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Are You Still Getting Better?

post #1 of 91
Thread Starter 
I'm now 51 years of age. Perhaps it's hubris or denial, but I feel my skiing is better today than it was years ago.

One reason, obviously, is equipment. The gear available today makes the gear of even 5 years ago, look quaint. We've all gained from technology advances and it shows on the hill (we can all now carve and ski powder).

More importantly, I find myself still polishing my technique. There's always one or two points (like mantras - over and over) that I dwell upon on each run.

I don't take the risks I used to, and obviously don't have the reflexes and muscle mass of a 20 year old. As a result, I'll sometimes pass on a knarly, steep, treed slope if my gut doesn't approve.

Technically, however, my skiing feels more balanced, polished and precise than it did 10 years ago. I enjoy snapping turns more now than ever, and it feels better.

What is your experience? Do you still feel you're improving, or are some of us just legends in our own mind?
post #2 of 91
I'm at a quantum leap in my skiing, but I am mid-leap. I am not to the level on new skis that I was on the old ones a decade ago, however, I can see the not-too-distant future when I break through to that higher level--not the least of which because of the time that I have spent here.
post #3 of 91
I often don't really feel I am improving.... until I think about how I felt about skiing a certain slope last season or the season before & realise I now just wander off & ski the damn thing.....

Every season stuff that worried me seems to be easier to cope with.... & every season I get told I am reaching the point of diminishing returns & improvements will be slow & every season there is rejoicing in how much I improve....

to quote
"it's all good"

The only problem is the number of instructors to choose from is shrinking.... then again I am getting better at selecting the ones I want....

I think next season is the season to really consolidate on LESS LESSONS strategy.... learn to train me a bit more on own for a year or two - so I can consolidate a bit more.....
post #4 of 91
I have to work a lot harder than I used to just to be as good as I was ... but when I do I get better every day.

Amen brutha.
post #5 of 91
Interesting question Capt'n. I am also 51. Imagine if I could go back 30 years and ski with myself. That 21 year old would be on 205 cm GS Kastle skis and first generation Rossingol plastic boots (with a wing nut to tighten the instep). That kid would look at the old man and wonder why such short fat skis and a wide stance. He would smoke me on a shush and go over drops that could break a mortal. On the other hand, he would have major problems in powder and would marvel at the high performance carved turns that equipment could not do then. The old guy can do steeper narrow chutes and trees. The young me doesn't even breath hard after a hard run. He does expert closed stance parallel and wedeln. Since he is an instructor, my style looks completely foreign to him; so I rip a few old school turns. He appreciates the efficiency and clean turns, and wants to know where I got those cool skis and boots.

Skill wise, I am a better skier in 2005; there is a lot more in the bag of tricks. Now, if I could have back my 21 year old athleticism and endurance with today's equipment, I don't think there is any contest. I just don't want to live on that budget again. Lets see, 1975 was a year into the oil crisis, I had to sell the Olds 442 and buy an economy car (don't ask). Oh yeah, my younger self goes to school with Gerald Ford's son Jack. Since his dad is President, the secret service goes on all the school field trips and skiing. You may remember Gerald Ford was an epic skier and is in the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame. I digress, but this happens in old age....
post #6 of 91
Another 51 year old here (is it contagious?). I am not an instructor and ski mostly by how it feels to me, but I do know that I seldom have the "damn it, I should have done that with more fluidity" feelings of yesteryear. Some of it has to do with the gear and some of it has to do with the time on snow. I ski stuff now without thought that would have given me a major sphincter check 30 years ago, though I'm a lot more tired when I hit the bottom.

Please, nobody give me advice that a lesson or two would do me good. You're right and I don't care.
post #7 of 91
Aah - I have an advantage - did not learn to ski until I was already old (well nearly 40) so the body was already falling apart - hence I get better
post #8 of 91
Originally Posted by pheft
Please, nobody give me advice that a lesson or two would do me good. You're right and I don't care.
You go, pheft! I love this! Get out there and smile!
post #9 of 91
My technique is better now but no way in hell does it makes up for my physical condition in my 20s. I'm just happy the new equipment and better technique are doing a good job keeping the digression minimal.
post #10 of 91
Well. I'm only 50, but the reason I'm skiing so much on the mountain these days is that I'm making the turns I only dreamed of years ago. I was a college racer in the 70's and moved to Colorado after graduating. I played big fish in little pond, winning lots of local races, but deep down inside I knew I was getting a little worse every year. I became mostly a nordic skier, a field where there was lots of room for improvement.

My nordic skiing gets a little worse each year now, but man, am I having fun on the slopes.

And cirquerider my friend, I too have retired the 205 Kastles.
post #11 of 91
Originally Posted by newfydog
.... but man, am I having fun on the slopes.
And quite right too!

As a mere baby here (46), I've seen myself slowly progress to the mediocre skier I am today. I always use the excuse that I started skiing too late - I was 26. Maybe laziness and a lack of concentration on good technique is more the reason. However, I get intense pleasure from skiing in my 'mediocre' way and I always keep in mind why I am on the slopes - TO HAVE FUN.

Let's not worry too much on how much we are improving, let's just get out there and enjoy ourselves !
post #12 of 91
Thread Starter 
In reading these posts, it seems there 2 types of skiers: those who agonize over each turn, fretting that their angulation and hand position should be better, and those who simply relax and enjoy.

Skiing seems to reflect one's approach to life; intense and analytical, or carefree while smelling the roses.

I'm in the former category. Ultimately, it may make one a better skier that he/she would otherwise be, but does it make one happier?

These, Grasshopper, are weighty issues.
post #13 of 91
I just keep getting better and better. Some day I'll be really good. I'm only 65, so I figure I just might make it.

When I was 40, I thought I was all through improving. I reached a plateau, it seemed, and I just couldn't feel any gains for a year or two. I have no memory of what changed, but ever since, I've been sensing little nuances and occasional large steps up in my skiing. This pattern preceded the big change in gear, but has accelerated with modern equipment. It's just wonderful.

Except for a couple of injury-interrupted seasons, I've been a 100-days-plus-a-year skier since I was 30. On today's equipment, I can ski all day every day with little fatigue and no discomfort. Ten years ago, I could only ski all day for two or three days in a row and I had considerable fatigue and pain if I did. Then I mostly spent maybe four hours skiing on average.

Today, I'll be in my boots from 8:30 a.m. till nearly 7 p.m. and on the slopes all but about 90 minutes of that time.
post #14 of 91
Another late bloomer here-I'll be 53 tomorrow and started when I was 30.With a career change I've averaged about 60 days a year for the last 4 winters. Yep, I'm getting better-I started beer league racing and gate training 2 years ago which has helped a great deal. I feel much smoother and more fluid than even a couple of years ago. I'm feelin' pretty good about my skiing, but we're heading to Jay tomorrow-let's see if that brings me back to earth!
post #15 of 91
41 w/ 27 years on the snow. I have gotten more refined, but I am not floating 6' helis that I was in High School. I am skiing bumps much smoother but not as late into the day. I usually quit about 3 instead of catching that last lift, part is I hate the flat light that is late in the day.
post #16 of 91
@ 53 technically I am a better skier than 30 years ago. Physically no way. Just 2 days ago some snowboard kid yelled at me. " Do a 360." I was skiing a steep bump field.: Right.:
post #17 of 91
Well, considering that I am 41, and today will be essentially my 8th day on skiis, I've got no where to go but UP!

But I am historically a late bloomer - I graduate in May from medical school and tore my ACL at 38 "learning" to play soccer. (My mother told me I should "act my age"): I won't even go into some of the other stuff that I was late at getting the hang of.

I am with Disski on this one - some are complaining about watching themselves decline - but since I started late every improvement is a victory. I am so stoked that I can keep on doing this for decades! I just gave you all a big head start, that's all
post #18 of 91
I'm 36 - everything is getting better!
post #19 of 91
I'm 44 and though I have more aches and pains than I did in my 20's I have greater muscle mass, better endurance and roughly the same flexibility that I had then. I'm less of a slug, more of a gym rat, more of a cyclist, now a non-smoker and motivated by the desire to kick my diabetes' ass. At the rate I'm going, I'll look like Paul Teutel Sr. When I'm 50-something...minus the ink.

My increased physicality inspires me to take more lessons and take on more terrain than I did when I was younger. I expect to get better and better. It feels good.
post #20 of 91
You don´t expect many posts like "well, I used to be good but now b/c I haven´t mastered the new carving technique and the new skis I´m not good any more", do you
I make better turns now.
As we know, it´s the skis, better grooming, manmade snow...
Do better turns I make on groomers make me a better skier?
Well, it depends.
I have a hip replacement and my right knee is far from being OK. It limits my days on snow (80 or so? I don´t count them), the workout and the terrain I ski on.
I ski on groomers and can concentrate on the technique there.
I still race with the young and fit in FIS-legal regional races. I only race GS, the risk in SL being to high for the hip.
My skiing is far from being complete (no freeride, no bumps) but in the conditions I chose for my skiing the people around me say I´m improving.
One of them, a coach with some racers on the Europe Cup, hadn´t seen me skiing for two years till last month. He told me I was definitely better than how he remembers me (no polite phrase was necessary, at least I hope so).
In my skiing free on groomers I seem to be better.
(Would I be faster than my 30 years younger self in gates? Maybe, but it´s the skis, we know...)
I wouldn´t dare to say "I´m a better skier" though.
I´m doing my best to be as good as possible. It´s a perfect challenge.
And, yes, I´m 54.
One of those enjoying the rest of the time when you can be (almost) as fast as most youngsters.

(My English was better then, I had much more practice. OTOH, my German is much better now, the reason being the same.)
post #21 of 91
I'm getting better at moguls, but my DH seems a little worse, I haven't tried powder in over a decade. I'm sure it sucks big time. I guess you get better at what you spend the most time doing.

My judgement is MUCH better; I would never do some of the crazy things I used to do.
(high speed shortcuts through trees, cutting onto trails).
post #22 of 91
I make big gains in my skiing every year but then I am only 49.
post #23 of 91
Originally Posted by bklyntrayc
I'm 36 - everything is getting better!
And I have a photo to proove it!
post #24 of 91
At 57 its good to here from you kids.I beleive I still could keep up with my thirty year old self on those K2 Unlimited Vo's, wait a munite, I'm still on them when I go to Bear.
Help me choose the best modern ski to replace them.
post #25 of 91
Dr Frau - my mother thinks I am having a second childhood too...
I have learnt to ski, rollerblade, & am trying to learn to surf.... all at about 40....

My father loves it because I have finally found myself a "sport" ....
post #26 of 91
I'm always getting better. But then again, I have a lot of room for improvement.
post #27 of 91
Yeah Captain age wise I'm in yer generation too. Technique wise definitely better but much has to do with better equipment. Occasionally in the past I took a few runs with some of my older skis and usually ended up aghast that I'd spent so many years on such mediocre gear. Several pairs have thus been tossed in the dumpster. For me at least, the more years I ski, the more the movements seem to become hard wired into my brain. For example, during the first ten years of my adult skiing, I recall usually going through a period of days as each season began where I'd gradually regain whatever technique I'd had going the previous season. As I got older that process eventually disappeared. For the last decade, on my first ski day every season, after a few warm ups on groomers, I'll stand atop my favorite mogul run wondering how its going to go. And each year same thing, I'll crank down several hundred feet in the bumps like it was natural. That's not to say my bump technique doesn't improve each subsequent day as I get stronger. But rather that the movements of skiing are strongly wired into my movement brain. However early in the season regardless of how much I may have worked out, I wimp out more quickly on the first ski days and have a lot more soreness afterward. I never start the season skiing more than one day in a row while as a youngun such mattered not.
post #28 of 91
I'm 50 now and have skied since I was 10. I think shape skis, mid fats, shorty slaloms, etc have made skiing so much easier and better that I think I am continuing to improve. As posted previously , if I skied 20 years ago on my current equipment I would have to believe I would ski better.

I workout quite a bit, but I'm getting weaker every passing year and running slower too. The advancements in ski design and materials masks this and represents just another reason why skiing is such an incredible lifetime sport.I just can't imagine not doing it anymore.
post #29 of 91
I'm 42 and have been skiing since 25. My skiing hit a plateau when I was around mid thirties, I had been an instructor for about 6 years, in PSIA and thought I would just go and "get" my level 2. Well reality hit me in the face, I sucked, my skiing needed major work if I was going any further in the organization. I trained harder , read more, practiced more, got better more modern gear and learned how to use it. My skiing now keeps getting better every year and I'm constantly looking to improve. Got my level 3 last year and have only begun to see that there is much more that needs improvement in both the skiing and teaching part of my skiing. I also have a big incentive to improve each year, I'm not letting the 2 little ones (9 yr old girl, 7 yr old boy) run the old man off the mountain. Although the boy is both a skier and a boarder he does own my butt on a board! They keep me young but I wish I had my 20 year old body.
post #30 of 91


For me at 55 my all mountain skiing trees, bumps, groomed, crud, steeps, and ice are technically way ahead of my college racing days. My technical ability continues to improve each year, but the real key is that I "Love Training" and training others. I work at it non-stop because it's fun.

Just today one of our coaches, a mono-skier, wanted to see what would happen if we experimented with railroad tracks using the widest possible stance one could hold and turn from one set of edges to the other set with no slip at all. So a group of us cranked up some RR Tracks in this ultra-wide stance and what was most interesting was that we were able to judge the amount of edge engagement for each ski from turn to turn, by reading our tracks. On our next lift ride we were able to see all of the turns from the lift and how the results of our movements were set into the snow. Frankly, it was awesome. It's hard to describe how clean we were able to ski these turns, provided the inside ski management was very active throughout each turn. It was almost as though the inside ski acted like the rudder on a boat. The more the inside ski was engaged with a higher edge angle, the cleaner the tracks from turn to turn.

The end result was that the RR Tracks looked like two snowboard carves perfectly parallel with each other all the way down the slope. I typically ski with alot of angles, but these angles were so extreme that it was a total rush.

My point is that in my view, even with increasing age, good training and conditioning can slow the aging process. My reaction time is definately slower, my strength is somewhat less, but my finesse combined with a much higher technical ability far outweigh what I'm loosing with age.

Happy Trails ---- whtmt & Mackenzie 911
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