Facing fear.

By Wendy Clinch •  Updated: 12/12/06 •  2 min read

Ever get scared on a ski run?

There, there — It’s okay. You can admit it. Happens to everyone.

Fear is a good self-regulator. It’s what keeps us from trying something stupid that could send us to the emergency room.

But it’s also a nasty head game that can make us play things a little too safe. And that can stop us from meeting new challenges that could actually be fun.

How to deal with fear? Obviously, it’s best to avoid it altogether. Having a realistic assessment of your skiing ability helps. So if you’re a Level 4 skier and someone wants you to go down a double-black mogul field, I’d suggest taking a pass.

That said, even on trails you should be able to handle, fear can still rear its ugly head. So here’s what I do: First, I give myself a little pep talk. Then I try to get going as soon as possible. In most cases, I find that the more I stand and mull something over, the worse it gets. If it’s really gnarly, I try to break whatever’s ahead of me into smaller, more manageable components and concentrate on getting through those sections, one at a time.

I think everyone deals with fear differently. Some people thrive on being scared. Not me. The trick is to get good enough so you have the tools available to handle any situation; that way it isn’t an issue. That could mean taking lessons and just putting in plenty of hours on the boards. And if and when it is an issue, try not to let it get the best of you.


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