• Women skiers, this is the place for you -- an online community without the male-orientation you'll find in conventional ski magazines and internet ski forums. At TheSkiDiva.com, you can connect with other women to talk about skiing in a way that you can relate to, about things that you find of interest. Be sure to join our community to participate (women only, please!). Registration is fast and simple. Just be sure to add webmaster@theskidiva.com to your address book so your registration activation emails won't be routed as spam. And please give careful consideration to your user name -- it will not be changed once your registration is confirmed.

Skiing, fear + mental blocks, and frustration

scandium

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Glad to hear you got out there anyway - and loving the other stories about adult learning and facing fear!

I have a weird love for cat tracks. I remember fearlessly zooming down them as a kid and wishing they were steeper so I could go faster, but then coming back to skiing as an adult there has been more than one slightly yikes moment on narrow trails (although I have always managed to save myself with a couple of turns or a hockey stop). That being said, I initially learned on Whakapapa so there are/were a lot of fairly narrow, solid "runs" which I think is why I'm less worried nearly anywhere else, because there's just so much space comparatively!
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
.

Yes!! This! I learned to ski when I was almost 30 so I feel like I have always had that fear and I always will. I know what can happen if I fall the wrong way. I think that's been the hardest thing for me to overcome. And I totally agree on not wanting to inch my way down a difficult slope. Yes, I want to be able to tackle new, challenging terrain, but I want to enjoy my day, not spend the whole time feeling fearful.

I started skiing at 23 and had immense fear, as in I had many days in tears and major anxiety on the slopes for my first several years. I’m not sure how I managed to stick with it to be honest. Now I’m 37 and have really come a long way in my mental game. I think the biggest thing is time on snow and then the other thing I attribute it to is skiing with other women. Going on a lot of diva trips out West especially is what grew my confidence. Skiing bigger mountains and terrain with divas and diva dudes that I know and trust not to lead me astray has been HUGE in my growth. There are some really brave divas who would be around my ability level but fearless, and I’d feel compelled to try things that were a little outside of my comfort zone because of it. Call it fear of missing out or a feeling of camaraderie where it turns into “well if she can do it I think I can too”! I am so grateful for @tinymoose who had me skiing in the Cirque at Snowmass on our first trip West together. I wanted to take the groomer down, but once she said she was going in, I had to try too and we did lots of falling leaf and sideslipping that first time, but we made it down and I felt safe and most importantly I felt accomplished. I feel like that on every diva trip, even as my skill has grown and my fear has diminished (not gone, but much much quieter than it used to be). Since then there have been many such conquests on diva trips with lots of amazing women. I ski with divas regularly at my home mountain as well and that’s always when I feel the bravest! :ski:
 

badger

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I'll always be happy to lead people into idiotic places where we can falling leaf and sideslip like the champs we are. :wink:

Those two skills were my most trusted tools a few weeks ago.

My husband decided to lead my friend and I into an "idiotic place" in an effort to shortcut an otherwise long traverse. DH in his usual fashion takes us down to a spot he deems easy enough for us to , ahem, learn.
My bud Rob and I have no experience in trees , and not much skill on very steep terrain which was exactly what we were now facing. DH just starts off navigating his way through with such ease (he's great at this stuff ) that suddenly Rob and I are alone together well below the edge of this traverse thinking our own thoughts about what to do in this tricky situation. I noticed that he started to move up the hill a bit probably looking for a way out. My eyes were looking at where DH had skied, and after a minute of hesitation I just went for it. The effort was made easier due to the moguls that I used as bumpers to keep me from sliding out of control. The snow was good in there so sideslipping and falling leaf type moves were showing just how effective they can be!! Once I got down to where i knew I should start skiing, the adventure was actually one I was proud of. And I wanted to go back to similar terrain the rest of the day to work on what I had gleaned from the experience.

Rob was seen about 45 minutes later. His "adventure" was not one that brought anything close to a smile on his face.
 

tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
My general MO and attitude about terrain that is over my head or on the edge of what I'm capable of is that worst case scenario, I'll just side-slip/falling leaf my way down (just like you did @badger) to where I feel I can make a turn. I know some people think I'm brave or daring, and maybe because I did gymnastics, because I'm upright and on two feet skiing it can sometimes feel less risky to me, but I like to think of it as I know my limits, but I also know what tools I can use to safely get down if I end up over my head and that takes away a lot of anxiety for me.
 

scandium

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
My general MO and attitude about terrain that is over my head or on the edge of what I'm capable of is that worst case scenario, I'll just side-slip/falling leaf my way down (just like you did @badger) to where I feel I can make a turn. I know some people think I'm brave or daring, and maybe because I did gymnastics, because I'm upright and on two feet skiing it can sometimes feel less risky to me, but I like to think of it as I know my limits, but I also know what tools I can use to safely get down if I end up over my head and that takes away a lot of anxiety for me.
I think knowing that you can side slip/falling leaf in tight spots is a super important part of feeling more confident! I'd be the first to say that my falling leaf technique could use some work, but it's good enough for survival skiing most days.
 

Cyclone6

Certified Ski Diva
At the end of last season, I took a wrong turn and ended up at a lovely run (cliff) called Huck Bowl. I side slipped about halfway down and then went for it.

My biggest issue since returning to skiing last year is feeling confident going fast again. I think every time I go, I conquer some of this fear, but it's taking longer than I'd like! The snow has been a mixture of slush, crud, and ice lately. Makes runs I'm normally confident on seem daunting. We need more snow!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
My general MO and attitude about terrain that is over my head or on the edge of what I'm capable of is that worst case scenario, I'll just side-slip/falling leaf my way down (just like you did @badger) to where I feel I can make a turn. I know some people think I'm brave or daring, and maybe because I did gymnastics, because I'm upright and on two feet skiing it can sometimes feel less risky to me, but I like to think of it as I know my limits, but I also know what tools I can use to safely get down if I end up over my head and that takes away a lot of anxiety for me.
Having learned survival skills as a teen like side slipping and falling leaf certainly makes a big difference for me. I can get a little tense skiing challenging terrain but am not really fearful.

As I started skiing steeper terrain in recent year that is also narrow, I brushed up on kick turns. I asked an instructor to demonstrate during a multi week lesson program at my home hill, which doesn't have any off-piste terrain at all. I practice every so often when waiting for others.
 

arbusch

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
20200321_131240.jpg
Every year I try to push myself to do something that scares me if the conditions are safe (even if I know I can do it). Last year when we got to this couloir the first time and I look down into it I couldn't do it (actually we all decided the snow looked too funky and skied another line nearby). A couple of weeks later the snow was still in good condition and decided to try again. We skied the middle line between the two big rock features. You should see our tracks in the picture. The first three turns were a bit nerve-wracking but after that you got in a rhythm and it was so much fun. I was so proud that I pushed myself. Trust me my heart was racing as I dropped in and telling myself don't look at the rocks look where you want to ski. Now I can't wait to ski something else that scares me just a bit this season (if conditions allow). I gradually built up to skiing steep lines like this and having a husband that encourages me to push myself in a gentle way. And me asking him to take me on bigger lines! So don't be hard on yourself. Sometimes you have to walk away and come back to it another day. Being a bit scared stretches you.
 

Abbi

Angel Diva
View attachment 15142
Every year I try to push myself to do something that scares me if the conditions are safe (even if I know I can do it). Last year when we got to this couloir the first time and I look down into it I couldn't do it (actually we all decided the snow looked too funky and skied another line nearby). A couple of weeks later the snow was still in good condition and decided to try again. We skied the middle line between the two big rock features. You should see our tracks in the picture. The first three turns were a bit nerve-wracking but after that you got in a rhythm and it was so much fun. I was so proud that I pushed myself. Trust me my heart was racing as I dropped in and telling myself don't look at the rocks look where you want to ski. Now I can't wait to ski something else that scares me just a bit this season (if conditions allow). I gradually built up to skiing steep lines like this and having a husband that encourages me to push myself in a gentle way. And me asking him to take me on bigger lines! So don't be hard on yourself. Sometimes you have to walk away and come back to it another day. Being a bit scared stretches you.

A bit scared! I would need oxygen! Good on you for managing that!
 

arbusch

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Once I got to the bottom, I video our friend who skied last. In the video, you can hear me breathing really hard the whole time. It looks scary from the top and the bottom but once you are in it it didn't seem as scary and wider than it looks. Or you are just so focused on skiing your brain doesn't even think about anything else:becky:.
 

BReeves215

Certified Ski Diva
Amazing analysis, empathy and support: what I love about this forum!! I would echo the fear of cat tracks/fear of heights equivalency. This is my Achilles heel. It has impacted me not just with skiing but also hiking, driving Highway 1 in Northern California (never again ), and similar situations. A good friend took a de-sensitization type course of therapy that allowed her to overcome a debilitating fear of flying. I’m sure there is something similar available for fear of heights, though I haven’t explored it myself. On the subject of your technical descent/ordeal/side stepping your way back up and OUT of that disaster: my hat is absolutely off to you, @fgor. You did the right thing!!! About 10 years ago my youngest sister found herself with a group of friends in Colorado on black terrain that was too steep/rocky/narrow but she pressed on due in part (I think) to group pressure- she ended up with a compound tib-fib fracture, 6 months non-weight bearing, 2 years of PT and a permanent limp (in addition to all the rods holding her leg together). And she hasn’t skied since
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Amazing analysis, empathy and support: what I love about this forum!! I would echo the fear of cat tracks/fear of heights equivalency. This is my Achilles heel. It has impacted me not just with skiing but also hiking, driving Highway 1 in Northern California (never again ), and similar situations. A good friend took a de-sensitization type course of therapy that allowed her to overcome a debilitating fear of flying. I’m sure there is something similar available for fear of heights, though I haven’t explored it myself. On the subject of your technical descent/ordeal/side stepping your way back up and OUT of that disaster: my hat is absolutely off to you, @fgor. You did the right thing!!! About 10 years ago my youngest sister found herself with a group of friends in Colorado on black terrain that was too steep/rocky/narrow but she pressed on due in part (I think) to group pressure- she ended up with a compound tib-fib fracture, 6 months non-weight bearing, 2 years of PT and a permanent limp (in addition to all the rods holding her leg together). And she hasn’t skied since
I agree, all the ladies here made me feel SO much better about my fears!! And oh, driving scary roads... I also find the access road drive to my ski field very nerve wracking, as it's narrow and winding. I actually thought I'd never be able to drive that road myself but over the last season I managed to conquer that. I still don't like the road but I no longer panic when it's snowy/icy. (provided I have chains on!) The first time I drove up when it was a bit snowy, I panicked at the top because I thought I'd never be able to drive myself back down again. One of the road crew said they could drive my car down if I didn't feel able, which let me relax enough to enjoy my day of skiing. In the end I just asked them for a lot of tips and was able to drive it myself without issues :smile:

Thank you! And I'm sorry to hear about your sister :( that injury sounds truly awful. It's so much more important to have fun and ski another day, than to ski some nonsense terrain that is too far beyond our skill level. Hopefully she can enjoy cruising some mellow groomers again some day!
 

BReeves215

Certified Ski Diva
I agree, all the ladies here made me feel SO much better about my fears!! And oh, driving scary roads... I also find the access road drive to my ski field very nerve wracking, as it's narrow and winding. I actually thought I'd never be able to drive that road myself but over the last season I managed to conquer that. I still don't like the road but I no longer panic when it's snowy/icy. (provided I have chains on!) The first time I drove up when it was a bit snowy, I panicked at the top because I thought I'd never be able to drive myself back down again. One of the road crew said they could drive my car down if I didn't feel able, which let me relax enough to enjoy my day of skiing. In the end I just asked them for a lot of tips and was able to drive it myself without issues :smile:

Thank you! And I'm sorry to hear about your sister :( that injury sounds truly awful. It's so much more important to have fun and ski another day, than to ski some nonsense terrain that is too far beyond our skill level. Hopefully she can enjoy cruising some mellow groomers again some day!
Your local mountain must be VERY friendly with the road crew offering to drive your car down!! I hope my sister skis again, but I am not pushing it. She and her now-husband lived and worked in Aspen for several seasons in the mid-1990s and I have so many happy memories of skiing with them there... Ajax, Highlands and Snowmass. Haven’t been back since because I then discovered Utah!!
 

scandium

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I agree, all the ladies here made me feel SO much better about my fears!! And oh, driving scary roads... I also find the access road drive to my ski field very nerve wracking, as it's narrow and winding. I actually thought I'd never be able to drive that road myself but over the last season I managed to conquer that. I still don't like the road but I no longer panic when it's snowy/icy. (provided I have chains on!) The first time I drove up when it was a bit snowy, I panicked at the top because I thought I'd never be able to drive myself back down again. One of the road crew said they could drive my car down if I didn't feel able, which let me relax enough to enjoy my day of skiing. In the end I just asked them for a lot of tips and was able to drive it myself without issues :smile:
Was that at Hutt? That's so nice of the staff to offer! I am less worried about ski roads these days the more that I drive them - I think it's the feeling of control when it's me driving. I am slow compared to most of the locals or regulars who zoom up, but I try and pull into the chain bays. That being said, I think driving the Crown Range and the Treble Cone access road has desensitized me to what a "scary" road is.
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@BReeves215 @scandium yes - Hutt! The road crew are pretty chill, might be a kiwi thing :smile: the access road belongs to and is managed by the ski area so it's slightly in their own interests to prevent nervous drivers crashing on the way down and holding up the road for everyone else ;) It was really so nice of them to offer though!

Oh, I've yet to ski Treble Cone, I've been told the Remarkables access road is a bit twisty as well. I'm going to try to ski down south this winter so maybe I'll try them out, so far Hutt road is my least favourite! But I'm now at the point where I'm more comfortable driving it myself than being a passenger. I'm definitely a slow+steady driver on the mountain road, and I'll let people pass when there's enough room, but I haven't had any loss of traction, nor have I had any chains fall off...!
 

jetski

Diva in Training
View attachment 15142
Every year I try to push myself to do something that scares me if the conditions are safe (even if I know I can do it). Last year when we got to this couloir the first time and I look down into it I couldn't do it (actually we all decided the snow looked too funky and skied another line nearby). A couple of weeks later the snow was still in good condition and decided to try again. We skied the middle line between the two big rock features. You should see our tracks in the picture. The first three turns were a bit nerve-wracking but after that you got in a rhythm and it was so much fun. I was so proud that I pushed myself. Trust me my heart was racing as I dropped in and telling myself don't look at the rocks look where you want to ski. Now I can't wait to ski something else that scares me just a bit this season (if conditions allow). I gradually built up to skiing steep lines like this and having a husband that encourages me to push myself in a gentle way. And me asking him to take me on bigger lines! So don't be hard on yourself. Sometimes you have to walk away and come back to it another day. Being a bit scared stretches you.
D

What did you ski that on? I'm looking for a setup for big spring/summer lines particularly couloirs and steeps on snow/crud that will toss around my DPS Tour1 Zeldas and am looking for suggestions. So far I'm looking at BC Camox Birdie or Orbs, since they're actually available to demo in my size (between 156-162 depending on what's available, lol).
 

Staff online

Members Online



Top