When I was younger I had those I admired and looked up to...
Billy Kidd, Wayne Wong, Spyder Savage, and some of the better local freedoggers I got to ski with like the Beddors and Tom Kelly. But, other than those I had an aura of
ignorance and arrogance around me regarding other skiers that I didn't look up to. In other words, I thought I was a lot better than I really was at the time. Now, I realize that though I am a lot better than average there is a whole set of levels above and beyond what I'll ever be capable of. I'm pretty good, but there are lots of people that are a lot better than I ever was or will be. Getting older and more fragile is part of that negative regression that has convinced me I have peaked. But, lacking the unbelievable level of raw natural talent and ability I see in the truly exceptional skiers is a larger component.
From here on to the end of my skiing career I will be very happy maintaining most of the level and abilities I currently have understanding that as I enter the golden era of my 60s and beyond my capabilities acceptable risk level will wane quickly. They have some already. I know the sun has set on the likelyhood of me getting much better than I am right now (skiing 10-15 days a year). I just plan to stay connected to the skier mindset, get out and ski when I can, and keep active and in shape when I can't.