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The FEAR! Is there a way to overcome it?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi All,

Just back from a great week skiing in Val d'Isere. I think I'm a reasonable Intermediot...having had lessons with InsideOut, this past week with TDC (Steve on SH) and lessons every week that I've been skiing.

Technique wise, there's definitely still room for improvement, but I feel competent and I trust my technique.

That said, I cannot help looking at Reds, Blacks and even some steep Blue runs and thinking..."Oh poo-poo". I don't know whether that is just me and how I will always be. I don't feel it is a lack of trust in my technique, more of my brain thinking..."If you fall, you are screwed. Certain death awaits if you fall off the ridge"

Sometimes this feeling grips me for the whole run, sometimes it disappears after the first turn, sometimes it simply does not exist at all.

The group I ski with are pretty fast and largely confident, so it is not a chat I can really have with them. Hence why I've started this! That said, I ski better than some of them and am faster than some of the group, so I am not feeling rushed or feeling pressured to keep up.

Any thoughts appreciated.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@rossyl, there are at least two current threads on this topic, search confident skiing and nervous skier. Sorry, difficult on my phone to point you to the exact places.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Sometimes skiing on your own, making your own decisions and your own pace can help. No-one to care whether you spend 5 minutes catching your breath before a tough section, no one to feel guilty about holding up. And no one to see you if you do have a fall if that matters to you.
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@rossyl, I donít know if this will help or hinder you, but I still feel like that sometimes, and Iím a pretty good skier these days. My mind hasnít caught up to my body! But, it is getting easier over time. I do have to stop and have a word with myself from time to time to say ďfor goodness sake pull yourself togetherĒ. Gradually my comfort zone shifts and I donít freak out often now, but I did have Ďa bit of a momentí on Saturday in thick fog at the top of a black run. It was ok once I was moving but it wasnít nice standing at the top thinking about it.

Dave is right; a bit of time skiing solo could be a good idea. Take your time and work within your comfort zone. And donít beat yourself up about getting The Fear occasionally.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I think confidence just comes with more time and practice on the slopes, plus sometimes you just have an "aha!" moment, either on your own, or with an instructor, and what used to be scary just isn't any more.I reckon it took me at least 8 weeks of skiing before I went up to the top a red run and didn't get the collywobbles. Like you, the "certain death awaits" inner voice would kick in, and then one day it didn't. It helped me also to know what it is about skiing and the kit you use, especially how skis work that means you won't die.
When I had lessons, I'd be terrified about where the instructor would take me, in case I got scared.
One instructor said to me one day, at the top of a hard black run, "don't be afraid to let your skis go flat" -i.e allow them to go flat and point down the fall line before turning...that definitely helped (even though now I'm a better skier the aim is to initiate a turn [i]before[i] the fall line).
If you only get to ski for a week a year, it makes it harder. When I spend a season as a chalet bod, having then only skied about 10 weeks, I unexpectedly ended up working as a ski host showing people around the 3V, even though I declared I wasn't very confident on red runs. After 3 weeks, just skiing, with no lessons, my confidence and speed improved no end.
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@rossyl, don't stress it. At the moment your skills are greater than your mountain experience, confidence will come quickly with a bit more mountain mileage under your skis. I had a chat with Steve and he said you were doing fine, as I knew you would. Just ski more wink
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Thanks all...really appreciate it. SH is great for this sort of stuff.

I keep wanting to spend more time on the mountain, but there's this silly job that I have that gets in the way but also pays for everything!

Le Face was a great example. I went down it one day and thought "death is a possibility" but I skied it a day later and was completely chilled and humming songs to myself.

rob@rar wrote:
@rossyl, don't stress it. At the moment your skills are greater than your mountain experience, confidence will come quickly with a bit more mountain mileage under your skis. I had a chat with Steve and he said you were doing fine, as I knew you would. Just ski more wink


Thanks very much Rob.

I am hatching a plan for the Pre-Season trip in November this year.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
rob@rar wrote:
don't stress it. Just ski more wink


The recipe to a happy life as well!
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Iíve posted on two other similar threads so you are definately not alone. I would love a breakdown of gender on this particular subject as to whether it is a female problem and men just shrug fear off, or perhaps men are more reluctant to admit it. All I know is, itís truly horrible and unless itís something you suffer from, I donít think you can imagine how awful it is. To stand there and have a voice in your head convincing you you are either about to die or be very seriously injured. Would t wish it in my worst enemy.
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For me it was just training myself to commit to it and go for it. Finding a little bit of fearlessness taught me a few things:
- Bad stuff doesn't happen as often as you let yourself think it will.
- Falling over is just a sign that you're pushing yourself. It's not a sign that you're rubbish. And it doesn't have to hurt.

But perhaps the most important realisation, for me, was realising that skis perform badly when you're cacking it. Skis need weight, pushing forward, to work. Skis grip the piste better on their edges. Edges are easier to engage with the skis pointing down the mountain, than across it. Basically, point being... when you are trying to go slowly and hold back, your skis are in their weakest state.

So for me it literally just took a few good runs of a few intimidating runs. (This is where DOTM's advice of some solo skiing can pay off). You have to find the self-courage to say "f. it" and just go for it, throw your premonitions out of the window and focus on using solid technique from top to bottom. Once you prove to yourself that you have an adaptable technique which you can confidently use anywhere, you'll realise there is nothing on the mountain that can outwit you and you'll be fine.

I am a confident skier and I still occasionally stand at the top of stuff - particularly something I've been avoiding because of my premonitions about it - and look down it and not feel comfortable. And I try to convince myself that I'm tired and likely to pick up an injury / on the wrong skis / whatever... and that I have a totally legit excuse to ski around it somewhere else. So that's where I've learned to use my ability to say "f. it", use my confidence that I am technically capable enough to ski any piste on the mountain (even if that means slowly / in a snowplough / back bottom flapping / whatever), and just go for it. Then 9 times out of 10 it's not half as bad as I imagined it, half the time it's actually pretty fun, and once now and again, it actually becomes my new favourite and I instantly lap around to the top and do it again!

So that's my advice. You just have to teach yourself how to tell the devil inside you to do one, and then just go for it. Commit to it. And get yourself far enough down the piste that it's too late to go back, before you change your mind!

rossyl wrote:

Le Face was a great example. I went down it one day and thought "death is a possibility" but I skied it a day later and was completely chilled and humming songs to myself.


To be fair that's a bad (/good?) example since there are many very experienced snowHeads here who will still admit to poo coming out down Le Face
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i find the longer you spend staring at a steep slope the steeper it gets, so i learned not to look at it for to long and just go for it, it doesnt help when theres about 200 people staring over the lip all frozen with fear. its like being on the first tee on a golf course with loads of people watching you, you poo-poo yourself but you got to make that swing some time.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@compostcorner, we had a name for that Ė lemming ledge Ė though I'm not sure where it came from. It's best to just ignore people staring down a slope, and ski past them without stopping while they psych themselves out.
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@rossyl, first, I think the time to worry is when you DON'T feel fear when faced with a very challenging run. Respect for mountains, conditions and risks shows a healthy state of mind.

No fear and you may have had one too many shandies or wine gums, or be losing any tenuous grip on reality that people who point themselves downhill on an EK or similar black piste may have.
Short time and distance between over-confidence and disaster IME.

Different approaches for different people.

Listen to your body and mind. We all get tired and emotional. Respect your ability and limits at any given time. Do the tough stuff when you feel good.

Skiing alone sometimes helps too, as @Dave of the Marmottes, highlights. You vs the mountain, rather than dealing with peer pressure and fear of 'failure'.

Visualisation helps some. Imagine yourself seeing with the clarity of an eagle who is wearing amber-lensed binoculars, as you stand in thick fog at the top of a black run, like @Maireadoconnor. We don't all ski with her precise advanced technique and control though....so....

...good decision-making may help. In above situation, turn back and wait for it to clear? Choose the easier route? Clamber back up and catch the lift up/down? Sit down on side of piste and sob for a few minutes?

Another approach, which I like, is to find a piste/conditions that push your technique and ability a little, but don't scare you. Do several laps of that piste in different conditions. A good example you may be familiar with in EK is Arcelle, lovely red off top of Madelaine, down to Le Manchet valley. Do it late morning/early afternoon a few times, until feeling you've really cracked it. Progressively try a little faster, straighter down fall-line, if that helps build confidence. Or explore slightly different snow on different parts of piste. Then try it earlier in day, when likely to be icy or boilerplate....and feel the new challenge that brings. Then do later afternoon, when chopped up and maybe slushy.

Then repeat process with a slightly tougher piste, eg top of Grande Motte all way down Double M into Val Claret. Epaule de Charvet, Face de Bellevarde, etc. Eventually tell the moguls, trees and rocks of Foret at La Fornet to 'bring it on'.

Stay mentally switched-on, thinking about technique, even when skiing easier pistes. Avoid zooming and tazzing around, like I tend to, being naturally a lazy sod. Be alert, skiing needs lerts.

Reward yourself with a couple of stiff ones and a table dance outside La Folie...and fall on the easy pistes just below. There...it doesn't hurt that much, after all. wink

If fears of death creep in, ask if a slow lingering one, on a sofa in front of another episode of Pointless, would be worse. Remind yourself how lucky you are. Thousands would swap in an instant.

Never stop practising skilled side-slipping, once or twice a week at least. Gets you out of all sorts of tricky situations.

None of the above have a scrap of evidence or scientific research behind them, if you hadn't guessed.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
There is some seriously good advice on here - thanks for taking the time.
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I would recommend this https://www.confidentskier.com based on personal experience. Go to sleep listening to the MP3 for a couple of weeks. It sounds odd, but I just stopped feeling scared and ended up knowing that I could get down anything. Lessons give you technique and many people will tell you that with technique should come confidence, not so imo. Nothing gave me confidence as quickly as that hypnosis MP3. There was also no-one more skeptical than I about the effectiveness of hypnosis, but in finish I reasoned that it had to be worth a try vs. The cost of lessons. If nothing else the added confidence then allows you to put into practice what you learn in lessons without worrying about doing so once you leave your instructor. I'd highly recommend that any nervous or scared skier tries it. As I noted above, it worked for me playing it as I went to sleep for a couple of weeks prior to holiday. I started it several years ago and still listen for a couple of nights before I go away. Highly recommended.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@rossyl, If itís any consolation I think Val díIsere must be one of the most confidence draining resorts around. May be just my imagination and others might disagree.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Two consecutive weeks of skiing will help considerably.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I'm not a ski instructor, but I work with people with anxiety. When helping people in picking targets to work with fear, we keep a few principles in mind:

1. Graded - (start small and work up - don't move up until you can handle the current level without too much fear.)
2. Prolonged - ('pulling off a plaster' style won't work - getting it over with quickly as possible brings relief, which feels good and reinforces the fear response - you need to do it long enough so that your body has time to learn that the fear isn't dangerous and readjusts the physical anxiety response - generally 15-20mins at least - not always easy when skiing.)
3. Repeated - (3-4 times per week at least - the more the better - this should be easy on a ski trip!)
4. Without distraction - (tune into the fear and the feelings in your body/skis and let yourself feel it - if you allow yourself to drift off in your head or focus on something else, your body won't adapt to the fear and it will persist.)

A good ski instructor instinctively knows all that.
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Scarlet wrote:
@compostcorner, we had a name for that Ė lemming ledge Ė though I'm not sure where it came from. It's best to just ignore people staring down a slope, and ski past them without stopping while they psych themselves out.


@Scarlet, that's brilliant! Laughing

I try not to stop at such places. However much I may be cacking myself about the reason for the lemmings, I find I get a lot of confidence from putting the first turn or two in after the ledge (what were they all worrying about?) plus it's easier not to take a steepening slope from a standing start. I try not to overthink things when I'm feeling the fear. And as @dp said, falling is usually worse to think about than actually do.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@mgrolf, Toofy Grin one of the most noticeable places for it is the home run at Ischgl, where there are three or four places where the hordes gather to stare into the steep, icy abyss. You can do the whole bottom section on you backside if you donít watch it, so there is at least something to be nervous about. Personally, I recommend the bubble.
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Quote:

All I know is, itís truly horrible and unless itís something you suffer from, I donít think you can imagine how awful it is. To stand there and have a voice in your head convincing you you are either about to die or be very seriously injured. Would t wish it in my worst enemy.

It does indeed sound truly horrible. At the risk of being accused of heresy, why not just accept that if that's how it often makes you feel, perhaps skiing is not for you? You can do all the mountain scenery/nice meals, vin chaud/enjoying the snow bits without actually having to ski? I am a sailor and I know quite a few people (women, I have to admit) who just hate it - being scared, wet and cold (and possibly sick) - and have firmly declared they're not gonna do it any more. I can entirely understand them - especially as men on boats (even otherwise quite nice ones who are pussy-cats ashore) can turn into Captain Bligh in the twinkling of a dead-eye.
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Absolutely not heresy to me Pam and something Iím mulling over. I did fall back into skiing a bit more this time and I did feel a great sense of achievement. However, I probably enjoyed my day more yesterday where we just relaxed and went exploring (poor weather stopped play). I caught myself wondering if it is really a holiday at all if Iím very frightened for a large proportion of it. If Iím honest I ski for the family and want to be part of it but wonder if Iím ďflogging a dead ĎunĒ and will never enjoy it. Myself and hubby run a small business together and we have quite a few challenges with our kids and elderly parents. I never have time to relax. I find that sitting down, reading a book and people watching (boring I know) provide me with reset time I need; something I just donít get on a family ski holiday.

Conditions have improved here so Iím going to listen to my ďConfident SkiierĒ download and keep trying. I think it will be a pivotal moment this week though as to whether I continue. Iíll have given it my best shot Very Happy .

PS, I watch the kids sailing (their other passion) and donít get that either. Now horse riding is another matter
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I think it's normal to have a healthy fear - isn't that adrenalin buzz part of what makes us go back to it, whatever the sport.
It's when it stops us enjoying it that the fear is a problem.
There's a lemming ledge here in arc 1600, only on a red but it is steep for the first 30 metres. So far, I've bypassed it and taken the cruise through the trees. I will go down it soon, just need that first step.
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@bambionskiis, how many weeks have you been skiing, if you donít mind me asking?

Donít forget that difficult conditions, especially very low visibility, make fools of nearly all skiers. I tackled more or less every 3 Valleys tough piste last week with no problem.
But one afternoon, on a steady red above Meribel, I literally couldnít tell up from down and took my only fall of the week, quite a heavy one.

So I did a few runs under lifts between trees, where I could see again. OK, I nearly went into a lake but found a half decent pair of gloves, proving that things usually end happily ever after 😉
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bambionskiis wrote:
Now horse riding is another matter


Perhaps not... Think about when you are jumping, perhaps at a height at the top end of your comfort zone. You know if you back off and allow your uncertainty to surface the horse will pick up on this and lose confidence, possibly running out or putting in a dirty stop. You have to approach with confidence to get the best result. I think skis are the same - you have to drive them forward, sometimes with more subtle touches than others, but sitting back and letting them be in control doesn't work.
And those times jumping when you've misjudged the stride into the fence... last thing you do is pull out, you just have to go for it - and I think that works for skiing too.... Icy bit, scruffy turn, unexpected bump... get forward, regain control and move on.

What do you think?
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Thanks all for the many comments.

There are clearly different levels of "fear". I think Rob summarised it well that I just need more mountain experience, which I agree with.
The fact that I can go down Le Face without "the fear" or head pretty quickly down steep Reds I think probably proves Rob's point. That said, when hungover or at the top of a slope in a white-out I think "the Fear" is perfectly natural as some have said.

For me, "the Fear" is annoying and results in my slowing down. Slowing down requires me to accept the fall line less which then results in more turns/slides which requires more energy and results in me being more tired. The more tired I get, the more that "the Fear" is likely to creep in!
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Scamper wrote:
bambionskiis wrote:
Now horse riding is another matter


Perhaps not... Think about when you are jumping, perhaps at a height at the top end of your comfort zone. You know if you back off and allow your uncertainty to surface the horse will pick up on this and lose confidence, possibly running out or putting in a dirty stop. You have to approach with confidence to get the best result. I think skis are the same - you have to drive them forward, sometimes with more subtle touches than others, but sitting back and letting them be in control doesn't work.
And those times jumping when you've misjudged the stride into the fence... last thing you do is pull out, you just have to go for it - and I think that works for skiing too.... Icy bit, scruffy turn, unexpected bump... get forward, regain control and move on.
óóóóóóóóóóóóóó-
Spot on scamper and yes the bit about mistiming stride is so true. A riding analogy is actually a good one thanks. Also the bit about taking control and not sitting back is true. Working on that one.

Peaky, 5th ski week with kids. Prior to that a gap of about 12 years. Prior to that 4 weeks. Hardly a beginner but I think the point about 2 consecutive weeks skiing is valid.

Ok today then. Felt absolutely sick. Rest of family went out to reccie for me to see if conditions were good. They reported they were ok so I went up. It was awful and I felt every bit my username. Couple of near misses but didnít fall. However, the blue that I had been used to suddenly turned into a mogul run. WTH?!! How did that happen. I managed it by just sort of riding them and it went fine. Scary but a tiny bit of fun really. Still no falling over - I just seem to right myself. Abandoned early as was getting foggy and yes peaky, fog does scare me. I hate not being able to pick a route a good way in advance. So all in All, quite positive really.

Isnowhead, so true about that confident skiier download. No way would I have gotten down that first run of the holiday if I had t been listening to it prior. I found it quite late so only listened about 4 times maybe. Itís quite long so fitting it into my day has been tricky. Definately worth it. Off to listen to it now in fact. DRIFT.......

SORRY THIS ALL ENDED UP AS A QUOTE!!!


What do you think?
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@bambionskiis,
Quote:

Peaky, 5th ski week with kids. Prior to that a gap of about 12 years. Prior to that 4 weeks.

With relatively small amount of skiing and a big gap in the middle, I think you're setting high expectations and maybe being hard on yourself?
Nothing really worth doing is very easy. Fog and moguls spook 90% of skiers, no matter how experienced.
Gradual progression....build confidence on comfortable slopes in reasonable visibility. Repeat them over again until feeling confident and safe. Technique will improve through that focused practice.

I've done quite a bit of horse riding too and definitely think puny skis are easier to control than a large wilful horse. Even if very confident, you wouldn't set off at a canter and jump 5 foot high fences after not riding much and a long gap between....would you??
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Thanks for that peaky - I thought that was loads of time, so that has definately boosted me!! I think the gap was what did for me as I donít remember feeling like this in the earlier days. Iím different as well having the kids with me - even though they are t little any more. As my son helpfully pointed out earlier ďdonít get injured mum, we need to you be well at homeĒ (he means do everything!). Very good advice ref repitition of runs - sounds the way to go. I may well do one on my own a few times to find my ski legs in the morning.

So true on the horse analogy too Very Happy
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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Bambionskis, I'm so glad you are getting benefit from the confident skiing download. Try it as you go to sleep if you are busy elsewhere. I have it on my mobile abd add a pair of headphones. It still seems to work even if I fall asleep listening to it. 9 times out of 10 the end bit still wakes me and I just remove the headphones, roll over and go straight to sleep. In fact I couldn't say what she says from the bit about relaxing your body onwards, but that doesn't stop it working! Happy
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Sing songs in your brain, or out loud. Perhaps the good run down la face is because you were humming, rather than humming because the run was good.


For some reason I always end up singing "turn around", I think Ive heared it about 3 times in my life but the tune fits my turns.

Also do some turns and you know you've won!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@motdoc,
Quote:

For some reason I always end up singing "turn around",


I do the Paul Simon track 'Slip Slidin' Away'..."you know the nearer your destination, the more you slip slidin' awayyyy".
Or if things get quick, the final verse and finale to Bat out of Hell.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
My biggest issue I have realised this week is when visibility is very poor. Give me good visibility and I will ski almost any run but once visibility becomes an issue I revert to all my bad habits and my skiing is very poor.
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Some good suggestions here. I'm more in the "if it scares me, I want to do it" camp, so I'm not particularly well qualified to assist. However...
motdoc wrote:
Sing songs in your brain...

I was never scared of skiing - it's the safest thing I do - but I did find that when I started using music on piste, I could do lots more and lots quicker. I still remember the feeling of just accelerating away, leaving everyone behind. There are lots of people here who hate lots of things which will likely include both people leaving them behind and those listening to music. I don't think it will help everyone, but my singing isn't great.
--
I never stop on what I now know is the "lemming ledge". However if you just hit the lip, sometimes there are rocks below: been there, done that, gave the lemmings a good laugh no doubt. A better approach is to try to come around at an angle, so you can get an eyeful of what there is before dropping in. You want to drop at the point the lemmings are most scared of - usually the centre of the line, but sometimes an edge. That's because lemmings cut really horrible traverse lines into slopes which make them hard to ride down... if you find the bit where the better skiers went, that's usually an easier line.
--
If you can do better in poor visibility than good... that's the opposite of almost everyone. If I felt that, I'd get (clinical) help with it. I've used that sort of assistance for other things and it can be transforming.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Sorry for the delay as have only just seen this post.

Fear is normal but you have to distinguish between Fear A and Fear B. Fear A is rational and good for our self preservation (i.e.if i get any closer to the edge of a cliff I will fall) .Fear B is NOT rational . We all have both Fear A and B in our minds. Fear B is that nagging doubt that says "if you do that red run you will fall and hurt yourself .Don't do it !" EVEN when the red run is within your technical ability. The trick is to try to make Fear B much smaller in your mind e.g. I skied that red last year and did not fall and now my
skiing technique has improved much more so it should be much easier. (There is a book by Timothey Gallwey called "Inner Skiing" that explains it in more detail .... but in a nutshell its what I said)

How you feel on the day can have a big impact on your skiing. On days when you start the day over stressed, for other reasons, Fear B can be much larger than it should be
which is maybe why you feel different about reds and blacks on different days. If you can't shake off that feeling on those days take it easier until you can.

The more your technique improves the easier it will all become.

Good luck with it all and enjoy your skiing
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brnttptr wrote:
Sorry for the delay as have only just seen this post.

Fear is normal but you have to distinguish between Fear A and Fear B. Fear A is rational and good for our self preservation (i.e.if i get any closer to the edge of a cliff I will fall) .Fear B is NOT rational . We all have both Fear A and B in our minds. Fear B is that nagging doubt that says "if you do that red run you will fall and hurt yourself .Don't do it !" EVEN when the red run is within your technical ability. The trick is to try to make Fear B much smaller in your mind e.g. I skied that red last year and did not fall and now my
skiing technique has improved much more so it should be much easier. (There is a book by Timothey Gallwey called "Inner Skiing" that explains it in more detail .... but in a nutshell its what I said)

How you feel on the day can have a big impact on your skiing. On days when you start the day over stressed, for other reasons, Fear B can be much larger than it should be
which is maybe why you feel different about reds and blacks on different days. If you can't shake off that feeling on those days take it easier until you can.

The more your technique improves the easier it will all become.

Good luck with it all and enjoy your skiing


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Excellent advice. Understanding the problem is a major part of the solution.

This year when I was feeling tense I stopped for a break and let the others ski - something I hadnít done before. Iíve always struggled on. This allowed me to calm down, get things back into perspective and generally refocus. It was definately easier thereafter.
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I tell my nine year old that she can do it because she's done stuff like that before, and all she needs to do is traverse (wide but steep). She tells me after that she was indeed a bit nervous looking at it but my reminder helped.

For myself, my brief to my last instructor - maybe I'm level 6 or possibly 7 - was "I don't want to be scared", for 5 days of privates. So a couple of days we did moguls, a couple of days we did steeps, then a gully... I still need jumps, and deep snow (the latter is not scary but it brings me almost to a halt and I can't turn). I have lessons for precisely the problem areas, not just general "your carving needs improving". Once I'm no longer scared, I am relaxed enough to work on technique.
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Sorry to dig up this post, but as someone who learned skiing at a young age, I have never felt "fear" as the OP described. I've felt "This icy black run is going to make me look stupid and hurt my knees as I flail down it," but not fear. I am not a great skier...put me on a soft red and I look pretty good, but moguls/chowder etc and I'm hopeless. But, I do know survival turns and can get down almost anything.

However, my wife, who is learning at age 42, feels very real fear on a blue run. As in, she will take off her skis and walk down. I have no doubt she is experiencing a very real feeling, as she's pretty brave in general. But to me, it's clearly Fear B, as above. however, she would say it's Fear A, as in == I will fall and die and my children will be left motherless.

So...perhaps this "fear" is only limited to adult learners.
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I've found that sitting on 'lemming ridge' is a recipe for disaster. The key seems to be getting on with things. OK, so if you've just come off of a lift and the 'black' is the immediate route down then you have to decide to start it - I always find that once I have made a decision to start and managed the 1st turn (which I normally do) then I can manage every other turn. It is the deciding to start off that is the hardest thing to do. So what I've started to do is not stopping. If I can see a 'Lemming ridge' coming up I refuse to stop with everyone else, I ride the ridge straight over it and carry on down and stop when the slope is more evenly gentle. If I stop above a steep bit I then have to start again - if I just keep going I just have to deal with what I find. If you know you have the skills on board to deal with whatever you find (and I know in theory that I do) and you just keep going and your feet will deal with it. If I stop and look then my brain starts to find time to argue the point with my feet and I have anguish to deal with.
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