I have female ski partner that exhibits pretty good fundamentals. However, fear management is starting to become an issue that is really holding back her skiing.
The fear issue seems to be heading in the wrong direction. When I first started skiing with her, she got scared at pretty understandable moments- at the top of ungroomed terrain that was pushing the limits of what she was comfortable with skiing. She would need to work herself up, and then would drop in and ski very well.
Since then, her skiing skills have gotten much, much better, but where I would expect confidence to alleviate the fear problem, if anything, it is getting worse. At this point, venturing off into anything ungroomed at any pitch, anything treed, or anything with deep snow, and she locks up in panic. Skills are NOT the issue here- this girl tackled Silverton last season, and although we had an understandable freakout up top, she moved past it and skied well.
Neither of us know or understand where this is coming from. A few years ago, she had a fall on a day with about 40" of fresh snow, and fell in such a way where she was face up with several feet of snow on top of her. She couldn't clear her airway and panicked, but was extricated in moments without real injury. She has expressed that this scared her a lot, and I could understand being wary of powder days, but she used to like skiing moguls and now gets locked up. She was doing pretty well venturing into trees and now gets locked up. Anything ungroomed, locked up. This on slopes that she could tackle the first day we skied together, and now 200+ days later and with her being a very capable skier, she can't get off the groom.
I don't know how to approach this- typical fear with a developing skier is easy compared to this- just structure approachable, low consequence slopes to use the skills, and gradually progress. But the fear issue here is not rational, is frustrating to everyone involved, and is ruining ski days for both of us.
We both like skiing together. While I am a better skier, we have generally been able to structure our day to make us both happy- in the past this has meant she pushes herself into more challenging terrain for a run or two, we split off for a run or two for me to hit stuff that is truly out of her league, and the remainder of the day I ski stuff that is more in line with her comfort zone. With some quibbles here and there, this has worked. But, it isn't working now, and I have no idea where to go from here.
I've asked her what she wants to get out of skiing- if she doesn't want to ski ungroomed terrain, that is fine- she's skied enough to know what she wants, and it doesn't have to be what I want to ski- we can just restructure our ski day. She's expressed this isn't what she wants- if she could manage the fear she wants to ski the whole mountain (or at least more than she does). However, this panic issue comes up every ungroomed run these days, and unfortunately I can't help but get exasperated which doesn't help anything either. She isn't having fun, and I'm not having fun watching her not having fun and dreading each ski day.
Right now we are skiing solo, so she can be in charge of what she skis. But neither of us like this, and the better solution would be to find a way for her to get more in control of this fear problem. But I am at wit's end of how.
Any suggestions? I think this would be an obvious candidate for a skidiva thread, but I have unwelcome anatomy to ask this over there. :/