feeling comfortable with drops and steeps.

Another piece to helping you with skiing this stuff is to know your ability to land things. Try to find places where you can get some air, even jumping bumps or getting launched off rollers on groomers. The more time you spend in the air and landing it will help you when get to the bigger drops.

 

post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 

Good advice.

I've done the keep-moving trick on cornices (where you can spot from the side before you get there) and it helps a lot.

I planned to do it on this drop the second time around, but I stopped anyway.  And then I was stuck.

 

A complicating issue may have been indecision about which way to go. The first time, there was a gaggle of skiers at the bottom and we talked about whether a little to the side through the untracked weeds (thin dry grassy stuff, minimal chance of grabbing your skis) was a better line than the slot.  And we did see one guy go that way.  So I was halfway thinking about going that way.  In the end, I took the obvious line, in part because the other line was a bit higher, and in part because that was what I did the first time.

post #6 of 26

Good job, yeah indecision is never a good thing when thinking about going of a drop or cliff. Sort of like in basketball when you take a jump shot and in mid jump you still haven't figured out whether to bank it or swish it usually the shot doesn't go in.

post #7 of 26

Drops always look easier going up the chair :)

 

Be sure to drive your hands forward or you will land backseat

 

 

post #8 of 26

Hacker_Steve's_$.01...

 IME...drops are like anything steep = we ski them in ~10 to 40 feet stretches, not top to bottom(where we often look) at a time...and all the previously said is great.   After scouting out a landing strip I've always found it useful to look for the spot where I have to acquire the speed to clear any potential hazard near a landing area. 

$.01

 


Edited by HaveSkisWillClimb - 3/14/11 at 8:20am
post #9 of 26

i am the same, and probably always will be, but a friend of mine tricked me into doing some moderate drops in powder about ten feet as well.

He promised me that his dad, who was nearly 60, still did drops like this all the time. He swore to me it was true. So I went for it, it was fine. On the drive back down the mountain, he told me it was all a complete lie.

The good thing is it got me over the worst of my worry. I also find a little bit of speed helps if on a steep slope. Sounds strange I know, but there's a run i'm familiar with, on a packed off piste run, that is steep and has a strange drop, probably about 4-5 feet, the first time I hit it, i actually didn't realise it was there, and went of it with no problem, didn't really interupt the flow of skiing.

So, although I've got more confident, i still get nervous.

post #10 of 26

All sound advice above, especially scouting out the landing and not going big before you're totally ready. Some fear or anxiety is perhaps a good thing to have. Here is a sad report from my favorite ski area from earlier this year:

 

"WOLF CREEK SKI AREA — An Arizona man, who was snowboarding with friends, died Saturday following a 40-foot fall inside the ski area's boundary.

Christian Rea, 35, of Tucson, went over a 40-foot cliff and landed on his head in the section of the ski area known as the Waterfall Area, said Mineral County Coroner Charles Downing.

Another member of the group went off the cliff before Rea but survived a rough landing. Although the first boarder had called up to his friends not to follow, Rea went over the edge next. Downing said as Rea went over the edge, he lost his balance and landed head first in the snow. He hyperextended his neck, cutting off the flow of blood to his brain, and died within minutes of the fall.

Downing said it was unclear if Rea had been trying to stop before the fall or if he intentionally jumped. Downing said visibility was not a factor in the accident, although the three snowboarders were some distance apart at the time of the accident."

Source: http://www.chieftain.com/news/local/article_aff25a10-0f1b-11e0-986a-001cc4c03286.html

post #11 of 26

Not quite on subject but I'll admit that I've never understood the attraction of jumping off of stuff - particularly when you need to work up your courage to do so. I like to go fast and enjoy the G-force of a carved turn, like the bumps, trees and pow but really work at keeping at least one ski on the ground. Back when I rode a lot of dirt bikes some folks liked to jump - I always wanted to stay on the ground. It wasn't a speed thing. Some of these jumpers could not keep up with me but I never wanted to get the wheels very far off the ground. I feel the same way about skiing. If I wanted to jump off of stuff I'd take up sky diving and I don't do that either. I guess my point is I do not think fear of a cliff is unusual. If you want to jump in please be my guest and do so but I don't think it is any reason to worry if you decide to "go around".

post #12 of 26

Hey mdf!

 

I also want to train/learn/do some drops. Let's look for some when we are at Lake Tahoe. I also have to " grow" into it so I think we are at the same point :-)

 

Dirk

post #13 of 26

When you're skiing, I think that coming up to a cliff and spotting it beforehand is a good idea. The thing that really helps to stick the landing is speed, and on skis, you can (or at least, I always do) double pole plant just before the drop and push myself off. It just sort of came natural, I have no idea why I do it, but it seems to work. If it is a cliff you do all the time, you will eventually be able to trust your memory about what's below, but the cliffs I did at Kicking Horse were many in number, and big in size. If the landing were wind-scoured one day, I'm sure that it would be sufficient to put me off cliffs for a while, at the very least. So I erred on the side of caution, and looked before I leaped. I guess my tactic worked well, as I ended up injuring myself on steeps, and not on 30' cliffs.

post #14 of 26

MDF, we probably passed each other in the line for the single chair.  The conditions were great (well worth the drive up from Albany), although I think MRG's 24"-30" of snow claim was probably a bit of an exaggeration. 

 

If it makes you feel any better, one of my friends challenged me to ski (not jump off, just ski down) the cliff right behind the little green hut that you see from the double chair (they had a line of orange flags on a string and a small "cliffs" sign).  So, if you're jumping off of 10' high cliffs, you're going well beyond what me and my friends are willing to do.

 

FWIW, I did it and it was easy.  One quick turn just after jumping in to make a diagonal across the slope, a second turn at the bottom to avoid a big pile of chopped up powder and I was home free.

 

Hope you enjoyed your day. 

 

STE

post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 


 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ski the East View Post

So, if you're jumping off of 10' high cliffs, ...

 

 



Well, ten feet may be generous.  I did say, "max, probably less" originally, though it did seem pretty high at the time.

It almost sounds like we are talking about the same spot, but I don't see how you could turn in the middle of the face -- there was a big lump of ice sticking up through the snow next to the slot.  When I was there everyone was getting some air and going straight down. So I am confused.



Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

Not quite on subject but I'll admit that I've never understood the attraction of jumping off of stuff - particularly when you need to work up your courage to do so. I like to go fast and enjoy the G-force of a carved turn, like the bumps, trees and pow but really work at keeping at least one ski on the ground. Back when I rode a lot of dirt bikes some folks liked to jump - I always wanted to stay on the ground. It wasn't a speed thing. Some of these jumpers could not keep up with me but I never wanted to get the wheels very far off the ground. I feel the same way about skiing. If I wanted to jump off of stuff I'd take up sky diving and I don't do that either. I guess my point is I do not think fear of a cliff is unusual. If you want to jump in please be my guest and do so but I don't think it is any reason to worry if you decide to "go around".



Steve - 

I don't anticipate having jumping off of stuff be a major part of my day.  Nor do I expect to ever do big stuff.

 

I have a couple of motivations to work on moderate drops.  First, it annoys me to have so much trouble with something that is really within my range of abilities, especially when I see so many people being casual about it.  Second, that frisson of fear overcome is part of the appeal of difficult terrain (just not quite so much fear, please).  And third, taking small drops in stride is a practical skill.  It is sometimes the most natural way to get where you are going.  Sometimes it is the only way. 

 

A general question for the more experienced ... I hear what you are saying about inspecting landing zones, but isn't watching other people go a reasonable substute, especially for smaller stuff?

post #16 of 26

Yes and no, looking at the landing zones yourself is preferred. You can probe them to see how deep fresh/soft snow is and whats underneath. On the other hand if its all packed out and icy landing on areas not broken up are a lifesaver. You may hear people's edges on landing, or them swearing but not know exactly why... I've seen landings that were multi layer snow that was hard packed out, that got broken apart. Think basketballs of ice and hard snow for landings..deathcookies on steroids. I decided on skipping that one...eek.gif

post #17 of 26

MDF,

 

The jump I saw off that slope (a slightly built-up lip around 2-3 ft down from the entry point, and a bit to skiers left of the entry point) would have easily given you 10 feet of air if you launched aggressively.  There would've had to have been a beer in it for me to attempt that jump.  All I got was a dare (by a friend who wimped out).  No beer = no jump. beercheer.gif

 

If you skied a bit over to skier's left from the entry point, there was a spot where you could point your tips down the slope for about 3 feet, make a quick turn to skier's right, and go down most of the slope on a left-to-right diagonal (it had been skied before, I wasn't the first person to negotiate the slope this way).  Then, near the bottom you had to avoid a big pile of snow, I made a quick left just before the snow pile. 

 

STE

post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirksuchy View Post

Hey mdf!

 

I also want to train/learn/do some drops. Let's look for some when we are at Lake Tahoe. I also have to " grow" into it so I think we are at the same point :-)

 

Dirk


Lets find a few.  Sounds like a plan!

 

post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 

Well, we did not find any mini-cliffs, but we did do some (small-ish) cornice drops. 

Once again, they looked harder than they were.  (As Kevin points out, that is better than the alternative.

Imagine if everything looked _easier_ than it really is...  "I got this.  Uh-oh. Aieeiii!!!!")

 

Kevin and I did the cornice just off the top of the KT-22 lift one Tuesday, and Friday we did the Olympic Lady cornice with Dirk, Daphne, and Hubert.

The twist on Friday was that there was so much snow blowing sideways that you couldn't tell if the drop was 1 foot or 100 feet.

 

The first time around on OL I waited and waited and waited for a visibility break.  The second time around I dropped blind, which was definitely a trip.

It turned out to be smaller than the KT-22 cornice.   (I think the crest, where Dirk and Kevin went in, might have been a little higher.)

 

P1020853.JPG

 

Daphne gets tired of waiting.

P1020856.JPG

 

P1020857.JPG

 

Kevin goes

cropP1020865.JPG

 

 

post #20 of 26

I think it's just a matter of doing it enough with progression along the way to get comfortable.  Work up to it a little at a time. 

post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toecutter View Post

I think it's just a matter of doing it enough with progression along the way to get comfortable.  Work up to it a little at a time. 



I think you are right.  These cornices were getting less scary, though I still got the "that was easier than I expected" feeling every time.

post #22 of 26

It's the landing you need to deal with.wink.gif I prefer the low altitude long distance airtime, much smooth touch downs.

3 rules-

Check it before you wreck it.

Have a spotter.

Start small.

post #23 of 26


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post

It's the landing you need to deal with.wink.gif I prefer the low altitude long distance airtime, much smooth touch downs.

3 rules-

Check it before you wreck it.

Have a spotter.

Start small.

 

For me it is the first and sometimes second turn after the landing on really steep run drops.  That sudden acceleration  experienced upon landing is what kinds spooks me.   Finding places where things flatten out a bit 50 feet after the drop are much more approachable as I get older and a bit more timid.
 

 

post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post


 

 

For me it is the first and sometimes second turn after the landing on really steep run drops.  That sudden acceleration  experienced upon landing is what kinds spooks me.   Finding places where things flatten out a bit 50 feet after the drop are much more approachable as I get older and a bit more timid.
 

 

That's a little late to be second guessing your ability. If your going to go crash do it in style,right. Timid I like to think of as less wreckless. ;-)
 

 

post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post





I think you are right.  These cornices were getting less scary, though I still got the "that was easier than I expected" feeling every time.



Jumps usually end up "easier than it looked" for me too.  I sent my biggest off of a cat track a couple days ago, coming down from the summit.  I'm guessing 40' distance/10' up (after calculating in the man-adjustment conversion factor and it was probably 30'/8') but I was in the air a LOT longer than I'm used to.  I stuck the landing and sped off, thinking "that wasn't so hard."  Buried the tip on the next run and ate holy-shit.  Nice soft landing in deep pow at least, so no injuries.

post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post



That's a little late to be second guessing your ability. If your going to go crash do it in style,right. Timid I like to think of as less wreckless. ;-)
 

 


I almost NEVER crash, but sometimes get that eek.gifOH CRAP feeling.  You have to include the fact that you can't check speed in the air or for a moment after landing before deciding if the drop is within your comfort zone.  A 10-15 foot drop with a run out on something 35+ is a lot more wicked than one with a runout that is closer to 28*.

 

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