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Can Anyone be an Expert Skier?

post #1 of 102
Thread Starter 

Consider this a counterpart to the Expert Skiing thread. I admit I didn't read the whole thing, but I got the gist of it, and it made me wonder what it would take to become an expert skier and if anyone can really and truly, be the "real deal" as a skier. 

 

I mean, can anyone become a prima ballerina, opera diva, virtuoso violinist or is there something needed beyond liberal application of appropriate training, fitness, and practice? Is the old saw about how one gets to Carnegie Hall misleading--since surely it takes more than practice, practice, practice to get there? 

 

Of course, I'm talking about an innate quality--call it "athleticism"--that a person is either born with or not. Can the lack of it be overcome by focusing really diligently on the other stuff? 

 

Whether anyone can be an expert skier or not, certainly anyone can try to be an expert skier. If a person is not particularly gifted athletically, what would they need to have or do -- in abundance, I would guess -- to reach that goal?

 

Regardless of innate gifts, do all experts follow a similar path to get there?

 

If you knew what it *really* takes to be an expert skier, would you choose it? This clip of the late Doug Coombs from the film Steep perfectly exemplifies for me what it is to be an expert skier. This is not what most of us can ever do, but certainly we can aspire to achieve some approximation of this. I'm interested in your thoughts about this. 

 

post #2 of 102

 

Quote:
 "athleticism"--that a person is either born with or not

 

This is a crock of shit, and an excuse to not excell at anything. You get back in skill the amount of dedication you are willing to put into some thing. It takes huge effort and time spent. People make excuses. I wish I can do this and that. It's as simple as doing it and stopping the excuses. It's either your lifestyle or it's not. If it is then you will be better, if it's not, then you won't get there.

post #3 of 102

I wouldn't go so far as to say anyone, but I would say the vast majority of people could become experts.

 

I've seen supposedly uncoordinated, nonathletic,  spastic people develop amazing athletic skill through just a few years martial arts training.  Some folks don't do well at athletics because they don't practice their athletic skills, because they don't do well; it's a vicious circle.  Given enough encouragement to practice, they too can become good athletes, maybe not top 10 in the world, but good.

post #4 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

Consider this a counterpart to the Expert Skiing thread. I admit I didn't read the whole thing, but I got the gist of it, and it made me wonder what it would take to become an expert skier and if anyone can really and truly, be the "real deal" as a skier. 

 

I mean, can anyone become a prima ballerina, opera diva, virtuoso violinist or is there something needed beyond liberal application of appropriate training, fitness, and practice? Is the old saw about how one gets to Carnegie Hall misleading--since surely it takes more than practice, practice, practice to get there? 

 

Of course, I'm talking about an innate quality--call it "athleticism"--that a person is either born with or not. Can the lack of it be overcome by focusing really diligently on the other stuff? 

 

Whether anyone can be an expert skier or not, certainly anyone can try to be an expert skier. If a person is not particularly gifted athletically, what would they need to have or do -- in abundance, I would guess -- to reach that goal?

 

Regardless of innate gifts, do all experts follow a similar path to get there?

 

If you knew what it *really* takes to be an expert skier, would you choose it? This clip of the late Doug Coombs from the film Steep perfectly exemplifies for me what it is to be an expert skier. This is not what most of us can ever do, but certainly we can aspire to achieve some approximation of this. I'm interested in your thoughts about this. 

 

 



I think most experts claim they aren't because they don't want to carry the responsibility of carrying that title.  They will instantly come under attack by people trying to either prove they are better or that the "expert" is not as good as they are, so they must be an expert expert!  We spent the summer debating what it takes to make a turn; how will we ever agree what an expert is?  There is a difference in being an expert and being better than all the other experts. 

 

Being an expert doesn't mean you know all there is to know and there is nothing else to learn.  My view says you know more than most and can perform better than most and with regards to skiing, that means all over the mountain.  I do however think that someone can be an expert at moguls but might suck in the gates.  That doesn't mean they aren't an expert skier.  Is an orthopedic surgeon not an "expert" because he can't do open heart surgery?

 

The simplest answer (that I'm sure we'll make much more complicated) is to use the bell curve.  If you're in the top 20%, you're an expert.  I'm sure we can do another thread on what it takes to be in the top 20% and how you measure that.

 

What other sport or discipline doesn't admit that there could be and expert?

 

I don't think people try or aspire to be an expert.  I think they aspire to be better than they are and if they stick with it, they'll eventually be an expert and have been for a while but they didn't even realize it until someone points it out.  It's not like racking up reward points and now you can afford your plane tickets.  Maybe they'll read a thread like "what is an expert" and note that they can do all those things.

 

Athleticism would only be a hold back if, like in any other sport, you're going to compete in a sport where certain attributes are required (i.e. height in basketball).  Must to my dismay, I'm constantly beat in the gates by a guy with one leg and woman that has a much harder time touching her toes than I do.  I'm a better athlete than either of them but they are better skiers than I am.

Having a limitation means you need to adjust for it and not that you shouldn't attempt it.

post #5 of 102

Can anyone become an expert?  Can the majority of people who play golf consistently break 80?  Hogan thought so provided they learned the fundamentals and had the physical strength to swing a club.  Skiing is no different.  Balance, posture and technique can be taught, but a person without proper leg or stomach strength can only progress so far.  And let's not forget the psychological issues associated with any sport!

 

I think that is why Bode will occasionally comment about racers who are as fast as anyone in practice, but for an unknown reason can't take that speed into a race.  My guess is that they just aren't strong enough.  The guy or gal who can't carve a fast turn may not have the strength (which we take for granted) to hold an edge.  The person who freezes up when facing a steep hill with some crud may be doing so because they don't have the strength to turn, hop turn or put themselves into a balanced position.  No, not everyone can become an expert.  That is why groomed runs and places like Deer Valley exist.

post #6 of 102

I don't see how this thread will be much different than the other one, but what the heck.

 

Can anyone be an expert skier?

 

I don't think it takes any special genetics, just a lot of time on the snow & a decent understanding of physics, biomechanics, ski design & desire.  Once a skier is skilled enough to be able to express him/herself with passion & ski the line & speed they desire, they are reaching their own mastery of the mountain.  If other people want to emulate it & it is the skiers desire to have that recognition then "so be it".  Otherwise, who cares what others think. 

 

I think the flying/floating feeling that Coombs describes in the video clip is an internal thing.  Others cannot know the same gratification that he feels when he is in that special place when everything comes together.  They may be able to relate, but they don't know exactly how he feels.  I am not much of a surfer, but have friends who live that life.  I can relate to them through my skiing experience, but I will never know what they feel without spending many years on the ocean waiting for waves. The more skill & experience one has, the more often they can reach that place.

 

I know for me, some of my most memorable ski experiences have been when no one else is around, usually in the backcountry or during a huge storm, sometimes it is in the bumps.  Do I want to share it!  You bet I do, but sometimes that just isn't possible.  Sometimes I will come in & people will see a familiar, peculiar grin on my face & they know that I was just in that place again.  They don't need to ask where, when or how...  they just know.

 

Thanks,

JF

post #7 of 102



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post

No, not everyone can become an expert.  That is why groomed runs and places like Deer Valley exist.



IMO, saying not everyone has the desire to become expert is more accurate.  It takes a lot of time, money and discipline.  Weak core doesn't mean they'll never be an expert.  It means they need to make their core stronger first.  People freeze for various reasons and the #1 thing to combat that is training; whether it be a mental block or physical one.  Psychological requirements can be dealt with in the same manner as physical ones.

 

I also think this thread is geared to "the average person"; everything works.  I see no reason why a never ever that has no severe limiting disabilities couldn't some day be an expert skier.  The abilities they have on day one would probably only indicate how soon they get there.  Will a person that a an equilibrium problem that can't be corrected become an expert?  No.  Can someone that was told their knees will explode if they even drive by a ski shop become an expert? No.  Can someone that has full use of their brain and body become an expert?  As long as they desire enough.

 

The scenarios you listed aren't limiting factors.  Only things that still need to be overcome to become an expert that will probably make it take longer. 

 

I'm an average Joe with "issues".  I'm not now an expert but do believe that someday I will be.  Might take me ten years but that has more to do with time management than ability.

 

Groomers are there so people that lack the desire to be an expert can give the mountain money too.

post #8 of 102

 

Quote:
 My guess is that they just aren't strong enough.  The guy or gal who can't carve a fast turn may not have the strength (which we take for granted) to hold an edge.  The person who freezes up when facing a steep hill with some crud may be doing so because they don't have the strength to turn, hop turn or put themselves into a balanced position.  No, not everyone can become an expert.  That is why groomed runs and places like Deer Valley exist

 

Strength and balance can be gained by training for it, or by getting out and practicing alot. If you are dedicated enough and spending 100+ days on snow per year, you are going to get pretty damned good unless you are fine with being mediocre. You're not special, and yes, most people that put in the time and effort can become an "expert" skier. It definately takes more than 1 ski trip and a few trips out per year.

post #9 of 102



I absolutely agree with your comments on training and practice, and the ones from L&AirC.  My skiing developed more slowly than others specifically because of strength issues. I remember what is was like to "freeze."  Consistent training and practice improved things greatly.  My kids, who are active in martial arts, are progressing in skiing much faster than their friends due (I think) to better strength and balance.  Skiing 100 days a year will obviously improve almost anyone, but requisite strength is still necessary become "expert."   It doesn't matter if the strength comes from skiing 100 days per year, working out in the gym, using an exercise machine like the Skier's Edge, training in martial arts, or dancing ballet.  The strength still has to be there.

 

And no, I am not knocking Deer Valley or groomers.  I happen to love carving turns on groomers, and fully recognize that Deer Valley serves it's market better than anyone.  That market, of course, does not consist of "experts" who want to spend at least half their time off groomers.  It does consist of higher net worth skiers who love to be pampered with great food, upscale accommodations, kiss-ass service, and overgroomed snow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by time2clmb View Post

 

 

Strength and balance can be gained by training for it, or by getting out and practicing alot. If you are dedicated enough and spending 100+ days on snow per year, you are going to get pretty damned good unless you are fine with being mediocre. You're not special, and yes, most people that put in the time and effort can become an "expert" skier. It definately takes more than 1 ski trip and a few trips out per year.

post #10 of 102

Nolo, If you swap the order of the first two words of your thread title, you get the title of a well-known ski technique book

 

I think that with enough determination, proper coaching, good alignment and bootfitting, and day after day, season after season of deliberate deep practice -- drills done with exacting precision -- most recreational skiers can approach or attain expert status.  But it's hard work and only the worst snow addicts are likely to see it through. 

 

A video camera on the slopes and narrower skis are tools that can help accelerate the development process somewhat, but mastery in any field emerges slowly and mustn't be rushed.

post #11 of 102

I said in the other thread that I guess I would define myself as an expert although I generally dislike that label.  I can ski strong lines in almost any conditions at one of the best mountains in North America.  I get paid to teach level 7-9 ski lessons at that mountain and make a living at it as my full time job in the winter.  I guess that fits the criteria for expert skier.  I hear from students and others that I am a very smooth and fluid skier and I suppose that it is true.  The truth is that I have been skiing for a long time and have dedicated a large portion of my life to what is a largely useless skill.  I know that there are plenty of instructors that I work with, free skiers, and racers who are way better and stronger than I will ever be.  I feel like I really should be better than I am for the amount of time and effort that I have expended on this essentially useless skill.  Am I better than most skiers in the world, yes I think so when you count them all, but at a big mountain I see people who inspire me every day.  I think it's all a matter of perspective.  I'm very good at what I do which is alpine and telemark free skiing on tight tree and rock studded lines.  I have no experience in the park or the race course and have no serious plans in those directions at this time.  

 

I have become good at nearly everything I've ever applied myself to.  IMO This has more to do with my desire to be good and my particular personality flaw that makes me think that my efforts aren't up to my standards even when they are plenty good enough for most other people, than any really inherent talent.  I was always one of the smaller kids in school and one of the last ones picked for most sports, yet I became an "expert" whitewater boater and skier once given enough time, practice, and exposure to people who where better than myself to emulate.  Probably not everyone can become an expert and certainly not everyone has the ability to become truly elite no matter how hard they try, but if I can do it then a lot of others can as well.  I just laugh when people say things like "you make it look so easy" or "it's easy for you".  They should have seen me hiking up Teton Pass and crashing and burning on nearly every turn all the way to the bottom trying to learn to ski powder in the early 90s.  Everything is easy once you know how and for the time and energy I have invested in skiing, it's about time that it feels easy, but I really should be a lot better than I am.

post #12 of 102

Perhaps to lower skilled skiers I am an expert but to other more skilled just another skier. My personal goals are to ski without fatigue and in control anywhere in any condition. If I accomplish that then I fell like an expert. At least in my own mind.

post #13 of 102

Athleticism certainly is not a made up thing. Something like reaction time is certainly not something that can be honed with practice, and also something necessary to be an expert skier. The top level skiers can react to a change in the feel of their skis before most--even with practice--can notice something has even changed. Now I'm not saying you have to have insane reaction time to be an expert skier, but to be an elite athlete you do. Look at someone like Bode. There are athletes with much more time devoted to training than him, but he is one of the best skiers in the world because of his pure athletic talent. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by time2clmb View Post

 

 

This is a crock of shit, and an excuse to not excell at anything. You get back in skill the amount of dedication you are willing to put into some thing. It takes huge effort and time spent. People make excuses. I wish I can do this and that. It's as simple as doing it and stopping the excuses. It's either your lifestyle or it's not. If it is then you will be better, if it's not, then you won't get there.

post #14 of 102

Everyone comes to the hill with different strengths and weaknesses. If the skier has reasonable physical aptitude and balance (no blown eardrums of excessive vertigo missing limbs are not a dis-qualifier anymore) they can get there.  They just have to be willing to pay the entry fees for expertise.

 

several 100 days on skis in every kind of weather and snow.

spending lots of time with skiers better than you are.  (access to decent coaching or training is a big help here)

the ability to ski through or come back from injuries.

the opportunity to ski lots of different terrain.

an evolving mind set that will allow you to ski increasingly aggressive lines and terrain.

The self control to realize that you probably won't fly with the eagles in the morning if you are up with the owls too often.

The ability to pay the monetary costs.

 

Realize that if you give up the quest for an extended period of time you probably will never come back at the same level.

 

Do these things and your chances are good.  Is it worth it, you have to answer that for yourself.

post #15 of 102

I think Bode works as hard as anyone and harder than most.  This is addition to a large amount of pure athletic talent.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

Athleticism certainly is not a made up thing. Something like reaction time is certainly not something that can be honed with practice, and also something necessary to be an expert skier. The top level skiers can react to a change in the feel of their skis before most--even with practice--can notice something has even changed. Now I'm not saying you have to have insane reaction time to be an expert skier, but to be an elite athlete you do. Look at someone like Bode. There are athletes with much more time devoted to training than him, but he is one of the best skiers in the world because of his pure athletic talent. 
 


 
post #16 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

I think Bode works as hard as anyone and harder than most.  This is addition to a large amount of pure athletic talent.G

I have to agree.

 

I know this thread is not about Bode, but it drives me nuts that people so easily believe that this man is nothing but a drunken slacker.  Perhaps he has brought some of it upon himself, but the amount of destruction the US media has done to his career is ridiculous. 

 

BTW, he just took a 3rd in GS at Coronet Peak while we all thought he was out on his boat pounding cold ones.

JF
 

post #17 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

Athleticism certainly is not a made up thing. Something like reaction time is certainly not something that can be honed with practice, and also something necessary to be an expert skier. The top level skiers can react to a change in the feel of their skis before most--even with practice--can notice something has even changed. Now I'm not saying you have to have insane reaction time to be an expert skier, but to be an elite athlete you do. Look at someone like Bode. There are athletes with much more time devoted to training than him, but he is one of the best skiers in the world because of his pure athletic talent. 
 


 



Gotta disagree about Bobe Miller, who has been quoted as saying he likes to feel he is in better condition than anyone when entering the starting gate.  Some of his training ideas, including diet, are being used by the USST.  Give the guy credit, he works as hard or harder than anyone.  Jerry Rice, Lance Armstrong and a host of other great athletes make things look easy because they were/are in superior condition.

post #18 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by time2clmb View Post

 

 

This is a crock of shit, and an excuse to not excell at anything. You get back in skill the amount of dedication you are willing to put into some thing. It takes huge effort and time spent. People make excuses. I wish I can do this and that. It's as simple as doing it and stopping the excuses. It's either your lifestyle or it's not. If it is then you will be better, if it's not, then you won't get there.

Wrong! Some people have better coordination, quicker reflexes, or better balance by nature, just like some are taller or shorter. To suggest otherwise is ignorant. We are not all dealt an equal hand physically, and while some certainly do offer this as an excuse as to why they haven't achieved what they aspire to, some with a tremendous amount of desire and dedication achieve great things, and then there are those who use less of a hugely superior physical potential, and still beat those whose dedication isn't matched by their body's potential.

 

I had this friend in high school who was a high jumper, he was 6' 8" and had a 38" vertical jump. He had outstanding arch to his flop (headfirst backward), and was able through excellent technique, to jump his personal best (his height) at the city meet. I watched as this guy from another school, with absolutely horrible form (instead of arching, he bent forward in a crunch) beat my friend who sat shaking his head in disbelief at the display of incredible raw leaping ability paired with little effort to actually learn the technique.

 

To reach the highest levels of anything, you need to have both diligence and the native talents which lend themselves to the application of the techniques involved, all things are not equal in human genetics.

 

However, if someone wants to become an expert skier, they can do it by skiing enough so they will have within their vocabulary of muscle movement a neural firing code to navigate through all situations: what it takes is skiing frequently, and on as many different types of snow and terrain as possible, especially in conditions that people call "bad". Experience makes experts, both physically, and mentally. Some require more experience than others.

 

I don't believe one needs to have huge natural talent to become an expert skier, but not every expert is of equal ability.

 

post #19 of 102
Thread Starter 

No advocates of starting young to become an expert skier? On most sporting fields, taking up the sport as a youth is an important  factor in one's continued success. Can anyone who starts from scratch as an adult ever make it to expert?

 

How about background: where geographically you grew up and live now, whether your parent(s)/family are skiers, and whether you had the money to ski as a youngster (or oldster). I'm sure these are great advantages--how would one fare without them?

post #20 of 102

 

 

Quote:
 Wrong! Some people have better coordination, quicker reflexes, or better balance by nature, just like some are taller or shorter.

 

No shit sherlock. If able bodied, even these people can become experts.....fyi this thread is about "expert" skiers, and not "elite" level skiers.

 

Quote:

 

However, if someone wants to become an expert skier, they can do it by skiing enough so they will have within their vocabulary of muscle movement a neural firing code to navigate through all situations: what it takes is skiing frequently, and on as many different types of snow and terrain as possible, especially in conditions that people call "bad". Experience makes experts, both physically, and mentally. Some require more experience than others.

 

I don't believe one needs to have huge natural talent to become an expert skier, but not every expert is of equal ability.

 

So you say i'm wrong, but we share this opinion...and that's all I was getting at.

post #21 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

1) No advocates of starting young to become an expert skier? On most sporting fields, taking up the sport as a youth is an important  factor in one's continued success. Can anyone who starts from scratch as an adult ever make it to expert?

 

2) How about background: where geographically you grew up and live now, whether your parent(s)/family are skiers, and whether you had the money to ski as a youngster (or oldster). I'm sure these are great advantages--how would one fare without them?


1)  They better be able to or I should just quit trying now!  I'm 50 and started at 45.  I did ski a little bit in high school but I assure you the few times I went and the  condition I was in (it was the '70's) did nothing to give me any advantage when I picked it up again.  I think this also delves into "What is an expert?"  You have to agree on the goal to know how long it is going to take to get there.  Do you have to make it to the WC to be considered an expert?  If so, starting young probably is a requirement.  For Recreational Skiing, I don't think that's the requirement to be considered an expert. 


 

2)  This has more to  do with it but each thing can be overcome too.  I think it would be incredibly challenging to overcome all of them.  Where would Bode be if he grew up in Kansas?  He grew up poor and that was over come.  The best skier I know personally grew up here in NH but could never afford a lesson and even as a kid worked all summer long so he could by used ski gear the following year.  He said he would always watch what the really good skiers did and would try doing that (This makes him great at movement analysis by the way).  He was always a student of the sport but I don't think he ever took a lesson until his late 40's and that was at a race camp.  He started at 5 y/o and is now 56.  I love skiing with him but hate being in the lift lines with him..."You ski so beautifully."  "I wish I could ski like you."  "You make it look so easy."  "I was watching you ski and couldn't take my eyes off you".  It's very annoying .  His only advantage was location and an incredible desire to master this sport.  His desire had him find a way to overcome his finances.  Not sure how he would have overcome his location if it was different.

post #22 of 102
Thread Starter 

One recurring word seems to have a big influence on becoming expert at skiing (or anything, perhaps) and that's

 

D E S I R E

 

You have to really, really want to excel at skiing. 

post #23 of 102

I don't know if I'll ever make it to expert but I do desire it.  The friend I was talking about in my previous post helps fuel it through challenge, inspiration and motivation.  Two years ago I told him I'll beat him in the gates within 5 years.  Probably not the smartest challenge I ever made  but helps me stay focused (notice my signature).  He's the one that told me "You suck!" when I asked him how I ski two years ago.  He's also the one that tells everyone else how far I've come in a short time and has been coaching me and mentoring me all along the way.  My abilities (desire) to progress nowadays probably has more to my life in the Marines and involvement in the martial arts than my upbringing.

post #24 of 102

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

Athleticism certainly is not a made up thing. Something like reaction time is certainly not something that can be honed with practice, and also something necessary to be an expert skier. The top level skiers can react to a change in the feel of their skis before most--even with practice--can notice something has even changed. Now I'm not saying you have to have insane reaction time to be an expert skier, but to be an elite athlete you do. Look at someone like Bode. There are athletes with much more time devoted to training than him, but he is one of the best skiers in the world because of his pure athletic talent. 
 


 


You may not be able to create clinically measurable faster reaction times, but with practice you can learn to anticipate better so that the time you have to react is longer. Its called looking ahead. Bode works his derriere off both on and off the snow, as must all skiers that compete at the national and international level. Some do have greater inate skills than others, but that can be overcome. Not to say that anyone that puts his mind to it can be a world champion, but they can improve with training.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

I said in the other thread that I guess I would define myself as an expert although I generally dislike that label.  I can ski strong lines in almost any conditions at one of the best mountains in North America.  I get paid to teach level 7-9 ski lessons at that mountain and make a living at it as my full time job in the winter.  I guess that fits the criteria for expert skier.  I hear from students and others that I am a very smooth and fluid skier and I suppose that it is true.  The truth is that I have been skiing for a long time and have dedicated a large portion of my life to what is a largely useless skill.  I know that there are plenty of instructors that I work with, free skiers, and racers who are way better and stronger than I will ever be.  I feel like I really should be better than I am for the amount of time and effort that I have expended on this essentially useless skill.  Am I better than most skiers in the world, yes I think so when you count them all, but at a big mountain I see people who inspire me every day.  I think it's all a matter of perspective.  I'm very good at what I do which is alpine and telemark free skiing on tight tree and rock studded lines.  I have no experience in the park or the race course and have no serious plans in those directions at this time.  

 

I have become good at nearly everything I've ever applied myself to.  IMO This has more to do with my desire to be good and my particular personality flaw that makes me think that my efforts aren't up to my standards even when they are plenty good enough for most other people, than any really inherent talent.  I was always one of the smaller kids in school and one of the last ones picked for most sports, yet I became an "expert" whitewater boater and skier once given enough time, practice, and exposure to people who where better than myself to emulate.  Probably not everyone can become an expert and certainly not everyone has the ability to become truly elite no matter how hard they try, but if I can do it then a lot of others can as well.  I just laugh when people say things like "you make it look so easy" or "it's easy for you".  They should have seen me hiking up Teton Pass and crashing and burning on nearly every turn all the way to the bottom trying to learn to ski powder in the early 90s.  Everything is easy once you know how and for the time and energy I have invested in skiing, it's about time that it feels easy, but I really should be a lot better than I am.


+1

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger View Post

Everyone comes to the hill with different strengths and weaknesses. If the skier has reasonable physical aptitude and balance (no blown eardrums of excessive vertigo missing limbs are not a dis-qualifier anymore) they can get there.  They just have to be willing to pay the entry fees for expertise.

 

several 100 days on skis in every kind of weather and snow.

spending lots of time with skiers better than you are.  (access to decent coaching or training is a big help here)

the ability to ski through or come back from injuries.

the opportunity to ski lots of different terrain.

an evolving mind set that will allow you to ski increasingly aggressive lines and terrain.

The self control to realize that you probably won't fly with the eagles in the morning if you are up with the owls too often.

The ability to pay the monetary costs.

 

Realize that if you give up the quest for an extended period of time you probably will never come back at the same level.

 

Do these things and your chances are good.  Is it worth it, you have to answer that for yourself.


I am always in awe when I watch the disabled ski team at Aspen running the Masters DH and SG. Those guys (most in sit skis) overcome extreme challenges and excel. When they wreck, they eschew help, get up and point 'em down the hill. They have determination and desire that overcomes physical limits. They are remarkable!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

No advocates of starting young to become an expert skier? On most sporting fields, taking up the sport as a youth is an important  factor in one's continued success. Can anyone who starts from scratch as an adult ever make it to expert?

 

How about background: where geographically you grew up and live now, whether your parent(s)/family are skiers, and whether you had the money to ski as a youngster (or oldster). I'm sure these are great advantages--how would one fare without them?


More time spent on skis and starting as early as possible are absolutely advantages. Youth knows no fear and is uninhibited. Kids naturally figure out what works and what doesn't because they aren't over-analizing the situation, but rather just going for it and learning by trial and error. In my case, just trying to keep up, then stay ahead of my buds.

 

I started at five, was suppoted by my family and a local ski program. I skied all the time, practically daily all season long, until I was 19. I have no doubt that had a great deal to do with my success. Yet there were friends and fellow athletes that tried as hard, had as much time on skis and more $ for better gear, yet I beat them. Was it natural talent? A desire to win? Who knows? I did my best, so did they. We all were winners in our own way.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post

1)  They better be able to or I should just quit trying now!  I'm 50 and started at 45.  I did ski a little bit in high school but I assure you the few times I went and the  condition I was in (it was the '70's) did nothing to give me any advantage when I picked it up again.  I think this also delves into "What is an expert?"  You have to agree on the goal to know how long it is going to take to get there.  Do you have to make it to the WC to be considered an expert?  If so, starting young probably is a requirement.  For Recreational Skiing, I don't think that's the requirement to be considered an expert. 

 

2)  This has more to  do with it but each thing can be overcome too.  I think it would be incredibly challenging to overcome all of them.  Where would Bode be if he grew up in Kansas?  He grew up poor and that was over come.  The best skier I know personally grew up here in NH but could never afford a lesson and even as a kid worked all summer long so he could by used ski gear the following year.  He said he would always watch what the really good skiers did and would try doing that (This makes him great at movement analysis by the way).  He was always a student of the sport but I don't think he ever took a lesson until his late 40's and that was at a race camp.  He started at 5 y/o and is now 56.  I love skiing with him but hate being in the lift lines with him..."You ski so beautifully."  "I wish I could ski like you."  "You make it look so easy."  "I was watching you ski and couldn't take my eyes off you".  It's very annoying .  His only advantage was location and an incredible desire to master this sport.  His desire had him find a way to overcome his finances.  Not sure how he would have overcome his location if it was different.


Desire seems to be the greatest factor in excelling at skiing. Aim to learn and improve.

 

The size of the smile, to me, is the greatest factor in judging success in skiing. My girlfriend still keeps her weight too far inside but she is determined to improve and can't wait for the next opportunity to go skiing. She always has a great time when she is skiing.

 

The attempt to label what an expert is seems kind of silly. What matters is whether you can ski to the level that you want to. And if you can't, then are you willing to take the effort to learn and improve. If you are, then great.

post #25 of 102

I have a friend who I think is one of the best skiers in the country.  He started skiing in his late twenty's.  Now He is a Backcountry Guide at JHMR and a Heli Guide in AK.  He's been on the cover of Powder magazine and is one of the founding members of the JHAF.  He's about 50 now and can out ski almost anyone.  For fun he races in the Lo 2 Jo bike race (Logan, UT - Jackson, WY).  He didn't come from money and started skiing late, but he is definitely a top level skier.  Yes it can be done!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

No advocates of starting young to become an expert skier? On most sporting fields, taking up the sport as a youth is an important  factor in one's continued success. Can anyone who starts from scratch as an adult ever make it to expert?

 

How about background: where geographically you grew up and live now, whether your parent(s)/family are skiers, and whether you had the money to ski as a youngster (or oldster). I'm sure these are great advantages--how would one fare without them?

post #26 of 102

I too have seen a lot of skiers become very accomplished starting later in life, & some in a short amount of time.  Usually they have a background in other sports, or the gene factor plays a part.

 

I also believe that there is a certain natural feel for the snow, or "glisse" that can only be obtained during childhood.  It is an advantage, but certainly is not the only factor.

 

Again, experience, desire & passion trump most other factors.

 

JF

post #27 of 102

I'm not saying that Bode does not work hard. He has an intense physical regimen, however I also believe there are a lot of other World Cup skiers who work equally as hard or harder and don't achieve the same level of performance he does. What I was trying to show is that athleticism certainly is real and a factor.

post #28 of 102

Yes its about experts, but you said that the term athleticism is made up and there is no such thing as athleticism it's all practice. I was comparing the merits of elite athletes to show you that athleticism is not a made up term and that there is a certain degree required to become an expert skier.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by time2clmb View Post

 

 

 

No shit sherlock. If able bodied, even these people can become experts.....fyi this thread is about "expert" skiers, and not "elite" level skiers.

 

post #29 of 102
Thread Starter 

I forgot to mention another thing that we probably should talk about and that's age. Our good friend Ott Gangl has said that part of the aging process may be going from expert to intermediate, letting go of foolish airs, and being darn happy to be out there. 

post #30 of 102

 

Quote:
 but you said that the term athleticism is made up and there is no such thing as athleticism

 

Ummmm....that's not what I said, pay attention. You said you're either born with it or you are not. I was saying that it's some thing that can be gained. You can gain all of these "coordination, dexterity, vigor, stamina" by working on them, which all make up the definition of athleticism.

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