OK, I will chime in before I leave for work.
I believe that in my puny little 70's drug damaged brain, that I have a pretty good perception of my skiing abilities and know what I am able to do and when I need to ski away to look for an easier route. I would hope to think that is what we all strive for, to be able to ski confidently within our abilities on any run.
I was not the first person to label me an "Expert" skier. That came from folks I have skied with and instructors I took lessons from. To be honest, I dislike that term "Expert" and prefer to consider myself a "Mountain Master" or an "Accomplished Skier" which pretty much says that you are confident enough in your skills to be able ski just about anything without getting yourself into danger. It took me quite awhile for me to accept that perhaps I really am an advanced level expert skier. And that only came after many other folks called me that. Even had a few pretty good skiers tell me that I was the best they ever skied with. Of course I told them they need to find new ski partners if I was the best amongst their friends.
But as we all know perception and reality are two completely different things, as evidenced by my lame attempt to learn how to race at the ripe old age of 52. As mentioned I fancy myself a Mountain Master, but in the race course I am at best an intermediate. A fellow racer friend who has raced recreationally for over 30 years explained it to me. It is all about how your brain processes information while you are in the course. He said that very good skiers who race casually, generally think in their brain, that they are doing what the serious racers are doing, because of their high recreational abilities. Accomplished racers OTOH, really do know what they need to do and whether or not they accomplished that...for pretty much every single gate in the course, noting every single mistake they made so they can correct on their next run. The serious racers are processing way more information than I can possibly do with my limited race experience. So our perceptions are different.
I have now hit a plateau in my racing and I am not sure if I have the time, money or motivation to work through that plateau, so I am pretty sure that I know how well I race, which is not very well at all. My very strong recreational abilities have allowed me to move up in class to where I am only one class below the really good racers. But our time discrepancies are so large that I don't anticipate I will ever catch up at my late age. For example, this past weekend in GS on a 600 foot hill I was running very low 47's and came in 3rd only 0.34 combined time out of 1st. Pretty competitive. But still 8-9 seconds combined time off the (over 40) class ahead of me, which was another 5-6 seconds combined time behind the under 40 expert class. And I thought I raced as well as I am capable of. But studying those times does put it in perspective. Don't even ask me about my slalom times as they are pathetic compared to the good racers.
OTOH, maybe it is just the equipment and all I need is a new pair of race skis and a speed suit, and then I will kick me some ASS!
Edited by rickg - 1/20/15 at 2:09pm