Originally Posted by gonzostrike
YOUTH is a predominant factor.
YOUTH is a combination of daring, fast reflexes, the height of athletic power and speed, and the UTTER LACK of horrible injury that gives TOO MUCH reflection upon danger and harm.
EXPERIENCE is the second dominant factor. EXPERIENCE with steep and difficult terrain. as a MTB rider I am always impressed with the folks who hail from BC in Canada, where the MTB terrain is much steeper and much more technically difficult than 95% of the terrain elsewhere in North America, and maybe even the world. they "grow up" riding stuff that scares people elsewhere. the EXPERIENCE with such difficult terrain is that when they go looking for difficult technical challenge, they seek something that looks IMPOSSIBLE to the rest of us.
and let's not forget that many of them are ex-RACERS, who are the most technically minded skiers, most precise, most reliant on a dependable technique.
My son became an extreme skier after moving west to go to college. He was a ussa racer and had a lot of big mountain experience, no fear and was a speed junkie. In time, he became a terrain junkie and skied steeps from Northern ARizona to Alaska (lived there for years and it has terrain that is unbelieveable, like BC). He grew up in boring Chicago area so there was no indication that he would become the skier he became.
I had the same transition but at a much later time in life and was not as comfortable with taking such risks. As a senior, I will not take those risks. Would rather ski tamer terrain than risk injury and/or ending my skiing. Old bodies just do not heal well or fast. Still enjoy some steep terrain on a good day in good snow and skiing fast.
None of my other 3 sons made the transition to really steep terrain like their younger brother. He was the best athlete, had the opportunity, and was fearless. The others had solid careers and families much earlier. Now he is gearing down and takes few real risks like he once did....family and career have a way of making you more sensible.
I personally marvel at the skill and athletic ability of today's skiers and feel I was born a couple of generations too early.