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Leaving fear in the rear view mirror

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
We all confront fear at some level when skiing. The very nature of skiing makes it part of the sport. How do we deal with it? Here's an article I wrote for my website that discusses that very issue. I'm posting it here in the hopes it can provide some help to all learning skiers with this important topic.

http://www.yourskicoach.com/YourSkiCoach/Saying_Goodbye_to_Fear.html
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
FastMan, great article, thanks.

I find fear a big obstacle in my skiing (I'm natutrally a bit of a girly wimp, but luckily I started skiing at a very young age). Bumps, powder, off piste, steeps etc - I cope with all these fine and would say I feel adrenaline rather than fear, probably because I have confidence in my ability to ski them all safely. However, when I most feel fear is when I'm expected to ski really fast on hard packed pistes (as part of instructor training courses for example). Funnily enough this excludes race pistes - when I've skiied GS I've done ok - there's something about the "closed" environment that reduces the fear factor for me, and my competitiveness takes over. But I don't like bombing down the pistes never knowing who or what may be round the next corner (or that's what I'll be thinking anyway!). When I free ski I tend to adapt my technique and will only carve on slopes that are wide enough for me to be able to keep a consistent speed through turn shape, rather than carve down anything and have to put in a big skid every so often to slow down (it has been commented on that whilst many people don't finish their turns enough, I on occasion almost finish my turns too much, and lose quite a bit of speed whilst still carving). But I know that I need to develop more confidence in these situations - or at least learn how to hide my fear, as I hope to take my ISIA tech course fairly soon. Do you have any tips for me? Thanks!
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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?
Great article, FastMan,

beanie1, I have a book called In the Yikes Zone by Mermer Blakeslee. The author is a PSIA Trainer and runs workshops on fear, specifically in skiing. It's full of case studies and ideas of different ways to approach fear in different situations. I found it very interesting and useful. I bought it originally as I knew I was going to be teaching a group of nervous women and wanted some ideas of how to approach their lessons. After reading it though I realised that maybe it could help me too.

One trick that helps me a lot when I'm starting to get anxious is to concentrate on the little things, for example, the feel of the snow specifically under my feet, or the exact movements I am making in the crossover, or exactly how much the skis are on edge. This makes my world close down to a specific focal point and I forget to be scared because I'm concentrating so hard on something very specific and then next thing you know you're at the bottom with a massive grin on your face!

(Safety first! For anyone who thinks they might try this... Make sure your "other people radar" is working - don't be concentrating too minutely on your own performance that you are unaware of the people around you!)
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I actually like my fear. It stops me from attempting runs that I don't like the look of and therefore stops me from getting out of control and falling over. I've found my level and I'm staying there. But a good article for people who want to progress past the fear stage.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
It's a nice article, definitely agree it is a great way to overcome those inner demons,...... smooth little advert at the end there. wink

Fear is a big issue for me though, is there a limit to this theory?? I ski fine, I am just like beanie1,

Quote:

(I'm natutrally a bit of a girly wimp, but luckily I started skiing at a very young age).


but does anyone have any tips to simply overcoming fear? how do you deal with it? As an example I have started doing small drops etc. Not much technique to it, and everytime I do it, it tends to be easier than I thought it would be (couple of exceptions, but touch wood no damage). So far I have used the 1, 2, 3 GO method but as drops get bigger its slowly failing.

How do you people overcome fear when you know you can do it, and it will be easy when you do? and tricks of the trade?
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Don't know how old you all are but don't you find that fear increases with age? We may use other words for it such as caution but its essentially the same. I seem to worry about consequences more these days. This is not restricted to skiing, I find myself being cautious on my bike or when driving and find myself having to push myself to take "risks".

Its important to say that I am not advocating dangerous actions here, just less than cautious ones.

Maybe its not age but just the more secure world we live in these days where we are constantly hammered by consequence of your actions messages.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
No, I don't find fear increases with age, but being aware that the body is not so capable maybe changes the boundaries of the comfort zone? My body is less capable (because of being elderly) but my technique is better now - I aim to try to keep the two in balance. I can now cope much better with more difficult conditions than I could twenty years ago, and if I can stay level-pegging for another twenty (till I'm 82...) I shall be more than satisfied. I don't want to do hairy things, but I would like to ski the black runs I can now do safely and reasonably well a bit quicker and more confidently because I think it would be more fun.

However there's a big difference between the fears expressed above by very high level skiers (hucking off cliffs etc) and those of a middle aged lady creeping at 5 mph down a wide green nursery slope. One runs a credible risk of breaking their neck. I suppose you could say that the answer for both is to increase their skills, but that's not quite it, is it? Top, top, class free skiers and racers get killed despite all the skills in the world. But the most likely problem for that lady on the nursery slope is a big of indignity as she wallows around unable to get herself up, or at worst a sledge ride off the slope and some weeks of pain/treatment and being out of action. Hardly the stuff of which nightmares are made. (or if it is the stuff of which your nightmares are made, maybe that's the place to start tackling it - as tiffin suggests people are possibly becoming too fearful, despite the fact that our lives are probably safer than ever in the history of mankind).
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
beanie1,

Quote:

When I free ski I tend to adapt my technique and will only carve on slopes that are wide enough for me to be able to keep a consistent speed through turn shape, rather than carve down anything and have to put in a big skid every so often to slow down (it has been commented on that whilst many people don't finish their turns enough, I on occasion almost finish my turns too much, and lose quite a bit of speed whilst still carving). But I know that I need to develop more confidence in these situations - or at least learn how to hide my fear, as I hope to take my ISIA tech course fairly soon. Do you have any tips for me? Thanks!


Usual 'without seeing you ski..' caveats apply.

Here are some things to try/think about. Follow (and stay with wink ) a mate/better skier who skis the way you want. What do they do that is different ? Are you trying to stay in control the all the time ? Are you able to ski reactively ... what happens in steep/variable terrain ? Are you trying to ski too much like a BASI ?
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I wouldn't say I was nervous or overly cautious and probably do take more risks than the average person. I just don't like the nagging doubt that sometimes creeps in. It does make you feels proud of yourself when you do push through it.
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tiffin, I never felt that - I'd hang in but my feeling at the bottom was always "well that is 1 of my 9 lives gone better not try THAT again" ...

Ask Fastman but as soon as I learnt to skid better I skied much faster (yes my limiting skill set was my finesse of edge in skidding) increased control led to increased speed because I knew I had better chance of successful fine control of line and speed... It was not I was not a technically good skier - my instructors(all trainers) had already said they thought I was very close to ISIA level on technical skills before I even left Australia - I was just a VERY timid skier. My instructors and other trainers would say that if they could just let me to let go the fear they could get me through an ISIA exam. At least 4 instructors - Fastman, Easiski, Fred, and a trainer form the Canyons - all prescribed skidding lessons as the remedy to increase my speed. (My canadian had prescribed short turn work and spins, sideslips earlier) It really does work, because your confidence you can cope with almost anything thrown at you improves.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
ski,
Quote:

Follow (and stay with wink ) a mate/better skier who skis the way you want.


Tried that...I can't keep up with Ross Green Very Happy

I'd say the main difference is that I ski "conservatively" in these types of situations, rather than just going for it eg I will finish every carved turn to the extent that I'm slowing down, before starting the next one. Steeps and variables no problems - but in that type of terrain generally the others I ski with (and by others I mean strong L2s / ISIA or comparable standard males, which is normally who I find myself skiing with) are also not trying to ski fast, and sometimes I find I have the technical edge anyway.
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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.
beanie1, how often do you fall over? I'd guess little if ever? So your fear could be that of the unknown - expecting every fall to result in broken limbs or worse. I fall over quite a lot, as when skiing in safe areas I always push myself, and so necessarily overdo it from time to time. Hence I tend to fall fairly 'well', and generally keep limbs and the like out of danger. The only times I've hurt myself have been either in race courses or pratting about on hard pistes. Also, whenever I've been on a Snoworks off-piste course Phil has taken us through a self-arrest exercise - finding a short steep slope for us to then throw ourselves down (leading up to headfirst on our backs) so we can demonstrate that we can stop a fall turning into a major slide. Hence, when I get feelings of danger, they're generally merited. Sure it's not a good idea to disregard danger signs, but I think it's a major disservice for so much emphasis to be on being super-safe all the time as it does lead to being unduly timid.
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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
FastMan, the sentiment of your article is well-founded - improved ability expands the comfort zone - but it read to me like a sales pitch for instruction/training DVDs (which it might well have been - fair enough Toofy Grin ).

I do think there's an important mental difference - as pam w says - between someone walking away from a steep mogul field at 3.30 in the afternoon cos they know their technique will be tested to the limit, and someone who only ever wants to ski blues nicely but freezes on a slightly steeper bit of a blue because other skiers are bombing past at Mach2. I think mental exercises can be more important for the latter than ski instruction per se.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
GrahamN,
Quote:

how often do you fall over?


When skiing slalom gates or deep powder - from time to time. But when skiing at high speeds, rarely.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
andyph, I was the second one and can tell you mental exercises did very little... if you suffer the kind of fear that really freezes you, your options get limited when it hits - avoidance is kind of useful... by working on the technical stuff you can push back where it kicks in...
frozen in fright usually means very little logical thought - logic does not usually envision blood everywhere and bits sticking out from a 6inch drop... I've worked casualty dept too often and I have great visuals that take over when I'm really scared stiff!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
little tiger, understood, but I really meant mental exercises before you get stuck, rather than when, as you say, you're already frozen. I'm married to one of the latter Toofy Grin rolling eyes so have great sympathy but no ready solution. And, by the way, I'm a b@st@rd for ever taking her skiing, etc etc. That's love. Toofy Grin
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
andyph, I've tried it all I think... 10 years of 50-70 private lessons a year... I've done breathing exercises etc etc... I'm now on Fastman's side with this ... it works... I just don't fret about getting freaked out anymore for a start - and it was a constant worry, I'd got to the point of being worried about worrying(well sort of)... by keeping within my limits I stopped failing - so I stopped fretting... then I was slowly doing more and more without realising until I'd done it so often it was hardly worth sneezing at once it clicked that I had done it... Now I'm getting far less nervous in general - plus my skill set is really better and so I have less that is hard to do...

I remember having this discussion with my rollerblade instructor, re anxiety and fear... he was saying oh well you need some anxiety to keep you on your game... he was mortified when I pointed out I skated in fear most of the time and was down to anxious in the best patches(which was only sometimes)... he had kind of assumed that like him I would feel some anxiety for the 'hard' stuff(mine was a far lower level of hard than his)... What he thought I was doing easily was causing me much higher levels of problems than he anticipated from my ability levels. It took that for him to realise how very slowly I needed to increase my skill set. Where he noticed my fear I was really close to total melt down. He could not believe I was out there doing it if I was that scared. That was when he got how really addicted to skiing I was - because I only skated to improve my skiing.
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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?
beanie1 wrote:
ski,
Quote:

Follow (and stay with wink ) a mate/better skier who skis the way you want.


Tried that...I can't keep up with Ross Green Very Happy

I'd say the main difference is that I ski "conservatively" in these types of situations, rather than just going for it eg I will finish every carved turn to the extent that I'm slowing down, before starting the next one. Steeps and variables no problems - but in that type of terrain generally the others I ski with (and by others I mean strong L2s / ISIA or comparable standard males, which is normally who I find myself skiing with) are also not trying to ski fast, and sometimes I find I have the technical edge anyway.


I suspect this is one of those times where the gear you're on makes a big difference. In this case, I ask whether you've tried jumping on bigger, more race-worthy skis (and I don't mean slalom ones here), or even the same ones with highly damped race plates.

The thinking being that your high level of technical skill and the high sensitivity to the snow that comes with it may make you /too/ sensitive to speed twitches and instabilities so you back off the accelerator.


If I were in your shoes, I would go out of my way to test this notion. Find a race GS or a fat GS ski and get out there. If you find your speed confidence diminishes when you get back to your own teaching/rec skis, perhaps that is *entirely justified*.
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beanie1 wrote:
FastMan, great article, thanks.

I find fear a big obstacle in my skiing (I'm natutrally a bit of a girly wimp, but luckily I started skiing at a very young age). Bumps, powder, off piste, steeps etc - I cope with all these fine and would say I feel adrenaline rather than fear, probably because I have confidence in my ability to ski them all safely. However, when I most feel fear is when I'm expected to ski really fast on hard packed pistes (as part of instructor training courses for example). Funnily enough this excludes race pistes - when I've skiied GS I've done ok - there's something about the "closed" environment that reduces the fear factor for me, and my competitiveness takes over. But I don't like bombing down the pistes never knowing who or what may be round the next corner (or that's what I'll be thinking anyway!). When I free ski I tend to adapt my technique and will only carve on slopes that are wide enough for me to be able to keep a consistent speed through turn shape, rather than carve down anything and have to put in a big skid every so often to slow down (it has been commented on that whilst many people don't finish their turns enough, I on occasion almost finish my turns too much, and lose quite a bit of speed whilst still carving). But I know that I need to develop more confidence in these situations - or at least learn how to hide my fear, as I hope to take my ISIA tech course fairly soon. Do you have any tips for me? Thanks!


Yes, beanie1, I do have some suggestions. Assuming coming over to ski with me for a day is out of the question Smile , I'll offer a few tips based on what we would do to work on this issue if we were on snow together.

First, I need to say the reservations that accompany high speed are legitimate. And you're not just talking arc to arc here, which is the highest speed type of turn possilbe, you're talking about doing it on a line that does very little to resist gravity, which is faster still.The faster we go the greater the possible consequences if we fall. Things come up on us rapidly, so our ability to react and adjust quickly needs to be keen.

Often part of the fear is a doubt of our ability to make rapid line and speed adjustments. Your statement about not liking bombing down pistes because you never know what's coming around the next corner is very reasonable. Going fast over and around blind rollers and corners on public slopes is irresponsible and dangerous. We SHOULD tone down the speed until we can see what's around the corner and ascertain that the coast is clear, then hit the gas pedal again. When free skiing on groomers I'm almost always skiing arc to arc at a pretty good clip, but I also always slow things down when I come to a blind spot, or a trail merge.

Anyway, that said, your statement may also be an indicator that you're currently not completely confident in your ability to make quick speed and line adjustments when traveling at high speed. Part of that is getting used to the higher speed sensation, and part is learning you actually can. Here's what to do to work on those things:

First, if you can, get do what comprex suggested and get ahold of a pair of longer radius skis. A 21 meter GS ski in a 176ish length would be ideal. This ski will remove a lot of the twitchiness that happens at speed on a slalom radius ski, and provide a much more secure sensation when you go with gravity. If I remember correctly from past conversations, you're usually on a Salomon 3V slalom ski, right? A GS will be a big help in getting comfortable with riding the falline.

Next, we have to get you into a smaller degree of turn. Check out this link. It will take you to a picture that explains degree of turn, just so we're on the same page with what I'm talking about with this. http://www.yourskicoach.com/YourSkiCoach/degree_of_turn.html

From what you indicate, you currently tend to do 90 degree turns when carving arc to arc. We want to get you comfy with doing 45 degree turns. To get there, make a number of runs on a very easy green run, never going over 45 degrees. 30 is even better. Do it on a slope where the speed those degree of turns produce are not intimidating, just to get you comfortable with skiing a straighter line.

Now, here's the important thing to do as you do that. Ski fore. Move your balance point up to the ball of your foot, and keep it there at all times, through each turn and each transition. With weight fore you will take control of the front of your skis, which will provide a much more secure sensation. Commonly as speed picks up people do the natural human survival thing; they retreat from the danger. That means they move aft. When that happens the front of the skis become squirrely, and seem to be taking off with a life of their own, leaving the skier behind scrambling to stay on top of them as they speed off down the slope. The survival instinct backfires on us, and were left with a feeling of being out of control. With weight on our heels the ability to quickly react and manage our speed and turn shape is compromised. We need to do the opposite of what our survival instinct tells us to do,,, we need to move forward. Here on easy, non intimidating terrain is where we learn to do that, and ingrain it into our movement pattern. When done right it should feel like the upper body is leading the skis from turn to turn, and it feels very stable and controlled, like you're the master of your skis and the mountain.

With a good fore/aft stance, and a degree of turn less than 45, it's time to move up in steepness. Move up gradually in pitch, and do this same progression I explain here each time you do. The first step up would be to an easy blue. First, understand that you are always going to keep your degree of turn under 45. To keep each step up in steepness a comfortable event, we're going to have you begin by introducing some skid angle into your turns. Have a look at this link to see what I mean by skid angle. http://www.yourskicoach.com/YourSkiCoach/skid_angles.html

Start out with a large skid angle, making 45 degree turns, then when you think to yourself, "I'm fine with this" gradually drop your skid angle, until you're doing narrow track 45s and feeling comfy. Remember to stay fore balanced as you do this.

Next you'll gradually stick your toe in the carving water. On that same pitch do 3 long radius 45 turns, carved, fore balanced, and come to a stop. Next do 3 carved, followed by 3 large skid angle turns. Do a series of those, alternating back and forth from carve to large skid angle, always staying under 45 degree, and always fore. Next make your 3 skidded turns with less skid angle. Then drop down to 2 skidded turns between your carved turns. Then one, then none. In this manner you ease your way into a comfort zone with carved 45 turns.

That progression not only gets you comfortable with arc to arc in a gradual manner, it shows you that you have the ability to quickly dump speed whenever you desire. Just knowing that makes the speed gained when carving less intimidating.

Keep moving up in steepness, repeating the above progression each time. As it begins to get steeper you can begin with two or one carved turn before doing your skidded turn, then work you way back into the above progression. Also, as you do your carved turns, make your transitions happened very slowly. Even put a pause in at edge angle neutral. This allows you to relax, and feel the new edges engage very smoothly. The more gentle your movements, the more calm you will remain with the speed.

The secret to this is getting accustomed to the acceleration that happen as you begin arcing down a pitch. When first experiencing it, it feels as though the acceleration will just keep going and going, until you're eventually going 200 mph down the trail. Of course that's not what happens. After a couple turns we hit a max speed, and then the rest of our turns maintain that speed. Once you get past the acceleration phase the body and mind can relax and simply get accustomed to traveling at that speed. It eventually happens, this progression will get you there, and then you'll actually not think twice about skiing at this new speed. It will feel quite normal.

When you go back to your smaller radius skis you will feel the extra twitchiness of them, but you will get used to that too. Just stay fore, and be subtle and slow through your transitions, and you'll get used to it before you know it.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
beanie1 wrote:
Tried that...I can't keep up with Ross Green Very Happy

Laughing Laughing Laughing
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tiffin wrote:
Don't know how old you all are but don't you find that fear increases with age? We may use other words for it such as caution but its essentially the same. I seem to worry about consequences more these days. This is not restricted to skiing, I find myself being cautious on my bike or when driving and find myself having to push myself to take "risks".

Its important to say that I am not advocating dangerous actions here, just less than cautious ones.

Maybe its not age but just the more secure world we live in these days where we are constantly hammered by consequence of your actions messages.


tiffin, I believe this to be true. When I was 20 I considered myself bullet proof. I raced downhills all over Europe and didn't think twice about it. Last year, after over 30 years of coaching but not racing speed events myself, I entered a downhill race. I eventually got comfortable again with the near 70 mph speeds on a rock hard piste, but as they hauled a number of injured racers off the slope on a sled I actually found myself considering the fact that this thing I was doing did carry a degree of risk. It was a new experience for me, considering my own mortality in that environment.

That said, developing new skills will to a large degree trump the magnified worries that come with age. New skills make what we regard as dangerous seem less so, regardless of our age. I'm planning on doing a camp here in Colorado later this seasoned themed specifically for the senior skier, helping them build the skills that will allow them to enjoy the sport in a safe manner.

The key word is safe. Some things that can be done on skis will always carry a risk of serious consequence is we fail to execute properly. It's a balancing act of building our skills, then using good judgement in deciding on the things we do, and how we do them, so we keep ourselves in a reasonable zone of safety. Where that zone resides in accordance with the parameters of a persons skills will vary from individual to individual. What doesn't vary is the fact that refined skills will allow everyone to experience new forms of fun, regardless where their tolerance for danger resides.


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Mon 16-11-09 21:40; edited 1 time in total
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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Age has something to do with it (probably due to recovery times) but for me it's mainly "responsibility". Meaning family, mortgage, job. Sounds glum but there's plenty of upside too. Toofy Grin
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
andyph, it works in reverse too. Retired, no dependants, no mortgage - what the hell, just go for it! Toofy Grin I'm much less cautious than I used to be, but am probably a wee bit more skilled as well.
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Oh good, Hurtle, something to look forward to. Very Happy If I can survive another 20 odd years with the pressure of having a family, mortage, job etc. rolling eyes wink
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I still get the odd frozen moment, but far less over the last couple of years or so. Most of my fears relate to what other people are doing and I find myself adapting what I'm doing to avoid them, to the extent of hindering myself. I'm very bad at just "selfishly" (for want of a better word) doing my own thing. It's not hard to know why - I've been taken out (thankfully not injured) too many times when I've done my own thing (once by my dearly beloved as Easiski will attest). The last one was last season on an otherwise relatively harmless black, and when the shock hit me about 3 minutes later, the only way I could get down the next pitch was by side stepping about half an inch at a time. I was almost literally paralysed with the shock. I then happily came down through the powder between the trees, so I did at least "get back in the saddle" reasonably well. But knowing I can't control what other people do seems to make me more of a control freak with my own skiing. I don't know how to overcome that fear - I even wear bright coloured jackets to make sure I'm visible, but still people ski into me (and it's not that I'm being unpredictable either)
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eng_ch, I can SO relate to that. Fear of collision is the one thing guaranteed to freak me out, particularly since, like you, I've been wiped out a couple of times.
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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.
eng_ch, do you, when doing your own thing, move slower than the general average of skiers on the same piste?

Moving -slightly- faster than the general average of skiers on the same piste is a good way to control ones' own fate.
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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
eng_ch, my instructor always told me "I've never been hit from behind by someone I'm gong faster than" ... so like comprex said - you can decrease the opportunities...
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Fastman Thanks very much for your really detailed reply!

Quote:

First, if you can, get do what comprex suggested and get ahold of a pair of longer radius skis. A 21 meter GS ski in a 176ish length would be ideal. This ski will remove a lot of the twitchiness that happens at speed on a slalom radius ski, and provide a much more secure sensation when you go with gravity. If I remember correctly from past conversations, you're usually on a Salomon 3V slalom ski, right? A GS will be a big help in getting comfortable with riding the falline.


I've done this before, and yes it does make a difference - but not enough for me to want to use a GS ski every day. I think I'm likely to pass / fail my ISIA course on short radius turns / bumps and I find my SL skis the best all round ski for me. I don't really find them that twitchy, or feel too much more unsafe at speed on them. I don't know much about ski design, but is a 6ft 14 stone male likely to find a 165 SL ski less stable at speed than a 5ft6 9 stone female on 155s, or is it just the sidecut of the ski that makes the difference? No trainer as yet has identified my high speed turns as something I particularly need to work on - it's more about the way I feel, I would like to be more confident!

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Next you'll gradually stick your toe in the carving water. On that same pitch do 3 long radius 45 turns, carved, fore balanced, and come to a stop. Next do 3 carved, followed by 3 large skid angle turns. Do a series of those, alternating back and forth from carve to large skid angle, always staying under 45 degree, and always fore. Next make your 3 skidded turns with less skid angle. Then drop down to 2 skidded turns between your carved turns. Then one, then none. In this manner you ease your way into a comfort zone with carved 45 turns.


I'd say I'm up to about here in the progression you've described. I can carve on red runs with 45 degree arced turns with no problems until I feel I've reached the edge of my comfort zone speed wise - then I'll put in a bit of a skid or a 90 degree arc to kill some of the speed. If I'm being videoed then I'll just ski whatever turn radius and arc size I'm told to - but that will rarely be for more than a couple of pitches, so pyschologically I know when and where I will be stopping - it's when it's continuous that I get freaked out and slow down.

I was discussing this with a trainer recently, and he said it's just a case of building up my speed tolerance - which is what you've said but you've said it in a more detailed way!

The annoying thing is that 5 years ago this was not a problem for me. Despite the fact I technically ski better now, I'm more fearful. Sad
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
comprex, little tiger, there is something in what you say. However, I've had incidents where someone above me has slipped and taken me out from behind shortly after I passed them (giving them a wide berth); other incidents where I've been taken out by people careering across the piste out of control, others where other people have just misjudged where they are going to turn or weren't looking where they were going in the first place, and others again where someone has set off from stationary straight into me and couldn't care less. I can't be the only one to have experienced this (but some of my ski pals have also noticed I seem to attract a disproportionate number of such people without doing anything myself to have created the situation). I don't want to have to spend all my time accelerating in excess of the rate of gravity (and going out of my comfort/control zone) to avoid collisions.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
beanie1 wrote:

I've done this before, and yes it does make a difference - but not enough for me to want to use a GS ski every day. I think I'm likely to pass / fail my ISIA course on short radius turns / bumps and I find my SL skis the best all round ski for me. I don't really find them that twitchy, or feel too much more unsafe at speed on them.


'K. Mind you we never said anything about things you'd -overtly- notice.

Oh, and modern bump skis are based on GS designs from 10 years ago. :)

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I don't know much about ski design, but is a 6ft 14 stone male likely to find a 165 SL ski less stable at speed than a 5ft6 9 stone female on 155s, or is it just the sidecut of the ski that makes the difference?


The 6ft 14stone male is far more likely to have an -easier- time -subconsciously- damping out the instabilities. Larger damping mass, larger muscles, smaller proportion of the muscle used for subconscious stabilisation.

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No trainer as yet has identified my high speed turns as something I particularly need to work on - it's more about the way I feel, I would like to be more confident!


Yes, already understood. My post above, and, I expect, Fastman's also, was written with exactly that in mind.

You've already shown you learn technique well, so why not use that aptitude to nibble away at the confidence problem? That is precisely what the exercise progression is geared to do. Beats assaulting it head on, no?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
eng_ch, I sympathise because I'm the same - only I generally attract total tools who just have no concept of slope rules or what the word "control" in the "ski in control" part might mean. I think partly the problem is the complete lack of lessons so many folks have. There is no way for them to learn the obvious safety stuff when they teach themselves. I'm sick and tired of being told "Dude you took my line" or some such idiocy. You don't have no line - you have to give way downhill

I've been collected by a snowboarder who just decided taking air off a roll in the trail with a blind landing in a crowded area(lift entrance IIRC) was not an issue - Arapahoe Basin patroller said they are having a problem there - but do they station anyone in the area? no way! I went up in air and landed flat on back - winded for a bit... he just took my feet out and would have done worse if he had hit me in any other manner.

I've had people ski out of trees at me, another at Keystone flying down intersecting trail without looking... Keystone has a few deadly areas - I usually try to avoid them or get through fairly quickly. I'm a bit unsure why they don't get patrol through regularly to decrease the madness in those areas.

Not just a USA thing as it happened in Europe and also at home. My instructor used to ask if I had a target painted on my back. I pointed out what was happening and he watched - they would ski around him and try to hit me... or try to hit me and go around him. He was 6'3" and 100kg... We decided that some avoid the larger obstacles but don't see smaller people as such an issue.

Fastman often skis interference behind me... it is better when you go faster though... at home my instructors never ever have any instructions for the last run out except "go for it meet you at the lift - be careful" It is madness that last couple of hundred metres and we literally run for the lift to get safe again... get to top - skate for safety of the less skied areas ASAP... then we are safe to ski again!

I do tend to let the traffic go and try to get gaps if it is busy... get a nice gap - go for it until you catch the gap - wait somewhere safe for the next opening...repeat works pretty well... but it is very variable what works best where. On places like Valentine at L2A I like to have no-one much above me anywhere because so many of the someones are not safe to have above you... so it is RUN RUN RUN and never ski it at busy times(i'll download rather than that)... other places I'd prefer to wait until there is a really good break so I have room to catch the folks ahead. In Oz it is off-piste/trees as that is the least populated... groomers are for first thing while drinkers sleep. You have about an hour from 830-930 to ski them, maybe until 10-1030 to ski the less populated... then hide time...
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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 know all about fear as you all know by now. When I first posted on here people kept telling me exactly the same as [FastMan, and little tiger, are saying that better technique would get me over the fear. At the time I didn't think this would be the case for me and and I still don't think it was better technique alone that got me over it - though undoubtedly it helped. Apart from the very early days I always had enough technique to ski a simple blue for example, but I'd still look down the steeper part of the slope and think I don't want to be here. I had no more lessons, it was just time on the snow and being lugged around the moutain by a group of SH's that wouldn't take - 'I can't get down there' for an answer and the odd well timed slug from my hip flask that did the trick - I was to some extent tricked into steeper runs, esp. when I took my eye of the piste markers, and then informed I was skiing what I wouldn't have attempted myself. Better technique is helping with the increasing steeper side of things, but I now have a 'I should be able to do this' attitude rather than the 'not on your Nelly' attitude of the 'early days'.

Yes, I still do 'lock out' on a really steep bit, but if I then get going again and keep going (this is the key) then its clear that I haven't locked out due to a lack of technique - the fact that I ski it in the finish meant I was as capable at the start of doing so, as far as I can see its purely down to what to I think I am capable of doing, and at this moment in time a fair few are telling me (SH instructors included) that I am far more capable 'technique wise' than I think I am. Therefore it must be a confidence/fear thing with me rather than a lack of technique. However, I might be unusual in this respect. When I relax I have enough technique to ski a moderately steep slope - currently reds a lot and I've done 1.5 short blacks. Viva just a little nip of the hip flask to take the edge off!! Even though that is normally not considered a good idea it works for me Toofy Grin .

BTW. little tiger, good to see you back posting again - I've missed you over the summer.
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eng_ch wrote:
comprex, little tiger, there is something in what you say. However, I've had incidents where someone above me has slipped and taken me out from behind shortly after I passed them (giving them a wide berth); other incidents where I've been taken out by people careering across the piste out of control, others where other people have just misjudged where they are going to turn or weren't looking where they were going in the first place, and others again where someone has set off from stationary straight into me and couldn't care less.


This is starting to sound like you use far more speed control than the average person on piste. Some might call it "Driving with the brakes applied", but I won't because you're (hopefully) already enjoying yourself.

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I don't want to have to spend all my time accelerating in excess of the rate of gravity (and going out of my comfort/control zone) to avoid collisions.



That comfort/control zone sounds like it has some pretty rigid walls; you've just written an entire post on why you feel you should stay well within it.

In a thread specifically directed to expanding one's comfort zone, mind.
Madeye-Smiley


Question: In a car, do you drive fast? Faster than average or about average or slower?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Megamum, thanks - been pretty sick...

Your skills will improve from mileage - you need mileage and lessons to improve your skills set...

For me it is not just the technique "to ski a simple blue" but to ski it in your sleep in any conditions you are likely to ever meet... Damn I've had the skill to ski the whole mountain at home for years... but the improved skills mean that much closer to the reality of being able to do that on any ski, at most speeds, most turn shapes etc etc... There is a big difference between 'able to ski this run' and "Able to tuck it and then dodge unexpected stuff or change form tuck to a braking turn easily" I had a 'breakthrough' at Breck one day when some woman ran out of the trees in front of me when I was at speed and I just changed the carve to a smear dodged her and changed back to carve... it suddenly clicked I really COULD control my self much much more than I had anticipated... because I could do all that without thinking about it - it had become natural... Sadly so natural that for a while I changed from carving the NASTAR course cleanly to narrow steering it beautifully - but slowly! Next epiphany was to regain my carving runs and then not notice the ruts - why? because I had got used to the bumps etc and been playing Fastman's games so much I no longer recognised them as disruptive to my carving...

I'm starting to get to the point that the old fear is really getting harder to find... I was actually scared of getting scared - I hated the freezing up and loss of control badly! Now it is there but I can choose to ignore it a lot... because it has less and less chance to grab me and I have more and more successful days, so now I expect success... and better still I know the things I need to do to change over from uncomfortable to cruising along...

I'm expecting a big breakthrough again soon... I recognise the signs...

Keep working on the skills - it keeps it interesting and decreases the work load on aging bones
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little tiger wrote:
. it suddenly clicked I really COULD control my self much much more than I had anticipated...


One of the most excellent sensations I can think of on skis. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
little tiger, Of course its not about just being able to ski 'a simple blue' the analogy was that you can be at that level and able to do it more than adequately, yet still be scared of doing it.

Agreed about working on skills - lessons are still very important. rob@rar got me turning with the inside ski lifted the other week at HH which impressed me loads. I pack in a lesson when ever I can afford one, and am booked to see Spyderman or Kitty at HH in December Very Happy
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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!
comprex wrote:
This is starting to sound like you use far more speed control than the average person on piste. Some might call it "Driving with the brakes applied", but I won't because you're (hopefully) already enjoying yourself.


Maybe I'm able to use more speed control than the average person on piste? Wink My directional control is good and I can ski round people in front of me at pretty much whatever speed I choose to be going, even if I have to react quickly to an unanticipated eventuality. The trouble is not having eyes in the back of my head (the person who invents wing mirrors to strap onto your arm will be onto a winner, I'm sure). I still fail to see why I should have to be the fastest person on the mountain to avoid a collision. A blast is good fun now and again, but you miss out on savouring the experience and the scenery
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
eng_ch, scenery!! You are actually that good that you can take you eye off the ball enough to look at the scenery you go past - total RESPECT from me and to anyone else that can manage it - heavens!!
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
eng_ch wrote:

Maybe I'm able to use more speed control than the average person on piste? Wink

It's quite possible. Of course, reducing speed reduces manoeuverability so one's painted oneself into an unsafe, vulnerable corner, again.
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The trouble is not having eyes in the back of my head (the person who invents wing mirrors to strap onto your arm will be onto a winner, I'm sure).

You don't need them. Finish your turns and start your new ones across the hill and you will be able to see uphill from you.
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I still fail to see why I should have to be the fastest person on the mountain to avoid a collision.

You don't. It sounds like you might want to be /more/ adaptive in your line, though.
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A blast is good fun now and again, but you miss out on savouring the experience and the scenery


There is /much/ more to skiing than a simple choice between a) eye-shutting-straight-down-blasts and b) speed control mode. Madeye-Smiley

(And, the faster one goes, the further downslope one looks so more scenery is appreciated at any given moment).
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