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Epic - bad for self confidence?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
It is dry as dust down here and still too warm, so I have been spending far too much time soothing my ski itch reading epic and it's taking its toll on my self confidence.

I used to feel pretty good about my skiing. But after reading all the threads on how I can't possibly know if I'm carving and telling me that while I've been happily zipping down the moguls or whatever, thinking I'm looking pretty dang good, all the while those who really know are looking down at me from the chairlift snickering at my self-deluded incompetence, I'm now convinced I can't ski at all. If it ever snows around here again, will I ever have the nerve to ski under a lift again?

shucks, even the cliff huckers and ski magazine models get criticized around here. Does anyone else feel deflated from reading this stuff:
post #2 of 34
Interesting topic. What's getting you down mainly makes me roll my eyes. I don't ski for the sake of how I look skiing. I ski for pleasure. What pleases me is to ski with as much balance and confidence and fluidity as I can. So...I take lessons. I don't take lessons to look better but if I ski better I will look better...but I ski for me, not spectators. The value of motion analysis seems to get perverted to some extent on these forums. MA is a diagnostic tool for people to help me achieve my kinetic goals. I have no aesthetic goals. Yes, I admire good skiers and no, I have no particular objection to being admirable myself. But that's not why I ski and I don't know or care if that's why the people who's skiing I admire ski. I pity anyone that cares whether or not they're deemed a "gaper." We all start out as non-skiers...we develop our own aspirations. Don't let anyone foist their aspirations upon you.
post #3 of 34
HaHaHa! It seems that the average bear can win races, throw 720s in the park, huck cliffs, all while carving trenches switch. Most of us would be ski models but the photogs are looking for people who don't ski as good as us, like Chris Anthony.
post #4 of 34

Confidence-Mom

Hey Mom, don't let these guys get you down. I've only been on epic for a short time but really enjoy the yak, some sincere and helpful and some even knowledgeable. BUT there is an awful lot of bull#*&$# going on also. I for one am not a technogeek so I also turn off the real quasimoto/esoteric stuff. The discussion on which turns first, the toes, the foot, the ankle, the knee, the shin, the femur or the hip is way to technical for me. Just Do It - KISS. Have fun! Yea I definitely learn on this site but you really have to separate the egomaniacs and engineers from the pack. After last years great snow down there - I can't really cry for you as we were rock bound last year. Looks good for this year! Keep reading and pray for the white stuff-I am. From No. Idaho-Pete. PS I've skied Taos twice and loved it. Great bumps on Als.
post #5 of 34
It's not what you look like
When you're doin' what you're doin'
It's what you're doin'
When you're doin'
What you look like
You're doin'
Express yourself
post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15
HaHaHa! It seems that the average bear can win races, throw 720s in the park, huck cliffs, all while carving trenches switch. Most of us would be ski models but the photogs are looking for people who don't ski as good as us, like Chris Anthony.
This made my day...maybe my year!
Gives new meaning to Yogi's saying, "Better than the average bear!"
post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom
I used to feel pretty good about my skiing. But after reading all the threads on how I can't possibly know if I'm carving and telling me that while I've been happily zipping down the moguls or whatever, thinking I'm looking pretty dang good, all the while those who really know are looking down at me from the chairlift snickering at my self-deluded incompetence, I'm now convinced I can't ski at all. If it ever snows around here again, will I ever have the nerve to ski under a lift again?

shucks, even the cliff huckers and ski magazine models get criticized around here. Does anyone else feel deflated from reading this stuff:
Why should anything anyone says make you change how you feel about your skiing? Especially someone like me?!

I'm certainly one of those over-analyzing engineer-types. It's how I'm made, and I enjoy the analysis. But, I don't think about it when I'm skiing, and the only reason I watch other people is to figure out ways to make a difference for those who may ask for coaching. I certainly don't laugh at others...

For my role in your bout of self-esteem challenge, I'm sorry. That wasn't the point at all...
post #8 of 34

The 8th dimension of Epic

Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.
So no reason to be hard on yourself Mom
post #9 of 34
Yeah the weather is kinda warm still eh. I wonder what opening day at Taos will be like.
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom
It is dry as dust down here and still too warm, so I have been spending far too much time soothing my ski itch reading epic and it's taking its toll on my self confidence.

I used to feel pretty good about my skiing. But after reading all the threads on how I can't possibly know if I'm carving and telling me that while I've been happily zipping down the moguls or whatever, thinking I'm looking pretty dang good, all the while those who really know are looking down at me from the chairlift snickering at my self-deluded incompetence, I'm now convinced I can't ski at all. If it ever snows around here again, will I ever have the nerve to ski under a lift again?

shucks, even the cliff huckers and ski magazine models get criticized around here. Does anyone else feel deflated from reading this stuff:
I clarly said it: i can carve and i can feel when i'm carving. If i weren't, i would have people around to tell me that. So try to relax. Try...

I think that many people can carve but i agree that if you read that thread about the "perception v. reality" you would think that only a few people could carve. That is incorrect. But i do agree that some couldn't.
post #11 of 34
It doesn't bother me a bit.
I enjoy the Newtonian physics discussions, and the info on the gear.
I couldn't care less what anyone else thinks of my skiing. I like the speed and control. I think about everything everyone says, disect it, and see if I can use any of it. I don't care if SHH thinks I'm carving or not. I have fun sometimes just trying things that were brought up here on epic ski. I get on a pair of skis and see what they can do for me. I ski where I want at the speed I want (well sometimes conditons mean that I'm skiing slower) and make the turns I want to make. I'm in control! I'm happy skiing.
post #12 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone. great replies, all. No, of course I don't ski for what I look like - sheesh. (you should see my outfit!) (That bit about skiing under the lift was a lame attempt at interjecting a little tounge-in-cheek humor in the writing.)

But i suppose what got to me was the concept espoused on several threads that one is unable to tell, intrinsically, by feel, without a video or someone else watching, how one was skiing no matter how fervently one "believed" or "felt" one was skiing well. That it's an illusion unless someone is watching. I've never considered it a possibility until now. Sort of a Zen catch-22, one hand clapping and all that.

Not to worry ssh, I take full responsibility for any neuroses that might ensue from being addicted to epic.
post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom
But i suppose what got to me was the concept espoused on several threads that one is unable to tell, intrinsically, by feel, without a video or someone else watching, how one was skiing no matter how fervently one "believed" or "felt" one was skiing well. That it's an illusion unless someone is watching. I've never considered it a possibility until now. Sort of a Zen catch-22, one hand clapping and all that.

Not to worry ssh, I take full responsibility for any neuroses that might ensue from being addicted to epic.
No matter how well I may (or man not) ski, I clearly communicate for crap!

What I am trying to understand is the gap between what some people think about their skiing and what I observe in their skiing. I intend no value judgement in it. I am also trying to understand how I can self-coach a bit and have a level of confidence that I can align my sensations with my objective performance. In other words, learning how I can have a clearer perspective from which to launch my next growth. And, for those others who would like to be able to do this (most skiers above basic beginners, in my experience) to help them to take the step if they'd like.
post #14 of 34
I try to hold the possibility that I know and can do very much, and I know and can do very little.

Compared to some, I'm a great skier. Compared to others, I'm dogbreath.

What matters is that I remain fascinated with the process and continually realize that the onion has many layers. This way, each season, I'm a beginner again, and rebuild my skiing, and know nothing. This is a nice place to be.
post #15 of 34
Mom, I understand where you are coming from. Listening/reading here has sent me away many times to re-evaluate my skiing to see if I actually walk the walk, instead of doing what most seem to here; which is talk the talk. In my opinion there are few here that can legitimately point a finger at anyone else. All of the technical hupla around here can give you a headache, and a lot of people post who probably shouldn't be posting, but that is the nature of the internet.

Someone who I highly respect from this site referred to epic in saying that everyone here tends to over state their ability (talk on the forum versus actual ability on snow), so more than likely you're ahead of the game (evaluating yourself when many others probably arent evaluating themselves). You either have nothing to worry about, or have areas to investigate if you need improvement or not (if you even care to do so in the first place). Sometimes even I read the replies in the instruction section and just say: "um... what?"

Threads like the carving thread should be an eye opener not to those who are intermediates/advanced, but to those who "know they are carving" or "think they are carving." Some of my replies to the topic were harsh, but not aimed at your average intermediate to advanced skier. My comments are more aimed at those who claim to be the carving/skiing experts, but really aren't... yet still talk the talk. It is frustrating to see groups of people idolize those who they think are better skiers, and then end up emulating or striving for less than stellar skiing. When it comes to carving this activity is the standard, not the exception that it should be.

I personally would never try to belittle or take a shot at a skier who loves the sport, who wants to learn, doesn't care what they look like on the snow, and doesn't try to act like they are king sh*t on and off the snow. I do not however, have any trouble noting those who love to talk but can't perform or say one thing and do something totally different on snow... yet still claim expert teaching status. Of course doing such a thing in a public setting is rude and doesn't allow certain parties to save face... plus the backlash for myself would most likely be unpleasant. BUT, misconceptions exist from the top on down. Skiers like yourself should not feel self concious about your skiing at all. The skiers that the particular thread mentioned above are only a product of their environment.

Later

GREG
post #16 of 34
What's the great god "Carving" anyway? A lot of the time, when people are talking about "carving", they're actually describing railing, and even a beginner can do that. Carving's just a tool, like any other, to be used in blend with the other skill tools for the conditions and intention of the skiier.
post #17 of 34
Greg makes a very good point. I always tend to take everything in the technique forum with a grain of salt. It's easy for anyone to make themselves seem like an authority on the subject by blowing a lot of hot air around. It makes for interesting reading, but until I've seen someone ski (or giving a lesson as appropriate), there's a finite amount of credibility I'm willing to give them.

I would consider myself to be an expert skier, better than a very high percentage of most of those on the hill, but there's absolutely no reason for anyone here to accept that without having actually seen me ski. Same goes for my teaching ability. I'm a fairly competent instructor (I'm the first to admit there are areas where I can improve my teaching), but I would never expect anyone here to just accept that and take everything I say as undeniable fact.

Everyone needs to judge for themselves how credible and reliable someone is. This goes for the real world tool. I deal with a number of high level instructors and coaches (lvl 3 and 4 instructors and lvl 3 coaches) on a regular basis, and I will put more faith in what some say about my skiing over others based on my dealings with them. There are plenty of CSIA level 4's who think they're god's greatest gift to the world, but who are actually less than great teachers, and certainly not top of the pack skiers. And there are level 3's whose advice is infinitely better than some of those level 4's.

My point is that you need to evaluate everything for yourself and judge how much faith you should be putting into it.
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom
But after reading all the threads on how I can't possibly know if I'm carving and telling me that while I've been happily zipping down the moguls...
I'm sure if you're "zippling down the moguls" you're doing all that technical stuff naturally. I don't understand much any of it. But I feel pretty good when I'm skiing. And I sure have a lot of fun.

Steve
post #19 of 34
Mom, If you're taken in by all the tecknojargon in this forum, don't feel bad, or alone. There are many who feel overwhelmed by it. Myself not included as I really don't care what people think about my skiing style. I ski to satisfy myself, for fun, since I quit the Patrol. If you have to worry about what people are thinking about you while you're skiing under the lift, you can't be having fun. The idea is to have fun and enjoy the moment.

What you should do is probably spend less time in this part of epicski. It can get quite "Geekey" at times.
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by weems
I try to hold the possibility that I know and can do very much, and I know and can do very little.

Compared to some, I'm a great skier. Compared to others, I'm dogbreath.

What matters is that I remain fascinated with the process and continually realize that the onion has many layers. This way, each season, I'm a beginner again, and rebuild my skiing, and know nothing. This is a nice place to be.
This reminds me of a quote from the "Desiderata" that I try to keep in mind...

" ...If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter - for ALWAYS there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself....."
post #21 of 34
Dear Mom,

When skiing under the lift, following a crash it is proper etiquette to stand and take a bow. If you are close enough to hear the applause from the lift, you may, in your best Elvis voice, say "Thank you. Thank you very much." If you must take yourself more seriously, then ski another trail. Be secure in the knowledge that for every critic on the lift, there are 100 more people in the world laughing at the critic. You never know when your worst run of the day will let a lift rider discover "so that's how you do it".

One phenomenon most instructors discover is that the better you get, the worse you are relative to where the "top" of skiing is. Because the process of getting better should move the top higher. One can view this is discouraging, but it really is a good thing. Why should the acquistion of knowledge be discouraging? Even if it's bad news, knowing it is one step closer to being done with it.

For recreational skiing, skiing should be like flying an airplane: any landing is a successful one. Even if you want to improve, you need to keep your perspective on that "landing thing". Don't let the focus on improvement take priority over the fun. Now if your already an advanced skier (i.e. you're skiing mogul runs and not relying on a toboggan to complete the run) and you want to improve, by definition you're going to be getting into picky details. There are very few top level skiers who can self coach these details without video. For the rest of us mere mortals, watching ourselves on video and having direction from a more experienced coach are simply two of the tools in the "how to learn better, faster" toolkit. Getting "outside" perspectives of what is working well and what could be better is ONLY an ADDITION to the "inside" perspective you already have. That addition can not make you a worse skier than you already are. It only gives you additional room for growth. Even when you get conflicting expert opinions you have a roadmap for exploration (what, we never have conflicting experts here on Epic? oh - never mind). It's not that one is unable to tell how well one is skiing without video and a coach, it's simply a level of detail that most people don't intuitively have.

Mind you that a lot of people I work with are shocked when they see themselves on video for the first time. They can't believe how bad a skier they really are. I almost have enough experience with this to call it a "universal" reaction. But there is a flip side to this. All of those skiers are also unable to tell how good a skier they really are. When I work with people reviewing video, I try to spend half my time identifying what is working well and why because it as instructive as identifying areas for improvement and helps to balance self analytical skills. Some of the "glass half empty" crowd will pooh pooh my "rah rah" coaching in the first session. I usually get these people on the second session. When they can see that they now "suck less" (that's what they're thinking) than the first time they are also using the "positive" points from the first session as a more balanced self analysis perspective (either consciously or subconsciously). I can tell this because the "positive" aspect of the reviewing becomes more of a conversation than a monologue.

Once you've worked with video a bit, you become a lot better at associating feel with an accurate mental image of what is going on. But this should not be surprising. Isn't that what more information is all about? It's definitely not a catch 22.

When you start getting overwhelmed by the picky technical crap and the cliff hucking, remember the perspective of the first timer looking at the top of the hill and saying "No way. Ever. No f'ing way. Those dots are really people? You're kidding me. That is just plain suicidal". You're not just better than 80% of the skiing population. Most of them think you are crazy. So don't go out there and disappoint them.
post #22 of 34
Mom,
A friend and another full timer at my mountain and I were talking the other day and he mentioned that he never skied in a clinic with a x demo team member that I have skied with. We were discussing some teaching concepts of hard core "learning" (that the demo team member was pressenting) and that many people are are too hard on them selves for failure and keep trying the same thing, getting the same result. He saw himself there. I told him that if he skied with the demo team member, she would be hard on his skiing (that sucks!), but that he would learn what he should do to improve. He skis a lot with me and has become much better, but I told him that I am too nice to him compared to how the demo team member would be. People who are very serious about improving want some pain in the process (I think he is ready for pain). If my self analysis of my skiing is, I am not bad, but I suck at x,y,& z, that is part of the pain that drives me to improve. Some people's self analysis is they are better than most instructors and that they can't teach them anything, then their learning and improvement has stopped until they realize their technique is failing them (part of the pain).

I tend to underestimate how I ski, maybe very much like you do. In a L3 prep clinic, I was ready to cancel my exam b/c I didn't think my short turns were good enough, I told the course conductor this and he told me my turns were by far the best in the clinic group, I was surprised by that responce. Last March I was skiing at a mountain on the day of the dev. team exam. One of the examiners that I had a dev team prep clinic with earlier that year told me that I should be taking the exam, again I was surprised to hear that.

So, my point is, if you are the harshist critic of your skiing, you will be good in anybody's book if you want to be, and more important, every once in a while, your skiing will impress even yourself. Go with confidence, your doubts are normal and part of the process of your development to become better.

RW

ps: the snow will come
post #23 of 34
That's awesome Rusty!
post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
No matter how well I may (or man not) ski, I clearly communicate for crap!

What I am trying to understand is the gap between what some people think about their skiing and what I observe in their skiing. I intend no value judgement in it. I am also trying to understand how I can self-coach a bit and have a level of confidence that I can align my sensations with my objective performance. In other words, learning how I can have a clearer perspective from which to launch my next growth. And, for those others who would like to be able to do this (most skiers above basic beginners, in my experience) to help them to take the step if they'd like.
Steve, if I understand what you're trying to get a grasp on, it is the difference between a person's own evaluation of how they are skiing and how they are actually skiing. With some folks this "gap" between perceived ability/skills and actual ability/skills is quite large, with others, the gap is quite small.

I'm guessing here (standard disclaimers, not a ski instructor - although I do have a lot of experience coaching in other activities), but I think that you will find this gap to be much smaller with people who have a strong athletic background (i.e. participation beyond high school) - regardless of the sport. I'm not sure if it's superior athletic ability or having your technique broken down, criticized & corrected by various coaches over a period of several years (or both) - but in my experience people with a background that included competitive college athletics are very accurate in both understanding and describing to someone else what their bodies are doing during an athletic motion. Whereas people whose athletic background has never involved serious and intense coaching (again, no matter what the sport) tend to have a very difficult time understanding and explaining both what they are feeling and what they are doing during an athletic motion. Of course, I suppose that this is really stating an obvious truth: those who have more experience being coached obviously have more experience providing feedback to a coach, and are thus better and more accurate in their feedback.

Not that this has any relationship at all to the thread's subject, and it may be complete hooey - but eh, there it is.

J
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom
shucks, even the cliff huckers and ski magazine models get criticized around here. Does anyone else feel deflated from reading this stuff:
As ski instructors, we are expected to be able to analyse anyone's technique. As with most forms of coaching, the top level people might well be coaching skiiers who are better than they. They are expected to be able to do this. So, no skiier is off limits for analysis, and neither should they be.

I know that when I ski, other instructors will be analysing my technique, they can't help it. I hate being watched.

I even look at people I work with in the office, and try to break down their movement issues and how they'd translate to skiing, how best to teach them and trying to predict what would happen.

It's not necessarily a good vs bad thing; it's analysis, and then critique.
post #26 of 34
A funny thing happened as I began to take lessons from Arcmeister. I thought his skiing looked strange. It looked smooth as silk and completely effortless, but it looked strange to me. I don't know how I looked, but I KNOW I didn't look like that.

Every now and again I would see someone, usually in race gear, that looked strange in the same way. Now I am constantly trying to find these strange looking skiers and follow them around or watch them hawkishly from the lifts. I point them out to my friends who stare at me funny. Sometimes they point out skiers who I used to think would look very good and I stare at them funny.

I realize now what I was seeing was truly good skiers. I had never spent time with really good skiers before. Skiers that knew how to make positive and efficient movements. As I have begun to learn more and more about skiing, I am begining to identify these movements and incorporate them into my skiing.

Now my goal has become to look strange in my skiing as well. While Epic can make you realize your shortcommings, Epic can also help you realize when you really have taken a step forward.
post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by weems
I try to hold the possibility that I know and can do very much, and I know and can do very little.

[snip]

What matters is that I remain fascinated with the process and continually realize that the onion has many layers. This way, each season, I'm a beginner again, and rebuild my skiing, and know nothing. This is a nice place to be.
I think this is the work I'm personally doing right now. I want to get to this place myself and perhaps learn to help others to do it, too.
post #28 of 34
Somehow I just have a feeling that Mom is a great skier who never really questions her abilities (Taos, cruising through the moguls, Mom of racers, if I remember correct are a few clues) -- it is just all this talk of how few really carve and less than 1% are true experts. Get real guys! If you talk to the average person out there they seem to think they are an expert if they can make it down a black diamond (even if they fall a few times on the way down). There is a big gap in how the casual skier uses these words compared to the way some people want to apply them (I'd think the correct use is somewhere in the middle which makes sense as I'd doubt many casual skiers hang here and not everyone is an instructor, racer, extreme skier).

As someone mentioned, once you get better at something you do open up your eyes to the highest levels and see that you aren't as good compared to that group as you felt (before you even knew they existed). But, I don't think you need to be on the US Ski Team or in a ski movie to be an expert.

Lots of the gap in people's words and abilities is due to their not knowing how good some people are. I think the high standards set here are because this group does know how good good can be (and doesn't want to be accused of overstating their abilities).

However, I see the gap all the time when people talk about their kid's skiing. If you go on vacation for a week and your kid is in the top or next to top ski school group you think he is great. You don't know about all the kids beyond that on the race team or hiking to the steepest terrain who were in that top group at the youngest possible age. They just don't know how good a kid that age can be.

I think (as a total generalization) men tend to overestimate their abilities while women tend to underestimate their abilities. I have to say on the video topic -- when I first saw video of myself skiing I was pleasantly surprised -- I looked better than I thought -- it looked smoother than I felt. I have also taken a lesson and been told I was a higher level than I said I was. Since I started to ski all the time my perception gap has narrowed as I not only got a lot better but felt more confident that I was better. Although it is up and down with the day and the conditions (as I'm sure my skiing is).

I understand completely the gap in what people say and what you see. I've often listened to people's ski stories and can't mesh it with what I see. They talk of travel and skiing this tough terrain but I see them awkward on a groomed run. Part of it is there is a wide range in what skiing a certain trail means -- surviving up to totally smooth fast non-stop graceful flowing. You just don't know what the words mean -- the only way to know is to ski with someone. And even that can be flawed by conditions and where their skills are (which often depends on where they spend their time skiing -- are they good at ice, poweder, moguls, steeps, trees, weaving through crowded trails..).

Always Skiing
post #29 of 34
Mom,

What Rustry says is right on. If you didn't have a mirror, you would have no idea what you look like. Without seeing yourself on video, people have no idea how they ski. Video is the skier's mirror. The first time people see themselves on video, you usually have to go looking under chairs and behind walls to find them. In 99.9% of the cases it's about the most humbling experience a skier can have. Then, as you get better, there really is no better way to learn than to actually see what you are doing, so that you can translate what you feel to what you are actually doing and seeing on the video. That's why ski schools take hundreds of hours of videos of their instructors. That's why world cup skiers spend so much time analyzing video. I feel like I'm a fairly good skier, but I still look at video of myslef and pick it apart. But that doesn't mean I'm too embarrassed to go skiing for fear of being laughed at. Actually, it's the opposite. Once you get past caring what other people think, you are determined to get out there on the hill and make changes to your skiing. All that positive reinforcement that Rusty gives his students is so that they won't be too embarrassed to get out and get better, because they really aren't THAT bad. They just felt like they would look better than they see on the video.
post #30 of 34
Thread Starter 
This has been a blast. Thank you all for your wisdom and encouragement and good humor. OK, if we EVER get any SNOW : here, (actally, lest you all assume I'm a half-empty, it was about like this last year which was an epic snow year) I vow to go find a video camera and will report back how close or far from reality was my proprioception. I have NO doubt there is plenty of room for improvement, mind you, it's one of the fun things about skiing, that you never come to the end of learning. It will be interesting to see if that mirror is anywhere close to my imagination.
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