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Anxiety, Fear, Terror-Yikes Introduction

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
In another thread we discussed anxiety and fear.

Now we have "In the YIKES zone". Just got my copy and read the introduction. Sorry Lisamarie, couldn't wait for the "official" kickoff.

For the Introduction ONLY. When Bears are ready for Chapter one, it should be a different thread.

XIII "the pull between control and surrender, technique and freedom, fear and thrill."

Personally my ski technique was getting stale until a few years ago. I didn't want to get hurt, I didn't want to "lose control", so I skied safely. At some point my other characteristic of wanting to be better outweighed the "want to be in control" characteristic. I loosened up, pushed the envelope, and surrendered to the "ah sh*t" feeling. After feeling the new adrenaline rush, and yes a few falls(that didn't kill me), I realized that I could/should push more for the thrill than the safety. Being in balance, and having the technical knowledge, my falls are few and minor. Now it is a sense of accomplishment when the envelope gets bigger.

Am I still the "control" freak. Yeah. A side story...I was a member of a Mountain/Cave Search and Rescue team. Fear? Thrill? Yeah to both, but it was actually under control. There were very specific steps to take, so the thrill was there, but it was a safe thrill. (Sorry to hear about Mt. Hood. That was always in the back of our minds).

Recently taking up snowboarding, the first year I admitted I hated it because if I stood up facing uphill, I was afraid of falling on my back, and if I stood up facing downhill, I was afraid someone would hit me from behind. Second (this year), I "surrendered" to the fact that I couldn't control others, but I could control myself. Also, I wasn't going to be embarrassed anymore. I could control(?) my body.This leads to the second quote from the book.

XVII "to listen might be the most difficult and the most important action."

With skiing, I am so relaxed and able to be internal or external, depending on the conditions. While learning to Board, I forced myself to pretend I was skiing, and relax. It was uncomfortable for several days and I froze one day. Riding down an expert trail for the third time, I was "locked" in a slip. The fear was quickly replaced by embarassment... I wasn't going to slip down the hill, I know how to turn...but nothing moved. I started to wave my hands, then arms, and finally I was unlocked, and was able to turn .

How do I get out of fear? Thinking of this episode, the only time I went bungee jumping, the first time I lead a climb,... I seem to get out of being afraid by turning it into being embarrassed. Heck, if they can do it, I can!

So, I am between control and surrender, and I try not to be embarassed.

Oh, as for Tommy.... I do not jump off of any heights into water. It is not a skill that is necessary, so I easily avoid it. If it were a necessary skill, I would probably be Tommy.
post #2 of 10
I hear you about committing to the fall line on a snowboard. I found it very scary too, until I took a clinic and learned that I was trying to drive with my brakes on. I learned how to release the brake, then I learned how to step on the gas.

Remember in that earlier thread we talked about controlled abandon? That's the essence of good skiing. I may have posted this before:

"I like to ski on the edge of total relaxation."

Skier in a Warren Miller movie from the mid-eighties.
post #3 of 10
Do you ever wonder what motivates us to go willingly into a fear inducing situation?
Not just in skiing:

"Fear has a new home, on Tuesday nights, on the Sci Fi channel".

"A novel of nail biting, chilling suspense".

I find it interesting that different people have varying degrees of fear that they are comfortable with.

Some people need to ski every single trail in the "Yikes Zone". They think that anything less than that is missing the point of skiing.

I actually find myself BORED if every trail becomes an exercise in fear management. Getting into a flow state is infinitely more important to me than getting a major adrenaline rush on EVERY trail I ski.

Pierre once made the interesting observation that since my lifestyle supplies me with a more than adequate daily dose of endorphins, I do not have the adrenaline deficit that the most of the population has.

Makes sense. If I sat at a desk all day, I too would probably be looking for something to make me feel more alive.

Isn't it interesting that someone who's a mystery writer also writes a book about fear?
post #4 of 10
Fear's a funny thing. I am making an informal study of it and its application to skiing. I'm thinking, at the moment, that Fear in teaching situations should be utterly avoided in beginners, but can be added gradually as the skiier progresses, in some people.
It can be a great motivator, and lead to a greater feeling of reward, in advanced skiiers. but in a person still coming to terms with terrain, speed, will the turn work?, ice and soft snow, it could be totally ruinous to their development.
Am I being too cautious for my guests though?
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Originally posted by Lisamarie:
I actually find myself BORED if every trail becomes an exercise in fear management. Getting into a flow state is infinitely more important to me than getting a major adrenaline rush on EVERY trail I ski.
Bored is an interesting word. Could you explain more? Are the steps of success too far apart, so boredom is created?

For me, it would be the need to calm the panic(fear) to get the control back. To bring the out of control into a zen zone. I "need" to ski, so I am willing to push myself.

There are certain types of scary movies I won't watch because of fear. Do we handle physical (skiing) fear different from psychological(movie) fear?

I don't have to watch a movie, so I don't deal with overcoming that type of fear. So, is avoidance the biggest surrender to Fear?
post #6 of 10
Yeah, "bored" is a strange word for that, buts its the first word that comes to mind.

It kind of works like this. If every single trail becomes something that's going to involve major fear management, my inner dialogue goes something this:

Okay, so here I am again at the edge of the trail, not moving, trying to figure out how to do this, if I had chose that beautuful blue cruiser over there, I'd actually be SKIING, but instead I'm just standing here trying to figure out how to ski it!

Kind of like watching a scary movie where every 5 minutes something terrifying happens. Its like "yeah, yeah, yeah, can we have a little bit of a plot, here!"
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Yes, we all need that wonderful cruising!

Thinking back to your Okemo breakthrough this year, how was boredom not an issue? If you are always cruising, where is the learning curve?

I agree, you can't always be learning(bad choice of words), so we let loose and have fun...but you can always be practicing. If we push just a little extra on the fun runs, then the Yikes runs may not be that far away in terms of managing them.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Knowing the student is the key. Why are they learning to ski? If it is for the thrill, give it to them. If it is for the "my friend is making me", small accomplishments might be need first. I spend more time with the walking/one ski sliding with scaried newbies.

I'm sure there will be others saying....if you want to go on a roller coaster, you don't start at the cotton candy machine.(or maybe you do-a little reward goes a long way).

I have not had much experience teaching young kids(under 8), but maybe the Bears that have could give you advice on the gentle fun way to learn to ski....without fear.
post #9 of 10
Notice that I said I get bored if EVERY trail is in the Yikes Zone.

Regarding Okemo, skiing the black diamond in the morning was an exhilirating experience. But when the instructor wanted to go back in the afternoon, when the trail had become bumped up, and every skier who graduted from ASC's level 3 and now thought they were experts were playing at being human bowling balls, I said "No thanks," and took off to do my own free skiing'

After all, if its not fun, why do it, eh?
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
It seems that both you and I bounce back and forth between the "fear and thrill" mentioned on page XIII. (noticed how I sneeked the book back into the thread)
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