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Skiing, fear + mental blocks, and frustration

Skylar_30

Certified Ski Diva
Photos of the mentioned runs.

Cat track I haven't been on in over a year.

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Technical black run. (already part way down it when taking this photo)

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The point at which I completely gave up on the technical black run. The line goes around the right hand side of the rocks directly below me, and then across to the left, under the other rocks. I never actually saw the rest of the run. I was promised it got better/easier and I was nearly through the hardest bit but I couldn't make myself continue. Considering how far I got, it's really frustrating that I couldn't just finish it off.

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For comparison, non-technical black run I did multiple fun and successful laps of, on the same day:

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Is this Mt. Hutt?
 

westcoast21

Certified Ski Diva
So I never bothered going back to that scary chute, I might tackle it another season or never, I talked to someone who has worked at Mt Hutt for years and they commented that the entrance to that run is less intimidating when the snow base is higher. This year hasn't been so great for that, so honestly probably not a great year for it anyway.

However I did take a run down that horrifying cat track! It was on a nice day where I was feeling good about my skiing again and I'd seen a number of people go down this black groomed run (the only groomed black run this season) called Platter Splatter. It is a run that goes down from the scary cat track. I decided I wanted to give it a go, and I just threw all my dignity in the bin and went down the entire cat track in a massive wedge. :smile:

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Just beyond the end of this photo, there's a nice lookout point where you can take your skis off and walk around a bit and admire the views.

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I also walked over and admired this interesting wind-blown snow :smile:

The run:

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From the bottom (made it!) :smile: It took me a while to get down the first bit, as it was quite scraped/icy and I took it a turn at a time, but the bottom half was quite a bit smoother!

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So that was a nice personal victory that I'm really proud of :smile:
the views and that windblown snow is sooo gorgeous! :D And i celebrate with you that personal victory! those mean so much!!!
 

westcoast21

Certified Ski Diva
I have found @bobski on YouTube to be an absolute game changer for me and my journey with skiing. I started learning at 36 years old after only ever having skiied one time when i was 11. It was VERY DIFFERENT trying to learn at 36, and extremely difficult and fear-inducing for me. I was a millihair away from giving up skiing completely after 2 full seasons of working really hard and consistently at it with all the lessons I could find, and a bad fall that resulted in a minor concussion. Then I found Bob Trueman of @bobski. His YouTube videos as well as his 2 books on skiing brought me back from the edge. He begins with the mental side of skiing and learning (including fear) and goes on to ways of describing and coaching technique that are really easy to remember while you're on the mountain practicing and in motion. His style of teaching and communicating is easy to listen to, easy to read, easy to comprehend, and most importantly easy to actually put into practice. You can buy his books for extremely reasonable prices on Amazon (digital or paperback) and his YouTube videos are free. Here are the details if you so desire to check him out:




I hope these resources from Bob can help you or anyone else who comes across this. I am still learning and I have re-read his books and re-watched his videos this year, one year after discovering him, and I plan to do so every ski season!
 

KimarieSnow

Certified Ski Diva
I'm hoping others have had these experiences and can possibly empathise or share tips on how to get over mental blocks with skiing. Really I'm just getting frustrated at how my fear in a lot of skiing scenarios is stopping me from being able to ski more of the inbounds ski area. I have always skied "scared", I ski quite stiff and flexed (still do...) but it's somehow only got worse over time. I was never a fan of cat tracks and instead of that fear easing over time, it just intensified after I had a stupid fall on a cat track one time. That was over a year ago and I haven't gone back to that particular track since - however that just closes off a huge amount of terrain for me. It's not technically that difficult, I just can't mentally do it. I'm too scared of falling off the edge. I see a lot of people who are technically worse at me than skiing (not tooting my own horn, and I don't think I'm a good skier, but seriously) doing these runs, cat tracks, and traverses just fine. I've taken hours and hours of lessons but I can't seem to improve my overall confidence level. I've definitely improved at "easy" runs (wide blues) but anything even slightly narrow just flips a switch in my brain.

The other day while skiing, I was encouraged by someone who I'd done a few runs with over the season to try a somewhat technical black run. I feel that I was undersold on how narrow and rocky it was, but regardless - although I probably had the ability to get down it (I saw quite a few people go down it while I was standing, frozen with fear, halfway down - all they did was sideslip/pivot/jump turn down the part I was in, and allegedly it widens out a bit after that) I couldn't mentally do it. After side slipping down about half of it, I just hit a point where I couldn't physically force my body any further down the run, and I ended up side stepping back up the entire way to the top, where I was able to pick a different and easier route down. After some time spent side stepping, a ski patroller found me while doing a sweep, and got me to take my skis off and walk up, by kicking their boots into the snow so that I could step into their tracks. Overall it was a sh*tty, embarassing experience, and, completely ruined what had otherwise been a great day of skiing. It didn't help that it ended up being my final run due to wasting so much time being stuck + the mountain closing slightly early due to incoming lightning storm. This run that I've now failed at is actually a pretty popular run at my local mountain, and I seem to frequently share a chairlift with people who are talking about doing it or have done it that day. Added insult to injury was that the off-piste snow condition was fantastic that day (spring corn), so it's not like I could have picked a better day this season to try it.

Who else has had these types of experiences? or maybe had students with an excess of fear? did anything work for you to get over it?
Hey there! First, I believe we all have a level of fear skiing. Smart skiers are fearful. Otherwise, we would be out of control, have broken bones, torn ACLs and more! Reckless skiers are no bueno. I had a very bad ski accident at Kilington many years ago. I actually stopped skiing for a while because I couldn’t get over the fear of the accident. Meditation helped me get back my mojo. Here’s what I like to do: Quiet time alone, before you ski. Sit in a chair and plant your feet on the floor. You can listen to music if you need to. Breath in through the nose and blow out through your mouth. Slow deep breaths. Focus on your breath for a few minutes. Then begin to see your feet buckled into your boots. Keep breathing. Then your boots bound to your skis. See your skis on the trail. Really try to “go there” in your mind as you see yourself on these trails that seem scary. During the meditation, see yourself gracefully handling the trails that cause your nerves to crack. With each breath in, another powdery turn comes with ease. Each breath out, your smile is bigger because you’re having fun.
If you can envision your success before you hit the slopes, I believe you will be more successful. Breathing and “seeing yourself” even when you’re on the slope also helps! If you start to freak out, just take a moment and breath. See yourself getting to the next point ahead on the trail. Breath and then go. I hope this helps!
 

newboots

Angel Diva
I wandered over to YouTube, and then to bobski.com, to see what he was about, and I can't figure out where the series begins! I saw the intro, and skipped through the testimonials, and then couldn't find a video that didn't make a reference to something I should have learned before. This includes the intro video on his website. YouTube seems to have them somewhat mixed up. Anybody have advice? @westcoast21 ?
 

newboots

Angel Diva
Never mind! I found it after digging a big on the website. Interesting guy, and the method seems quite approachable.
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Sorry… I didn’t realize that I replied to a post from a long while back!! Lol - clearly, I’m a newbie!! None the less - meditating helps for certain with all sorts of life stuff!!
Absolutely no worries, advice is always very appreciated! :love:
 

westcoast21

Certified Ski Diva
Never mind! I found it after digging a big on the website. Interesting guy, and the method seems quite approachable.
Sorry for a late reply, I've been on holidays the past week. Glad to hear you figured it out; Bob also does have a Playlist section on his YouTube channel that talks about how to go about watching the series.
And I agree: Such an exceptionally approachable method. If one can get over their pride for a moment and give what he is doing a chance, it pays dividends. The brilliance of it is the psychology behind it, the simplicity for your brain to recall it even if under high stress on the hill, and language that makes you smile and relax more than furrow your brow and feel confused.
 

westcoast21

Certified Ski Diva
Hey there! First, I believe we all have a level of fear skiing. Smart skiers are fearful. Otherwise, we would be out of control, have broken bones, torn ACLs and more! Reckless skiers are no bueno. I had a very bad ski accident at Kilington many years ago. I actually stopped skiing for a while because I couldn’t get over the fear of the accident. Meditation helped me get back my mojo. Here’s what I like to do: Quiet time alone, before you ski. Sit in a chair and plant your feet on the floor. You can listen to music if you need to. Breath in through the nose and blow out through your mouth. Slow deep breaths. Focus on your breath for a few minutes. Then begin to see your feet buckled into your boots. Keep breathing. Then your boots bound to your skis. See your skis on the trail. Really try to “go there” in your mind as you see yourself on these trails that seem scary. During the meditation, see yourself gracefully handling the trails that cause your nerves to crack. With each breath in, another powdery turn comes with ease. Each breath out, your smile is bigger because you’re having fun.
If you can envision your success before you hit the slopes, I believe you will be more successful. Breathing and “seeing yourself” even when you’re on the slope also helps! If you start to freak out, just take a moment and breath. See yourself getting to the next point ahead on the trail. Breath and then go. I hope this helps!
Visualization and mindfulness are huge.
 

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