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The 3 Attitudes of Skiing

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I came across this article accidentally while researching something else:

The author speaks of the 3 'attitudes' of skiing, aesthetics, play, and assertiveness. The goal for skiing should be to combine all 3.

But is there one you relate to more than the others?
post #2 of 33
Very interesting article, LM.

It's kind of enlightening. I hate to admit that for a lot of years the "assertiveness" quotient was pretty important to me. As I've aged though, I've gradually (too slowly) begun to realize that there were always much better skiers than I would ever be. No matter how hard I worked at the sport, there were people with more talent and more experience and I would never even begin to approach their level. Even worse, there were better skiers developing every day. That's a hard thing to acknowledge if you're inherently very competitive.

Anyway, a few years ago I started to find that the "playful" part of the sport was appealing to me more and more. I love to go off into the rocks, trees, and brush and try to find spots that are just *fun* - not super difficult or life-threatening - just fun. My friends know that my term for it is "clucking". If I tell them I'm going to go clucking around, they know that if they follow me, they're in for a lot of scenery and a lot of variable terrain and conditions, and *maybe* a few good turns (but frequently not).

So, I think the playfulness part probably means more to me now than any other part. I've slowly learned that no matter how "assertive" I try to be, the mountain will eventually win - that's just the nature of nature.

On the other hand, it's *always* been an aesthetic sport for me, so that's never changed.

Thanks for the article.

post #3 of 33
Nice article. Each Division of PSIA has stuff like this. Isn't it fun to explore?

I've been through all three depending on the "goal" of the run (coaching/teaching background).

Aesthetic skiing is what I'm in most of the time the last year because I'm working on Level 3. You know...that instructor mechanical look of the same turn shape or maintaining the same speed no matter what is underfoot. I say mechanical look, but there is beauty in that!

Play time is with my friends. When I look "lose", flexible, unpredicable, they seem to see the changes in balance more, and are willing to try things. One night skiing trip "played" with stopping at the side of the trail, and spinning around to face the run. The spinning started as the "turn halfway into a backward wedge and jerk to a stop" less of a stop to a ski backward and skiis closer together... It was play with no words mentioned, just skiing. By the end of the night, we were spinning 360s down the center of the easier runs...laughing! This was my "instructor" mode, because if I were to "train" my friends how to do 360s, I would have been too mechanical at first, and less play. An eyeopener, huh. I play when I am in my coaching frame of mind. This is when I am not interested in consistant turn shape or speed...just find a spot on the mountain and push it.

The assertiveness of (as mentioned)"the legs need to “dangle down” from a stable frame", caught my eye. This is a high level skill, and seeing where the article came from, I can see the need. (As mentioned)"complete control of the situation" is important, ... it prevents falls! Agility comes to mind. A major breakthrough in my skiing was a day of trailing an examiner doing consistant speed/consistant turn shape through ice, mush, corn, new 4 inches of snow. (New snow late in March) This stuff was many times all in one turn! ???How do you turn your attention away from your feet (pressure/feel/edging/rotation/etc) and relate to your moving center of mass "falling" down the hill??? ???How do you accept the fact that when you think your edge is about to slip or catch that you can retract your feet under you and "float" your center of mass for the moment until you move your feet into the next turn??? The cougar image is a nice one of agility in movement. I don't think many skiers get there.

Skiing is in the mind, and I agree with the author...all three attitudes are important. I wander depending on the "theme" of the run.
post #4 of 33
Great topic, Lisamarie! I've thought of this for a long time. It seems like the sort of question that one might ask about the "mind/body connection" - to me, there's no "connection" because they're all part of the same thing. Same with the "attitudes" - the experience for me necessarily has all of the attitudes all of the time. Sure, there may be times when one is coming out more strongly than the other, but in my view and experience, the difference is less important than the blending and unity of the three. um, this is NOT intended to sound religious . . . but, on the other hand . . .
post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 
Great answers, everyone! Does this remind anyone of Witheral's qualities of an Athletic Skier?

For myself, if I'm skiing badly, well we won't talk about that attitude! [img]tongue.gif[/img]

If I am skiing well, I am skiing well, I'm mostly in aesthetic realm, but I suspect anyone watching me would feel as if they spent too many hours listening to Enya!

As far as play, sometimes it happens. Assertive, not at all.

After reading this article, I had the fleeting suspicion that if I make it a goal this season to integrate these qualities, and not obsess so much on technique, the skill improvment will happen naturally!
post #6 of 33
Ever noticed how people raised under the Judeo-Christian systems see the world in threes, often alliterative ones?

I agree that attitude is an important skier characteristic, but I would give it a Jungian spin and say that each of us has two attitudes: one is social (how I want to be perceived by others) and the other is personal (how I am alone with myself). I may be brave on the outside, quivering on the inside (usual attitude while examining); I may be acquiescent on the outside, loaded for bear on the inside (working with difficult person); I may be playful on the outside and seriously working a plan (with students).

People are pretty complex creatures. They are the only species in the kingdom that is self-conscious; the only species that engages in deception as a matter of course, particularly self-deception.
post #7 of 33
I'm not ready to agree about humans having the monopoly on deception, because I believe I've seen examples of intentional deception in dogs and cats, not to mention non-doemstic species. But how do you know that no other animal engages in self-deception? Hard to tell. Suffice it to say that humans expend a lot of their energy and focus on each of these activities, and knowing that is essential to understanding those [us] weirdos.

[ September 07, 2002, 08:36 AM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #8 of 33
Let's just say that we each have a public and private self and very seldom are they the same self. We also have two sets of values: those we publicly espouse and those we privately practice. Likewise, it's very rare that public/private values line up.

Here's one I get all the time: A request to be candid in giving feedback about a person's skiing when clearly what they want is only the positive impressions. (The contrary is also frequently true, where a person just wants the bad news.)

I would be completely confused in my job if it weren't for the principle of leakage: the private self tends to leak out of the public impression the person tries to make. This opens up the area of "things others know about me that I don't recognize in myself."

A teacher must approach the insights gained through the student's leakage with great sensitivity and care. The approach can result in great damage or a great leap forward.
post #9 of 33
Uh... sure, okay. I never really considered going skiing to be that deep, but obviously lots of people do. Personally I go day skiing because it beats staring at the rain, and vacation at Whistler because its close, cheaper and less hassle than flying to some sunny spot. I'm always so impressed, and frankly flattered by the enthusiasm and cash outlay that visitors endure to enjoy something that is just part of daily winter life around here. I guess I'm not as diehard as many; if I lived a long way from decent skiing, I'd find something else cool to do. But there isn't, so in winter, we ski every weekend and hang around Whistler for a week or so. I wonder if there's 3 attitudes to bowling or golf?
post #10 of 33
Some folks like skiing. Some really like it a lot. Some love it. Some are IN LOVE with it . . . and then there are nolo, oboe and the rest of us to whom it is more than that.
post #11 of 33
JR, it's nice to see that some of the locals see us tourists as more than an inconvenience. I cannot explain why I gladly spend tons of money to spend 2 weeks in Whistler yet refuse to pay 80 dollars to play golf here in Hawaii. Given that I can't ski too well and I'm a pretty good golfer it's even more bewildering. When I see tourists here getting gouged for a golf holiday I have the same admiration for their enthusiasm. I wonder if they dream of golf in Hawaii like I dream of snow covered mountains? Anyway, it's a strange thing, these obsessions. skidoc [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #12 of 33
Thread Starter 
Nolo, I get it about the public and private self. My public self may be saying, "I want to make this pretty", my private self is saying "if that out of control skier/border comes any closer I'm going to slay them with my ski pole".

So perhaps I'm more assertive than I think! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #13 of 33
Do I have to think about all this while I'm skiing?
I just want to play in the snow, feel the wind on my face and check out the scenery. Is that ok?

post #14 of 33
"Attitude" - a atate of readiness to respond in a characteristic way to a stimulus. It's not thinking. Obviously, you don't "need" to think about all this "while your skiing." However, if you're an instructor trying best to serve a student skier, thinking about this concept beforehand is probably a very useful exercise inn understanding the student and how best to bring the student to the discovery of skiing skills. For those of us who aren't sufficiently knowledgeable or skillful to instruct skiing, it helps some of use to understand ourselves as skiers and perhaps be better prepared to learn.
post #15 of 33
nolo sez: Let's just say that we each have a public and private self and very seldom are they the same self. We also have two sets of values: those we publicly espouse and those we privately practice. Likewise, it's very rare that public/private values line up.
I'll be damned. I agree with her.
I actually obsess over trying to eliminate this dichotomy. Maybe that's why I'm a nut.
post #16 of 33
So, when someone is skiing, is there a struggle going on between the exterior ego, and the interior panic, like the swan analogy: beautiful and graceful on the surface of the water, but underneath its feet are going everywhere.

post #17 of 33
on an advanced skier level, it's more like: "Hmph, I ski for myself. I'm not a show off" -as I ski right under the lift. :

[ September 07, 2002, 03:38 PM: Message edited by: milesb ]
post #18 of 33

Flow is doing the right thing without being conscious of doing it. It is very relaxing. This is what everyone wants, even if they don't know it.

It's like butter.

One of the stars of Ski Bums said it: you get good in order to have those moments when it's you, now, in harmony with nature, in a completely honest, spiritually bare-naked expression of your love for it. (Not his words, but somewhat the meaning...)


We were doing so well. Now what?

To all you who rue my spew,

I apologize for writing about these things in the General Ski Discussion. After all, this is psychology! As we well know, for SCSA has taught us, skiing is merely a technical skill. Place both hands over your ears and hide your eyes from these head cases who insist on talking about the mind game. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #19 of 33
Thread Starter 
Hey Nolo! Don't take the blame for a "psych topic" that I posted!
post #20 of 33
Someone who "pooh-poohs" the notion of a mind/body connection may not like this post, I suppose. Actually, I myself believe that there IS no mind/body connection . . . because they are ONE AND THE SAME. During my years as a psychology major at Middlebury College, I studied enough physiology and experimental work to convince myself that "the mind" and "the body" are merely different aspects of the same entity. Discussion of kinesthetic function necessarily includes both mind and body, whether the "discussers" know it or not. Especially in this sport of skiing where so many of us do not compete but ski for the FEELING of it, discussions such as those initiated by this thread are central. No apology is needed - either from nolo or Lisamarie - for discussing this right here. It of course does have a bearing on instruction and technique, but it would be limiting to have this thread in that forum. The questions raised certainly include but go beyond instruction and technique to the very essence of the skiing experience. Great thread to start, Lisamarie, and great discussion! Thank you all!
post #21 of 33
Thread Starter 
Oboe, the more I study and learn, the more I agree. Remember the Physiology of Fear, Pain and Anxiety thread? So much of what people writer off as "being all in the head" actually has a physiological basis.

As far as this topic is concerned, I do agree that it is something that ski instructors should consider, which is probably why it was on a PSIA site.

Although I don't think people get into deep analysis about what attitude they are skiing with, I do believe everyone has their own interpretation of the sport.

The more skilled and athletic a skier is, the more these qualities are integrated. When a skier reaches that level of proficiency, they no longer think about attitude. Their skiing embodies it all.

The problem, as I stated earlier, comes when someone chooses to ski with only one attitude or interpretation of the sport. For myself, I believe that an interpretation that is just too lyrical sometimes lacks spontaneity. Unfortunately, this spontaneity may be lacking at just the moment when it is needed most! So skiing with only one attitude in mind may have technical ramifications that that are not all that positive.

But Nolo added another layer to this; the outer and inner self. If I am on the outside thinking "I want to be Isadora Duncan on skis", but on the inside thinking "I wish these out of control a**holes would choose a different line", I'm not doing anything proactive to solve the problem. The correct approach woulld be to switch to a more assertive style.
post #22 of 33
Lisamarie sez: After reading this article, I had the fleeting suspicion that if I make it a goal this season to integrate these qualities, and not obsess so much on technique, the skill improvment will happen naturally!

I've mulled this over, and I cannot decide if it would help or not. I guess it depends on which skills you want to improve. If you want to ski better on ice, it may not help, whereas if you want to ski deeper snow better (where there is a much greater margin for technical error), it probably would. Keep us posted, it should be interesting.
post #23 of 33
Not sure where this fits (if it does at all)

Just feels like it does somehow....

Had a lesson with my instructor's buddy Friday & Today (instructor off running some exams - spare instructor MIA on Friday - liked the Friday lesson & went for more this arvo when I felt really BAD about my skiing & wouldn't ski on my own - I'm going to trade in the spare instructor on this one)

He knows a bit about me - from eating dinner & drinking with me & my instructor & other buddies of theirs.

Did a run that he described as my 'best ever skiing with me'. On the chair ride back up he wanted to know what I was thinking about as I skied like that. (He is trying to get a handle on how to teach me well - he knows I am a 'thinker/feeler' - while he is 'watcher/doer')

ummmmm - I had to confess that I WASN'T thinking. I had employeed a technique I learnt fencing - where we think HARD about a defence we wish to execute when attacked in a certain manner. - Then we 'put it aside' & think about attacking the opponent. When the moment comes the body executes the planned move - without active help. This is how I skied that run(not really a deliberate action - I wasn't really aware until asked) I had focused on the task set to me while waiting for him to reach the designated 'watching point'. We were doing longish fastish turns - I KNOW I am scared of speed - so it is better not to THINK too hard. When I started off I was simply making sure I DID'T interfer with what was needed - the body did the work - I didn't think about doing 'xxxx' - didn't need to the body had been instructed. I simply go along for the 'feel' ummmm - yes Nolo - very similar to sex - is this a girls only way of experiencing skiing? How does it fit these categories???
post #24 of 33
For those of us who aren't sufficiently knowledgeable or skillful to instruct skiing, it helps some of use to understand ourselves as skiers and perhaps be better prepared to learn.
I think you're deceiving yourself. You already know all you need to know. Just let it out. Why not follow Dchan's lead and try your hand at instructiing? Let the student become the teacher. Contact your local SSD.
post #25 of 33
Thread Starter 
Some seem to be implying that people have conscious thought as to what sort of attitude they are skiing with. I do not think that's the case at all.
BillA asks, "Do I have to think about all this while I'm skiing?

Its not that someone thinks about anything. But attitude, philosophy and interpretation of the sport are all going to effect its practice. If someone's view of the sport is too narrow, it may have consequences in technique.
post #26 of 33
Personallly, I don't ski w/ much attitude. It just gets me in trouble. I prefer "fun skiing". Relax,enjoy and smile. That's why I'm there. Not to think "too much" about anything. If it works great, if it doesn't that's ok too. I'm still skiing.
post #27 of 33
Lisa, I was being facetious when I posed the question.
I need to think less and experience more while I’m skiing. (see disski’s post)
post #28 of 33
BillA, you posted above that I already know all that I need to know - and I thank you for that expression of confidence in me. The truth is, though, that I do NOT know all that I need to know - and that's why a single day spent skiing with a great instructor did more for me than the previous ten years of experience. I'm no where near ready to assume the mantle of instructor - until I first improve markedly as a student. I tell ya, I'm really, really looking forward to that Utah clinic!!!
post #29 of 33
slider, the whole point is NOT about "thinking" while skiing - just the opposite, in fact. It's about ATTITUDE, meaning your readiness to do or feel something. The three attitudes descrbed above are aesthetic, playful, and assertive. From what you just posted, you DO ski with attitiude, and that attitude is "playful". It's great to read that you get such joy from skiing! Great attitude!
post #30 of 33
Originally posted by Wear the fox hat:
So, when someone is skiing, is there a struggle going on between the exterior ego, and the interior panic, like the swan analogy: beautiful and graceful on the surface of the water, but underneath its feet are going everywhere.
Sorry to go back to this, but I don't think I explained myself well (I blame the alcohol)
Sometimes, when I'm skiing, in a bid to look impressive, (for whatever reason, which may, or may not, include the female form in stretch pants), I get the exterior looking not too bad, but inside, I am not relaxed or enjoying it. I suppose this could also be true of machismo etc, trying to show off to others.
If I'm not relaxed, I'm not enjoying it, but when I relax, the element of style just disappears [img]smile.gif[/img]

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