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Doris LaChapelle Powder Skiing Quote

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I was searching for good quotes for chapter headers, and I came across this gem:
Some people can never learn to ski powder snow without exerting tremendous effort and strength because they allow their rational, left-brain hemisphere to control the entire situation. (Delores LaChapelle)

Thoughts?
post #2 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
I was searching for good quotes for chapter headers, and I came across this gem:
Some people can never learn to ski powder snow without exerting tremendous effort and strength because they allow their rational, left-brain hemisphere to control the entire situation. (Delores LaChapelle)

Thoughts?
I think that covers more than just powder skiing!

Great quote.

Our conversations here notwithstanding, one can't really "think" while one is skiing. It's got to be habitual. Instinctual.
post #3 of 20

Powder Skiing Quote

Yep - JUST DO IT - Well wait till winter I guess.
post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho
Well wait till winter I guess.
No way! I do some of my best skiing this time of year. Imagination and visualization are powerful tools, and I can actually make a perfect turn in the Theater of the Mind...
post #5 of 20
i agree... the best skiing i have ever done has been when i forget about trying to ski well and i just ski... it is the same as in martial arts... you practice and practice so when the time comes and you are in combat, you act without thought... Miyamoto Musashi, one of the most famous swordsmen in Japan's history, wrote about this in his "Book of Five Rings"

Quote:
In Void there is good but no evil. Wisdom exists, logic exists,the Way exists. The mind is empty
If you think about it, the brain usally gets in the way of fluid motion... you think too much about something and you lose focus...
post #6 of 20

Is she related to Dave?

It's easy to see where this quote is coming from. It is describing a real phenomenon. But as a ski instructor, I find it misleading in a couple of ways.

First off is the claim that "some people can never learn ...". I like to think that it's possible for anyone to learn. Some people may choose not to try to learn or may choose to try to learn on their own and fail, but that does not mean that they can't learn. From an instructor perspective there should be no such thing as a failure to learn, only a failure to teach.

Secondly, I believe that the phenomenon actually involves a combination of right and left brain activity. You get into a situation where the usual stuff does not work so you force a solution, but the forced solution relies on some instincts to get the job done. In powder, we see people sitting back a lot. Are they sitting back on purpose, or is it a result of stopping the ski tips from sinking? Rookie powder skiers often overturn in powder to control speed. If you ask them how they are making their turns happen, they won't tell you that they are pressuring the sides of the boot, using their quads, using shoulder rotation or using the edge of the skis to make the skis turn because they are not conscious of these things. Well, at least for 5 minutes, until their quads start burning.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty
First off is the claim that "some people can never learn ...". I like to think that it's possible for anyone to learn. Some people may choose not to try to learn or may choose to try to learn on their own and fail, but that does not mean that they can't learn. From an instructor perspective there should be no such thing as a failure to learn, only a failure to teach.
therusty, I think this is an example of removing too much context. She says that they cannot learn because they won't get out of their own heads. The implication is if they get out of their own heads, they can learn. Or, said another way, if we want to help them learn, we need to help them get out of their heads. I do not see this as contrasting your concept of learning at all, actually, but rather becomes a reminder to me as a coach of what I need to be doing with skiers to help them grow.
post #8 of 20

Absolutes will get you in trouble every time (sic)!

Steve,

It's a subtle use of words, but for quotes subtle meanings take on more importance. "Some people will never learn..." is a common uttering that is widely understood. "Some people can never learn..." is spoken less frequently and easily HEARD as the more commonly spoken expression. Nonetheless, the literal meaning is importantly different. The problem is the word "never". To me, "can never" implies impossibility whereas "will never" leads to the implied "unless". Sure it's being picky. Yes it's easy to guess the intent of the quote. But such precision absolutely makes the difference between a wannabe quote and a quality quote.

Remember what Yogi Berra once said:
"I never said that!"
post #9 of 20
Immersive powder skiing, which is what she's talking about, does demand a special type of relaxation, similar to bumps or golf for that matter. How to get someone to feel that and trust it is a different story. For someone who's used to succeeding at other things by simply trying harder it's hard to accept that this can be part of the problem.
post #10 of 20
If memory serves correctly, Dolores was a lifelong resident of Silverton. I'm not sure if she's still alive, if so she's almost certainly in her 90's. Silverton Mountain created a poster with a quote from her from around 2001 that says: "Powder snow teaches us how to live."

It hangs near my desk.
post #11 of 20

Engineering precision applied to language is a dangerous thing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty
It's a subtle use of words, but for quotes subtle meanings take on more importance. "Some people will never learn..." is a common uttering that is widely understood. "Some people can never learn..." is spoken less frequently and easily HEARD as the more commonly spoken expression. Nonetheless, the literal meaning is importantly different. The problem is the word "never". To me, "can never" implies impossibility whereas "will never" leads to the implied "unless". Sure it's being picky. Yes it's easy to guess the intent of the quote. But such precision absolutely makes the difference between a wannabe quote and a quality quote.
So, you probably know what I did. I looked the words up. The third definition in Websters (the version that lives on my Mac, at least!) is "be able to through acquired knowledge or skill". I think that reflects exactly what she meant given the context of the words. I read it like this:

Because of their unwillingness to let go of their control, some people can not learn how to ski powder snow without exerting tremendous effort and strength.
post #12 of 20

It's time to get a better dictionary

Steve,

Vinn has a much better dictionary. Now that is a worthy quote!

I think CTKook is on to something. The flow (special type of relaxation)that I have in powder skiing has been very useful to my golf game. The sad thing is I had to play through 4 years of hacking to start finding even some of that flow. I don't know how to "bottle" this and give it to my students.
post #13 of 20
Dolores LaChapelle also said. Powder. It's like trying to describe sex to a virgin.
post #14 of 20

Quite a family, those LaChapelles...

 

  http://www.lachapellelegacy.org

 

In case it might be of interest to anyone Deep Powder Snow is available in the bookstore section of that web site for a very good price compared to anywhere else I've seen it offered for sale.

post #15 of 20

Never had heard of her.

Most interesting and impressive.

 

 

      Newlyweds Mary Dolores Greenwell LaChapelle and
            Edward Randall LaChapelle, Switzerland c.1948
                                                 http://www.lachapellelegacy.org/
post #16 of 20

I caught this fantastic documentary somewhere a few years ago - Ed and Dolores LaChapelle were both featured in it. Here's a short preview...

 

 

A preview of the hour-long historical documentary we released in 2000. Description: Utah is recognized as one of the world's most important winter sports centers. Nearly four years in the making, The Greatest Snow on Earth: Utah's Skiing Story takes viewers on a 100-year journey from when miners first used skis as transportation in the avalanche-prone Wasatch mountains to the controversial Olympic bid process that shook the entire Olympic movement. Through a collection of rarely-seen archival and original footage, the documentary reveals the people and events that impacted the sport of skiing far beyond Utah's borders. The compelling history of resort development, avalanche science, powder skiing technique, inventions, and competition are brought to life in poignant, high-profile interviews. It features several of the century's most influential skiers: 1952 Olympic champion and Deer Valley Resort's director of skiing Stein Eriksen; ski pioneer, deep ecologist, author of "Deep Powder Snow" Dolores LaChapelle; 1948 and 1952 Olympic ski team member Suzy Harris Rytting; skiing's most prolific inventor Earl Miller; world-renown snow science avalanche expert Edward R. LaChapelle; ski historian Alexis Kelner; the first person to climb the highest peak on each of the seven continents and Snowbird Ski Resort CEO, Dick Bass. Other appearances include 1997 World Extreme Skiing Champion Brant Moles, free skier Kim Reichelm, and well-known ski mountaineer Andrew McLean. Hank Kashiwa, 1972 U.S Olympian and network sports commentator narrates. All original footage was shot on 16mm and the finished program drew from a total of 16 hours of original and archival footage.

 

If anyone knows of a full version online please post a link - would really love to see it again!


Edited by jc-ski - 4/15/14 at 5:10pm
post #17 of 20

I contacted Working Title Productions, the outfit that produced "The Greatest Snow On Earth - Utah's Skiing Story", and Shawn Emery there very kindly uploaded the full documentary to Vimeo. A little under an hour long - really a fantastic piece of work, well worth watching...

 

 

 

Origins of Alta and Snowbird. Alf and Stein. Ed and Dolores. Much, much more!  Thumbs UpThumbs Up 

post #18 of 20

That was interesting, I learn all sorts of things around here...

post #19 of 20

Started reading Dolores LaChapelle's Deep Powder Snow again, and on page 13 she mentions Marjorie of the Wasatch, an Alta promotional film from the 40's featuring Sverre (Alf's brother) Engen. Found it online with the title Margie of the Wasatch in a Youtube playlist in 5 parts...

 

 

 

The Greatest Snow On Earth - Utah's Skiing Story video clip linked above on Vimeo is defunct, but fortunately it is currently available on Youtube...

 

 

 

The LaChapelle's are mentioned starting 26 minutes in.


Edited by jc-ski - 10/15/16 at 3:07pm
post #20 of 20

"Some people can never learn to ski powder snow without exerting tremendous effort and strength because they allow their rational, left-brain hemisphere to control the entire situation."

Delores LaChapelle.
 

LaChapelle's personal experience underlines a difference between learning and executing.   We learn with the rational and execute with the "irrational" or non-thinking part of the brain. 

 

She provides a nuanced description for the problem and performance of mastery.   Somehow, we have to guide ourselves through this fundamental contradiction: we must program the irrational, right-brain with rational instructions from the left-brain.  And then, we have to teach the left-brain to give up control and allow the right-brain to execute the new instruction(s) skillfully !!   This is very difficult because we are addicted to control.  Control, even as an illusion, is instinctive.  It is part of the survival instinct.   

 

 We can learn this....

 

 

 

Thank you Lisamarie!  Now, I must search out a copy for myself.

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