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The value of confidence and 'getting over fear' (for lack of a better word) - Page 5

post #121 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat View Post
Phil, when you are in the fear state that causes you to ski badly, do you try to ski through that state, or do you ever just jack it in for the day and go to the bar?
I guess skiing badly isn't caused by fear. I will stop, try to regroup, get centered over my skis and try to figure it out. if I can't I will chalk it up to a bad day and call it quits. I have done both.

A strange incident was at Jackson Hole 2 years ago. It was the first day and I was in a state of panic. The only think I could think of was it was right after that woman was hit and killed. I jsut couldn't ski, I was tentitive, back, forward, you name it but good. It was prolly the only time I felt anxiety skiing. The next day I was fine and tearing it and feeling like my normal self.
post #122 of 155
That nice drop right next to Tyrone (skier's right) has turned me around plenty. Jim's chute looks straight down and rocky to me. Rationally, I know I can control the pitch, even if its not pretty. What has concerned me even more as I get older is the inability to handle the compression at the transition. School chute is more my speed. Jim's gives me vertigo and what has previously been called paralyzing fear. Bummer, cause I want this line. I am considering getting some coaching to work up to getting over the edge of it.

post #123 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
That nice drop right next to Tyrone (skier's right) has turned me around plenty. Jim's chute looks straight down and rocky to me. Rationally, I know I can control the pitch, even if its not pretty. What has concerned me even more as I get older is the inability to handle the compression at the transition. School chute is more my speed. Jim's gives me vertigo and what has previously been called paralyzing fear. Bummer, cause I want this line. I am considering getting some coaching to work up to getting over the edge of it.

Ummm....thats not fear your feeling, its called sanity!
post #124 of 155
Any pics of the trasition?
post #125 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
Any pics of the trasition?
This picture from the Gallery shows the next frame of Tyrone's sequence with a view of the transition:


Or, these pics from my collection looking back the opposite direction from where I come down :. The large rock (Big Jim's) is where T jumped in, and beyond that and the trees is the chute. BTW, if you look just ahead of Tyrone's ski tips above, that is Kirkwoods version of a groomed intermediate trail, the easiest way down from Chair #6 (Coriice).



post #126 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nolo
Empathy. Defined as a capacity to participate in the feelings of another. If you can do that you will build TRUST, a word that truly deserves the capitalization. Then you can begin to expand the envelope through improving skills, which creates a virtuous reinforcing feedback loop.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
If you're regularly experiencing paralytic fear while skiing, I would have to wonder whether this is the right sport for you.
Bob's statement represents a fine example of a lack of the type of EMPATHY Nolo was talking about. Telling someone who loves the sport, and has overcome obstacles in pursuing it most here can't even comprehend, that perhaps she should pack her bags, go home, and take up knitting. Very nice.

Luckily, there are those in the instructional world who think differently and would never say such a nasty thing to a person with such obvious passion for the sport. I'm one of them, and would bend over backwards to encourage and help a person as admirable as Little Tiger in dealing with her not so uncommon fear.
post #127 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
Any pics of the trasition?
Here's the last frame of the sequence which shows the transition a little.




Cirque -- If you're fine with Ski School chute, that's a great place to build a foundation to work your way up to the Jim's Chutes. Ever mess around in the Waterfall area? That's also a great place to build up the confidence as well. Also, I have a feeling we'll bump into each other this year...i'm certainly not a qualified instructor...but I'd be happy to share some turns with ya.
post #128 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
I'm sure there are geriatric forums out there somewhere in Internet land that you could seek
Rick, is this what you mean when you say:

"It infuriates me to see people persecuted here on Epic for expressing their opinions."

and

"in fact a good teacher with EMPATHY will expect that a poster here may bring a personal twist to their posts, will recognize their fears and perspectives as legitimate, and will strive to help them."
post #129 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
Rick, is this what you mean when you say:

"It infuriates me to see people persecuted here on Epic for expressing their opinions."

and

"in fact a good teacher with EMPATHY will expect that a poster here may bring a personal twist to their posts, will recognize their fears and perspectives as legitimate, and will strive to help them."
This is a skiing forum. A mod should know better than to submit non skiing related, off thread topic posts. I made suggestions for where he could find help with his death issues. Yes, within the framework of a rule laden ski site, that is empathy. If he has opinions about skiing, I'll be more than happy to entertain them.
post #130 of 155
I should know Rick but don't always relate things the way others do. What i was trying to state in my own way was that because my fears of self preservation have waned over the years, it has allowed me to explore a whole nother game of skiing to me. Skiing 50 degree chutes, going backcountry moe often and taking risks that have elevated my quality of skiing and the way I approach tough situations while in plaes where a fall or wrong move could meen disaster. My post was totally related to this whole thread topic. Not a hijack and no need to seek another thread or forum to make such a post. It belongs in this thread as much as the comments made by some here. Fear can better be eased by a therapist outside and separate from a ski instructor. Helping someone realize the cause of their fears goes much farther than trying to deal with them while trying to learn a defacult sport like skiing.
post #131 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
If you're regularly experiencing paralytic fear while skiing, I would have to wonder whether this is the right sport for you.
When an activity like skiing and in my case cornice jumping isn't fun or enjoyable got me, I stop doing it. I can always come back to it at a later date, or maybe not at all. I will make sure that it is a controlled enviroment for myself. For me it is the rational thing to to, I want to come back to live another day. I will say the many different views that have been offered here have been a big help. I personally won't dismess any of them until I try them and give them an opportunity. It is nice being able to learn from all the differnt views.
post #132 of 155
I admire you, Tyrone, but I wouldn't leap that distance in a million years. I don't trust that my bones are dense enough to stick together on the landing. Following Nick Herrin down Lenin (or was it Marx?) last December in a PSIA clinic, I was pretty skeered after his obligatory you fall you die speech (just kidding, he only said, you guys all know how to self-arrest, right?). He laughed and took off and skied it like it was nothing--nothing!--and that really emboldened me to act as if I had the same exact attitude of skiing this run like it was a piece of cake instead of carefully picking my way down as I probably would have left to my own limited imagination (it was my first day on skis that season and my kid had just blown her ACL so I was hyperconscious of potential bad outcomes).

There's nothing like a good example of how to do it to help leap the fear gap.
post #133 of 155
Tyrone, could you help?

There's a voice in my head and it's saying:
I WANT TO DO THAT!!!!





MAKE IT GO AWAY!!!

post #134 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post
Following Nick Herrin down Lenin (or was it Marx?) last December in a PSIA clinic, I was pretty skeered after his obligatory you fall you die speech (just kidding, he only said, you guys all know how to self-arrest, right?). He laughed and took off and skied it like it was nothing--nothing!--and that really emboldened me to act as if I had the same exact attitude of skiing this run like it was a piece of cake instead of carefully picking my way down as I probably would have left to my own limited imagination.......

There's nothing like a good example of how to do it to help leap the fear gap.
Thanks Nolo....in a general sense, that's how I've learned to overcome my fears as well.
post #135 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters
If you're regularly experiencing paralytic fear while skiing, I would have to wonder whether this is the right sport for you.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
Phil,, just so you understand what you just did:

You just gave the thumbs up to a sentiment that was intended to tell someone (Little Tiger) who was brave enough to share her personal experience with fear when crossing her tolerance threshold that she should consider selling her skis and giving up the sport.

This is such a callous thing to say to someone with such passion for the sport and who has come so far already against great odds. The last thing this statement deserves is a thumbs up. A bloody nose would be a more appropriate response.

I hope this is not just a case of mods sticking together, no matter what is said. Some soul searching would then be in order.
post #136 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by lbt View Post
Tyrone, could you help?

There's a voice in my head and it's saying:
I WANT TO DO THAT!!!!





MAKE IT GO AWAY!!!
Ditto.
post #137 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Phil,, just so you understand what you just did:

You just gave the thumbs up to a sentiment that was intended to tell someone (Little Tiger) who was brave enough to share her personal experience with fear when crossing her tolerance threshold that she should consider selling her skis and giving up the sport.

This is such a callous thing to say to someone with such passion for the sport and who has come so far already against great odds. The last thing this statement deserves is a thumbs up. A bloody nose would be a more appropriate response.

I hope this is not just a case of mods sticking together, no matter what is said. Some soul searching would then be in order.
Rick,

I quoted Bob, because his statement is helping me understand my fears. This thread is not about one person, it is a community and I am looking for the part that is helping me, that is why I gave him (along with Tyrone Shoelaces) the thumbs up.

Various people have different ways of overcoming their fears, the was thanking those who contibuted to me. In taking the thumb up as a stand alone in your quote of mine is taking it competely out of context.

Past that...If you have anything to add to the fears that I have regarding cornices, I will be glad to listen.
post #138 of 155
Hi gang, Si Levine was kind enough to send us an article that pertains to this topic that he wrote and published in The Professional Skier (PSIA journal) a while back titled: Address Perceptions to Help Students Reach Proficiency

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...705#post610705

The article is posted in the Premium Articles Collection, which EpicSki Supporters can access as one of their benefits.
post #139 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by lbt
Tyrone, could you help?

There's a voice in my head and it's saying:
I WANT TO DO THAT!!!!

MAKE IT GO AWAY!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
Ditto.
Ha....so I'm confused. Do you want to do that? Or do you want the voice to go away?

I've been finding that once you start doing that, the voice just keeps on getting louder

(just start small....as I referenced above, alot of the techniques for larger airs are similar to smaller airs. Start small, practice & perfect your technique, and slooowly work your way up as conditions allow and as you become comfortable duplicating lessons learned on smaller airs.)
post #140 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
Rick,

I quoted Bob, because his statement is helping me understand my fears. This thread is not about one person, it is a community and I am looking for the part that is helping me
I support that, Phil. EVERYONE should be granted privilege to focus on self in a thread or post not necessarily about them, just as you have here, without receiving rude criticism for it. Shouldn't they?

I mean,, if not,, what the heck good is this forum.
post #141 of 155
A couple of disconnected thoughts about this thread:

I went back and looked at the beginning. It turns out I was the one who made a context error. The first poster probably was talking about fear of real danger, of the sort Cirquerider was discussing. It was the third poster that I misremembered as the first, who I interpreted as having problems with inappropriate fear.

I still think the "don't give yourself time to psych yourself out" strategy has merit. On a more advanced line, the way it can work is to ski it once timidly, remember the line and come back around and do it right. Also on a more advanced level, the strategy can be more subtle - rather than "don't stop" it becomes "don't stand there longer than it takes to figure out what you are going to do."

One of Cirque's posts asked about what upper level camps do. Unfortunately, I can almost but not quite answer that question: I did go to Steep&Deep, but my group was slightly below the middle ability-wise and did not really have any fear issues. We were skiing steep but not exposed or vertical runs. We all had survival skills which exceeded our "actually ski it" skills, so any fear effects were more subtle (i.e. throwing on the brakes too much, not extending down the hill, etc.) That's not to say I didn't have some anxiety / fear. But I've been more afraid of easier stuff at other points in my development over the years.

The upper level groups were skiing the stuff with air/vertical drops that we were not, so they may have talked about fear. I wasn't there, so I don't know.

I will also say that the model of improving so your skill "sneaks around behind" your fear can work. We were skiing pitches that on the last day that probably would have scared me the first, but since we worked our way up to them, I wasn't by the time we did them.

Maybe a different direction to come at this from is to distinguish between functional fear and dysfunctional fear. If if keeps you from doing something stupid (or makes you prepare more), it's functional. If it keeps you from doing something you can and want to do, or makes you do it worse, then its dysfunctional.

There was one exception at JH where fear was more in control than rational assessment -- Meet Your Maker. It’s steep but short, and its challenge comes from being narrow. I am pretty sure that if you took the same profile on an open slope and painted lines on the snow, I could stay between them. But in the actual case, with edges defined by rock walls, I backed off. It’s an interesting multi-layered problem, because I know from experience I sometimes semi-subconsciously throw in an inappropriate speed check (on top of a box in the park, for example! Oops!). In MYM, a speed check would cause disaster, leading to the ultimate example of dysfunctional fear.

But MYM is also an example of the mysterious attraction of fear. I was very tempted. (If I had been by myself, I could have taken the rational approach – ski the open slope next to it to make sure I could straightline it and see how fast I was going at the bottom, then climb back up and do it. But I didn’t think it was reasonable to ask the class to wait while I did that. If it hadn’t been the afternoon of the last day, with a definite “winding down” feel, maybe I would have suggested we all do that as a class project.)

A final thought on perception versus reality. Skiing 15 mph on a 45 degree chute is probably safer than going 45 mph on a 15 degree blue groomer. But the fear reflex doesn’t know that. (I know, some of you go 45 on 45 – but that’s a whole ‘nother world from where I’m at right now.)

I “dittoed” lbt’s post cause it summed up in a few short words the paradoxical attraction of scary experiences – far better than these long ramblings.
post #142 of 155
I have a technical question -- I've been looking at Tyronne's photos (can't stay away, I guess).

In the Jamie Pierre thread, somebody said you can't land on you skis above a certain height without hurting yourself. But in the last photo it looks like Tyronne is going to land square to his skis? What gives?

Also, that landing zone looks awfully flat. How deep was the snow?
post #143 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post

In the Jamie Pierre thread, somebody said you can't land on you skis above a certain height without hurting yourself. But in the last photo it looks like Tyronne is going to land square to his skis? What gives?
Also, that landing zone looks awfully flat. How deep was the snow?
[/quote]

The statement about not being able to land squarely on your skis, stomp in otherwords, on cliffs above a certain height is true. The angle of the landing also plays a factor, but above a certain point I don't feel comfortable attempting to stomp a landing.

In the case of the Big Jim's cliff in the pictures above, I definitely didn't want to attempt to stomp it. If you click on that last picture where I'm nearing the landing, open it up to its largest size, you'll see i'm starting to angle my body to the side. I wanted to take most of the impact on my side or hip to distribute the impact forces along a greater area of my body rather than directing the impact directly to my knees and lower back if I had gone for a stomp.

Big Jim's is roughly 50 - 60 feet or so depending on snow level and it has a relatively flat landing. There is a very small steeper transition that sits close to the base of the cliff, so you have to try and hit that to lessen the blow. Also, the snow in the landing was about 1.5 - 2 feet of fresh on top of softer crud from previous storms (nearly perfect).

This past season I was about a year and a half out from ACL reconstruction so it was rare that I was going for stomps on my feet and was mainly hip checking and backslapping bigger airs. My friend Nate, who went before me on Big Jim's, pretty much came as close as I've seen anyone stomp it on his feet and ride it out cleanly. But I wasn't even thinking about trying to do that due to the fears I had about my knee.

Here are some other pics from a different cliff, Hospital Air. These pics have been posted alot, but are pertinent to your questions I think. Hospital Air is about twice the size of Big Jim's, and of course, landing on my feet would have gotten me hurt, so the objective was to land on my back. Shoulder blades touching down first is actually ideal as when your heels touch down last, it will be easier for the impact to "pop" you back up onto your feet.

These photos illustrate what I mean:





And a closer look at the moment of impact...landing forces distributed over a greater surface area into a few feet of snow.


As I said, the impact when you land like this it generally pops you back onto your feet and you can ride it out. Which is pretty much happened, but I had to stop about 10 feet down when I realized I lost a pole in the bombhole.

*Also, just as important as landing appropriately, and building your skills on smaller cliffs is to wear the appropriate gear -> Helmet, mouthguard, spine protector/back armor, etc.*

I guess this has gotten a little off topic but I wanted to make sure I addressed the question.

EDIT: Also -- Watch this video of Julian Carr on YouTube. Julian is pretty much the master at this right now and he explains it a bit here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiL49xRz9LQ
post #144 of 155
I'm sure it's been mentioned several times before, but I'll toss in again with this salvo:

ski with people who are better than you.

I don't mean have then instruct you, but ride with people who are a level or two above you in skill.

i ride a lot by myself since my dad (in his mid-70s) is the one person who has the time and money to hit the slopes as much as I do. the other person i ride with the most is my old college roommate who has raced snowboards and is a tele charger. he can lap my lazy a$$ any day of the week, but he's great to ski with as 1. he's much better than i am 2. he knows what I am capable of 3. he instills confidence in me on stuff that I might consider out of my range or too gnarly. Naturally this comes from having skied with me over the years to where he can say "Dude, this run isn't any sketchier/harder/gnarlier than Run X which you can get down easy."

i have also managed to drag my cousin back into skiing after a brief hiatus. He's also much better than I am and like my old college buddy is great to ski with as he challenges me to 1. keep up with him and 2. hit runs that I might avoid when skiing by myself.

all that said, I think having a buddy or people to ride with is the easiest way to instill confidence.

i was riding solo at Keystone a few seasons back and was apprehensive about entering the cat accessed powder fields, primarily because I'd never been to the mountain before and they had signs posted warning you not to ski by yourself. The folks I rode up on the lift with were heading for the pow and when they saw me standing at the gate they said "Are you by yourself? Why don't you ride with us?" I ended up having a great couple of runs with them and have kept in touch and ridden with them since.

Since you're at a resort, hook up with some of the other workers and i guarantee the more you ride with other folks, the more confident you'll get.

As for Tyrone? I think he might be in a class by himself (Cirque, I wouldn't hit Jim's Chute, either! But now my interest is piqued about School Chute). Speaking of which, you might want to connect with some of the Bears here.

While I know I'm not in the same league as Tyrone, I have met somebody who has ridden with him and he says he's a solid bloke. Smoked him on some of the runs, but fun to try and keep up with.

Me, I'm actually looking forward to meeting up with some of the folks during the season and upping my game.
post #145 of 155
I haven't read this whole thread, just skimmed a bit, but thought I'd share my perspective.

In the past couple years, I have made huge strides in my skiing. Things I used to looks at as just unbelievable to me, I have now done without really even being afraid at all.

The biggest difference? Just being calm.

I used to listen to loud music while skiing, to try and amp myself up to do things I was afraid to. I used to do things akin to chest thumping before attempting airs or lines. I remember becoming paralizyed with fear on a very small (about five foot) air I had done countless times before, to the point I had to go around it.

I'm not sure how, but something changed. Somehow, I was able to start just being relaxed when I skied. This cleared my head enough my body awareness became much better, I was able to focus on my technique much more. I was able to decide whether on not to do things based upon my ability and the present conditions, not just my fear. I remember one air in particular. It is on a mogul run, there is a bit of a flatter section, then the pitch drops off again. Right where it drops off, there is a rather large flat topped mogul, in the summer it is a small rock outcropping, which forms an awesome takeoff. After this, for some reason, moguls do not form on the landing. The landing is nice and smooth, the perfect pitch, but about 100 yards later, the runout is through a feild of small moguls.

I had aired off this several times when there was fresh snow to make to moguls a bit smoother. One warm day in february I was taking a few laps alone one my lunch break. I saw the landing and runout from this air had turned to corn. Without ever feeling any fear, I decided to just send it. I hit it fast and smooth. The moment sticks in my mind perfectly. It felt like slow motion. I felt perfectly balenced. I remember two guys on the lift cheering. I was so relaxed I looked over and made eye contact with them before looking down towards my landing. I stomped the landing perfectly, straightlined out through the moguls without a problem.

I rode the lift up again, looking for my tracks, which were imprinted perfectly in the corn snow I stomped the landing so perfectly you could see the outline from the swallowtails on the backs on my skis. Turns out it was not only the biggest I'd ever hit that particular feature, but the biggest air I'd ever done, by far, in mediocre conditions with a very difficult runout. I won't say how big, because this story isn't about bragging, its just about being able to quiet your mind. Riding up the lift a sense of calm, quiet euphoria overcame me. I skied back down and went back to work, not even needing to tell anyone what I had done, I just felt great the rest of the day. That sense of euphoria, and the sense of being in slow motion, flying through the air in perfect control, were simply incredible. It sounds cliche, but the best high I can possibly imagine, not even an adreniline rush, but a calm peaceful euphoria.


This past semester in psych class, my professor was talking about how the best atheletes were the ones who could switch between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems at will. (the example he used was the difference between brute strength of driving vs the finesse of putting). When he said this, I smiled to myself, knowing exactly what he was talking about. I think skiing requires you to mix the two together with perfect balence in order to have the balence, confidence, and power to do difficult things well, and safely.
post #146 of 155
The Value of Confidence: My first trip this season found me near paralyzed with fear on a, in reality, not terriblely difficult run. After, and during the ESA Stowe event, i was able to overcome this same type of run, with the help of a very patient and knowledgeable instructor. I know that i will not die, or be likely to get hurt much. I am not gracefull in the least on this stuff, but i can now get down and not be another bump on the run. All this because my skillset was improved to the point where i am much more confident in my being able to handle tougher conditions.


Kevin
post #147 of 155
ASE, I'm glad you posted that - it looked that way to me - watching you on Saturday mornig, through to watching you on Sunday afternoon - there was a difference in your attitude, and I think that really helped your skiing.
post #148 of 155
I haven’t been posting on the boards much because I’ve been so busy, but I really wanted to respond to this thread.

Eleven years ago, after a knee injury from a skiing accident, I took my first XTeam Clinic (with well-known extreme skiers Rob & Eric DesLauriers, John & Dan Egan, and Dean Decas). Up to that time, I was a single-black-diamond skier who was comfortable on groomers and bumps (even big bumps), but not so comfortable in variable ungroomed conditions, and definitely not comfortable on ice. My experience was largely in the East and Midwest, where I grew up. I had reached a point where I was getting “bored” with skiing and I wanted to expand my skiing experiences to include being able to ski more of the mountain (I learned to ski when I was 4, so I already had been skiing for close to 30 years). I was undeniably worried about my knee being “ready” to ski on again. I met Rob DesLauriers in the fall, after I’d had rehab and had spent several months doing cross-training to get that knee super-strong again. I told him about my worries of being re-injured. As you might imagine, he understood that head game. He gave me advice similar to what Tyrone talks about earlier in this thread: visualization. He suggested I watch lots of ski movies to help me with my visualization. I am pretty sure he also recommended a book I bought that was incredibly insightful and helpful: “Thinking Body, Dancing Mind: Taosports for Extraordinary Performance in Athletics, Business, and Life” by Chungliang Al Huang and Jerry Lynch. All this was in preparation for taking an XTeam Clinic that would provide another important element: building my skiing skills.

With the XTeam Clinics, groups are formed not just by ability, but also by mindset and goals. Everyone arrives the night before, so the coaches also have the chance to see everyone interacting with each other, which helps figure out which people will work well with each other. Though I was never told this, it seems they try to create a “team” mentality that provides a positive learning environment. That first clinic, we had a Nor’easter and we skied in about three feet of heavy powder, my baptism to deep snow. Everyone in my group was new to deep snow, and while at first I was afraid I’d fall and get hurt, after that first fall, and after everyone had fallen at least once, it became clear that I probably wasn’t going to get hurt. Add the dynamic of everyone being very supportive of each other (coaches and students), and we were having so much fun that I FORGOT to be afraid.

What this is all leading up to is that these four building blocks—visualization, developing the necessary skills, WANTING to ski the whole mountain, and skiing with supportive people—are key for me to reach the level of skiing that I have reached so far. All are important for dealing with the “fear factor.” And they will be key for moving forward as I continue to set new skiing goals for myself.

I am fortunate that my husband, whom I met in 1999, is equally matched in skiing skills and goals. We ski with people who are equally matched or better. Because of this, over time my concept of “being able to ski the whole mountain” has changed…some might say drastically changed. : When I took that first clinic, I wanted to be able to ski variable conditions on terrain I was already comfortable skiing. When I took the second clinic, I wanted to ski steeper terrain. When I took the third clinic, I wanted to be able to ski in the trees. I believe that I have reached and surpassed my expectations from those years. My idea of what is “steep” now is way past my idea of “steep” 10 years ago. The same goes with my idea of “skiing trees” and “skiing variable conditions.” In fact, I would never have guessed that I would EVER ski the kind of terrain that I ski now. When I look at pictures of me skiing steep, deep trees, I still sometimes say, “I can’t believe I skied that!” I skied a couple runs with John Egan a few years ago and he teased me that I cheated my way to becoming an all-mountain skier by marrying a Jay Peak ski patroller…and he’s probably right! :

Any Bears who have skied with me have probably already figured out that I like to be able to ski terrain gracefully, so technique and form are something I always work on. I learn a lot by watching other skiers and skiing with people who are more skilled than me. Each year, I set a new goal for myself. That goal is always to learn to ski something that “scares” me so that it no longer scares me, and to ski it with as much control as possible. When my husband and I got married five years ago, we spent our honeymoon at Fernie. We came upon Bootleg Glades. If you’re not familiar with these glades, you enter off a cat track, and there are short chute-like entrances through huge pines that are on a pretty steep slope. After the first couple turns, it looked like terrain I’d skied many times without any problems. When we were there, the chute entrances also had small cornices and I just couldn’t make myself do the “leap of faith” off the cat track. So, I didn’t. But that made me want to build up to a point where I could do it the next time we visited (had no idea when that would be). Later that season, I was at Lake Louise and I dropped my first cornice—a similar situation but without the trees. I was with friends, they positioned me at the lowest entrance to the cornice, pointed out where I should plan to land, then they each entered from higher above so I could watch their form and technique. My entrance was probably a 6-foot drop while theirs were more like 15 or 20 feet. I was very proud of myself for doing it just as I had visualized it and my friends all cheered. Cheering is always helpful for boosting confidence! The next year, when my husband and I were at Snowbird, we came upon some steep trees entered off a cat track, I visualized my line and did it quite comfortably. I don’t think it was as steep as at Fernie, but the set-up was the same, standing on a cat track and taking off with no momentum for that first turn into tight trees. This past season, my husband and I were at Fernie again. I was determined to go to Bootleg Glades and ski it. When we got there, we looked down it and I said, “Now I remember why I didn’t do this last time. That’s scary looking!” My husband actually agreed with me! The snow was “old” and the entrance chutes looked pretty skied out and iffy. Even the friend with us, who is a much better skier, thought it looked intimidating. But I really was determined to find a way in. So, we scoped it out, discussed options, and finally all agreed on a particular line into the glades. I went first, simply because I was worried that there would be even less snow if I followed after the others. All three of us had no problems and we gave each other high-fives. And after skiing, we drank a toast to it with tequila shots!

During the five years of not entering Bootleg Glades and then finally doing it, we purposely skied at resorts where we knew we could improve and be presented with new accomplishments. Heck, many times we go to places where you HAVE to improve. Last year at Crested Butte, I skied much of their Extreme Limits terrain, by far the steepest and most-exposed terrain I’ve ever skied (no new snow while we were there added to the feeling of not wanting to fall). Interestingly enough, I was freaked out the most by some trees with a rather tight, steep entrance. : To this day, I’m not sure why, but it could have been the three guys who zipped by me and launched themselves into the trees without noticing that my husband was below them. Whatever the reason, it took me about 15 minutes to calm my mind so I could visualize a line and ski down. I also skied my first real chute, Banana, and that was a huge milestone for me, especially since it didn't bother me at all to ski it. It’s a pretty wide chute, but you definitely don’t want to fall and slide the whole 2,000-foot-or-so vert of it. I don’t know why, but trees closing in on me do not scare me nearly as much as being surrounded by rock cliffs on both sides. I suppose it’s because I’m not in many situations where I have to ski chutes, so they are a big “unknown” to me. I hope to keep working on that fear by gradually working up to tighter chutes, because I certainly know I have the skills to ski the required tight line. I ski tight Eastern trees, for goodness sakes! We’ve also done some snowcat skiing trips, which unquestionably boosted the powder technique. And we’ve done some backcountry touring in Northern Vermont, which always means super-tight trees and “the unknown” factors of terrain, conditions, obstacles, etc.

This year, we are doing our most ambitious trip so far. We are going to southern Colorado to do a day of guided skiing at Silverton, a day of snowcat skiing at Durango, a day of skiing at Telluride that includes going to some hike-to terrain, three days at Crested Butte, and two days at Monarch that include snowcat skiing. Our goal: Not to have people saying it’s the Vermont folks holding up everyone while hiking at high altitude…and not to get to the top and say, “Holy fill-in-the-blank! I can’t ski that! No wonder this isn’t right off a lift!”

Thatsagirl
post #149 of 155
Nicely done, Thatsagirl.
post #150 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom View Post
Nicely done, Thatsagirl.
^^^^What she said^^^^

Thatsagirl, you're my hero!
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