I think I made a discovery this week that's been sitting in plain sight for decades of my life.
I'm about to turn 44. I am a highly competent skier. At my home mountain, I ski black runs all day long and have begun venturing into some big mountain stuff in the last couple of years. I almost never find myself in situations beyond my technical ability, even if I may be slightly conservative with my decisions. I suck in bumps, but I think I know most of what I am doing wrong and am working on it.
My issue is that I am usually terrified. I fight back my fear to find a modicum of improvement every time I ski.
Here's what I noticed this week:
I skied Crested Butte for the first time. Being unfamiliar with the mountain, yet aware of its reputation for steeps, I found myself being much more conservative than I am on my home mountain where I know where everything leads. I avoided black runs mostly, and I felt lucky that all of the really wild stuff was closed for the season. The mere thought of that damned banana run gave me the sweats. We were up there with a friend who has skied that mountain his whole life, and as he talked about returning there next year to make sure we hit the Headwall and the North Face I dreaded the thought. Even though on another level I know I have athletic and technical ability to ski that stuff.
Then I noticed some heebee-geebees on the lifts.
Then on the way home I noticed my nerves going over Monarch Pass, which was as dry as a bone. Hmm. I was also pretty nervous coming over Loveland Pass the other day. And, guess what, just about every other time I've skied, driven, or walked near an exposure. I don't mind being in tall buildings or in situations where there is no measurable danger.
I think I have a mild fear of heights, and it's constraining my development as a skier.
How have you guys dealt with this if it's been an issue in your life? And, can anyone recommend an instructor at Copper Mountain who happens to be good at working with advanced skiers who are afraid of heights (if there are many other such beasts)?