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Skiing: safety, limits, and fear. - Page 2

post #31 of 53
If you don't push yourself to the point that you get scared and kick some adrenaline you aren't getting the most out of your skiing experience. I almost bought it yesterday while racing a patrol. He was right on my tails. I'm sure everyone though I was doomed while the edge was hooked, but though some miracle I muscled back over both skis and recovered. It was the best run I've had since my return to skiing last year, but the ugliest at the same time.
All the same, I recommend tuning it back a notch late in the day when you start to really feel the burn. Pushing too hard when you don't have the stamina to fight out of trouble is when most folks get hurt.
post #32 of 53
Thread Starter 
I was really looking for what people had to say about their own personal limits -- the point you have no desire to cross.

Some will say they have no conceiavable limit, given sutiable skill levels and preperation.

Others are not willing to take ther risks of, for instance, venturing into the back country due to the risks of avalanches. Some, like me, have no desire to ski certain types of terrain as was mentioned in my post.
post #33 of 53
Why not look at fear as something that lies upon a horizon, so to speak, that is constantly receding as your skills improve? As to the folks who apparently love skiing in their fear zone, I think I saw quite a few of them at Killington the last time I was there, so many in fact that skiing there had the unpleasant aspect of dodge ball. You had to be constantly on the alert for these unguided missiles, ready to move out of the way as they hurtled down the trail, usually with a sort of grim smile on their faces. This thread helps me to understand the phenomenon.
post #34 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
Fear only enters the mind because of the lack of the skiing ability that give you the confidence to be fearless.

You look down a steep narrow run with rocks lining the edges and are afraid because you question in your mind that your skiing abilities will be sufficient enough to get you down it without falling and injury.

People are afraid skiing because they lack confidence in their own abilities, bottom line.

Common sense is knowing your limitations and understanding the risk factors be it avalanche or rocks or just plain steepness of the trail.

Lets not confuse fear with respect and common sense.

Skiing with fear makes for tense muscles. Tense muscles tire quickly and are prone to injury and stress.

Maybe I'm lucky. I ski without fear. I've been in a few situations in the past few years where respect for the situation has come into play. Slide zones for instance. But this is where my common sense takes over and tells me to pass. Look for a more secure way down.

Don't ski scared people. Skiing is too much fun to be afraid. Just use your heads.
I agree with alot of what is said here, but I ski with fear maybe sometime to much for how good some of the people who ski with me everyday think I am, should.

Most of the time I mentally strong enough to just ski and not get tense. but there are times when I have to look at stuff or second guess myself that I just leave and come back later. I did this just this with corbert in march of O7. It was icey a big drop and I just wasnt feelin it so I didnt do it. Came back last season and skied it 3 times in a day. including one time that wasnt the 'goat' path. the conditions were much better and I felt like I could easily do it. I was right.

to be honest corbert isnt even on the top 5 of toughest things I have skied. There are lines at snowbird that I skied nearly everyday. Hanging Bowl, Death chute, Elevator shaft, broom closest, and North Chute that make corberts look like an easy run. But being I saw them everyday and could wait till there was 3 feet of snow to huck myself into the craziness.

there is still one area at the bird that literally I cant ski. Its scares the piss out of me. The area between the the main cirque, and Elevator shaft aka "the Forbidden Zone". I have seen people who I feel am a 'better' skier ski it and not fall to hard. Some might even get though it with out falling. Still its over 45 degrees and has some big cliffs with a blind rollovers on it.

So I do have limits its kinda of high I guess, but its for sure there. Id imagine I keep expanding my limits for as long as i am alive. adrendline is good, its helps me focus, its helps me calm down after skiing.
post #35 of 53
As I said Bushman, let's not confuse fear with respect and common sense.

You weren't afraid to ski Corbets when it was icy. You knew you've skied it many times before. It was respect and common sense that told you there's better days to ski it. That's all.

That's not fear.

Fear is standing there at the top wondering if you have enough talent and technique, unsure of you getting down without disaster.

Stupidity is falling prey to peer pressure as often happens with embarassment and injury soon to follow.

" A man has to know his limitations" Clint Eastwood

Words to live by or in this case, ski by.
post #36 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoMan View Post
I was really looking for what people had to say about their own personal limits -- the point you have no desire to cross.

Some will say they have no conceiavable limit, given sutiable skill levels and preperation.

Others are not willing to take ther risks of, for instance, venturing into the back country due to the risks of avalanches. Some, like me, have no desire to ski certain types of terrain as was mentioned in my post.
I guess my personal limit is base on the consequence of screwing up.

I don't have to be 100% sure to ski something. But if I'm skiing something I'm NOT 100% sure, the consequence of that 10-20% chance of failure had to be mild. Soft snow, no trees no cliff? Yeah, I'm going for it!

If I only have 50% or less chance of making it? I don't try. It's pointless. Even if I "make it" by chance, it's just luck, not skill. I get no satisfaction from it.
post #37 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post
I guess my personal limit is base on the consequence of screwing up.

I don't have to be 100% sure to ski something. But if I'm skiing something I'm NOT 100% sure, the consequence of that 10-20% chance of failure had to be mild. Soft snow, no trees no cliff? Yeah, I'm going for it!

If I only have 50% or less chance of making it? I don't try. It's pointless. Even if I "make it" by chance, it's just luck, not skill. I get no satisfaction from it.
Well, at least you're honest.
post #38 of 53
My risk seeking behavior goes up when I'm skiing with other people. I don't go as big if I'm by myself cause I would like someone I trust around should I actually get hurt. My urges to show off go up when skiing with a buddy or two.
post #39 of 53
I'm going to get a helmet.
Not because I'm going to fall, but because someone might hit me from behind, and the whole future of the human race depends on me keeping my brain intact.
post #40 of 53

emotion

[quote=MojoMan;1025637]I was really looking for what people had to say about their own personal limits -- the point you have no desire to cross. ...../quote]
I think strong skiers can ski most any line in good conditions when you have a good feeling for the run. Skiing is a dual dynamic. We have to be mental, for example skiing correct technique for a tight, steep, rocky chute. And we have to feel positive emotion as we drop in. Of the two, emotion is the more powerful influence on our run. Fear elevates our thoughts and feelings, a necessary survival reaction since we were living in caves, but apprehension resulting from a bad feeling about things, suppresses our ability to ski instinctively and naturally, and accomplish what we are skilled enough to ski.
Summing, mojoman, my limit is where I cannot feel the positive energy to ski a serious line.
(note: I built a platform 90 ft. up a tree in the back yard, in part, to decondition the fear of height, and it has worked, somewhat)
post #41 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlogiston View Post
I'm going to get a helmet.
Not because I'm going to fall, but because someone might hit me from behind, and the whole future of the human race depends on me keeping my brain intact.
That's partially why I got one, and more so cause I want my kids to wear them. I've only worn it a few hours so far, but am completely unaware that it is on my head when actually skiing. However, even with the vent completely open it was too hot to wear it last weekend. (and the kids weren't there). For me the helmet has no conscious effect on the level of fear or butterflies in my skiing decisions.
post #42 of 53
I don't mind steep (talking about crazy steep here) if it's open and clear. The narrow chutes with rocks on each side doesn't work for me. Perhaps I will cross that bridge though, but now I'm getting older so I have even less desire to attempt it.

Once I got comfortable at speed I think the steepness factor really went down b/c I knew I could just hold on until it flattens out. But the rocks and trees still scare me. They aren't so forgiving. I don't mind steep, and I don't mind trees. I just don't like them mixed together so much...
post #43 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayhawkskier View Post
I don't mind steep (talking about crazy steep here) if it's open and clear. The narrow chutes with rocks on each side doesn't work for me. Perhaps I will cross that bridge though, but now I'm getting older so I have even less desire to attempt it.

Once I got comfortable at speed I think the steepness factor really went down b/c I knew I could just hold on until it flattens out. But the rocks and trees still scare me. They aren't so forgiving. I don't mind steep, and I don't mind trees. I just don't like them mixed together so much...
just an idea: find a steep pitch and ski it as if it were a confined line, every turn without hesitation, strong and direct in the fall line. When you falter and miss a turn, that is the tips of your skis hooking up on the side cliff, your body suddenly spinning and facing uphill, you are sliding really fast headfirst-on-your-back, and all you can do is hope that the fall line doesn't sweep you into solid, jagged rock. But it really isn't, you are just practicing the method without the exposure, and have the luxury of saying to yourself, missed the turn, gotta work on that. heh, heh
post #44 of 53
You know a great practice for skiing chutes and trees is running gates. Whether it's just Nastar or the Beer league.

Running gates teaches you to turn where you need, not where you want to. It's great for the confidence factor. Once you get good to the point where you're not missing gates at speed, then move on to trees and chutes.

difference being, if you make a mistake skiing either, it's usually not good.

Racing at any level will make you a better skier and help relieve the fear factor.
post #45 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post
just an idea: find a steep pitch and ski it as if it were a confined line, every turn without hesitation, strong and direct in the fall line. When you falter and miss a turn, that is the tips of your skis hooking up on the side cliff, your body suddenly spinning and facing uphill, you are sliding really fast headfirst-on-your-back, and all you can do is hope that the fall line doesn't sweep you into solid, jagged rock. But it really isn't, you are just practicing the method without the exposure, and have the luxury of saying to yourself, missed the turn, gotta work on that. heh, heh
I think that's how some of us KNOW we ought to stay away from the confined line that are define by rocks.

Until I'm 100% sure of such lines WITHOUT the exposure, I'm not going to attempt the same line WITH.
post #46 of 53
Sometimes I'll get onto something as mundane as Hellgate or East Side Drive at Hunter Mtn and just freeze up from fear. All I can do at that point is slowly ski from one side of the trail to the other, my legs locked; and I have to force myself to turn my skis downhill and across the fall line to reverse direction.
Sometimes I just lose confidence, completely.
In my first season of skiing I went to Waterville Valley late in the season, skied out onto some expert terrain I couldn't handle, and had the sense to take my skis off and walk down the soft snow on the edge.
Now I can pivot slip 600 vertical feet if I have to, just locked up in a state of terror, on runs that I've been skiing without any problem since 1980.
And this happens even though I've gotten very cautious. There are days when a sense of foreboding keeps me on the easy terrain all day.
post #47 of 53
I find that this is the toughest part of skiing for me. I started skiing 2 years ago and managed to pick it up naturally after a few yard sales on the first day. My 3rd time skiing, my friends took to the top of Castlerock at Sugarbush and before I knew what was happening, I was following them down. There's no way in hell I would have done those runs if they didn't make me.
The fear that I felt a year ago at the edge of the back bowls in Vail or two weeks ago at the top of Rumble at Sugarbush again is healthy, but it's mostly the fear of the inexperienced. Without a friend letting me know that it's not as bad as it seems from the top with a goading "you can do this", I probably would have never left the blues.

So now that I've skiied tough terrain, trees, and steeps in all kinds of snow conditions, I have a hard time with my gut saying "don't do this you moron" and my brain saying "you've done this before".
post #48 of 53

Um, fear, yeah...

...I;ve been racing Masters downhill for 20 years, and while Masters DH is sometimes described as "two turns and tuck through a meadow", you can still get going pretty quick (I've been clocked at 74 mph) and there are Masters courses, such as the one at Aspen Tiehack, that are about as close to World Cup as somebody who has a day job would ever want to get.

So do I ever get scared? Damn straight I do. As one of my teammates once said about speed events, "If you don't get at least a little scared...well, then you're nuts." And there are good reasons for being afraid. I've broken my left arm and dislocated my left shoulder, torn my right rotator cuff (twice), broken a rib, broken my collarbone...let's see what else? Oh yeah, had my right knee degenerate so that I had to have cartilage removed last December, have bone spurs growing out of my L1-L6 (just age and gravity...no surgery necessary, just physical therapy and rehab). Almost forgot, got hit in the right eyeball by a bungy cord that one of my idiot teammates let go while we were bundling up some slalom gates. I had to have the lens removed and replaced with a plastic implant. Fortunately I now have 20/25 in that eye and the same in the other (Lasik) so I still have my ski racing career...

Where was I going with that? Oh yeah, I've actually only crashed 3 times in speed events and walked away from all 3 (with some bent skis and bumps and bruises)...but that doesn't mean I don't get hincty at the start of a DH or Super G. What gets me through it? Knowing that the feeling at the finish is better than anything else I'll ever experience, and paying attention to what I need to do on the course, nothing else...Be Here Now, you know?
post #49 of 53
I enjoy the fear, and the rush of skiing something difficult. I think the problem I have with the rocks and trees aspect is that even expert skiers make mistakes and crash. When I crash I'm hoping the worst is some broken bones, blown out knee, or even being paralyzed. I'm fine with that. When death starts to become one of the factors, that's where I tend to pull back a little. I LOVE skiing, certainly as much as most people here, certainly NOT as much as some others. I am aware of the risks of skiing. I am willing to take on those risks for the rewards. Can I die on some of the stuff I ski (or more precisely the way I ski it), probably, but not likely. As the risk of death increases, my desire to ski that run/chute/cliff decreases.
post #50 of 53
the main condition that creeps me out is the firm pitch with no surface grip, super steep, lots of sh__ to smash into below, fall and start the death slide, yeah, that creeps me out big time.
post #51 of 53
There are two kinds of fear, call them rational fear and animal fear, and they don't always go together. The taste of fear I'm talking about is when your rational mind knows you can do the pitch but your animal mind puts butterflies in your stomach.

It can work the opposite way, too. A long, moderately steep, icy hill with no runout and trees or snowguns at the bottom -- doesnt look hard, your animal fear doesn't kick in, but the rational mind knows that thing is bad juju.

Edit - looking above, sounds like Davluri has a smarter animal fear than me -- his knows that icy deathtrap is bad news.
post #52 of 53
I guess I enjoy a certain amount of fear too. When the runs are not there I create it by skiing towards the edge of the trail and turning with less margin for error. I guess that's how a lot of experts end up off some trail and through a tree on a day with perfectly good conditions: it's not enough to ski down the trail at 50 mph; you have to ski across the trail at 50 mph while making turns back and forth.
post #53 of 53
Ya but is it fear or apprehension?

Another word is respect.

I ski with confidence in my abilities even on very steep terrain but will admit to inner thoughts of knowing that $hit happens. No matter how good we think we are, anything can happen at any time. But that goes without saying in everything we do in life. As I said before, even crossing the road. No matter how many times we look both ways before crossing the road, a speeding car could come from nowhere and take us out. What kind of life would it be to be afraid of crossing the road? But, we do respect the fact that if we at leastt take all the precautions before doing so, we can be more secure in our actions.

Many mistake fear with respect.
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