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Yikes Zone Discussion Group

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
Someone mentioned awhile ago that a bunch of us should get this book. I just got my copy, and I'm already hooked!

Mermer Blakeslee is a mystery writer, as well as a ski instructor. Her use of language is seductive and procative; she has some ideas that she wants you to become intrigued with.

You do.

"Skiing", she says, "is flirting with gravity".
Hmmm! Interesting! I've heard "surrender to gravity used quite a bit, but is that REALLY what happens for many of us?

Not really.

Anyone with some of the issues she brings up, will display the same sort of coyness with the fall line as a girl infatuated with a good looking guy!

Should I approach him directly? Maybe.. Uh.. No! Let me turn sideways and just sort of glance in his direction...

Something else quite interesting: Some of the most FIT women she has worked with are actually the Least athletic!

post #2 of 49
I've heard of this book...what's it about, give us a potted version!
post #3 of 49
Thread Starter 
Its basically about fear, particularly as it pertains to skiing. Not just fear of getting hurt, other things such as fear of failure.
post #4 of 49
Yeah, I'd gleaned that, which is why I'm interested. It's becoming my teaching specialty.
Fear and Failure...two really pernicious things in teaching (I'm thinking mainly of beginners here). If they experience either, I think it's detrimental to their progress, and their enjoyment.

I also think these two things are experienced differently, and aren't necessarily so bad, at higher levels.

LM, what are the main themes in the book? (I shall try to get it when I'm back in the US)
post #5 of 49
Thread Starter 
Since I just started it, someone else may be able to give you a better synopsis, but here goes;

She talks about the "Nag", the little voice that sort of dooms you to failure. Humerously, she descibes Jewish Nags, Lutheran Nags, Catholic Nags, New Age Nags, etc.

I am reminded of one of my favorite Hepburn/Tracy movies, Pat and Mike. Hepburn plays an athlete engaged to a guy who does not quite believe in her abilities. Every time she sees him give her this doubtful look, she fails.

But the nag does not have to be a real person, just a voice. She then talks about "the guide" who instead of judging your "performance" just gives objective commentary.

[ May 27, 2002, 08:41 AM: Message edited by: Lisamarie ]
post #6 of 49
Yep Ant it's me.... [img]smile.gif[/img]
Can go with that last bit ...
My instructors all do that - one says 'I don't teach you - I coach you' & it is true ...
because they don't 'hassle' me about stuff so much - but tend to say 'Ah that seems a bit difficult - might be easier if you put this bit of you here(or try to)' or something more along those lines -instead of being told 'Lean forward' incessantly or something similar to that.
I find the second approach destructive - more from the perspective of achieving confidence about my skiing - while the first is VERY helpful & tends to make you feel GOOD about what you are trying to do. (Especially when they get all excited when you do it right)

[ May 25, 2002, 02:49 AM: Message edited by: disski ]
post #7 of 49
If you do buy the book (I just did), click on the Amazon.com link at the bottom of the EpicSki page. This helps all of us.
post #8 of 49
Amazon has a good review of the book. Do what KeeTov said. Yikes is not a book about ski instruction. MB uses skiing as a metaphor. Good book, get it and read it. At less than $20.00 it's a bargain.
post #9 of 49
I agree. It would help immensely if those who wish to discuss the book would read it. Otherwise the conversation will resemble a group of blind people describing an elephant. EDIT: Which has already been done. It would also help a worthy author make some bread.

It is a masterpiece, in my opinion. You will not regret the investment in money or time.

[ May 25, 2002, 10:35 AM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #10 of 49
Thread Starter 
Absolutely! Actually, I think if AC puts a direct link to the book, he gets a higher commision.
post #11 of 49
Who's read the book? (Me)
Who's reading the book?
Who's ordered the book?
How do we start? Nolo,any ideas?
post #12 of 49
Thread Starter 
I started it last night. I'm up to chapter 8. Nolo has read it, Kee tov has it, Tamski has ordered it.

Who else?
post #13 of 49
I just ordered it (I think the last copy from Amazon) on Saturday.

How about a new thread to discuss the book. First read the first 4 (?) chapters. How do they relate to you as a skier, as an instructor of any sport, as a parent(or child). Relate the most important event in your life that relates to the chapters. How will the selected chapters change your life, and how are you going to do it. Have you done it? Did it work?

Not having read the book yet, do these questions seem reasonable? Whoever has read the book, pick some questions for us to answer.

Can we start the EpicSki Book club in about one week? That will give several of us time to get and read the beginning of the book.

Maybe divide the discussion groups into chapters...and different threads, so if someone purchases the book 2 months from now, they would enter the first thread, while others can continue with additional chapters in a second thread, and third thread.

I'm looking forward to Yikes in the EpicSki Book Club. [img]smile.gif[/img] [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #14 of 49
Thread Starter 
YO!!! Pretty good questions for someone who does not even have the book yet! I like your idea about breaking it down into different threads, 4 chapters at a time.

What's amazing is how uncommercial she is! The http://www.yikeszone.com website has no email address.
post #15 of 49
Good ideas KeeTov. Should be an interesting dialogue. Four chapters at a time might lead to a fragmented conversation; one chapter at a time would allow a greater opportunity to explore different topics. Just a thought.
Have a happy Memorial Day!

[img]smile.gif[/img] :
post #16 of 49
If you buy it from using this direct link:

In the Yikes! Zone : A Conversation With Fear

15% goes to support the website, compared to 5% from the general Amazon link below. Thanks!

[ May 25, 2002, 05:32 PM: Message edited by: AC ]
post #17 of 49
This is Lisa's book selection, so I think she should be Gertrude Stein this round.

If I might make a suggestion, it would be to assign someone to be responsible to pose an opening question about the section we are reading. There are four main sections to the book.

Here's an example of an opening question for the first section: If skiing is an emotional sport, why is it such a head game?
post #18 of 49
Thread Starter 
I always saw myself as more of a Dorothy Parker!

Hey! The Algonquin meets the internet!
post #19 of 49
Dorothy Parker it is.
post #20 of 49
I'll get it when I'm back in the US. Buying it from Oz, the price almost doubles, and they whack on a fair bit for posting etc.
post #21 of 49
Thread Starter 
One thing did strike me as interesting, and this is something that you don't need to read the book to get. She comments at the begining of the book at how ski instruction is now called a "product", and instructors are not called instructors, but "pros."

I recall in on my first lesson, I was a bit anxious about this. Experience has taught me that "pro" dancers and athletes are not always the best teachers. And the term "product" implies that skill is something to be purchased, as opposed to practiced and learned.
post #22 of 49
I agree with your view of "product". Does this mean if you don't like it you complain to the manager and get your money back?

How can you claim a physical activity as a product?
post #23 of 49
Originally posted by KeeTov:
I agree with your view of "product". Does this mean if you don't like it you complain to the manager and get your money back?

How can you claim a physical activity as a product?
Umm - Yep - I've done that - got replacement product - complained about a lesson I considered unsatisfactory. A young gungho type whose fixation was on how he would look - rather than how the lesson would suit me. Couldn't take being questioned closely or disagreed with - too much EGO invested in the lesson - not enough CARE. Worst of all would NOT let me leave my private lesson when I stated my dissatisfaction - but forcibly kept me up the mountain with him for the remaining 1hour & 40 minutes. (which resulted in me dissolving into tears when my instructor friend asked what was up as I got to the bottom at the end)
post #24 of 49

You have started the first "thought" from the book. How do we interpret the words MB uses.

As an instructor, I don't like the word "product". I provide a service. To me a product is a finished item, while a service may vary depending on what is being requested. Service brings to mind a good waiter. The food can be placed in front of you, or there can be talk, humor, flair, caring... A good waiter knows how to read the client, and adapts. The product of placing food on the table never changes.

Lisamarie-just reread your comment about a product. Can the ski industry convince people that skiing is like a piece of hand-made pottery. All similar, but each with a slight difference that makes it unique. So it can be "bought", but if you want to be less "unique", you will need to practice.

I would agree with disski (welcome by the way) that if you are unhappy with the product(I call it service), you should get/have something done.

What do I call myself? An instructor teaches, a pro gives expert advice and a coach has a good eye for correction. The negatives to those words are, an instructor talks and doesn't ski enough, a pro knows how to do it but not teach, and a coach is meant for racers not recreational skiers.

Hm... I know! We should be called "ASWKMASTYAIWTSTATYNTHYETSB". (A Skier Who Knows More About Skiing Than You, And Is Willing To Spend Time Adjusting To Your Needs To Help You Enjoy The Sport Better) We can become famous like the Singer once know as Prince!!!

Sorry, one drift per reply.
post #25 of 49
A rose is a rose is a rose.

--Gertrude Stein (I knew she had a place in this thread)

I like to be called by my name. I consider that a form of personal brand building.

I like people to refer to what I do as "magic."
post #26 of 49
Thread Starter 
The circumstance that initially brought me to internet ski forums was a really horrific lesson. I've told the details more often than I care to, but in summary, some jerk tried to teach me to edge by lying down on the snow and pulling on my ankles. He thought it was funny when I fell on top of him.
I did not.
When I complained at the office, I was given a voucher for another lesson. A forum member fowarded my thread to the resorts mangement. I was sent another voucher.

But even though this was the place where I had learned to ski, I never went back for a lesson. As a matter of fact, I only returned once as a non lesson taking quest. Compare that to skiing that particular resort every other weekend.


I had been in contact with the SSD on previous occaisions, regarding effusive compliments I was making about her instructors. But all attempts to reach her, email, phone calls, etc. failed. As far as the resort was concerned, I was dissatisfied by a product, so they gave me different product, as if the first "model" was defective.

The problem: I was not buying a product, but a learning experience. And if I am willing to pay to learn, the school should be willing to learn about why a particular instructors teaching style may not be all that condusive to learning.
post #27 of 49
I know the ski school private lesson people where I ski quite well. I regularly bring them people that I have found "struggling" or "upset" for remedies to the situation - that may be to book a private lesson or a set of group lessons - or to investigate a special program - or sometimes to receive compensation for a poor experience. I am the first to tell them & others if they are doing well - but I also tell them when they have failed miserably.

Have to agree with LM that they should be prepared to discuss both. Simple replacement of "product" does not lead to improvement.
post #28 of 49
Thread Starter 
The problem with viewing ski instruction as a "product" is that some can get fooled into believing that the value of the product is more important than the quality of the instructor.

In the fitness industry, this is leading to under qualified professionals. All you need to do is memorize a system such as Body Pump or PowerFlex, and VOILA, you're a professional.

Owners of any sort of business like to productize aspects of it, because it can be marketed in a way that ensures financial sucess. Just add a few catchy phrases and melodies, and presto pronto, YOU'RE RICH!

But does popularity necessarily mean quality?

Have you read the McDonalds thread in the Fitness forum?
post #29 of 49
Nah - not a Maccas fan (wheres a puke icon when ya need it?)
post #30 of 49
KeeTov, nicely put! Good points. Put me down for a "me too".

btw, re money back, our ski school had that one going, if anyone complained (especially to a particular person) they scored a free private lesson. Some of us suspected that the word had got around...

Also, a thought, carrying on from KeeTov's Product points, have you guys noticed how some guests get peturbed at being taught different stuff? they get all doubtful, and say their last teacher told them X, or had them doing Y for a specific thing. As though skiing is maths, rather than a sport with infinite ways of doing.
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