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Help Needed: About to Give Up


Staff member
I know I resolved to not care about my skiing and just have fun, but this is ridiculous and I'm not having fun. I'm not able to do the things I want to do (ski anything more interesting than a groomer) because I'm stuck on this mediocre f-ing plateau. It's been more than three years and I'm making no progress and I've had it.

Here's a video from yesterday; I can't believe that I still ski like this after all the effort I've put in.

Feel free to critique and offer any feedback. If there is something concrete I can do to improve I'll give it a try. If it's just "time on snow" then I'm not interested in going any further with the sport.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Video link isn't working for me.
I hear you, too. So many factors can contribute--look back to a year ago, two years ago, etc. and honestly ask yourself if you have NOT progressed. I feel like I've hit a big plateau until I think back on stuff I used to have panic attacks on, and now I don't even stop as I approach them. I ski off-piste a ton more, in fact, I seek it out. But it has taken me a LONG time, because I am extremely cautious and fearful!

I feel like I'm on another plateau, so yesterday, I focused on aggressive short radius turns. Then I jumped into some crud and continued with it. It seems to have brought out the "mountain biker" in me, which I have been wanting to tap into on skis for a long time.

So, what is keeping you on the groomers? Do you have a go-to pair of skis that give you extra confidence in most conditions?


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I get taken to Wordpress.com from the link, but then it's blank.

I'm sorry you are feeling down on skiing, I assume everyone has been there at some point, at least I DEFINITELY have. I also remember when I first saw myself on video years ago and was like wtf?!?!? Everything seems to feel so different than it actually looks.

I wonder as @contesstant asked, what is keeping you off of this other terrain that you'd like to be in? Is it equipment, confidence, fear? I know you didn't want to focus on lessons etc. this season, but for me anyway, there ARE things that I just haven't progressed on by myself, it just doesn't come naturally to me or suddenly click. I know earlier in the season we were talking about maybe doing a bumps type of lesson at Magic or Mad River Glen, that can still be a good idea as a one off to try and get some tips in the terrain you are seeking without getting overly hung up on things. I'm still interested in doing something like that myself, but won't be until a little later in the season due to Diva West coming up etc. I would love to have company if you are still interested!

Hang in there, we're all here to cheer you on! :grouphug:


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@SallyCat - Reading this, I remembered a thread that was started awhile ago, and went back to find it...Making Skiing Fun Again. And here's an updated link to the article in the OP. I recall it being a very good read, even if you don't relate to everything in the article...I feel like there's something in there that everyone can relate to, at least a little bit. And maybe a few ideas and inspiration on how to regain the joy.

Outside of that, I'd start by asking yourself, why do you ski? The fresh air feels good in the lungs? The scenery is gorgeous? The feeling of a turn when you get it "just right"? The little butterflies that flutter in your stomach at the top of something that pushes you out of your comfort zone? The childlike giggles you produce when swimming through a sea of powder? Sometimes focusing on the the things you love about the sport and looking at the small picture is much easier than trying to take in the big picture.

Skiing is a sport of continuous improvements...the better you get, the smaller the improvements. As @contesstant mentioned; look back on your journey and where you came from. I've never skied with you, but I'd be willing to bet that you have improved a lot more than you're giving yourself credit for.

I'd agree with @MissySki, maybe taking a bump clinic might be the best way to get your feet wet in off-piste terrain while not overloading your mind. Even better to be able to do it with a little SkiDiva camaraderie!



Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Thanks, I see it now!

@SallyCat I don't think you look bad at all!!! What about it did you dislike so much and feel you want to work on? That might help an instructor here or someone with better movement analysis than I to pinpoint what you can play around with. What stood out to you?

I was thinking perhaps to focus some on upper and lower body separation if you are looking for more dynamic movement. This was something I noticed in my first video as well for me. A big thing for me when trying to ski in bumps and ungroomed snow is to make sure my shoulders are staying down the fall line. If my shoulder turns back up mountain too much, I have a hard time initiating the next turn. I am constantly making sure to resquare my shoulders down the fall line at turn initiation in those moments. It was a big aha moment in bumps for me where I struggled during a lesson a few years ago. Still say it to myself as I go nowadays, so obviously not fully ingrained yet! Just something I thought of that could make things harder off piste.

Maybe @liquidfeet can give some input
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Fluffy Kitty

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I got it.


Frankly, what I see is someone with some solid foundations, from which you could launch some fantastic progress. You ski like the people I point to to my daughter and say, "Hey, that's how you ski, and these are all the things that person is doing right."

Here are some suggestions.

1) Most importantly, I would not think of "confined to groomers" as a bad thing. There is a lot of progress you can make on groomers, all of which are needed for any other surfaces. Having a solid foundation is more important than time on yucky snow flailing about. So, you can think of this season not as "not progressing" but as "consolidating my gains", even if you do not learn a single thing.

2) There are some minor tweaks that you can make... so not really "learning new things". At least you do not have the problem that a lot of people have of steering with your upper body. Your upper body follows your feet smoothly. (It's "stacked".) That's fantastic. You can from there up your game by adding some upper body isolation and dynamic leg work.

Then you can add super-short-radius turns.

Once you have all of these down pat--and, I swear, you can only practice these on groomers!--then you are ready for anything. (Seriously, I was "confined to groomers" for many seasons, and thank goodness I was!)

Really, the jump from groomers to powder is not that hard if you have your foundations... and you are off to a great start. You must have some good instincts; go with them, build on them.

3) Try to go to the hill as early as you can, especially on powder days. Go to unpopular trails with smoother snow. Then "time on the snow" will count a lot more than any other time, because you can experiment and progress without yucky snow conditions or crowds getting in the way, and you can go faster, or turn a lot, or whatever as you please. I.e., it will be more fun, and you will "consolidate you gains" even more.

4) Overall, I strongly feel that videos don't quite capture what's really going on with a skier; still frame grabs, maybe, but there are some limits. They do not really show how steep the slope is, or how rough the snow is, or how much effort you are putting in. Depending on the angle and the focal length and frame rate, all sorts of things are misrepresented. In the end, we all look a lot dorkier on video than in person; good for catching flaws, but not necessarily for capturing strengths. If you feel like you're progressing, if you feel like you're better, then you very likely are, as @contesstant points out. If you see any movement errors (backseating, body swiveling in the wrong direction, etc.) in the video, then correct it; I know you already know how to correct these, because you don't do them in this video. Otherwise, trust how the skis feel when you are skiing (I am indirectly quoting @Skisailor from another thread).

I hope this helps, and hope to see you with more time on the snow!

Fluffy Kitty

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
And, while I'm diatribing, throw away all "skier level guides" that measure you ability by what kind of snow you can ski on or how fast or aggressively you ski. That's great for determining DIN settings, but not for measuring progress. It's all in how you handle groomers.

PSIA instructors are judged not by what kind of and how steep a crud they can ski on an icy day, but by whether they can change their turn radius on demand, and use various turning techniques on demand, even Stem Christie. Your natural habitat seems to be medium-long-radius turns; you don't even wedge to cheat in the video (except when you are about to stop, which is fine). That requires strong body position and ability to instantly absorb; frankly, something I did not have to start with, and still don't really. Add a little flexibility, and you will master everything.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I think you are being too hard on yourself! 3yrs and I think you ski quite well!!
Way better than when I met you at Elk!! :-))))))

Yes we can all always improve. but ultimately skiing is an individual sport where we can go
as fast or slow as we want. I know you don't want to hear 'more time on skis"

Ski with and Follow better skiers, turn for turn-
Challenge your self each day to try a different trail.
Taking lessons (with good instructor) is quickest way to advance
Take Bump lesson or Tree skiing lesson will boost your confidence
Skiing is Muscle memory
When turning think "big toe/little toe, Long leg short leg"
Ski the fall line.
Make short and long turns,
make your own bump run when there are piles
get some tunes as background music not loud- skiing to tunes helps w/ Rhythm

Don't quit!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Echoing the above comments, you look to me like you are on the verge of a breakthrough, i.e., you seem to have the skills that will take you to the next, more dynamic level. I'm no expert on technique so I won't even try to offer advice - just know that what I see is someone who has what it takes to keep progressing. And, as others have said, groomers can be a skier's best friend when you're learning something new.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Maybe this has been suggested, but have you had a stance/alignment assessment? Sometimes that can make progressing really hard. I could not widen my feet for the life of me until I got canting done (2.5 degrees worth). It's like I knew what I should do, but every time I tried I just couldn't make it work. After canting: feet now hip width, can put more power down, more confidence. I still had to work to progress, but the work paid off finally.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I didnt read the whole thing because Im at work (naughty me) but have you tried a new type of terrain/skiing? That experience even if it sucked could help what you're working on now. If I remember right were you the one that had the on3p skis because you wanted to go in the terrain park?
This season thats what Ive been doing. Its been frustrating at times to tears at times but its Super fun when you learn something.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Is it just me, or did it look like she was not quite flat in her skis? Like, a little bit of wobble? She looks really good fore aft, but ankles looked a bit unstable to me. Ski isn't railed, is it?

I'm not trying to be a gear blame, but in the past when I felt like no matter how much work I put in it didn't help, there ended up being another factor, like alignment or gear issues holding me back.


Staff member
Thanks, everyone.
The bottom line is that I can't ski anything but a groomed trail, which means I can't take advantage of the incredible resource in my backyard of mown-but-ungroomed trails. I can't ski with my friends here, and I can't enjoy the exercise of skinning up because I can't ski down. I'm sick of skiing crowded resorts; bored of sitting on chairlifts, and most of all, furious at how f-ing weak my ability is after all this time and all the work I put into it. I think I need a time out.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Thanks, everyone.
The bottom line is that I can't ski anything but a groomed trail, which means I can't take advantage of the incredible resource in my backyard of mown-but-ungroomed trails. I can't ski with my friends here, and I can't enjoy the exercise of skinning up because I can't ski down. I'm sick of skiing crowded resorts; bored of sitting on chairlifts, and most of all, furious at how f-ing weak my ability is after all this time and all the work I put into it. I think I need a time out.

I've been there. Nothing is more frustrating that pushing your hardest to make minimal gains.

If you haven't gotten a stance assessment, I do highly recommend you try it before throwing in the towel. It can be a game changer.

ski diva

Staff member
@SallyCat, I skied with you last week and you're much too hard on yourself. How long have you been skiing, anyway? If I recall, not very long. I can understand your impatience, but I think a lot of skiing just comes down to time spent on the boards. The more you do it, the better you get. That doesn't diminish the importance of lessons, and you're in a great place to get them. I'm not very good at analysis, but there are lots of people on this forum -- and where you work -- who could provide that for you.

Really, though, give yourself a break. You're a lot better than you think you are.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Sally Cat: You have many good things going on.

There are some things that are going to help you take it to ungroomed terrain.

I suggest you treat yourself to a women's clinic or private lesson to help jump start your skiing and get you to the next level.

Here are a couple items:

1. You start turns with your whole body instead of your legs turning underneath your body. Tip: Drag your poles next to your feet and don't let them come off the ground. This will calm down your upper body rotating and it will help with your alignment on the hill.

2. Sometimes, you have too much weight on the inside foot. Tip: Bend your uphill knee during the last 1/3 of the turn (the part where you go across the hill). This will allow the weight to go to the outside ski and make you more stable. This helps as things get steeper.

3. Practice side slips on both sides. Flatten your downhill ski as you face down the hill (not directly down the hill but sort of halfway between looking across the hill and straight down the hill). Flattening your ski is the beginning of the turn and allows you to rotate your legs or tip your legs in the opposite direction. Important skill in the steeps and bumps.

Give those things a try and let us know!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I see some pretty good skiing in that video, personally! FWIW, I HATE video of myself skiing because I feel like I'm so much more "aggressive" and fast than what appears on the video.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Wow. I'm stunned that you think you can't ski well. You look great!

A long time ago, I read something about how we mentally beat ourselves up while skiing. I think that the book was called Skiing Out of Your Mind. The author explained that we berate ourselves internally much harder than things we would ever say to anyone else. That little voice in your head that nags and scolds and severely criticizes you. Self Talk. "Hands forward. Shoulders downhill. What's wrong with you? Stop leaning back." Then, the author asked why we do that.

What would you say to a woman who had 'relatively limited' ski experience but was skiing as well as that which I saw in the video? Would you shout those things in your head to her as she skied past? Of course not. You would encourage her. Take one little thing that you see and suggest a correction. When she does it, praise her. Step by step.

Sure, get your stance assessed. Take a class. Ski with others. All good advice. I'm with SkiDiva about give yourself a break. I agree with Nopoleskier's suggestions, too.

Here's my $.02. Learn to ski out of your mind. Let the mountain lead and your skis run. Get a little more woo-hoo in your runs. Stop worrying about the little things for a while. Have fun skiing again.

See my signature line? If you're having fun, you're doing it right. edited -Oops, that was my old signature line. Still applies.

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