- 6,908 Posts. Joined 12/2002
- Location: *The City Above The Clouds*,,, ...
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The problem with fear is that it can erase all learned skills. I can be standing at the top (or worse, in the middle) of a problem slope, and know intellectually that I have all the necessary skills to handle it, but still be frozen in place, unable to move.
What has helped me is:
1. Desensitization, i.e., purposely skiing fear-inducing slopes with low consequences. For example, a narrow, steep, but short slope with a flat run-out. Or a narrow, long, steep slope in perfect powder that provides instant speed control.
2. Having a set of low-skill, bulletproof survival tricks that allow me to get out of a bad situation. For instance, it's often possible to slowly traverse away from where you don't want to be, particularly if you don't mind negotiating trees to get to an adjacent run. Or add a sideslip to the traverse, to get down a steep slope at a controlled speed. Or do falling leaf, etc etc.
3. No matter what, keep moving. No matter how sketched out I am, I keep moving until I'm at a safe spot - i.e., somewhere I would feel comfortable turning my skis into the fall line. As long as I'm moving, I have options, even if I'm moving very slowly.
Knowing I can get myself safely out of most inbounds conditions, even if it isn't pretty, allows me to keep the fear at bay. At that point, I can start thinking about actual technique, and being able to use more advanced skills.