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Beginner, getting over the anger and fear

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi, I'm a beginner to skiing - I've been doing it for about 3 weeks and about 7 hours of lessons and maybe 20 hours on the slopes. I want to be good at it, but so far, when I get to the slope, I usually end up feeling anxious, frustrated, angry and it's really really unpleasant. This obviously stops any improvement. Has anyone ever had this problem, and found a way to get past it?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@mh8782, aperol spritz?
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I did consider going skiing being a little tipsy might help
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7 hours of lessons spread out over three weeks isn't enough in my opinion. Do you book group lessons or private? More lessons with a sympathetic instructor, private if you can would surely help.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I've been doing private lessons. I've been planning to go for at least three days skiing consecutively as it could help.
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20 + 7 hours only equates to 4-5 full days, so less than a week. That's not really a long time to learn a new skill. You just need to reset your expectations on how quickly this takes. I’m sure the heroes’ in your office and tinternet claim they were dropping couloirs after 3 days but the reality is you are probably smack on the average learning curve. If you are learning in a dome, consecutive days will help though. A week in the alps would be even better. Just remember, everyone was sh*t when they first started!
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@mh8782, where are you skiing? Who are you skiing with?
I wonder if the problem is that by having private lessons you don't have that peer group to compare yourself with, so you have this expectation of yourself that you should be skiing better than you could reasonably be expected to. With group lessons at the early stage you would be with a group that develops together and see your own skiing in context.
Skiing is a lot about confidence, and its very easy to beat yourself up about little things and not see the bigger picture of how well you might be doing. Sometimes just stop and smile and remind yourself that you're in a beautiful place (or if skiing in a fridge that at least you're not at work). Smiling really helps! Smile Smile Smile
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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!
Anxious... normal
Frustrated... normal
Angry... with yourself? Sometimes but rarely productive. With the snow/mountain/slis/boots? Pointless.

27hrs in 3 weeks skiing isn't a lot though. Assuming 3 weeks is 3x6days, thats less than 1.5hrs a day. It'll take a lot more than that for most people to get a basic level.
If your lessons so far have been privates then perhaps considder group lessons. Although the potential speed of progress may seem slower, that isn't always a bad thing. You'll get more hours for your money and as a beginner, hours is what counts. You're also less likely to get frustrated at not being able to do it, if there are a whole group of people demonstrating it isn't just you; A problem shared... etc.
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@mh8782, it does sound as if you are putting yourself under too much pressure. Wanting to be good is excellent but try being kinder to yourself and a bit more patient - progress will come. I've been angry, cried in frustration and been depressed at my abilities, but in the end when I accept that I am where I am, I start to be able to make some small changes for the better snowHead I am hugely self-critical so I do understand but I have also learned how to shrug my shoulders and grin.
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Lots of good advice here, really helpful. I do need to be a bit kinder on myself, and I think it would be good to get some back to back days on the snow, combined with lessons.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@mh8782, and welcome to snowHeads snowHead
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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.
Out of interest, how good are you at this point? Why are you getting scared? Do you have any experience with similar sports (skating, mountain biking etc.) And are you starting truly from scratch?

Not trying to make you feel worse or anything but it seems like quite a lot of hours to still be scared of really easy slopes (I.e. an indoor snow centre)but if its steep, polished or icy stuff that makes you scared then thats more reasonable.

I taught myself last year to be pretty confident skiing on a dry slope in about 10 hours. But I did have skiing experience as a child and I'm a keen mountain biker. (And skiing and MTB are much more similar than many people think, but I digress).

As soon as I got to the mountains it was a different story and icy slopes terrified me for a while. Even at the end of the week I just would not want to go down icy steep stuff unless there were moguls to turn against.

Is there a part of it you do enjoy? Is it just certain bits that are the problem or is the whole thing in general?

If there's aspects you enjoy then try and spend more time doing those (e.g. fast and easy) and only push yourself when you feel like doing so.
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Welcome to snowHeads @mh8782 snowHead

Learning to ski is tricky - you get cold; you fall over a lot; you see people looking cool, making it look so easy and yet you... arghhhh! Mad

What tends to make it OK, is being in a wonderful place (the mountains) with like-minded friends (old or new) getting fresh air, good food, exercise and a well deserved dose of aprés as a reward!

It's easy to see how the momentum of motivation could be harder to generate in a fridge.
You'll find a good few snowHeads who have very successfully launched their skiing obsessions in fridges but for most, the fridge is just the warm up for the 'real thing'. A few taster sessions just to get the feel of having planks hanging off the ends of yer legs... then the sweet sweet joy of the mountains, the pizzas, the Gulasch Suppen, the Vin Chauds, the Aperol Spritzi etc.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I've no experience with skiing or anything like rollerblading, skate boarding. I'm in Europe, and have a blue slope I can come down. However, I went to a new resort last weekend, and I was struggling on greens that had (from my perspective) really steep bits.

So far, I do quite enjoy the food and the views but if I'm honest, I find skiing more addictive than pleasurable.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
mh8782 wrote:
greens that had (from my perspective) really steep bits.
I find skiing more addictive than pleasurable.


One of my favourite bits of the Birthday Bash last week was being led down a "steepish blue" which turned out to be black Toofy Grin No, he didn't know he was blue/black colour blind either.

I have chronically high anxiety levels which leave me with similar symptoms - addicted but not always able to enjoy the moment. But as my skills and abilities improve, so does the opportunity to enjoy more of the experience. Otherwise I go from Toofy Grin to Shocked in the space of a mogul.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I would book a week's holiday with group lessons in the Morning. Probably the most usual way of learning to ski.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Read The chimp paradox by Dr Steve Peters. It really will help.
ATB,
Andy.
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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?
Surface2Air wrote:
Not trying to make you feel worse or anything but it seems like quite a lot of hours to still be scared of really easy slopes (I.e. an indoor snow centre)but if its steep, polished or icy stuff that makes you scared then thats more reasonable.

Sorry, that's twaddle. A first week skier in resort (certainly in Austria where lessons are usually full days) would get, say, at least 20 hours of lessons (2 hours morning and afternoon for 5 days) and probably a bit of private practice, and that's all as one block. With only 20 hours in total and only 7 hours lessons, spread over 3 weeks, the OP is unlikely to be quite at that standard. A reasonable expectation for first week skiers is greens and wide gentle blues by the end of the week. It's perfectly normal for someone to feel frightened by a blue (or indeed any slope) at that stage, and even peering off the top of one of the fridge slopes especially on a busy winter weekend can be intimidating (although I understand that the OP is skiing outside not in a fridge).
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mh8782 wrote:
I find skiing more addictive than pleasurable.

That's an odd combination.

Puzzled Puzzled
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Tubaski, yeah fair enough. I guess it seems like a high number to me based on my experience, but when I consider how long it took me to teach myself I conveniently ignore all the 100's of hours of relevant experience, and childhood ski lessons that Ive had.

Starting from scratch is a completely different ball game.

My advice to OP would be to find a run they do enjoy and hit it over and over and over. Colour classifications often mean very little in my experience, with some well-travelled blues/greens being significantly harder and scarier than reds and even blacks. on my trip last year there was a blue piste I hated because it was polished and scary, and a number of blacks that I loved.
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admin wrote:
Welcome to snowHeads @mh8782 snowHead

What tends to make it OK, is being in a wonderful place (the mountains) with like-minded friends (old or new) getting fresh air, good food, exercise and a well deserved dose of aprés as a reward!



Which is why @admin, invented the MYAsHbash snowHead

Why he wrote all that and then was too basHfull (see what I did there?) to mention it himself I don't know.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
mh8782 wrote:
have a blue slope I can come down. However, I went to a new resort last weekend, and I was struggling on greens that had (from my perspective) really steep bits.

Was the piste icy by any chance? Condition sometimes makes the color grading completely different.

Also, were you with an instructor at the time? Perhaps you should do a private lesson each time you go to a new resort, partly to get some suggestion on which piste be the most enjoyable.
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Yes, some of it was quite icy, which made the greens more difficult. Yesterday, I was only with my wife (no instructor). I do plan to keep on with lessons, but plan at least a long weekend (we live near the slopes in France) where I can get consecutive days of training in, rather than one morning or day per week
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mh8782 wrote:
I did consider going skiing being a little tipsy might help


Some people believe it helps but for me I found that it wasn't until I was a 'capable' skier that I could have a drink. Up until I had a bit of experience I found that a pint mid morning and another at lunch would have negative effects on my skiing.

But it could work for you, in quite relaxed already so I didn't get the benefit, only the downsides of the effect on my motor skills Laughing

Try getting group lessons rather than private. As others have said you'll get a bit more camaraderie and be able to compare yourself to others, which should make it more enjoyable. Don't expect to be the best though, there will probably be others in the group that are better than you, that's just a normal part of skiing.
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Quote:

I do need to be a bit kinder on myself


Definitely! It's easy to get frustrated, and think you're not doing well, when in fact that's not the case. Less than a full week's skiing is not much, and also you'll now be at the stage where the initial fast progression starts to flatten out a bit - it feels amazing going from barely being able to stand up on skis to getting down a slope, but once you're at that point, the improvements are perhaps less obvious, especially as your standards get higher. I'm sure they will be happening, though, especially if you're taking regular lessons.

Perhaps have a think about what things are making you anxious, and see if you can avoid some of those factors at least sometimes. For example, I'm not a particularly confident skier and am much more likely to feel stressed when I'm on busy slopes. This in turn can lead to frustration, as I'll be distracted and will find myself making silly mistakes. So on my last holiday, I learned to avoid the 'home run' later in the day when it became scraped/bumpy and very busy with everyone trying to get back to the resort; it was actually a really nice run, so I skied it earlier in the day instead, when it was very quiet, giving me a chance to enjoy it fully and concentrate on skiing well.

I think regular breaks can also help. If you're starting to feel frustrated/angry, stop at a nice mountain hut and relax for a bit with a drink. Or even just pause somewhere scenic for a few minutes and admire the view. Obviously these are also good things to do if you're feeling perfectly happy snowHead
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SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:
mh8782 wrote:
I did consider going skiing being a little tipsy might help


Some people believe it helps but for me I found that it wasn't until I was a 'capable' skier that I could have a drink. Up until I had a bit of experience I found that a pint mid morning and another at lunch would have negative effects on my skiing.

But it could work for you, in quite relaxed already so I didn't get the benefit, only the downsides of the effect on my motor skills Laughing


I don't like drinking alcohol when I'm skiing, I'm quite uncordinated enough when I'm sober. Avoiding coffee and other caffeinated drinks, which can increase anxiety, might be a good idea though. It is important to keep hydrated though...
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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.
mh8782 wrote:
Yes, some of it was quite icy, which made the greens more difficult.

That's it!

I'll modified the following:

Anxious... normal
Frustrated... try not to, because it's "normal" to be anxious when condition is less than optimal!
Angry... no point and not productive. Stop at a mountain hut and get a drink of your desire. Maybe it's simply not a good day for you. Or you can book an instructor and get some specific help on how to handle that kind of condition.
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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
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
mh8782 wrote:
Hi, I'm a beginner to skiing - I've been doing it for about 3 weeks ... I want to be good at it, but so far, when I get to the slope, I usually end up feeling anxious, frustrated, angry and it's really really unpleasant. This obviously stops any improvement.


OK, firstly you realise that you're feeling these negative things and that it's hindering you. So, without doing my full psychotherapist routine, can you work out yourself what you really mean by the words that you've used, and what you really feel and where and when and why? Can you then reduce or prevent them happening? If you can identidy what you need to address then that's usually helpful to take to an instructor (on piste or in a snowdome) for advice.

Secondly, you want to get good at it. We all do. And I've been skiing a lot longer than 3 weeks (and a lot lot less than many on this forum and a lot lot less than I want to), and in my head I think that I'm not bad, until I get on the slopes and have a panic on even the mildest should-be-easy run or find out that my control and technique's crap, watch the young or fit or experienced people float and fly by with grace and style and expert technique whilst I'm struggling just to stay upright and in one piece... . It's like any activity or sport: you always want to get good, quickly, be the best, etc, etc - and all those others make it look so easy, and they can all do it like they were born to it and you can't... etc, etc etc. Well, skiing isn't that easy (or, at least, it's a long, long road of constant progression with plateaus and troughs) and I'm not sorry to say that your time so far is very very short in the grand scheme of things.
It's also an 'extreme sport' and there are things to be anxious about - like slopes and icy slippy stuff and falling over and hurting or breaking yourself - that's natural, and there's a thing called experience and confidence and it comes in all things with time and mileage under the belt.

Thirdly, what or who are you comparing yourself to? Are you really struggling - in which case either maybe skiing isn't for you or you just need to give it time or different lessons or practice to get it to click - or just having high expectations and low frustration tolerence threshold? (I can go with that one btw.)

I would say try snowboarding: but the learning and frustration - not to say pain - curve on that is near-vertical at the start (and for me far from as quickly-flattening as a lot of 'em make out after the first few weeks too).

I was watching the World Championships last week on TV - a lot of the very top skiers were rather upset and angry and frustrated when they didn't get it as right as they'd wanted too Laughing

My advice - if you do enjoy skiing then stick with it, give it time, just try to enjoy what you can, and try to get as good as you can - but not at the cost of enjoying it!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
mh8782 wrote:
So far, I do quite enjoy the food and the views but if I'm honest, I find skiing more addictive than pleasurable.

That's an interesting statement. Have a think about that one too and what you really mean.
I think I could probably say the same thing (although I might not mean the same as you do) about skiing; certainly snowboarding and certainly riding a motorcycle (which scares the **** out of me, and which I'm no good at, but I've done all of my adult life and couldn't consider giving up.
If you really enjoy want the views and food, consider mountain walking or something different to downhill skiing: there's no shame in that. Or maybe consider taking up climbing up them rather than skiing down? But I suspect that really you do or will enjoy skiing once you get a little more confident and technically better and experienced with different conditions.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
mh8782 wrote:
I want to be good at it, but so far, when I get to the slope, I usually end up feeling anxious, frustrated, angry and it's really really unpleasant.


Why do you want to be good at something that you find unpleasant? I find myself wondering if it because it is something your Significant Other does. If so, I'd leave them to it. Plenty of people don't like skiing, there is no mileage in forcing it. Do something you like instead.

Of course I may be barking up entirely the wrong tree.
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mh8782 wrote:
Yes, some of it was quite icy, which made the greens more difficult. ... I do plan to keep on with lessons, but plan at least a long weekend (we live near the slopes in France) where I can get consecutive days of training in, rather than one morning or day per week


One morning per week? Stuff that, no wonder you're frustrated at progress. And learning on ice is no fun at all. This quack prescribes one morning per day for a minimum of 3 days.

But you live there - let me guess, only at weekends, and you work during the week?

Could you even take a Fri/Mon off work to get 3 days in a row?

Not easy to compare yourself to others who do it all in a 5-day block.
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Thanks, I do think that my biggest barrier is psychological. I want to be good at skiing because (I am exaggerating now) everyone can do it. My wife, her friends, these little kids you see on the slopes, etc, etc. So that frustrates me. I want to keep at it because I am assuming like any sport, there is a bit at the start where it is unpleasant, and the negatives outweigh the positives. Right now, the negatives outweigh the positives, although if I were better at adopting a positive attitude (so what, I slipped), the negatives would vanish.

Skiiing is not something that I would have naturally chosen to do, but moving to France near the Alps with my wife, it has become a thing that would be good to do if I could do.
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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?
I think the answer here is two fold. 1. Don´t be so harsh on myself and 2. take lessons in a consecutive block if I want to see real progress
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I wonder what kind of environment you are trying to learn in. Seven hours of lessons, but twenty on the slopes? Are you trying to learn with a group of people who are already competent skiers and hoping to pick it up from them? I have met people who say they learnt just by going up the mountain with their mates. But I suspect that would not work for most people. In fact for a beginner to go out with experienced skiers and hope to pick it up sounds like a recipe for disaster for most beginners.

I think you should sign up for some solid ski school in a good resort, with a good variety of terrain, so that your instructor can take you to suitable areas as you progress, and stay away from your mates until you have got the basics. If at the end of a week of ski school you are still anxious, then give it up.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
mh8782 wrote:

Skiiing is not something that I would have naturally chosen to do, but moving to France near the Alps with my wife, it has become a thing that would be good to do if I could do.

Ah, I can related!

I grew up in a warm climate. Skiing wasn't something I remotely thought of doing. But as luck would have it, I ended up studying in Michigan, where the winter was 6-7 months long! After the first winter, of terrible cabin fever, I decided I should learn a winter sport just to pass the next 3 winters while I finish my study at uni. Somehow I decided skiing was the easiest of all winter sport.

Being relatively good at a few other non-winter sports, I assume it shouldn't take very long for me to get good at it. So imagine my frustration when at the end of my 1st beginner lesson, when all my "class-mates" were coming slowly down the beginner slope in decent control, while I couldn't even make it up the rope tow without falling off half way. Embarassed

I continued, with very slow progress. I considered giving it up and try something else. But fortunately I did not. It took almost the entire winter before I was somewhat comfortable on the easy blue (red for Europe).

(I did tried cross country skiing, with a bit better success. Still enjoy it very much and do it as often as I can)

It retrospect, I had a foot issue that made it difficult to control my left ski. It wasn't till almost 10 years later that it was pointed out to me and rectified. Still, I was able to progress to the point of enjoyment after the 1st season, despite not skiing half as good as I had expected.

So in summary, don't be frustrated. You can reduce your anxiety level by staying in runs that aren't too steep and has good snow. And give yourself a bit more time to get good at it.
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mh8782 wrote:
I want to keep at it because I am assuming like any sport, there is a bit at the start where it is unpleasant, and the negatives outweigh the positives. Right now, the negatives outweigh the positives, although if I were better at adopting a positive attitude (so what, I slipped), the negatives would vanish.


I think that's a lot like my Dad. He went on the MYAsH Bash (see the 'events' section) last year at my insistence. He was keen to get better at skiing but didn't really enjoy it much..although that didn't stop him signing up again this year. I think that was for a few reasons, quite similar to your own. 1)He wants to get the hang of it 2)He sees that me and my brother both love skiing, and he wants to share that. I think it started to click with him a bit this year, he's currently planning a trip to see my brother in Canada and will no doubt go skiing while he's there.

As others have said, see if you can get a good few days consecutively. Most people will have a 6 day block of skiing to get to grips with it. You really have to accept that it won't come to you instantly though, if you keep getting frustrated then it'll likely affect your skiing negatively.
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I would hazard a guess that the larger proportion of snowHeads learnt to ski 6 days at a time, that being the typical length of a ski holiday.
I know a good few who felt the first week was tough but that by the end, they were 'getting the hang of it' and as a result starting to enjoy it.

It doesn't end there either - a great many enjoy fairly consistent progress, taking pleasure in an annual improvement of their technical ability then hit what's known as 'the intermediate plateau'. This stems from the fact that they are only engaging in the sport for 6 days each year so, having achieved a basic aptitude, they then spend every trip finding their ski-legs and bringing themselves back up to where they left off. For me, a break through came by doing trips by train and skiing 8 days at a time. Other solutions include doing a bit of interim training in between seasons, perhaps in a fridge, or going on loads of snowHeads bashes every year snowHead
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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@admin, I feel that I'm plateauing even with 3 weeks a season over the last 2 years Very Happy Thankfully my company have graciously given us extra holiday for next year, so I should be able to get 4 trips in snowHead The downside of this is that I'll be skint, an unfortunate side effect of enjoying skiing.
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SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:
@admin, I feel that I'm plateauing even with 3 weeks a season over the last 2 years Very Happy
An increasingly common issue around these parts: I want you to know, you are not alone - there is help available snowHead
Quote:
Thankfully my company have graciously given us extra holiday for next year, so I should be able to get 4 trips in snowHead
That is most humane of them.
Quote:
The downside of this is that I'll be skint, an unfortunate side effect of enjoying skiing.
Well at least you're used to that Wink
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admin wrote:
I would hazard a guess that the larger proportion of snowHeads learnt to ski 6 days at a time, that being the typical length of a ski holiday.

I'm one of the exceptions. I learnt to ski one weekend day at a time. My learning period was more like the OP, I lived near a ski hill at the time. So it seemed logical to do weekend instead of a block of days.

I can't say I noticed any magical improvement when I took my first block of ski days during a holiday.

The biggest improvement had been block of lessons on consecutive days. And getting equipment that rectified my biological shortcoming. Though both of them came after I had already got to the intermediate level.
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