As usual, I'm going to take middle ground on this topic. As far as the age thing goes, as many people know, my first attempt to learn to ski at age 35 was a disaster. My second attempt at age 45 did not make me feel as if I was a "natural," but it was infintely more sucessful than my first try, at a younger age.
That being said, research in motor learning has shown that rate of learning will slow down with age. A good example of this is our group at the academy. In Brighton, Lori Geib was in the same group with me and Bonni, and we were all more or less on similar levels.
But by the time we got to Stowe, by the second day, Lori was ready to advance, and she moved up to Rick's group.
This makes perfect sense. A 30 year old with pretty much the same amount of skiing days as a group of late 40s, early 50 somethings
SHOULD be learning at a faster pace.
The question is, "how much does this matter?" I think this is different for each individual. What must be taken into account, is the fact that everyone has different standards as to what they consider "improvment."
Its a debate that we've exhausted on Epicski. Tecnique or terrain? I've come to believe, that within reason, it does not really matter.
Mark's 17 year old daughter visited us from Florida over the holiday. Being from Florida, she obviously does not get to ski quite often, but she does have a natural talent for it.
However, as a 17 year old, she is much more concerned about the "bragging rights" of skiiing more challenging terrain, than the finesse involved with skill acquisition. In the Southridge area, she preferred skiing the one blue trail, as opposed to the greens.
After awhile, I noticed that she had imprinted the defensive style of skiing that comes from constantly skiing trails that are beyond your ability. The wedge grew bigger and bigger. Poles were held above shoulder height, elbows overly flexed, shoulders tense. Turn initiation came from a radical rotation of the upper body, as opposed to her feet.
I was ready to make some constructive comments, but Mark told me to let her just enjoy herself.
For myself, I really value the education and improvment aspect of the sport, otherwise I would not take so many lessons, and spend so much time on this forum. But sometimes, it just feels so good to cruise on a nice wide trail that is well within my capabilities; to relax, to shut up, and just ski!
To mix a metaphor "Chacun a son mishagos!"
[ January 11, 2004, 02:27 PM: Message edited by: Lisamarie ]