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Help me overcome my (irrational) fear of drops - Page 2

post #31 of 52

Pow Skier and Core 2,

 

If you get to Copper Mountain, stop by Woodwards. I think they offer some training for this.

 

Woodwards is a giant barn with facilities like short indoor ski runs on synthetic snow that end with jumps into swimming pool size pits full of foam. I haven't done it, but from the ads I've seen, and if you ever plan to be skiing at Copper, this may be a great first step.

post #32 of 52

There are some great pointers in this thread. 

 

I'd like to add that every year in the beginning of the season to get back in tune with gravity I like to air off roll overs on piste. I find this exercise is helpful because you can gradually build up speed to go higher/farther in a controlled environment and practice staying centered at the same time. It's all about starting small and working your way up, which is why I like this method.. You can go 5 feet or 30 feet depending on your comfort level. As someone else already mentioned I find some type of motion (grab or rotating skis to the side then back) to be very helpful for stabilization in the air.

 

If you eventually work your way up to cliffs make triple sure you aren't taking them to flat, scout the bottoms first. 

 

It is a very rewarding feeling if you get there.

 

 

post #33 of 52

^^ Yep.  Landings are key, of course, the bigger you go.  Last spring I dropped my biggest cliff ever at Squaw (on one of our now exceedingly rare powder days) - it was about 20 to 25 feet.  An entirely different beast from a 10-12 footer.  I ended up back-slapping pretty hard because I moved more forward than anticipated trying a little too hard to stay forward during the drop and over-corrected, but the steep landing just spat me out with a hip check and all was good.  A flatter landing would have punished me, big time.

 

Also, I highly recommend working your way up to drops with friends.  While peer pressure isn't always a good thing and if it just doesn't feel right you should walk away, it can really help you avoid wussing out, which I've done way too often on my own and had regrets on the drive home.

post #34 of 52
Quote:
View Post

 Those small jumps are easily repeatable which allow you to practice without introducing extraneous variables to it. Moderate speed, stay balanced, pop slightly off near the lip, when in air keep your knees tucked and compact to keep your body stable, then extend your legs on the landing to absorb the impact

 

 

I am fairly comfortable with relatively small drops and found a good place to practice them, in a controlled environment, was off the boxes in the terrain park. Many boxes have about two foot drops to down slopes which are just right for me.

 

My problem is a trouble with kickers in the park. Whenever I try to "pop" I seem to end up backseat, no matter how much I keep my shins to my boots and my hands in front. Popping gets mentioned a lot, any advice on how to do it properly would be appreciated. I don't know if it's timing. posture or technique?


Edited by MrGolfAnalogy - 1/16/15 at 8:52pm
post #35 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGolfAnalogy View Post
 

 

 

I am fairly comfortable with relatively small drops and found a good place to practice them, in a controlled environment, was off the boxes in the terrain park. Many boxes have about two foot drops to down slopes which are just right for me.

 

My problem is a trouble with kickers in the park. Whenever I try to "pop" I seem to end up backseat, no matter how much I keep my shins to my boots and my hands in front. Popping gets mentioned a lot, any advice on how to do it properly would be appreciated. I don't know if it's timing. posture or technique?

 

There's pretty good info here about hitting kickers. 

post #36 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGolfAnalogy View Post

 

 

My problem is a trouble with kickers in the park. Whenever I try to "pop" I seem to end up backseat, no matter how much I keep my shins to my boots and my hands in front. Popping gets mentioned a lot, any advice on how to do it properly would be appreciated. I don't know if it's timing. posture or technique?

 

You're pushing your bum back with your checklist.    Instead of 'popping, shin to boots and hands in front' , try  popping your hips  towards the lip.    A 'hips to lip' mantra might work, maybe, but you'll have to find the timing all over again (from what you have been doing).

post #37 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldMember View Post

I agree on hitting small table tops in the park for getting comfortable in the air. With that said, your instincts will make you want to scrub speed as you approach the lip. Don't. Speed is (generally) your friend. There is nothing worse than scrubbing speed then short-landing the jump, landing on the table top or the knuckle.



 



See where others are starting from and where they're landing. Start where the right spot is and keep your speed up, don't scrub! Pop the lip and do some straight airs to get comfortable. Work your way up to a few bigger jumps then take your comfort out 'in the field'. From there, scout out some good landings with, preferably, soft snow and get comfortable with it. By the way, the pros get a bit of nerves when dropping, too. That's part of why you do it; the adrenaline rush of success!


 



Yup, this is part of the problem. i try to force myself to make the jump, and then in my head I start thinking "O shit, o shit, o shit" and I'll make a very small skidded turn to scrub speed. I've gotten in trouble doing this, by not clearing the jump and landing on the flat portion right behind the kicker.


Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

 

^^^THIS!^^

 

Landing a jump or a drop really needs to be an offensive, aggressive, confident and deliberate action.  If your train of thought in the air, or worse on the take off is one of defense and blocking somehow then you aren't going to be in command when your skis touch back down.  That is why I recommend some dry land stuff for people that really do have a lot of fear.  Small park features are a good tool.  But , if we are still deftly afraid at that level dry land jumping can boost that confidence higher.

 



Another part of the problem, my actions are definitely defensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

 

 

 

 

 

There is nothing unusual or irrational about being afraid of drops, air, speed, or other things that could get you hurt.  I have always been a bit more fearful than a lot of people, but I also like adrenaline.  My solution is to overcome fear through experience and competence.  You want to start small and relatively slow and build up to your tolerance.  Remember, there is no reason why you have to do jumping or anything else that you don't want to.  Skiing is supposed to be fun.

 

If you want to challenge yourself to face your fear and get to a new level, that is "your" decision and maybe my advice can help you.  The smaller features in the terrain park are a great place to get familiar with the concepts of ATML, approach takeoff maneuver landing.  I like the table top jumps best.  The goal with table tops is to hit the lip with enough speed and pop to clear the flat section and land on the down sloping landing zone.  There is some pretty good advice in the posts I quoted.  I would add that a double pole plant timed to land at or just before the lip of the jump will help get your body moving forward and help with the timing of the "pop".  This movement will put you in a good position in the air so that you can land centered and smoothly.

 

For natural features like rocks I would suggest not jumping them at first.  Get on top of the rock and get into an athletic flexed position like you would be in absorbing the crest of a mogul.  As you  go around the side of the rock extend your legs to keep your skis on the snow and project your CM out over the skis.  This move is very similar to what you should feel with the double pole plant tip used on the table top jumps.  It is also the move that you should be doing on the backsides of moguls.  I think of moving my CM forward, others think of pulling the feet back.  It helps some people to pull their heels towards their butt as they go over the edge.  The goal is to drop the tips and keep the skis on the snow and pressured while the CM moves forward with the skis.  This move has also been labeled the "backpedal" by Bob Barnes and there are endless threads about it.  As you get more comfortable with this, start adding an edge change and turn below the rock.  With an accurate and committed leg extension and move forward you will be able to drop almost straight down and still make a controlled turn at the bottom.  This is the "Corbets Move" and some of the larger rocks and tight chutes around here are called Corbets simulators.  

 

The Corbets Move will help you learn to move through the turn, deal with quick accelerations, and plan and execute a big mountain line.  Look for multiple rock drops to incorporate into your plan and hit them on the fly, link them up into a smooth line and feel the flow.  This is big mountain skiing even if the vertical is small.  I have rocks that I use in my classes that are about 10' and we link a few up.  It is really fun!  I can also feel this move when I'm skiing fast on the groomers and pre-jump the rollers.  It will really help your mogul skiing.

 

When/If you find yourself wanting to actually "jump" these rocks start with the ones you are most comfortable with and hit the sides for smaller air.  Remember how you used approach speed and pop on the lip of the table top jumps in the park and apply those techniques off-piste to land balanced and in the correct spot.  Work up to a size that scares you a little, but that you know you can deal with.  Breathe, smile, have fun!

 



I'm trying to picture what you are saying as it sounds like really good advice, you wouldn't have a video of this, would you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by St Bear View Post

There's nothing irrational about a fear of drops, IMO.


 



In and of itself, you're definitely right. The thing is, I do prefer to ski aggressively (while in control), so the fact that I'm worried about a tiny little 2 foot drop is irrational in itself compared to how I normally ski.

Quote:
Originally Posted by core2 View Post

I'm intimidated to go hit jumps in a terrain park and eat shit and get laughed at by some 14 year olds. That is the real mental challenge for me I guess.

 



This is part of it. The fact that ski resorts always happen to put the features under lifts doesn't help.


I really appreciate the feedback so far from everyone.
post #38 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by pow skier View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldMember View Post
 

I agree on hitting small table tops in the park for getting comfortable in the air. With that said, your instincts will make you want to scrub speed as you approach the lip. Don't. Speed is (generally) your friend. There is nothing worse than scrubbing speed then short-landing the jump, landing on the table top or the knuckle.

 

See where others are starting from and where they're landing. Start where the right spot is and keep your speed up, don't scrub! Pop the lip and do some straight airs to get comfortable. Work your way up to a few bigger jumps then take your comfort out 'in the field'. From there, scout out some good landings with, preferably, soft snow and get comfortable with it. By the way, the pros get a bit of nerves when dropping, too. That's part of why you do it; the adrenaline rush of success!

Yup, this is part of the problem. i try to force myself to make the jump, and then in my head I start thinking "O shit, o shit, o shit" and I'll make a very small skidded turn to scrub speed. I've gotten in trouble doing this, by not clearing the jump and landing on the flat portion right behind the kicker.

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
 

 

^^^THIS!^^

 

Landing a jump or a drop really needs to be an offensive, aggressive, confident and deliberate action.  If your train of thought in the air, or worse on the take off is one of defense and blocking somehow then you aren't going to be in command when your skis touch back down.  That is why I recommend some dry land stuff for people that really do have a lot of fear.  Small park features are a good tool.  But , if we are still deftly afraid at that level dry land jumping can boost that confidence higher.

 



Another part of the problem, my actions are definitely defensive.

In and of itself, you're definitely right. The thing is, I do prefer to ski aggressively (while in control), so the fact that I'm worried about a tiny little 2 foot drop is irrational in itself compared to how I normally ski.

This is part of it. The fact that ski resorts always happen to put the features under lifts doesn't help.

 

Going to the last sentence first: this will *help* you later.  I agree with the other encouraging posters, because air *will* help your skiing a lot.  You really need to figure out what the scary feeling comes from: is it your gut that hates weightlessness?  That's not mental but physiological, just keep after it until your gut relaxes a lot more.  Two feet?  You can probably land jump five feet without damage.  It's important to consider air as critical to your current skiing already, you're *almost* in the air between most turns.  Air is a tool to stay quiet on your skis, it needs to become reflexive: whenever you hit air, you should seek the quiet and grace of it.  I began with 1', then 18", then 2', very small increments, going with more speed all the time, until I was dropping 25' cliffs and flying out 100-150' on prepared jumps (gelande).  As others mentioned, put more *speed* in the jumps you currently handle.  Speed is the real fear, falling speed and skiing speed obey the same physics.  And practice landing on crappy snow and ice for confidence.  I bet that if you keep practicing and *believe* that air is just as valid a way to ski as any other, you'll make progress.

 

Finally an anecdote:  On my first truly scary jump, a famous rock called Headrush at Jackson, I surveyed the dang thing for a nervous 45 minutes before finally hitting it.  What happened?  I crashed...but not because I screwed up.  I was was laughing!  The thing that had scared me so much had such a soft landing I couldn't believe it, it was like whipped cream.  Then I wished I had really sent the sucker.  Moral?  Go find yourself a soft, steep landing.  You be giggling too.  Good luck!

post #39 of 52

I had a friend watch me hit some kickers yesterday. When I was popping I was throwing my chest up to gain height, which was subsequently drawing my head and shoulders back and putting me in the back seat. This is an old move from my skating days to gain height on ramps. It works in the skate park because you eventually rotate your upper body and come back down the same way. 

 

This is another example of upper/lower body separation. In the K2 video that Nilion linked for me you can see how the guys are using their legs to pop with a relatively passive upper body. It's funny how you bring learned movements from one sport into another, and screw yourself up!

post #40 of 52

I have an irrational fear of falling off the bar stool :D

post #41 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by veteran View Post
 

I have an irrational fear of falling off the bar stool :D

Drink enough and you won't care if you fall off. :beercheer:

post #42 of 52

I second the recommendation of hitting jumps, but you don't need to do it in the trauma park.  Just get air off rollers, and every little natural feature and man-made feature and kicker you can find on the hill.  Work your way up to more air.  Once you are comfortable in the air, drops will seem like jumps.

post #43 of 52

OP I've got some tips that might help, but the most important factors when dropping cliffs (or hitting park jumps for that matter) are confidence and commitment.  If you aren't confident that you are going to stomp your landings then you probably won't.  If you aren't committed to the drop than you will most likely make last minute defensive maneuvers that are going to get you into trouble.  So that being said, you are going to have to get over your fears first.  Can you tear your ACL hucking a 10 footer?  Absolutely.  Can you tear your ACL walking down the street?  Absolutely.  If you are a skier, the possibility of a knee injury comes with the territory.  Skiers are 365 times more likely to tear a ligament in their knee than non-skiers.  It can happen dropping cliffs just as easily as it can happen walking from your car to the lift.  My point is that, while tearing your knee is a completely rational fear, if you are going to be an aggressive skier you need to stop dwelling on the bad things that might happen. 

 

So moving on, once you have developed the confidence to commit to dropping some cliffs, here are a few tips that might help:

 

*Do some investigation first!  Scope the drop from above and below.  Probe the landing to make sure you aren't landing on anything that can hurt you.  Make mental notes about the approach, the drop, and the landing.  Is the approach really steep?  What is the trajectory of the takeoff?  Does the drop require that you air over rocks or trees?  What kind of landing should you expect and how are you going to control speed after you land?  Also keep in mind that cliffs usually look very different when you are standing on top of them.  Depending on the size of the cliff you may or may not be able to see the landing.  While investigating you should be creating a mental image of all of the details. The more investigation you do, the more confident you will feel about a particular cliff.

 

*Make a plan for your approach, takeoff, and landing!  After you have done your investigation you should have a pretty good idea of how much speed you should carry into the drop in order to reach your landing.  You should also have a pretty good idea of where you are going to negotiate turns after your landing to control speed.  Visualizing the drop in your head from start to finish is paramount.  If you can visualize it you can probably do it!  With regard to the approach, I recommend standing on top of the drop and sidestepping up to where you want to begin your approach.  Start from a place where you can ski straight into the drop without making any turns.  This way you can focus on the cliff, not the two or three turns leading up to the drop.  Figure out the speed you need!  I'm of the opinion that speed is your friend.  Think of it like riding a bike.  The faster you go the easier it is to balance.  I cringe every time I see someone ski too slow into a cliff or jump because I already know what the outcome is going to be; they are going to roll down the windows like an out of control gaper and they are going to land in the backseat, backslap, and possibly tear a knee.  I know it is counter intuitive to most but it is simple physics; an object in motion will stay in motion, while an object at rest will stay at rest.  Remember that you will accelerate at roughly 9.86m/s every second while in the air.  If you are moving very slowly at takeoff, your body will try to stay where it is while gravity pulls in a different direction.  The result is that you get into the backseat, which makes negotiating landings difficult and dangerous.  

 

*Takeoff.  What sort of takeoff do you have?  In my opinion, takeoffs can take 3 general forms; downward, flat, or upward.  Upward takeoffs are probably the most difficult because they tend to pop you into the air and the trajectory is the furthest away from your desired landing position.  Downward or flat takeoffs are much easier (although downward can also be very difficult if the slope is very steep because it makes speed control on the approach more complicated.)  I recommend starting with a flat takeoff.  Below is a picture that shows a flat takeoff.

 

 

*Landing.  If you look closely at my skis you can see that they are almost parallel with my landing surface (although you can't exactly see the landing in this photo).  If you look at my hands you can see that they are in front of my knees.  The key to stomping any air is to land with as much of your ski as possible.  You never want to land on your tips or tails.  Land on your feet.  In almost every case your landing is going to be on a slope.  Let's think about this for a second.  If your takeoff is "flat" and your landing is on a slope, you need to drive your weight forward in order to match your skis to the landing.  This involves some core strength as well as some subtle manipulation of your skis using your feet and knees.  Not only can you use your 6 pack abs to keep your upper body over your knees and toes, but you can flex your ankles or bend your knees to change the angle of your skis in the air.  If I flex my ankles my tips go up.  If I bend my knees and pretend like I'm kicking myself in the butt, my tips drop.  I can use a combination of these tools to make sure my weight stays forward throughout the drop and that I land on as much of my ski as possible.  

 

*Landing continued.  Just because you land on your feet doesn't mean that your done.  You still have to ski away like a boss.  The biggest mistake that most people make is that they try to control their speed too quickly after landing.  Remember that you are accelerating while in the air and traveling pretty fast by the time you land.  If you rush to control speed you are going to eat it.  Land.  Regain balance and control.  And then think about making some turns.  On a small drop (5'-8') you may be able to jump back into some short radius turns.  On larger drops, think about negotiating medium to large radius turns.  Think about the big boys being filmed from helicopters dropping cliffs down huge faces in AK (Mark Abma, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Seth Morrison, etc.).  I would describe their turns after landing as huge radius.  The bigger the drop and the faster you are traveling, the longer it is going to take to effectively control speed.  This is why scoping your landing and developing an exit strategy BEFORE you hit a cliff is so important.

 

I know it is a lot but I hope there is something in there that helps.  A couple other things to remember:

 

*Start small

*Get comfortable catching air, whether it is on park jumps, moguls, or a trampoline.  

*Watch other people.  Identify what they did correct.  Identify what they did wrong.  Replicate the good and avoid the bad.  

 

And since this is a cliff thread and I love catching air, here are a couple pics from the last couple years.  :)

 

 

*

 

 

post #44 of 52

^ Well said @HippieFlippinNM - You should elaborate further and turn that into an article.

post #45 of 52
Actually it is a good article as it stands. Very educational.
post #46 of 52

Suddenly I really really really want to take a jump lesson with @HippieFlippinNM .

post #47 of 52

Not that I can really add a whole lot to the great advice above, but here are a few things that help me.

 

I'm timid when it comes to cliffs. The most I will purposefully drop is about 10', and I want the right landing.  In the past, I did up to 30' but that was before a nasty knee injury and involved more guts than brains. But, I will routinely hit smaller cliffs to be the guy to harvest the fresh snow underneath. I also screw up frequently and hit larger cliffs when I am skiing and get the "Is that a cliff up ahead or is it just steep?" question wrong. A lot of time I land the cliffs I accidentally hit better than the ones I nerve myself up over the top- in the moment I don't have time to do anything but pop at the lip and try to get my body in place for the landing.

 

1. If possible, practice on cornices. I think it is a lot easier to get over the fear element here. There is just something about having snow underneath the ski rather than rock.  I'll allow myself to hit much larger cornices than I will cliffs, even though in the end it amounts to the same thing. With cornices, you also typically have the benefit of a nice wide open bowl underneath, and the pitch of the landings is usually perfect.

 

2. As @JayT said, in my eyes, the hardest thing about cliffs is bleeding off the speed. A lot of times, the bigger gut check for me is not trying to dump the speed right away but bleeding it off through a few turns.

 

3. I think a common mistake for people trying to learn how to drop cliffs is that they choose the wrong landings.  I think people are drawn to flat landings because then they don't have to worry about what they do afterwards, cliff to flat, especially when you are learning to land, is a recipe for injury.  A steeper landing is easier to land and is much less jarring. I'd rather do 15' onto a 30* pitch than 3 feet to flat. I did a 10' to flat once where I hit so hard I drove my knee into my goggles, shattering them, giving me a black eye, and cutting up my face. The impact popped my puffball hat straight off the top of my head (yay 1980's). Stay away from flat landings.

post #48 of 52

Watch the youtube of the 4th grade girl doing ski jump from a few years back a few times:

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebtGRvP3ILg

post #49 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by raytseng View Post
 

Watch the youtube of the 4th grade girl doing ski jump from a few years back a few times:

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebtGRvP3ILg


Yeah!!!!!! That was awesome.

post #50 of 52

I find it impossible to imagine doing that without throwing in a totally inappropriate (disastrous, actually) braking move on the ramp. 

post #51 of 52

Hey @HippieFlippinNM, just sent you a PM but I was thinking of what you said in this thread after I sent it. 

 

I feel like I can kind of relate to what the OP is saying here. I do like drops but one thing that's always kind of freaked me out a little is when you can't see the landing from the takeoff. A good example of this is the cornice at the top of Pali. It's only like 5 feet and has a nice angled flatish landing (before you hit the bumps) but not being able to see the landings really unnerves me.
 

I noticed a couple of your pics were in Land of the Giants, that seems like a really good training area as there are many small and large rocks to go off of. 

post #52 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiNEwhere View Post
 

Hey @HippieFlippinNM, just sent you a PM but I was thinking of what you said in this thread after I sent it. 

 

I feel like I can kind of relate to what the OP is saying here. I do like drops but one thing that's always kind of freaked me out a little is when you can't see the landing from the takeoff. A good example of this is the cornice at the top of Pali. It's only like 5 feet and has a nice angled flatish landing (before you hit the bumps) but not being able to see the landings really unnerves me.
 

I noticed a couple of your pics were in Land of the Giants, that seems like a really good training area as there are many small and large rocks to go off of. 


The cornice at the top of Pali can be fun.  Right now the landing is pretty firm and the bumps down the face are fairly big but it is doable.  Land of the Giants is a much better place to start getting comfortable with different size airs.  The landings aren't nearly as steep as some of the drops around Pali but they aren't as technical either.  I'll be at A Basin Wednesday and Thursday. 

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