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Skiing Hard

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Is skiing hard a skill?

you can have all the knowledge in the world.your body mechanics are spot on but yet someone can still outski you if you just dont ski 'hard' enough.

So is the ability to push you limit beyond what you think you can do and beyond what you can actually do, a skill?

Is the ability to think fast, react fast, just keeping pointing them downhill, and just do it instead of thinking about, a skill?

so yeah

Is skiing hard a skill?
post #2 of 20
Do you mean skiing instinctively? I think a lot of people with lesser athletic skill must rely on form while some people look like crap but ski tough terrain because of athletic ability. If the better athletes learn good technique they become world class skiers, while the lesser athletes just become good skiers.
post #3 of 20
Bush, I just returned from participating in a Masters Downhill race. I think what happens in these speed event races answers your question pretty well. You have a bunch of people there who have the stones to push to their limits,,, but it's the skills behind the stones that determines who survives and wins. Those who are lacking the skills may have the willingness push the line, but they don't necessarily have the ability to keep carving cleanly and hold that line at the resultant speeds. Some will even push beyond their skill limits, and will pay the price. We saw many crashes, and a few nasty injuries this weekend. Those with the skills, however, were able to push the limits of the course safely, and ended up at the top of the scoreboard.

So no, skiing hard is not a skill. Skills allow success at skiing hard.
post #4 of 20
Simply wearing yourself out through inefficient technique is not a skill. But the intentional application of muscular power is skill. Weems calls this "power" in the sports diamond.

So define "outski". In competition, athletic strength can be used to beat someone relying on technique. But the reverse is also true. In competition, mental toughness (the ability to ski without thinking or to just go for it despite the risks) can sometimes provide the winning edge. Sometimes mental discipline (the abilty to think and make good decisions) can be the winning factor. Outside of competition, do you measure "outski" by speed, steepness, snow conditions, endurance, smoothness, size of air, style, etc.? How do you factor safety tradeoffs into your measurement? Who's the judge? Why does it matter?
post #5 of 20
Bush,
Technique will never replace attitude. And vice versa. You need both to be your best. For me the trancendence happens when you no longer feel the need to compete with others and you concentrate instead on being the best you that you can be. Others feel the need to compete against others. If that is what you seek, go out and get involved in organized ski competitions. Although I would be quick to point out that even the best racer doesn't alway win.
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
Is skiing hard a skill?

you can have all the knowledge in the world.your body mechanics are spot on but yet someone can still outski you if you just dont ski 'hard' enough.

So is the ability to push you limit beyond what you think you can do and beyond what you can actually do, a skill?

Is the ability to think fast, react fast, just keeping pointing them downhill, and just do it instead of thinking about, a skill?

so yeah

Is skiing hard a skill?
I am not sure if I would call it a skill, I feel it is something that can't be learned. You either have the mind to ski hard or not. I also feel that skiing hard is skiing within your limits, but is often seen as out of control because people can't comprehend doing it. reminds me of rally racing, they are driving hard, but well in control, and there is no way you could ever train the average driver to perform in that way. The accidents in both occur when people ski hard outside of their ability, what I would call being out of control.
post #7 of 20
Interesting thought!

Is it a "skill," or is it something else? Skills are something we develop through learning, training, and practice. Willingness to "ski hard" (take risks, push limits, endure pain) seems to me to be more an attribute of personality, motivation, and perhaps genetics. I think Weems would say it falls into the "will" corner of his Sports Diamond.

Of course, the willingness to ski hard suggests a lot of confidence in one's technique, athleticism, and skill--especially the ability to ski through imbalance and error, and to switch off the conscious mental control of technique. That confidence surely reflects skill.

Sking hard requires a certain degree of "abandon," I suppose. It can even suggest a lack of skill, in some cases. But doing it effectively involves discipline of both mind and body, mastery of all four corners of Weems's Diamond*, and the ability to move among them with agility.

Yeah, I think that's a skill!

Best regards,
Bob

* "Power, Purpose, Touch, and Will." For more on Weems Westfeldt's Sports Diamond, do a search in the EpicSki archives, or click on the link below--or here--to find his book on Brilliant Skiing. Or come to the EpicSki Academy!

PS--Many replies to this thread have occured since I started typing mine. It looks like we're all much on the same page, but I particularly like this line by Rick:

Quote:
no, skiing hard is not a skill. Skills allow success at skiing hard.
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post
Interesting thought!

Is it a "skill," or is it something else? Skills are something we develop through learning, training, and practice. Willingness to "ski hard" (take risks, push limits, endure pain) seems to me to be more an attribute of personality, motivation, and perhaps genetics. I think Weems would say it falls into the "will" corner of his Sports Diamond.

Of course, the willingness to ski hard suggests a lot of confidence in one's technique, athleticism, and skill--especially the ability to ski through imbalance and error, and to switch off the conscious mental control of technique. That confidence surely reflects skill.

Sking hard requires a certain degree of "abandon," I suppose. It can even suggest a lack of skill, in some cases. But doing it effectively involves discipline of both mind and body, mastery of all four corners of Weems's Diamond*, and the ability to move among them with agility.

Yeah, I think that's a skill!

Best regards,
Bob

* "Power, Purpose, Touch, and Will." For more on Weems Westfeldt's Sports Diamond, do a search in the EpicSki archives, or click on the link below--or here--to find his book on Brilliant Skiing. Or come to the EpicSki Academy!

PS--Many replies to this thread have occured since I started typing mine. It looks like we're all much on the same page, but I particularly like this line by Rick:
The lack of skill was my other thought, made me think of an intermediate skiing poorly, but hard on a more advanced run. A run that a more advanced skier could ski faster and easier, with no real effort.

Quote:
the willingness to ski hard suggests a lot of confidence in one's technique, athleticism, and skill--especially the ability to ski through imbalance and error, and to switch off the conscious mental control of technique. That confidence surely reflects skill.
What a great way of putting it.
post #9 of 20
Bush,
I would suggest that any competetive sport teaches athletes to "raise the bar" and operate outside of their comfort zone. Although when they reach too far the risk of blowing up is a far likelier consequence. So learning to balance that aggressiveness with technical skills is the age old key to winning. If everything else is equal then it is their attitude that will determine the "better" performance. IMO the "better" athlete is the one who consistently performs at a very high level. Not the one who has moments of brilliance but who has inconsistent results due to a lack of fundamental skills.
post #10 of 20
I think that skiing "hard" is open to interpretation. Knowing Bush I think this story might relate:

I was in a steep camp in Jackson Hole many years ago with Doug Coombs. We ended up skiing together during lunch the first day and Doug turns around and says to me, "Si, follow me. So he takes off like he normally skis and I follow him for 2 or 3 turns. I become aware that I've never let it go like this and felt this in my skiing. I also, start to have some doubt and immediately blow up.

It was a fantastic glimpse into the future of what skiing would have to offer. However, while I didn't really fully appreciate that glimpse, my appreciation for that experience (and newer experiences analogous to it) still continues to grow.

Now, I am sure that I was more on top of my skis in those first few turns that I had ever been. I also can be pretty sure that I blew up as I shifted back out of fear. I don't think it would have meant much to understand this at the moment, though, and in fact it would probably have detracted from the value of that experience if that's what I had taken away from it.

It was an experience where "power, purpose, touch, and will" came together for the first time. But beyond that, it was a time where I perhaps first started to appreciate the gestalt of skiing and I'm glad that no one was trying to break it down for me. Maybe in the final analysis skiing "hard" is just about the gestalt of skiing where conceptual skiing components and technical analysis get bypassed and you get a direct glimpse into an expanded future.

(Please don't take this as implying that I suggest this as a sole means or independent approach for improvement. I am just a strong proponent of it as one important component).
post #11 of 20
Igrnoring... sexual... innuendo... resisting... urge...

I think skiing hard basically equates to giving it all you've got. Laying into those turns like you're punching them in the face. Getting agressive with it, y'know?

I like to think of it as thus- when you're standing at the top of a run you KNOW will test your abilities. You could get scared, or you could take a deep breath and man up- making that snow your bitch is at it's finest when you're skiing hard and hitting each turn with a grunt like you're bench pressing or something. I do that sometimes when the going gets tough.

Yes, skiing hard is a skill. It's the ability to turn fear into motivation and thus, empower yourself through visualization and execution. IMHO, of course. I just feel like some people don't have the ability to do that.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post
Of course, the willingness to ski hard suggests a lot of confidence in one's technique, athleticism, and skill--especially the ability to ski through imbalance and error, and to switch off the conscious mental control of technique. That confidence surely reflects skill.
It seems that "skiing hard" has been linked with pushing your technical limits to the breaking point ("ski through imbalance and error").

"Skiing hard" could mean that you do not exceed your technical limit each and every run, just that you ski at your limit at all times. Skiing the "fast line fast".

That's no skill, that's just a high performance application of technique.
post #13 of 20
By skiing "hard" do you mean getting close to the "edge" where you lose it and wipe out?
post #14 of 20

"My feet tell me what to do." --Peter Krainz, Keystone

Quote:
Yes, skiing hard is a skill. It's the ability to turn fear into motivation and thus, empower yourself through visualization and execution. IMHO, of course. I just feel like some people don't have the ability to do that.
Well said, DoWork!


Quote:
You could get scared, or you could take a deep breath and man up- making that snow your bitch is at it's finest when you're skiing hard and hitting each turn with a grunt like you're bench pressing or something. I do that sometimes when the going gets tough.
I think we all do that sometimes. But I would not generally call what you have described here "good skiing." You've hit on one of the great paradoxes of skiing--that, unlike many other sports (bench pressing?), pure aggression rarely leads to improved performance. What you've described sounds to me like aggressive defensiveness--braking hard, not skiing hard--or well.

As Ingemar Stenmark once said--and almost always demonstrated--skiing well and winning races involves "tranquil aggression." Thse same is true for truly great (not just "effective") skiing in any condition. Skiing is about gliding. Skis work best when they're going the direction they're pointed, rather than skidding sideways, whether ripping high-speed turns in a race course, carving on pure ice, slicing through deep, heavy crud, or rocking through the moguls.

On the other hand, pure, unbridled aggression invariably results in harsh, abrupt, vigorous braking movements, such as you have described (or at least, as I picture what you've described). Yes, that is skiing "hard"! And ugly, inefficiently, and often ineffectively. Braking, ironically, becomes increasingly dangerous the faster you go, or the more challenging the conditions get. Yes, that is "hard"!

To me, "skiing hard," in the best context of the notion, evokes the confidence to continue skiing offensively, despite the conditions, speed, and other challenges. It is the ability to let the skis run, to trust that they will slice, carve, and turn for me, and that I don't need to force them or twist them into braking skids, or slam on the brakes. Skiing hard (well) involves the will to let go--literally and figuratively--to release the edges' grip on the mountain and glide, and not to jam them in "with a grunt, like you're bench pressing."

But "skiing hard," to me, is also the willingness to let myself ski imperfectly, to allow myself to get tossed around a bit, to ski out of balance, to believe that I can fight through imbalance and "ski anyway" when the need arises. At any level, we have a "comfort zone" in which we ski as "perfectly" as we are able. Go a little faster, a little steeper, or into conditions a little gnarlier, and we enter what Mermer Blakslee calls "the Yikes zone" (look up her excellent book on dealing with fear, found here). Willingness to enter the Yikes zone, and the composure and confidence to continue to ski offensively (not necessarily the same as aggressively), to trust in our skills so that we can "let our feet tell us what to do" while our mind remains relaxed and tranquil--skiing by "touch"--not sheer "power"....

That, to me, is "skiing hard" at its finest!

Best regards,
Bob
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post
I think we all do that sometimes. But I would not generally call what you have described here "good skiing." You've hit on one of the great paradoxes of skiing--that, unlike many other sports (bench pressing?), pure aggression rarely leads to improved performance. What you've described sounds to me like aggressive defensiveness--braking hard, not skiing hard--or well.

As Ingemar Stenmark once said--and almost always demonstrated--skiing well and winning races involves "tranquil aggression." Thse same is true for truly great (not just "effective") skiing in any condition. Skiing is about gliding. Skis work best when they're going the direction they're pointed, rather than skidding sideways, whether ripping high-speed turns in a race course, carving on pure ice, slicing through deep, heavy crud, or rocking through the moguls.

On the other hand, pure, unbridled aggression invariably results in harsh, abrupt, vigorous braking movements, such as you have described (or at least, as I picture what you've described). Yes, that is skiing "hard"! And ugly, inefficiently, and often ineffectively. Braking, ironically, becomes increasingly dangerous the faster you go, or the more challenging the conditions get. Yes, that is "hard"!

To me, "skiing hard," in the best context of the notion, evokes the confidence to continue skiing offensively, despite the conditions, speed, and other challenges. It is the ability to let the skis run, to trust that they will slice, carve, and turn for me, and that I don't need to force them or twist them into braking skids, or slam on the brakes. Skiing hard (well) involves the will to let go--literally and figuratively--to release the edges' grip on the mountain and glide, and not to jam them in "with a grunt, like you're bench pressing."

But "skiing hard," to me, is also the willingness to let myself ski imperfectly, to allow myself to get tossed around a bit, to ski out of balance, to believe that I can fight through imbalance and "ski anyway" when the need arises. At any level, we have a "comfort zone" in which we ski as "perfectly" as we are able. Go a little faster, a little steeper, or into conditions a little gnarlier, and we enter what Mermer Blakslee calls "the Yikes zone" (look up her excellent book on dealing with fear, found here). Willingness to enter the Yikes zone, and the composure and confidence to continue to ski offensively (not necessarily the same as aggressively), to trust in our skills so that we can "let our feet tell us what to do" while our mind remains relaxed and tranquil--skiing by "touch"--not sheer "power"....

That, to me, is "skiing hard" at its finest!

Best regards,
Bob
Wow, and you say I said it well? Sheesh! Leave it to Bob to put into words perfectly what I could only stab at crudely. Yes, the way I described it does sound sloppy but I promise it's not all that bad, the emotion and explosiveness is mostly internal, I promise. It's more of a mental thing.
post #16 of 20
I think skiing hard is as much about you as a person as it is about any skill. To me skiing hard can be efficient or inefficient. Skiing hard is about the amount of effort passion and calculated risk that you are willing to bring to your skiing.

I have a lot of passion for this sport and often ski a bit on the hard side. Okay, skiing on the hard side is the norm not the exception. I really wish I could control skiing on the hard side but I just don't have it in me. If I am free skiing, its on the hard side. I will always venture into crap that others avoid like the plague. So is it a skill or an obssesion? I say anything that is difficult to control cannot possibly be a skill when most folks are telling you its a fault.
post #17 of 20
Is skiing "hard" the same as skiing "strong?"
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayPowHound View Post
Is skiing "hard" the same as skiing "strong?"
Not in my mind, skiing strong could be as simple as putting some muscle into cruising on a groomer, not putting everything you have into it.

In my mind, this is skiing hard.
http://store.mobilerider.com/flash/p...&video_id=5073
and this.


And skiing strong.
post #19 of 20
Skiing hard is a choice, a choice that is made more often by people with the right attitude to enjoy skiing hard.

You do not need a lot of skill to ski hard, but like most things, the more knowledge and skill you have, the better skiing hard gets.

I can ski hard on any run, even an easy blue run. 30 years ago when I had even less skill than I have now, I could ski hard on a black run. However, I cannot remember skiing hard on an easy run 30 years ago, so maybe some skill is required to ski hard when and where the skiing isn't naturally hard for you.

Usually skiing hard starts with cranking up the speed to the point where you are working more, pulling more g force in the turns, feeling more pressure on the skis, making an effort to get the skis in the right place in time for that next bump. If you don't have a minimum amount of skiing skill you cannot ski well enough at speed to start working hard; you reach a speed where your skiing falls apart before you are really skiing hard. Straight-lining a steep chute is not skiing hard; it's hardly skiing. Almost straight-lining chutes while dodging stumps and rock walls is skiing hard.
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
I can ski hard on any run, even an easy blue run. 30 years ago when I had even less skill than I have now, I could ski hard on a black run. However, I cannot remember skiing hard on an easy run 30 years ago, so maybe some skill is required to ski hard when and where the skiing isn't naturally hard for you.
Boy isn't that the truth. I can kick my own butt on short green run yet as a less skilled skier, I could not even break into a sweat on one. I have been spending more time on greens and less time on black diamonds than I use to for sure.
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