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Finding "the Flow" of Skiing

newbieM

Certified Ski Diva
#42
This is such a great thread! As a new skier I struggle so hard with being in the flow. I’ll have tiny glimpses but I’m still spending so much of my time thinking.

I also really need to work on my fear. Even on easy greens if I’ve never done it before I am terrified and have to keep telling myself I can do it. I have the skills to slow down and turn if I get scared but I don’t trust myself yet. I really wish I could effortlessly glide down. I tried by the end of the day to just focus on relaxing and enjoying the ride. The problem is by then it was more crowded and therefore felt dicier and my legs felt more tired therefore I trusted them less and was working them too hard. It was like a chicken and egg problem I couldn’t quite nail. I wish I had a few more days out there.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#43
@newbieM, welcome to the forum! This is a great place to ask your questions. I have a few for you before saying more...

1. Is part of what you want effortless speed? Are you wanting to go faster than you can now without any accompanying fear and worry? Is this because you are skiing with fast-skiing friends or family members?

2. When you are skiing slow turns, do you feel that effortlessness that you've described? If yes, what kind of run are you on when you experience this effortlessness? If no, what's going on that concerns you when you make slow turns?

3. Can you stay slow while making consistent turns on a blue or blue-green or even green run, from its top to its bottom, without stopping or slowing way down with a hockey-stop or hockey-slow? Or do you gain speed, stop/slow down, then go again, repeating this fast-slow rhythm, while wishing you could stay fast and not worry while doing so?

This last one is an important question. If the answer is nope, can't make consistent turns without gaining speed on certain pitches, then the solution may be easy to describe and all you'll have to do to get comfortable with speed is work on going slow. There's a guaranteed way to stay slow as the pitch goes up, and this skill will give you a way to allow gravity to pull you downhill faster without the skis taking off on you because you'll always be able to slow down without resorting to an abrupt hockey-stop like tactic.

Learning to go slow in order to feel effortless while going fast (if that's your goal) will seem counter-intuitive, but it's the way to go.
 
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BMR

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#44
Learning to go slow in order to feel effortless while going fast (if that's your goal) will seem counter-intuitive, but it's the way to go.
^^^This!
I took a lesson early this season, and my instructor told me to slow waaay down in order to dial in my turns. After a few weekends of being the slowest poke in my family and my kids whizzing past me in a semi-straight line (probably making fun of mom) I am feeling much more in control while going fast. Now I am able to go faster than my kids and look better doing (take that, kids!). It is definitely worth it to go much slower than you are comfortable with and work on your technique.

I play piano, and those who play musical instruments can attest to this, slow practice is KEY.
 

Iwannaski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#45
@newbieM ... are you me?
Did I accidentally make two profiles? :smile:

I don’t feel fear on the greens except that of being hit by an out of control beginner, but the blues, man ... I know I can do them - and that the worst that happens is that I wipe out - but man, that feeling makes my heart pound - going down a blue with my son the other day got my heart rate up to 170...not ideal in your mid-40s. LOL.

Can I ask what you’re afraid of? Is it:
1) falling? (Try falling on a few greens...just rip that bandaid off)
2) getting hurt in a fall?
3) something else?

What is it that you’re worried about?

For me, it really helps to articulate what it is that is the adverse consequence I am dreading. And then to determine mitigation steps within my capabilities.

For example, I am currently scared that while i”m focused on my practice, I’ll get run over by an out of control beginner. So, my mitigation is to find more weekday opportunities to ski where I suspect the slope will be less crowded.

I’m worried about my body mechanics in turns making it hard for me to control turns, so while I watch crap on my iPad, I practice the weight shifts and angles.

I’m worried that I’ll hurt myself falling so I have a really rigorous stretching and foam rolling regimen.

Control what you can, so that you can let the worry go a little, and then have fun. :smile:
 

newbieM

Certified Ski Diva
#46
@Iwannaski So glad someone thinks just like me :smile:

So I think it is like rollercoaster, I get stronger and then something takes me down a notch. There were some much younger folks learning that week and they just progressed so much faster.

After the first day I felt like a learned a lot, I fell quite a bit and felt OK with that, I was able to fall safely if I felt out of whack or lost my balance. But the second to last day someone skied into me from behind and it really shook me.

I think I am afraid of:

1) Flying off the side of the mountain :smile: not kidding. When i get off the lift at a new terrain I don't have a good sense of where I should be going so I am quite scared I am going to lose control and go off the edge or get lost or whatever. Even though logically i know that won't happen, my brain just goes into freak out mode. I found myself waiting for others to go ahead and I even followed a lesson of little kiddos and just kept telling myself if the 5 year old can do it I'm sure I can.

2) If the terrain looks too steep, even though it maybe isn't or I've done worse terrain, I am scared I won't be able to control my speed. ALL I do is turn and I've got those down so I am not sure why I feel that way. I know its greens and they aren't mean to be challenging but some terrain looks steep even though it flattens out I can't quite make that out in my head.

3) I don't want to break something, I'm 41 full-time working single mom who has the major load of supporting and time with my three kids. Being out of commission isn't an option.

I like that idea of practicing the weight shifts, I am going to try and figure out how to build up my stamina between trips. The altitude and new-ness of it all just made me so out of breath so easily.

I just want to have fun and I had moments where I was. I also just let myself stop and take a look at my surroundings and enjoy the pure peace of things. But I also found that after about an hour to an hour and a half of turns I was totally toast. Part of it is that I was leaning back when I freaked out and my legs were working too hard.

Next time, I am going to try some other boots, I think the boots i wore weren't quite the right fit and I had too much wiggle in my feet. They just made me work extra hard to feel solid and had too much back and forth to get set against the tongue of the boot. But if I made them too tight I felt like my feet were suffocating. So I am going to work on that.

Overall I had an amazing trip, but I also didn't have as carefree and fun of a time as I would have and found that as the trip went on my fear increased instead of decreased. Thankfully my last instructor really helped me out with that but even after the lesson I didn't want to ski by myself because I just didn't trust my legs to not get too tired or to me not to freak out on a brand new trail.

I also get in the habit of beating myself up for not doing things perfectly or not doing things the right way. I was pretty close to feeling this whole sport was not for me because I don't seem to be enjoying it as much and maybe it is just too late to learn. But I am trying to beat down my negative mindset and be more positive about it.
 

Iwannaski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#47
So many things, @newbieM ...

I was talking to my son about his learning curve vs. mine, and I told him that fear was the biggest thing holding me back from being a better skier. So please take everything I’m going to say with a sense of camaraderie, and not preachiness.

You sound like a kickass woman and an amazing, resilient and strong person.

While you’re on the greens, get rational about the fear. Sure, you could go over the edge, but watch some of the beginners who are in their early 20s careen down. If it was really a risk, the edge of the green slope would be littered with young adult bodies. ;) I know they’re younger, but they’re so much dumber than you. Look at how out of control they are. some idiot who has been on skis twice will tell his girlfriend he’ll teach her and there they go...

Never compare yourself to a kid. For every kid you see zipping around, you don’t see the kids who took one lesson, had a tantrum and refused to return. My son was the former, my daughter the latter. She was 8. We worked out a plan where she would build confidence at HER speed on her terms and it’s working.

Now: She loves “going skiing” ... she hasn’t left the bunny slope, but she’s practicing the things that will give her comfort ... we just give her space to do it. I have gotten a lot better at skating back and forth between the bunny where she is and the bottom of the blue that my son likes. He’s skied for 4 weeks and had a single hour of lesson. The range of comfort is THAT big...one home, one set of genes, one environment. ;)

Are you giving yourself the same compassion you would give one of your children? If new trails freak you out, just ski the same one over and over (even if by yourself) until you’re comfortable. I’ve done this with friends who are better skiers. We just make a date to meet at a time for food/rest/beverages and I LOVE the solitude. As a working mom, there is really no joy like standing on the side of a mountain with your own thoughts.

I’m not our sole provider, but there have been times where it has all fallen to me and it’s been brutal. My husband tore his left Achilles when I was 38 weeks pregnant with kid 2 and had a 34 month old kamikaze toddler boy. We have pics of me in my hospital gown with an IV bag hung on a wheelchair I’m pushing him in as I labored. (I think it’s hilarious, him less so) He tore his right one this year at the end of February when I already knew about the Coronavirus, but before everything had come to a halt. The weight of carrying it all is exhausting. So, here are some good warm thoughts. I hope you find some joy on a mountain on the snow.
 

newbieM

Certified Ski Diva
#48
So many things, @newbieM ...

I was talking to my son about his learning curve vs. mine, and I told him that fear was the biggest thing holding me back from being a better skier. So please take everything I’m going to say with a sense of camaraderie, and not preachiness.

You sound like a kickass woman and an amazing, resilient and strong person.

While you’re on the greens, get rational about the fear. Sure, you could go over the edge, but watch some of the beginners who are in their early 20s careen down. If it was really a risk, the edge of the green slope would be littered with young adult bodies. ;) I know they’re younger, but they’re so much dumber than you. Look at how out of control they are. some idiot who has been on skis twice will tell his girlfriend he’ll teach her and there they go...

Never compare yourself to a kid. For every kid you see zipping around, you don’t see the kids who took one lesson, had a tantrum and refused to return. My son was the former, my daughter the latter. She was 8. We worked out a plan where she would build confidence at HER speed on her terms and it’s working.

Now: She loves “going skiing” ... she hasn’t left the bunny slope, but she’s practicing the things that will give her comfort ... we just give her space to do it. I have gotten a lot better at skating back and forth between the bunny where she is and the bottom of the blue that my son likes. He’s skied for 4 weeks and had a single hour of lesson. The range of comfort is THAT big...one home, one set of genes, one environment. ;)

Are you giving yourself the same compassion you would give one of your children? If new trails freak you out, just ski the same one over and over (even if by yourself) until you’re comfortable. I’ve done this with friends who are better skiers. We just make a date to meet at a time for food/rest/beverages and I LOVE the solitude. As a working mom, there is really no joy like standing on the side of a mountain with your own thoughts.

I’m not our sole provider, but there have been times where it has all fallen to me and it’s been brutal. My husband tore his left Achilles when I was 38 weeks pregnant with kid 2 and had a 34 month old kamikaze toddler boy. We have pics of me in my hospital gown with an IV bag hung on a wheelchair I’m pushing him in as I labored. (I think it’s hilarious, him less so) He tore his right one this year at the end of February when I already knew about the Coronavirus, but before everything had come to a halt. The weight of carrying it all is exhausting. So, here are some good warm thoughts. I hope you find some joy on a mountain on the snow.
Thank you for the perspective and the serious chuckle imagining things being littered with young adult bodies ha ha ha. I think it’s helpful to remind myself that.

You are a superwoman!

I won’t be out skiing again until end of February but I’m going to work on my mental game and my balance and fitness in the meantime. Thank you for the helpful advice.
 
#49
Wow, such good advice! Commit all this to memory!

:snow:

It's all good. You'll get there. With advice like this you can't fail!
 

Abbi

Angel Diva
#50
@Iwannaski So glad someone thinks just like me :smile:

I also get in the habit of beating myself up for not doing things perfectly or not doing things the right way. I was pretty close to feeling this whole sport was not for me because I don't seem to be enjoying it as much and maybe it is just too late to learn. But I am trying to beat down my negative mindset and be more positive about it.
Auuuugh! Such a common complaint among intelligent, driven, concerned, fill in your adjective, women! I swear, we are our own worst enemies! It’s not easy, but get off your own back! That said, end of semi-supportive lecture, your reactions are not uncommon or unreasonable! I have been skiing for years. I will never be excellent, aggressive or elegant. My goal now that I’m on Medicare for a few years is to be safe. Last year, or maybe the year before, I can’t remember now, after working with a few instructor friends and working and working and working one of them finally said ‘you were getting stiffer and stiffer trying too hard, just go out and have fun!’ I try and fall back on that on the days where I find myself beating myself up! So all I am offering is moral support!
 

BMR

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#51
If it was really a risk, the edge of the green slope would be littered with young adult bodies. ;)
Now, THAT is funny :rotf:

This is my third real season, not counting a few random trips as a young adult with whose bodies the slopes would be littered. I am 44 now, and it's funny how much bigger my fear is now vs back then. Back then I sort of just went? My boyfriend (now husband) 'taught' me even though he had no idea himself. Looking back, I have no idea how I did it and how little appreciation of the potential danger I had.

Fast forward to now, a 44-year-old mom of three, my amygdala is in overdrive. It sees danger everywhere, real or imaginary, doesn't matter, it keeps alerting me of it. It's annoying, lol. What if I fall, what if I break something, what if someone runs into me, what if this, what if that. My husband just goes skiing. Falls, gets up, shakes off the snow, and goes again.

Guess what though, it is getting better! Season 3, and I am starting to really enjoy it. So much more confidence and more fun. I have good days and bad, but as a whole so much better. I am also no longer worried about the beginners because I am mostly able to go around them, and also there are not as many on the more advanced slopes that I now ski. Keep at it and you WILL get better. And don't push yourself beyond your comfort level too soon. You will know when time is right.
 

Iwannaski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#52
My boyfriend (now husband) 'taught' me even though he had no idea himself. Looking back, I have no idea how I did it and how little appreciation of the potential danger I had.
LOL. So funny. It's like an absolute must that every day at the mountain there is an inexpert guy "teaching" his girlfriend, right?

It's amazing how being a mom sets all your anxieties off. And I come from a long line of expert worriers. BUT then I remind myself, none of us can live in a bubble.

And I read all these threads like the rookie I am, and take away so much.
 

DebbieSue

Certified Ski Diva
#53
@newbieM, welcome to the forum! This is a great place to ask your questions. I have a few for you before saying more...

1. Is part of what you want effortless speed? Are you wanting to go faster than you can now without any accompanying fear and worry? Is this because you are skiing with fast-skiing friends or family members?

2. When you are skiing slow turns, do you feel that effortlessness that you've described? If yes, what kind of run are you on when you experience this effortlessness? If no, what's going on that concerns you when you make slow turns?

3. Can you stay slow while making consistent turns on a blue or blue-green or even green run, from its top to its bottom, without stopping or slowing way down with a hockey-stop or hockey-slow? Or do you gain speed, stop/slow down, then go again, repeating this fast-slow rhythm, while wishing you could stay fast and not worry while doing so?

This last one is an important question. If the answer is nope, can't make consistent turns without gaining speed on certain pitches, then the solution may be easy to describe and all you'll have to do to get comfortable with speed is work on going slow. There's a guaranteed way to stay slow as the pitch goes up, and this skill will give you a way to allow gravity to pull you downhill faster without the skis taking off on you because you'll always be able to slow down without resorting to an abrupt hockey-stop like tactic.

Learning to go slow in order to feel effortless while going fast (if that's your goal) will seem counter-intuitive, but it's the way to go.
Listen to this!!!! Liquidfeet knows her stuff. I am 61 and love skiing on less groomed trails, moguls and trees, not too steep, when there is hardly anyone around. And as I've aged, I can handle steeper stuff better and better. I hate being out of control and hate others being on top of me. And I tend to go slow!!! So, go slow, be in control, and be happy!! Let your kids and anyone else make fun of you. Try to find days, mountains, conditions that will allow you to be comfortable, and grow and go with that. I started at age 12 or so, but have anxious and fearful tendencies. It's shocking that I love skiing so much! The go slow approach is liberating!
 
#54
I'll second the go-slow approach. Sure, I love to go fast when appropriate: a wide-open green or blue where I can get on my edges and gain speed. But on steeper runs, I much prefer going slow, making controlled round turns rather than slip-sliding down at higher speed. It's a good exercise to see how slow you can go on a particular run.
 

kiki

Angel Diva
#55
I like your leaf/pinball analogy, so true, thank you so much for sharing your experiences, and to the others who have also shared.
for me the past 4 seasons it’s been the pinball—mid 40’s so there surely are hormones in play impacting the ups and downs, weather conditions varry from blizzards to hard packed ice, with a few wonderful bluebird days in between, and yes, I’ve been hit badly in prior years and had close misses this year, plus all the covid stuff (masks, fogging goggles, huge line ups, reservations etc).
Like you I’ve relied on snow school to help me through but like you it has been very hit and miss, however here private lessons are prohibitively expensive and out of my price range, and too many lessons leaves me yearning just to go feel the snow on my own.
The best time on the snow I had this season was at the end of a lesson, the other student left and the instructor and I decided to ski down together..no instruction, we had skiid together before and were comfortable, and we just companionably kind of swooped down, like in those figure 8 things where one is one one side and another on the other. sometimes I’d swoop in front, sometimes he did, we stopped to chat when we needed breath, it felt wonderful. i think my favorite run ever. Those good moments when we can capture them are what keep me coming back.
I’ll look forward to hearing how it feels for you when you venture off on your own after the lessons :-)
 

Iwannaski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#56
HI!!! First of all, @vickie ... the name of this thread stuck with me, because I felt your mission to my core, and your journey was so great to follow.

Today I took DS (all virtual/self-directed school today so he’s doing it all now) and myself to a local hill for a private lesson and skiing. I listened to our instructor, but also tried to incorporate that “focus down the hill” concept.

It makes a HUGE difference. Especially with the adjustments she had me make? I had so much more fun taking in the whole run and looking ahead... I could pick better lines and feel more confident. WOOOOOOT!
 
#57
I really enjoyed reading about your struggles and triumphs- I am working on many of those same issues, but have not been nearly as systematic in my approach. You have inspired me to do better. One thing I have tried is reading Lito Tejada-Flores‘ book, Soft Skiing, and watching his videos- I have found that , along with all the practical advice, he gets me in the right mindset for getting in the flow. He must have been a great instructor! Best of luck to you on your quest!
 

newbieM

Certified Ski Diva
#58
Thanks again for this wonderful thread. I’m just re-reading it because I’m going back out skiing next week and trying to figure out what I want to focus on improving.

I also just realized I never answered @liquidfeet questions so here they are in case you have more insight.


1. Is part of what you want effortless speed? Are you wanting to go faster than you can now without any accompanying fear and worry? Is this because you are skiing with fast-skiing friends or family members?

I want effortless speed and to feel comfortable with an appropriate amount of speed for the terrain and still feel in control.

2. When you are skiing slow turns, do you feel that effortlessness that you've described? If yes, what kind of run are you on when you experience this effortlessness? If no, what's going on that concerns you when you make slow turns?

Yes when I ski slow turns I feel pretty good. Sometimes the turning feels like hard work though because I’m overthinking or working too hard through the turns. Part of it is that my body positioning is too rigid so it’s just all tense and my legs get tired. This is all on the easiest greens.

3. Can you stay slow while making consistent turns on a blue or blue-green or even green run, from its top to its bottom, without stopping or slowing way down with a hockey-stop or hockey-slow? Or do you gain speed, stop/slow down, then go again, repeating this fast-slow rhythm, while wishing you could stay fast and not worry while doing so?

I can’t usually do a whole run without stopping. I just get tired or I get scared of perceived steepness and freak out a bit. Sometimes I just stop to take a breath and shake out my tense muscles. I think that’s a good goal is to try and get through a whole run without stopping. This is all on greens. I’m too scared to do a blue. I get in my head a bit. I’m also just not secure enough in knowing how to pick a route and reading the terrain. I sometimes find I gain speed so I stop and then start again. This next week I’m going to try to write some notes down to hone in. I really just want to ski down a mountain, not be scared by speed but just embrace it, and the enjoy the whole thing a bit more and not feel like it’s so much work.
 
#59
I had a mini-breakthrough this year during a group lesson. We were working on stance, and I got more forward on my skis. No quad pain!

If the tiredness in your legs is mainly in your quads, work on getting more forward. It’s amazing!
 

newbieM

Certified Ski Diva
#60
I had a mini-breakthrough this year during a group lesson. We were working on stance, and I got more forward on my skis. No quad pain!

If the tiredness in your legs is mainly in your quads, work on getting more forward. It’s amazing!
Ya I had one run where I just chanted to myself go forward, go forward. I think that’s definitely part of my issue. That and me just skiing super tense.