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Beginner, changing my mindset

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi, I am a beginner to skiing. It is my second season, and fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I live in Switzerland, so I have the opportunity to go skiing.

I think I have spent maybe 20-25 days on the slopes, and I do not find skiing enjoyable. I´m mid 30s, and although I like sports like cycling, I am a clumsy and uncoordinated. Just this weekend, I spent time crashing into the kiosk at the bottom of the slope, falling off ski lifts and crawling on all fours to get back on the piste after sailing off the edge of it. I find skiing also makes me anxious and angry, at all these confident sporty people whizzing around me. Last year was the same, and I ended up effing and jeffing on the slopes in absolute frustration.

I am aware that my main problem is psychological, but a day on the slope will affect me negatively for a few days. I have done some lessons, but they don´t seem to make a difference. I´ve watched all the videos of how to lean on the outside boot and forward, but when I do it, I often end up crouching.

I could just give up, but I think that would make me a social pariah. Do you have any tips to get past this anxiety and actually enjoy skiing as so many seem to do?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
“I have done some lessons, but they don´t seem to make a difference.“

Stick with them, but maybe find a new instructor or school.

4-5 lessons in 25 days will make you as you describe.
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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?
You really need to find an instructor that you like and get on with and have more lessons so you can get enjoyment and not misery out of being on the mountain.
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+1 for what @Pamski says. Six years ago I was never going to ski again, after a couple of disastrous weeks in the 80s. I've always been clumsy and unco-ordinated and could not see whay any sensible human being would ever want to waste their time and money skiing.

For a complicated set of reasons, I landed up on 'one last skiing holiday' in 2012 (with good private instruction) and realised that it may not be as awful as I thought. Roll forward three years and I met the instructor that finally nailed it for me, especially the psychological side, and within a few months we were doing the unthinkable and buying a ski apartment. I've skied 40+ days so far this season and can't wait to go back and do some more. I'll never be the most adventurous skier, but I consider any snowy day when I don't ski to be a waste......
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Lessons, lessons, lessons.
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121 lessons would be the way to go.

Just one point if I may that no one has mentioned yet. It may well be that you might not be destined to be a great skier & dare I say, there's nothing wrong with this. I came late to skiing & ski with a few physical issues (damaged discs in my back & arthritis to name a couple). It probably took me four times longer than the normal beginner to get to where I am now - a reasonable intermediate - and I'm happy with that. I hate hard red runs, black runs, lumps & bumps, off piste. Give me lovely groomed pistes or some new, not too deep powder & im in heaven. I usually only ski half days - first lift is the way to go anyway!

You clearly want to get better or you wouldn't keep trying. Perhaps just lower your aspirations a little at the moment, give lessons another go (I still have the odd one now & again & it really helps). And, if at the end of it, you decide it's not for you, so be it. We can't all be good at everything (& ifs it pressure from the locals driving this, remember they've probably been on skis since they learnt to walk).

Good luck.
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
If you really are as clumsy and uncoordinated as you say (you're probably not, and being so hard on yourself might not help!) you should expect to take 2 - 3 solid weeks of good quality lessons to feel comfortable and begin to enjoy yourself. Then, if you're like many of us, you can spend the next 20 - 30 years having more lessons from time to time trying to actually get good at it.
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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!
A couple of things ....

You are absolutely correct about psychology.
Learning to ski can cause large amounts of fear, anger, and frustration.
All these emotion lead to marginal, stiff, un-relaxed skiing which again leads to more fear, anger, and frustration [not to mention exhaustion and leg pain].
It is a classic cycle which is very hard to break and can be very depressing.
For me, recognizing this helped me to regularly reset my brain, adjust my breathing, relax and carry on.
I am now totally addicted [4th ski trip this year rapidly approaching].
A good teacher should be able to show you the joy as well as the technique. It is supposed to be fun ... at any level ... and a bit of joy really helps the technique.
I have found that Italian teachers tend to understand this better.

Secondly ....
Fortunately/unfortunately skiing gives back to you what you put into it. I see this over and over again.
If you ski timidly it will eat you up and spit you out.
At the risk of being ridiculously anthropomorphic, skiing is like a dog .... if it spots a weakness it will exploit it mercilessly.
There has to be a level of commitment beyond the point of comfort to improve. Not to a ridiculous level, but skiing marginally will result in no improvement and just put you back in the previously described cycle.

I wish you all the best and hope you find the joy.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
I know it's not easy for you being a weekend skier but if at all possible I'd suggest you try and find some group lessons. There's nothing like being in a group of similar ability skiers to realise that you're not a hopeless clumsy uncoordinated idiot but that skiing is hard and pretty much everyone finds it tough to be good at and slow to progress. I honestly think this will do wonders for resetting your expections and getting rid of those frustrations and anger you're feeling when you see all the good confident skiers on the slope.

PS. Just be aware that adult beginners groups will sometimes have one or two people who shine despite having 'never skied before'. It will often turn out that they used to 'ski a little' when they were young or many many years ago, etc. So just don't be surprised if there are one or two who make it look easier than the rest of the group.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I'd disagree with @olderscot. Even now, when I ski a lot, I immediately become more nervous and feel less adequate when skiing with other people. I forgot to mention before that I think native English speaking lessons make a huge difference, too.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@sj1608, is that because you're skiing with people who are better skiers than you or just with everyone? As the OP is already feeling that way skiing on his own and with private lessons I'd certainly suggest it's worth trying something different.

Pretty much our whole ski lesson group was laughing this year when we realised that we all thought the others looked like they were doing really well when we were being watched by the instructor having to do short turns one by one down a choppy red only to discover that each of us thought we were struggling and having to work hard to achieve something adequate.

So there is something to realise there too. These apparently confident skiers who are making it look easy on the outside are often struggling internally with holding it all together.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Mon 26-02-18 10:59; edited 1 time in total
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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.
@olderscot, a bit of both. I've realised that, as you say, people who make it look easy are often not feeling the way they look. But I know that I am more relaxed skiing with just my OH than with any group.

I think private lessons, with the right instructor who understands how I feel and is able to immediately pick up and address it when you I am getting edgy, is the only reason that I am now the skier I am........as opposed to refusing ever to go again. wink
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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
@sj1608, You're right of course. The important thing is for @mh8782 to try and find the approach that works best for him. I have to remind myself sometimes that we're all different and what works well for some of us won't necessarily work for others.
ski holidays
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Thanks a lot for all your replies and advice. I think more lessons is the way to go. I think my problem is hoping that it goes too quickly. It may be four or five seasons before I can confidently ski down a blue or an easy red. I will book some lessons, and I'll be off this weekend skiing. I do find lessons in French difficult - although my French is reasonable, when stressed, I prefer English.
ski holidays
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@mh8782, Couple of thoughts... Celebrate what you can do --- even if it's on the nursery slope, rather than worry about what you can't (yet !). Remember that no-one is looking at you -- they are all far to involved with whatever is going on in their own heads. If you can, find an English instructor (not just an English speaker).


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Mon 26-02-18 16:45; edited 1 time in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
sj1608 wrote:
+1 for what @Pamski says. Six years ago I was never going to ski again, after a couple of disastrous weeks in the 80s. I've always been clumsy and unco-ordinated and could not see whay any sensible human being would ever want to waste their time and money skiing.

For a complicated set of reasons, I landed up on 'one last skiing holiday' in 2012 (with good private instruction) and realised that it may not be as awful as I thought. Roll forward three years and I met the instructor that finally nailed it for me, especially the psychological side, and within a few months we were doing the unthinkable and buying a ski apartment. I've skied 40+ days so far this season and can't wait to go back and do some more. I'll never be the most adventurous skier, but I consider any snowy day when I don't ski to be a waste......


I read this as you have shacked up with your ski instructor and bought a chalet Wink
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
mh8782 wrote:
Thanks a lot for all your replies and advice. I think more lessons is the way to go. I think my problem is hoping that it goes too quickly. It may be four or five seasons before I can confidently ski down a blue or an easy red. I will book some lessons, and I'll be off this weekend skiing. I do find lessons in French difficult - although my French is reasonable, when stressed, I prefer English.
just take it a day at a time, if you are not confident on blue runs, then stay on greens until you feel that you are very comfortable on them, then move to an easy blue. Just try to enjoy it.

When I first started out I found a quite easy blue and just kept trying it again and again until I felt confident enough to venture onto other blues.

Definitely find a good instructor though, and have an hour of private lessons, just focusing on how to control your descent. Which resorts do you go to? Someone on here may be able to suggest a good instructor from those resort.
ski holidays
 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?
Reading your OP and all the above makes me think that you need to find a way to bring some joy and fun to your skiing. Why do kids do so well? It’s not just physical ability imo - they just have fun! They don’t overthink and don’t have the same fear of failure that adults have. So, group lessons, the right instructor for private lessons, fun drills and exercises; whatever it takes to bring out your inner child.
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@kesone1, rolling eyes rolling eyes rolling eyes

Nope, he's already sorted, and I've been married (to the same very patient person, who is delighted that I now love skiing) for almost 40 years!!

@mh8782, the person I am definitely NOT shacked up with is Lynne Stainbrook in Flaine (male, despite his name), since you said that you prefer English tuition. Depending on where you are in Switzerland, he may not be far away from you.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Perhaps "Boarding School" then?
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You'll need to Register first of course.
I'm near Geneva, so as well as some places in the Jura, we've been going to places like Les Mosses and Villars. We were in Saint Luc this weekend. We got one of those magi passes so have access to all these Swiss resorts, but it means I need to keep going to break even.

It does trouble me to the extent to which one has to do a lot (perhaps 50-60 days) before it becomes reasonably enjoyable
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Skiing is supposed to be fun. If it’s not for you (and I reckon 20-25 days is long enough to find out) stop doing it and take up something else.
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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!
@mh8782, I learned in my 40's, I go once a year usually, so for most people that is 60 days skiing over 10 years. You are int he enviable position of being able to hit 60 days skiing within 1 or 2 seasons, and as your muscle memory will be fresher, you might be able to do it in a lot less than that.

I did find it difficult at times, and its not always enjoyable for loads of reasons, but I have had positive people around me, encouraging me, and helping me. And I started my skiing life with an excellent private lesson which really helped me. I cannot stress enough how a good ski instructor can really improve your skiing and your confidence.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
mh8782 wrote:
Hi, I am a beginner to skiing. It is my second season, and fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I live in Switzerland, so I have the opportunity to go skiing.

I think I have spent maybe 20-25 days on the slopes, and I do not find skiing enjoyable. I´m mid 30s, and although I like sports like cycling, I am a clumsy and uncoordinated. Just this weekend, I spent time crashing into the kiosk at the bottom of the slope, falling off ski lifts and crawling on all fours to get back on the piste after sailing off the edge of it. I find skiing also makes me anxious and angry, at all these confident sporty people whizzing around me. Last year was the same, and I ended up effing and jeffing on the slopes in absolute frustration.

I am aware that my main problem is psychological, but a day on the slope will affect me negatively for a few days. I have done some lessons, but they don´t seem to make a difference. I´ve watched all the videos of how to lean on the outside boot and forward, but when I do it, I often end up crouching.

I could just give up, but I think that would make me a social pariah. Do you have any tips to get past this anxiety and actually enjoy skiing as so many seem to do?


---------------

I feel you pain. There are many posts on here (some mine!) of people who struggle with the psychological aspect of skiing. I'm in two minds to be honest about whether I like it or not or whether I'm "just" scared. This last holiday I increasingly removed myself from the family group and sat drinking coffee in the sunshine. I didn't want to put myself through the stress, which I find exhausting. Having said that, Mr Bambi on the last day took me under his wing and did some coaching and I found it really easy, so I'm not giving up. It was good to have a refresher to remind me of how it should feel.

My plan is to go again next year but to have 1:1 lessons to make sure I can nail my technique to feel confident. If that doesn't work, I will just accept that skiing isn't my thing. I don't think you should feel you have to love it though as you say, it must be hard living where you do.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Hi,
I have about 30 days skiing over the last 5 years, started at age 45 and am not sporty so find learning these type of activities a challenge. We are all different but I can share what has made a big difference for me. Note, I work in corporate learning and development so probably look at some elements of learning differently from others.

It's important to remember that in general you need to develop both technical competence and personal confidence in your skills. Too much confidence for your level can lead to disaster, too little leads to stagnation, this is the same whether it is skiing or any other skill although the physical consequences may be different !

I became frustrated with group lessons. I know there are some good companies but I felt my progress was slow and there wasn't actually that much teaching/learning going on, so for my last two trips I have adopted a different approach. So this is what is working for me
1) 1 to 1 private lessons, every other day seems to work, I have used the same instructor but wouldn't hesitate to request a change if I didn't gel. Of the three instructors I've had I would return to two of them (see point 4). I think this is particularly important for confidence but crucially this is all at your pace. We just got back from a ski trip and at one point the instructor was skiing backwards down a steepish red getting me to practice short turns by pointing and encouraging. They just cannot do that in a class of 8. Last year the poor instructor spent 2 lessons saying "hip up, shoulder down" at every turn, it must have been tedious but it worked as by the end of the week I could feel the difference in my turns !
2) really focusing on practising what they teach between lessons, including the drills. I'm the guy practising getting edges on the easy blue and then trying to follow a straight line using short turns on the steeper red.
3) engaging with the instructor - asking then what you should be practising, which slopes you should to go to or avoid. Tell them what you have been doing and how you think you are doing. Being a good student will help get the best out of your instructor and your time on the slopes. Note that just because you have done something with an instructor doesn't mean you should do it without one and they will guide you on this.

4) this is a theory but last year we went to MdC and we are returning to the same resort and will use the same instructor next week. I think continuity will help and it also provides a baseline - I will be able to compare my skiing on the same slopes. I remember on last years trip really struggling with one particular piste and want to be able to go back and compare. I can really tell the difference with my skiing so there were some pistes I was too scared to attempt and will now try. This allows you to demonstrate to yourself that you are making progress and boost your confidence.

so, if I was you I'd find an instructor you gel with and practice, practice, practice. There will be times when progress feels non existent and then others where you make a breakthrough and jump forward.

Good luck,
R

ps re your kiosk comment, FWIW last year I did a refresher session before going on hols and crashed into the barriers at the bottom of the Hemel indoor slope doing about 1 mph Embarassed ... 5 lessons and 10 skiing days later the instructor was taking me down a pretty bumpy and very steep (too me) ungroomed black Very Happy . Two days after that I fell over on a very flat section of blue Embarassed , it means I'm a bit clumsy not totally useless, try and focus on the positive
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
mh8782 wrote:
I think I have spent maybe 20-25 days on the slopes, and I do not find skiing enjoyable.

That's not something you read on here very often!

mh8782 wrote:
I have done some lessons, but they don´t seem to make a difference.

How many lessons, who with? It sounds really odd.

mh8782 wrote:
I could just give up, but I think that would make me a social pariah.

Really?
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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.
Layne wrote:


mh8782 wrote:
I could just give up, but I think that would make me a social pariah.

Really?


Switzerland innit.
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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
Hi there, if you are having trouble turning, ask your instructor to look at how you are using your edges. Misaligned knees make it difficult to engage your edges and skiing is all about edges.

Bookmakers can help with canting, which will correct that. This might not be your problem, but I only bring this up because it sounds like you are having problems turning and stopping. Misalignment can cause no end of frustration and instant gratification if it is the problem.

https://www.skimag.com/gear/alignment
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@mh8782, Try Nordic skiing or snow-shoeing (?). Less hectic and a good work out too.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
try snowboarding
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
pistedelaresistance wrote:
Bookmakers can help with canting, which will correct that.
https://www.skimag.com/gear/alignment


Yup I bet ten to one that's the problem. wink


Blimmin autocorrect!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@mh8782, 20-25 days is quite a lot of days to not able to stop before hitting a kiosk AND sailing into the woods. Time to rethink HOW to proceed

Several routes are possible. So I'll throw it out for you to consider.

Option 1: Continue skiing

- Private lessons, IN ENGLISH, has been mentioned.

- One thing no one mentioned is equipment. I'm assuming you're hiring. (if not, then there'll be more questions...)

Is your boots fitting your feet tightly? All technical skills ASSUME you have decent connection to your skis. Without good connection between your legs and your skis, turning and stopping will be a challenge.

As you've "invested" quite a lot of days into it, and am socially motivated to push on for a bit more, it may help to get your own boots. Just MAKE SURE you go to a good boot fitter. As you're going with others who skis regularly, ask for recommendation of a good boot fitter.

I went through a rather frustrating learning process. Now, 20 years later, I finally realize I have some biological issues with my left foot that had hindered me from learning. A lot of the exercises in lessons I had difficulty executing because my left arches collapse when I try to edge to the inside. It wasn't until that issue was addressed via a combination of custom footbed AND a shim, that I suddenly found all the exercise were doable and beneficial!

Option 2: Try snowboarding!

If there're biological issues hindering your execution of ski turns, perhaps snowboarding might be easier to learn?

Another option, take up cross-country skiing. Strange as it may seems, it was xc skiing that helped me to finally build enough confidence. And I went back to downhill skiing after about a year of xc skiing. Having gotten comfortable balancing on a pair of narrow 40mm planks for a year, the 80mm alpine planks suddenly felt easy to balance on.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Mon 26-02-18 19:51; edited 2 times in total
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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?
[quote="Layne"]
mh8782 wrote:
I think I have spent maybe 20-25 days on the slopes, and I do not find skiing enjoyable.
That's not something you read on here very often!

I am assuming that is sarcastic and quite common

mh8782 wrote:
I have done some lessons, but they don´t seem to make a difference.
How many lessons, who with? It sounds really odd.


I've had lessons with ESF, and it's just been variable. It's not yet clicked
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@mh8782, time for a couple of privates, preferably with a native English speaker.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@mh8782, Analyse why you want to alpine' ski. If its because you think you should, and all around you regularly head into the snow, you could focus on cross country skiing or any other activity that happens in snowy mountains. In many respects participating in those activities will give you a 'way out' and you may find one that ticks all your boxes and that you instantly love. If you actually want to enjoy alpine skiing then finding the right instructor/method for progressing for you is crucial. Group lessons can be good, but only if you are amongst 'similar' standards and personality types. Imho it is very much better to have private tuition, but you need to find an experienced teacher with the right approach for you. Having read all sorts of threads on here, if you give a specific resort/ski area I`d be surprised if some one can not give you a good recommendation!
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mh8782 wrote:
Layne wrote:
mh8782 wrote:
I think I have spent maybe 20-25 days on the slopes, and I do not find skiing enjoyable.

That's not something you read on here very often!

I am assuming that is sarcastic and quite common

I was being sarcastic because NO it is not at all common. People who don't enjoy skiing don't usually post on a ski forum. I have known several people try skiing and not enjoy it. They've just not done it again. One guy was a young fit rugby player who drove a sports car. If there was anyone I thought would enjoy skiing it was him. But he didn't. He went for a week and said never again. Why would you persist with something you don't enjoy?

mh8782 wrote:
Layne wrote:
mh8782 wrote:
I have done some lessons, but they don´t seem to make a difference.

How many lessons, who with? It sounds really odd.


I've had lessons with ESF, and it's just been variable. It's not yet clicked

Well ESF are very hit and miss. And you mentioned earlier struggling with the French. So it sounds like the lessons haven't been great. But I am still surprised at the lack of progress and enjoyment. Going out with a well recommended English speaking instructor may help. But in all honesty whether you live in Switzerland or not, there are other sports.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

It does trouble me to the extent to which one has to do a lot (perhaps 50-60 days) before it becomes reasonably enjoyable


It took 5 minutes on a local (small) dry slope to become hugely enjoyable for me. It has cost me a fortune since then but, and this is the important bit, it has been worth every penny for that enjoyment. If you're actually serious and it makes you anxious and angry I've no idea why you would keep doing it. Spend your money on something you enjoy instead.
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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!
It was pretty much instant gratification for me also. That said I know quite a lot of people that enjoy it but can 'take it or leave it'. I have never known anyone to make it beyond a couple of weeks (absolutely tops) if they didn't enjoy it. Most, it's a few days.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
I didn't enjoy it the first week. And most of the second too. It was hard work, tiring and painful. I was too cold, standing about listening to the instructor, or too hot with the effort of falling and getting up again, not to mention the anxiety. I did, however, recognise that that everyone there who could actually ski, enjoyed it. I was on a difficult learning curve and when that was over I would enjoy it too. Or, to put it another way, I was damned if I was going to let it get the better of me. I would conquer this skiing lark come hell or high water!

I love it now and we go 4 weeks a year. Oh, and I soon realised that I would never, ever, "conquer" it but who cares, I always have a great time Cool .
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Skiing also came to me relatively slowly. And I am one who usually pick up athletic activities rather quickly. So that was a bit of a shock. But as I mentioned in a post above, it turned out to be an issue in my foot that makes control extra challenging than others.

Still, it didn't take 20-30 outings. So I think the OP need to get the help of some expert instruction.

Quote:

Oh, and I soon realised that I would never, ever, "conquer" it but who cares,

I consider "I conquered it" when I was finally able to get all the way to the top of the tiny hill using a rope tow consistently, without falling over part of the way. Toofy Grin

Skiing down was actually easier.
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