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Why do some people over think things that are really simple....

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
After reading this thread

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/32023/tips-for-powder-skiing-in-colorado/60

and various other threads about skiing the easiest form of snow there is powder it has me thinking. Why do some people insist on making things harder on themselves and over thinking things to the point of not being able to do it.

So lets narrow the focus down to one of the most common questions asked on here. "how do you ski powder".

Personally I never really had issues with it. I just knew from watching ski videos thats you had to go faster and keep your body pretty much down the hill. TO be fair yeah I took falls and yeah I had to muscle some things the first couple times skiing it. The first couple times I skied powder were on 165 73 mm Line Darksides hardly big skis. Overall though I was able to link ugly looking turns all days long, I had fun with it. Having fun and being able to do it are most of the battle, good effcient technique comes next.

Its just powder is so freaking easy to ski, the majority of people I have run into that cant ski its due to thier own unfounded confindence issues. I have seen people who can ski perfect round turns on a soft groomer, get into powder and look right at thier tips while attempting to heel push it.

So 2 questions

First general question

why can some people just go for it, and never really have issues with powder skiing?

second more coaching based question

I have successful taught powder skiing to people who couldnt do it worth a damn at snowbird on many days. There were always those people who were too fearful of it to ever make any progress despite all my attempts to make everything ripe for learning. What are some ways the more experinced coaches on here have gotten past the fear part with freaful people?
post #2 of 32
A quick primer:

Fatter skis usually help immensely. Same dance, slower movements. Keep the turns in the fall-line. Float-touch and forget the sting. Keep the hands up and forward so the poles don't drag in the snow and keep the poles moving (one or the other always moving). For novices, start with boot-top powder and pick a line that has them skiing to the side of a groomed run with ample ungroomed space between the run and the trees, so they can bail into the groomed run if they feel the need. As always, like driving a car, look ahead and not at your hood ornament (i.e., skis). 
Edited by nolo - 11/16/09 at 8:07am
post #3 of 32
Why do some people insist on making things harder on themselves and over thinking things to the point of not being able to do it?

The 3-dimensional aspect of powder skiing makes it much more of a feel and rythm learning experience, and therefore technique tips will only take a student so far.  If they never relax enough to focus on the feel of what it happening, they will never "get it,' and the extra dimension of instability is something some people have a lot of trouble accepting.
post #4 of 32
Good answer, if you don't know what to expect, you tend to tense up and stiffen your legs, the exact opposite of what you should be doing. It's not easy to tell someone to trust you implicitly and just relax. The fear of pain and survival take over. Most forget to use their poles to keep the momentum. To me, Pow skiing is a mindless act, it should be done in the moment, as little thought as possible, turing off the mind, just feeling the float and compressing in the turn, the feet/legs body need to feel how much is needed to turn. It's Zen skiing. :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post


Why do some people insist on making things harder on themselves and over thinking things to the point of not being able to do it?

The 3-dimensional aspect of powder skiing makes it much more of a feel and rythm learning experience, and therefore technique tips will only take a student so far.  If they never relax enough to focus on the feel of what it happening, they will never "get it,' and the extra dimension of instability is something some people have a lot of trouble accepting.
post #5 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post


Why do some people insist on making things harder on themselves and over thinking things to the point of not being able to do it?

The 3-dimensional aspect of powder skiing makes it much more of a feel and rythm learning experience, and therefore technique tips will only take a student so far.  If they never relax enough to focus on the feel of what it happening, they will never "get it,' and the extra dimension of instability is something some people have a lot of trouble accepting.
good answer mudfoot, this really is the main reason  people just don't get it   FEEL , most people learn skiing on a somewhat hard 2 dimensional surface. They have found that pushing on the skis works, they FEEL the surface , the reaction their skis gives them and they trust it and use it. I have had a group out (intermediate level ability) for a lesson with an easy green pitched trail  with grooming in the middle, 6-8" powder on the sides at least 20-30' wide before the trail edge. Here was the perfect conditions, trail and with a bailout ( also no  other people but my group) no one would venture in, they did not want to try the "powder", did not want the foreign FEELING of boots and lower legs having resistance to movement. We can try all we want to explain the skiing and the feeling of the snow etc.but if the person does not go in and try and make mistakes ,because that is how we all learn, then all the definitions , descriptions, book reading, video watching does not matter. Skiing is a doing sport, we can try and guide someone into types of skiing , so a good demo etc. can help but in the end they have to go for it themselves.
post #6 of 32
I think the real issue here is your inability to relate to people without your ability and talent.

To say that something many have trouble with is "really simple" shows a complete lack of understanding of how different people are.  What's simple for you may not be simple for someone else, and your wording is condescending and closed minded.  "it's so freaking easy."  For you maybe, but obviously not for many others.

Kind of like saying "what part of what I just said don't you understand."  Implying the other person is an idiot because they didn't follow your wording (from another thread.)  As to me if someone doesn't understand something I say that I think is obvious I have to wonder if maybe I am not seeing from their perspective, and/or not doing a good enough job of explaining.  If my students don't get what I'm teaching them is it fair to assume it's all their fault?  Maybe I'm not teaching to their level, or learning style.

Seek first to understand and then to be understood.

Do not judge until you've walked a mile in their shoes.
post #7 of 32
Some people just have better balance.  Others tip just a bit too much and end up going over.
post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post

I think the real issue here is your inability to relate to people without your ability and talent.

To say that something many have trouble with is "really simple" shows a complete lack of understanding of how different people are.  What's simple for you may not be simple for someone else, and your wording is condescending and closed minded.  "it's so freaking easy."  For you maybe, but obviously not for many others.

Kind of like saying "what part of what I just said don't you understand."  Implying the other person is an idiot because they didn't follow your wording (from another thread.)  As to me if someone doesn't understand something I say that I think is obvious I have to wonder if maybe I am not seeing from their perspective, and/or not doing a good enough job of explaining.  If my students don't get what I'm teaching them is it fair to assume it's all their fault?  Maybe I'm not teaching to their level, or learning style.

Seek first to understand and then to be understood.

Do not judge until you've walked a mile in their shoes.



 

ummm you ever think maybe what you read online aint true... that was a 'loaded" question for sure

IE maybe I wanted to start a discussion so that when people ask how do I ski powder, I could send them here.

Pretty sure I wouldnt of got though the exam process if what I posted above was totally true.

snowbowler and mudfoot have the right idea guys.
post #9 of 32
I think its worth learning, that falling in pow doesn't hurt at all, and its actually pretty fun. I always bounce right back up laughing...assuming you can find all your gear afterwards.

One other thing to mention is that alot of people have fear of failure and are tense people. You can't answer why, thats just how they are.

I also took right to the pow as soon as I got to UT. But I also was constantly trying to find whatever soft snow I could when I lived back east.  And fat skis help alot.
Edited by tromano - 11/16/09 at 5:31pm
post #10 of 32
I haven't looked at the other thread, but I did see the title & thought that it was funny that there may be something particular to skiing powder in Colorado.  Whether you are in Colorado, or any other place powder days are never exactly the same.  How many names for snow do the Eskimos have? 

Quote:
What are some ways the more experinced coaches on here have gotten past the fear part with freaful people?
 

Anyway, the biggest difference in my experience is that between bottomless powder & fresh snow over a solid base.  If I had my choice, I would want to introduce someone to powder skiing on a groomed run with 4 to 6 inches on top, & then ease into the bottomless stuff as they get more comfortable.  As Mudfoot points out the most radical adjustment is the 3 dimensional aspect.  In short, getting comfortable floating IN the snow is the key.  To do this, slope selection is paramount & knowing how to graduate the slope at the right time takes some experience.  Learning to float without having to turn far out of the fall line to control speed helps build confidence.  Also patience is huge!  Patience on the students part, as well as patience on the instructors part can make or break the chances of success.  Remember people learn best by building on success, but it must be made clear to them that there is also a dues paying element involved.

You are right BWPA that powder skiing is easy, but not till you've paid your dues & things start to click.  An instructors job is to make the dues part a lot less painful.

JF
Edited by 4ster - 11/16/09 at 5:41pm
post #11 of 32
As someone who has never really skied powder to any great extent, I would say there are a few things that cause the difficulty.
 
The greatest of these, IMO, is a lack of coaching or advice. Skiers who have skied groomers most of their skiing career are not that inclined to take a lesson specific to this environment. Most of us will simply go out West and do what we think we should do -- rent or purchese a pair of fatties, take the lift up to find some 'gnar', and then let it rip. Unfortunately, the thing that rips is usually the groin muscle, as we attempt to ski the powder like we would the groomer. The skis get entrenched, they go their seperate ways, and we end up doing the splits. Confidence is then shaken and we feel like we did on our first day of skis -- timid, cautious, and paranoid. Out of fear of doing the spits again, we then compensate by doing more things we shouldn't be doing.

I rarely ski much powder, mainly because I rarely get any where I ski. The the times I do, I can 'get by' because I actually hired an instructor for a private lesson after I realized I had no idea what I was doing.  

Also, I was pretty much introduced to skiing powder in the manner that  Nolo had suggested above -- taken to a relatively conservative and shallow area with powder and shown some drills on how to relax and not try to force the skis into submission when turning.
Edited by MojoMan - 11/16/09 at 5:54pm
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoMan View Post
 
The greatest of these, IMO, is a lack of coaching or advice. Skiers who have skied groomers most of their skiing career are not that inclined to take a lesson specific to this environment. Most of us will simply go out West and do what we think we should do -- rent or purchese a pair of fatties, take the lift up to find some 'gnar', and then let it rip. Unfortunately, the thing that rips is usually the groin muscle, as we attempt to ski the powder like we would the groomer. The skis get entrenched, they go their seperate ways, and we end up doing the splits. Confidence is then shaken and we feel like we did on our first day of skis -- timid, cautious, and paranoid. Out of fear of doing the spits again, we then compensate by doing more things we shouldn't be doing.   
And then at about 2:30 in the afternoon he comes to the desk drenched with sweat, shaking from exhaustion wanting me to wave my magic ski pole & transform him into a powder junkie!  That's okay though, I thrive on the bigger challenge you created!  Hey at least you were smart enough to rent some fatties.  That is usually the first part of my challenge.  After he just dropped a few hundred bucks on a private, I've gotta convince him we are gonna have more fun, if we get on something besides his 200cm Atomic Arcs.


OMG, I just linked to the other thread!  I feel like I've been had.  That thing is 3 years old & 3 pages long.  There are quotes from the Alf Engen Ski School in there, as well as one guy who I think must be Tommy Kirchoff who says he wrote a book about it.  I just skimmed through it, but there is enough information in that thread to confuse & baffle anyone.  You could prolly condense it & write your own book.

JF
post #13 of 32
Personality also has a lot to do with how quickly one advances in any given activity or venue. Some people are just more laid back when it comes to their approach to skiing so they will take to new experiences with a greater measure of self-confidence than those who are, by their nature, more timid.

Some relatively new freestyle skier will go out and just huck a 40 foot cliff and succeed. Another new skier might think about it but then chicken out or have the sense to not try it.  Why is it easier for one than the others? For some, it might be recklnessness or ignroance. Regardless, it's more than just skill, as neither have done it before.

Some people just have the 'Right Stuff' to advance quickly. Like in the Tom Wolfe novel of the same name:  those essential abilities or qualities, such as self-confidence, dependability, and knowledge, necessary for success in a given situation. For any type of activity or sport, you either have the right stuff or you don't. It's something that goes beyond skill.

I don't have it when it comes to my approach to skiing. I am likely to approach new situations with a greater measure of caution than some others.They are therefore likely to advance at a quicker rate -- whether it's introducing themselves to powder skiing, tree skiing, etc.

It is no coincidence that the best skiers on the hill are often the most cocky -- I think the cockiness often is misread and it is simply the self-confidence that is at play and is part of the reason they have advanced beyond others.
post #14 of 32
Quote:
It is no coincidence that the best skiers on the hill are often the most cocky -- I think the cockiness often is misread and it is simply the self-confidence that is at play and is part of the reason they have advanced beyond others.
 

I think you just nailed the innerBushwacker .
JF
post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post


I think you just nailed the innerBushwacker .
JF

Well, he seems like a very confident fellow.  I honestly don't think skill alone can take someone to the upper levels in a sport like skiing. IMO, you have to have some of the 'RIght Stuff-- an inherent higher measure of self-confidence in yourself and this is something others may see as bordering on cockiness perhaps, even when it may not be.  If you looked at the top skiers on the WC and looked at what makes them tick, beyond the skill and hard work, you also will likely find loads of self-confidence and drive. I don't see how someone could get to that level without that ingredient. Confident go-getters willing to take risks others are not, etc. You will find the right stuff to transform the skill and hard work into results.
 
post #16 of 32
 and usually those elite athletes are the most humble too?  

ego usually masks insecurity
post #17 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post

 and usually those elite athletes are the most humble too?  

ego usually masks insecurity

nah that was untill the movie claim came out, plus bode miller is anything but humble.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post


I think you just nailed the innerBushwacker .
JF




yeah maybe, but let not simplify it too much, plus I  am real life am I really that cocky?

Mojoman post had a lot of good in it. thumbs up bud.
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

yeah maybe, but let not simplify it too much, plus I  am real life am I really that cocky?
 

Not so much cocky as confident.  In person I actually sense a little humility but on here you come off a bit cocky.  Maybe we all do, & I'm sure we are a bit more complicated than what meets the eye?
JF
post #19 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post



Not so much cocky as confident.  In person I actually sense a little humility but on here you come off a bit cocky.  Maybe we all do, & I'm sure we are a bit more complicated than what meets the eye?
JF

while coaching instilling confidence in your students is key. Giving it a good try, instead of giving up before you even approach it is much method of learning new things. Students though often have preconceived notion of what they cant do.  A good skier counts his blessing, a bad skier counts their faults. As instructors we know what skills need to be learned, whats needs to happen, we probably even know how to relate to a large range of students from varying backgrounds. The problems arise IMO when we really have to get into psychological realm of ski instructing. You know the people that are getting it on easier terrain. Its easy for a good coach to see their 'ah ha" moments, to see improvement. you can see them getting it but as soon as they get to the 'new" snow condition, the 'new" slope, elect. Their preconceived notion of  what they cant do stops them from improving. One of my favorite quotes that I live by is this.

"No matter if you think you can, or think you cant, your right"

so how do you instill alittle cockiness in our students? Ill be honest working mostly with kids its pretty easy for my personality to bring out little confidence in them whether they are wedge turners or ripping treeskiers. I would quite honesty rather they fall trying than not try at all(in a safe way off course). I am not a shamed to admit my success rate with adults although high is not as good as my normal age group. 

Most adults are to self conscious to really enjoy themselves or learn. The biggest thing I hear is what if I fall? My next demo usually includes just about the funniest fall you ve ever seen.  Usually followed by a warning that they wont bounce as easily as me but in the end who cares in the end we all fall. So the last question is this, how do we get people to not be self conscious?
post #20 of 32
I have found my strength to be working with adult beginners, which due to the demographics at our hill tend to be more women then men.

My ability to understand their fear, hesitance and lack of confidence (having started skiing as an adult) allows me to gain their trust.  I guess the word is empathy.  I've had some wonderful successes with people who due to my patience and gentle approach have allowed themselves to let go more then they ever had before.

My teaching skill is not anywhere near at the level as many others, but my personality and the way I connect with people has paid great dividends.  The last thing I ever think is "why can't they do this, why are they overthinking this?"  and so on.   I know all too well from 15-20 years ago what that feels like.  (I'm 57 now, so 15-20 years ago is still a recent memory.)

In some way I think this is an understanding that those of you who started skiing when you were quite young will never have.

Then again, there is much that I will never have having started as an adult - in terms of pure unadulterated trust in my skis.  
post #21 of 32

There is a difference between arrogance and cockiness -- or self-assuredness.

Someone who protrays an attitude that, "I am so much better than you !" and tries to rub it in someone's face, is obviously displaying outward arrogance and I aggree that this is likely a sign of some inner insecurity. I would say that most people are inwardly arrogant to some degree, they just don't feel a desire to outwardly display it. The ego-drive plays a big part in how we perceive ourselves in relation to others. The desire to want to be best at something is a human trait in any endeavour -- that's part of what drives people to success. Everyone would like to think of thesmelves as one of the best -- whether this perception matches reality is irrelevant.
 

As far as WC athletes being outwardly arrogant, I don't know, I have never met any of them. Then again, it wouldn't be like they needed to go around telling others that they are so much better -- anyone with eyes and a television set can see it. In this sense, perhaps they have a right to be a bit cocky. It's the people that can talk a good game but can't walk the talk that I find the most annoying. I can handle some arrogance directed at me if the person slinging it has the goods to back it up. I might think it is rude but it's not like I take it personal. It's just skiing and not a measure of my self-worth. 
 

Really, what I was saying is that it is easy to misinterpret arrogance for confidence. The higher echelons of any activity or sport will be filled with those who have the confidence and self-assuredness that helped them get to these levels to begin with, while the more reserved tend to lag behind.
 

There will be some frustration and misunderstanding when the two worlds collide. Those who jump right in will get frustarted with a more reserved pace and those who are reserved will view the go-getters as aggressive or arrogant. I think you can see this theme in this thread, and others as well.
 

"Why are you making something simple so complicated? Just jump in and do it."
 

"How can you just jump in like that and what makes you think it's simple?"
 

Different approaches; different personalities; different goals.

post #22 of 32
Quote:
So the last question is this, how do we get people to not be self conscious?
 

We need to earn their trust.
JF
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post



In some way I think this is an understanding that those of you who started skiing when you were quite young will never have.

Then again, there is much that I will never have having started as an adult - in terms of pure unadulterated trust in my skis.  

 

Ditto. I think you made an excellant point that can be overlooked by those who started young.
 
For those of us who really started to get into the sport as adults, the fearless carefree attitude of youth is usually replaced by caution. Adults who take up the sport are likely to give more consideration to avoiding mishaps and injury than they will over quick advancement. I would say it's going to take a lot longer to trust their equipment and abilities.
post #24 of 32
It's not just adults, either.  I have two boys-Boy#2 (shorty, we call him)-Is classically brave and confident in his physical skills, coachable as hell and 'took off' on skis, Even figured out edging to turn and using turn shape for speed control at a ripe young age.  He may lack confidence in some things-but not athletics, and he'll probably grow to be one of those guys who can't understand why others just don't 'get it' 'cause is so easy, it's just a 'feel' thing.

But Son number 1 is different.  For physical challenges he has a natural antipathy-always hesistant (and yes, he's no natural athlete)-he is confident in many other areas (and no surprise, in areas where he has some natural ability!), but he'll never ease quickly into challenging skiing conditions, he can get there of course, but he'll need a Skimangojazz style coach to get him there.  And in time maybe a lot more confident in facing novel physical challenges-but never on par with Shorty.

But their differences are just the luck of the genetic draw.  And Either way, condescending attitudes towards those who don't possess your naturally inherited confident physical attitude is hubris at its worse (and in no way to be confused with dignified confidence!).  Honestly, you won one of the birth lotteries, but we're all one chromosonal pairing away from having been quadrapelegics (or one accident away).  Be grateful for your natural athletic courage, and, if possible, compassionate towards those who weren't so lucky.

Some folks find it harder than others...that's true-and that's true for everything and every endeavor-so be happy for the the things you don't find hard, but not too proud about it.
post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam View Post

It's not just adults, either.  I have two boys-Boy#2 (shorty, we call him)-Is classically brave and confident in his physical skills, coachable as hell and 'took off' on skis, Even figured out edging to turn and using turn shape for speed control at a ripe young age.  He may lack confidence in some things-but not athletics, and he'll probably grow to be one of those guys who can't understand why others just don't 'get it' 'cause is so easy, it's just a 'feel' thing.

But Son number 1 is different.  For physical challenges he has a natural antipathy-always hesistant (and yes, he's no natural athlete)-he is confident in many other areas (and no surprise, in areas where he has some natural ability!), but he'll never ease quickly into challenging skiing conditions, he can get there of course, but he'll need a Skimangojazz style coach to get him there.  And in time maybe a lot more confident in facing novel physical challenges-but never on par with Shorty.

But their differences are just the luck of the genetic draw.  And Either way, condescending attitudes towards those who don't possess your naturally inherited confident physical attitude is hubris at its worse (and in no way to be confused with dignified confidence!).  Honestly, you won one of the birth lotteries, but we're all one chromosonal pairing away from having been quadrapelegics (or one accident away).  Be grateful for your natural athletic courage, and, if possible, compassionate towards those who weren't so lucky.

Some folks find it harder than others...that's true-and that's true for everything and every endeavor-so be happy for the the things you don't find hard, but not too proud about it.
 


I would say we should all just be happy that we have the time, money, and health to ski at all. 

Having an instructor that comes from a similar background is always a welcome bonus. I think they are in a better in a position to understand what's going on inside your head and how you approach the sport. Personally, if given the choice, I would rather deal with someone like Skimangojazz who comes from the same type of background. That's not a diss on any other instructors here. It's just that I think matching yourself up with someone who has similar traits and dispositions, as I discussed earlier, would be something benefical. The 'jump right in' personality probably would be most productive when dealing with students who have a similar mental approach. 
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post

 and usually those elite athletes are the most humble too?  

ego usually masks insecurity
 

I agree with Bud.  I have had the good fortune to have hung around with some world class atheletes from several different sports, and the real champions all have a self-assured forthrightness that would never be confused with arrogance or cockiness.
post #27 of 32
 MojoMan you flatter me, thank you.  Remember I teach mostly just beginners.  I don't have the experience or skills that many others on epic have.  I'm still a humble newbie.
post #28 of 32
Hi, Mangojazz,

Newbie, Schnewbie., There is more to it than levels and skill. You've been skiing long enough and have a lot of life experience under you compared to the younger instructors and many of the more advanced Level 3's. I am sure your students benefit from both of these traits. It's how you interact and put out the information that leaves the lasting impression. I have encountered a number of younger instructors and more advanced instructors who ski  with expertise but can't put together the whole package when it comes to interacting with the student. From what I have read here, you are enthusiastic about skiing and teaching, and enthusiasm DOES rub off on the students. It makes them want to keep coming back and pushing on. 

Actually, you have a greater responsibility and importance, IMO, as you are working with raw clay and will be shaping the newbies and giving them the base on which everything else will be built. IMO, I think getting someone comfortable on skis who has 'never-ever' would be more challenging from a teachers perspective than getting those already comfortable to advance technically. You are their first contact with the sport for many of these folks and what you do and say can have a lot of impact on who comes back and how the sport grows. 
 
When I started taking my first intermediate lessons years back, when we did drills, the instructor would always say, "You had a damn good instructor." When I asked what he referred to, he was talking about my solid athletic stance--arms forward, knees slighly bent, centered on the ski, and ready for action. -- "I never see your drop your arms or sit back. Whoever taught you, taught you well."  Most others in the class were dropping their arms behind, standing straight up and back on the tails etc..I remembered the importance of the stance -- the L1 instructor I worked with as a newbie did a very good job of stressing the importance of this as a foundation for good skiing in the future. Also, everyone almost always remembers their first instructor, but rarely remembers those later on--unless they were really good. 

You and other L1 instructors here should get as much respect as the more advanced set.  Each is a link in the chain.
post #29 of 32
 MojoMan thank you.  I read that to my fiance and she commented on how beautifully it was written.

An ode to all Level I's.  
post #30 of 32
Hi, thanks. 

Being on the short end of the food chain of skiing expertise here, I find the best approach is to just try and keep it real, and speak my mind when I can. It's always good to give credit where credit is due -- and especially where it's rarely seen given.

 
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