• 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.

Want to go slow

Ccomo55

Diva in Training
#1
Hi All,

I'm 45 years old and just tried skiing for the first time in March. I did well in my lessons and did fine on the bunny hill and the next level up which was a green hill but not very high up on the mountain. For the most part I did fine while still being very nervous and scared.

Here is my problem, my fear of speed is discouraging me. Every time I get to a regular green hill I do ok and then I start picking up more speed down the mountain even though I'm making wide slalom turns. I want to get over this fear and feel that I'm in control and that there is no need to purposely fall in order to stop going so fast.

Other than wide sweeping turns, is there anything else I can do to just ski slowly so that I enjoy what I'm doing instead of feeling panicked? I rent skis at the resort. Are there skis I could buy that would allow me to go slower?

Thanks in advance!

Christie
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#2
Welcome! Good for you for trying something new and exciting. What region are you in? It's not that obvious but trail ratings only apply to a given mountain. That means a green trail on a small mountain in Pennsylvania or New Hampshire is not the same width or steepness as a green trail in Colorado or Utah.

As you keep reading TheSkiDiva threads related to buying gear for the first time, you'll probably notice the emphasis on investing in ski boots first. As opposed to skis. Have you found the Gearipedia section? Lots of good introductory info there.

https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?forums/gearipedia.49/

As for how to learn to control your speed, here's an old thread that shows you are not alone. There are Divas who are instructors who give good advice. But not too many folks pay attention to ski forums June-August.

https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/how-to-get-over-my-fear-of-speed.6841/
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#3
Hi and welcome to the forum!

I see you've taken lessons, and that's a really good step. Developing your skills is the best way to overcome fear. I'd recommend keeping that up. And yes, read the threads that marzNC pointed out. You may find some help there.
 
#4
It's natural to fear speed when you are learning (and frankly not uncommon at many skill levels). As you get better you'll become more comfortable going faster, though you may never be a speed demon, which is fine of course.

But in terms of an alternative to purposely falling, for right now: my early lessons all emphasized turning uphill at the end of a turn to control speed. Next lesson you take, ask to focus on this. Essentially you just stay in your turn past the point where you'd otherwise point the skis downhill and start another turn. Instead, you just stay in your turn, weight over that former outside ski, and you will continue to circle and will find yourself heading uphill, which naturally slows you down. You can do this a bit at the end of every turn for a natural slowing.
 

Jenny

Angel Diva
#5
But in terms of an alternative to purposely falling, for right now: my early lessons all emphasized turning uphill at the end of a turn to control speed. Next lesson you take, ask to focus on this. Essentially you just stay in your turn past the point where you'd otherwise point the skis downhill and start another turn. Instead, you just stay in your turn, weight over that former outside ski, and you will continue to circle and will find yourself heading uphill, which naturally slows you down. You can do this a bit at the end of every turn for a natural slowing.
And that sounds scary, like you'll then end up going backwards down the hill, but it's not really what happens. Mostly. :becky: You learn where the edge is.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
....I start picking up more speed down the mountain even though I'm making wide slalom turns.
....is there anything else I can do to just ski slowly so that I enjoy what I'm doing instead of feeling panicked? I rent skis at the resort. Are there skis I could buy that would allow me to go slower?
@Ccomo55, yes there is something you can do. Others have already said the most important things, but I'll repeat them for emphasis.

1. Rental boots need to fit length-wise tighter than you think. Choose boots that are smaller than the ones you currently are choosing. They should be about as long as your street shoes, no longer. This will NOT be the pair the attendant brings out that supposedly matches your street shoe size. Rental boots that fit properly should be hard to force your feet into. Once you've got your feet in there and stand up, you should feel the front wall of the boots touching your toes. Not hurting, but touching. Buckle them up. "Snug" is word you'll find used to describe this fit. It should be quite snug, like a very firm handshake, but it should not cut off circulation or hurt.

2. Rental boots need to fit your feet width-wise and height-over-the-foot-wise. The reason to buy your own boots is to get those two forgotten elements to fit your foot's anatomy, and to deal with any other weirdnesses your feet may have that a generic boot shape doesn't take into account. The more "snug" the fit in all three dimensions, the more control you have over the skis and the more confident you'll feel manipulating those long boards stuck to your boots.

3. It's not the skis. Rental skis for beginners are fine for controlling speed. You just need to learn the technique to do it. @marzNC just posted about this.

4. "Completing your turns" is how you control your speed. Continue each turn long enough to head uphill even just a little, and do that with each turn. This will slow you down, as @Christy posted. That's the technical biggie to master as a beginner. It may take a few lessons before you figure out how to do completed turns. Many beginner skiers turn their skis with their shoulders... or they try. It doesn't work so well after a certain point. When the shoulders stop turning, these skiers give up on the old turn and start a new one. This is usually too early, before the old turn gets completed. When skiers do this, they gain speed as they go down the hill. You may be doing this. It's called "upper body rotation." Ask your next instructor if you are using upper body rotation to start your turns. He/she will know what you mean and will easily be able to tell you yes or no and guide you towards turning the skis without turning your shoulders.

5. You have just started becoming an expert skier! I started skiing at 53. It's never EVER too late to start this great adventure. It does take time, though. Enjoy every minute of it. Being able to go slow is the key. (You already know going fast is easy!!!)
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#7
I want to get over this fear and feel that I'm in control and that there is no need to purposely fall in order to stop going so fast.
Missed this on the first read . . . have you been told to fall in order to stop? I know there are instructors who suggest the idea to beginners. But it's a very risky approach once off the bunny slope. I have a friend who learned to ski at my home hill in northern VA, Massanutten. She got the idea stuck in her head even after she was skiing the blue and black trails. Unlike you, she liked speed. Unfortunately she used the "fall to stop" idea when she was going far too fast on a black trail, which led to a season-ending injury.

Much better to work on learning how to slow down using technique and ski design on the easiest trails before moving to steeper trails. The idea is to figure out how to go faster on easier trails, even to the point of being a little bored. Then try the easiest blue and repeat until comfortable before moving to another blue trail.

What other sports have you done in the past?
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
Welcome to the addiction! The more you progress, the harder the terrain you will venture into and the longer this question will be part of your thinking. It's natural to feel like you are going too fast when you first move to harder terrain - bunny slope/greens, green/blue, blue/black, on piste/off piste, etc. As long as I have been skiing, I still find myself in terrain where I get that "Oh Crap! I need to ski this slowly" mindset. It's fine. Part of progressing is learning to control speed. My whole life I have heard "C" turns until recently someone said "J" turn which made so much more sense to me. A "J" means that I have turned completely uphill and allowed gravity to stop me and now gravity will also be my friend and help me to turn downhill and keep going. I don't want to confuse you ... but the long and short of it is this:

I want to do this on steep bumps but, first, I need to go practice this on easy blues and then on small soft bumps and then on steep bumps. To learn something new, we often have to go back to easier terrain and practice it there.

If you can't turn keep turning until you slow down, you need to go back to the bunny hill where you feel confident and practice there. Then take it back to the green runs. This is what we all do continuously until we can ski all the levels of terrain we want to. You don't have to spend a whole day on the bunny slope, just start there and consciously work on turning until you stop. Then go have fun practicing it on the green runs!
 

Ccomo55

Diva in Training
#9
Missed this on the first read . . . have you been told to fall in order to stop? I know there are instructors who suggest the idea to beginners. But it's a very risky approach once off the bunny slope. I have a friend who learned to ski at my home hill in northern VA, Massanutten. She got the idea stuck in her head even after she was skiing the blue and black trails. Unlike you, she liked speed. Unfortunately she used the "fall to stop" idea when she was going far too fast on a black trail, which led to a season-ending injury.

Much better to work on learning how to slow down using technique and ski design on the easiest trails before moving to steeper trails. The idea is to figure out how to go faster on easier trails, even to the point of being a little bored. Then try the easiest blue and repeat until comfortable before moving to another blue trail.

What other sports have you done in the past?

Hi, no...in was not told to fall to stop. I would do that when I started to panic. I think it's s bad habit and I don't want to resort to that. I just want to go at an way pace without flying down the hill.
 

Ccomo55

Diva in Training
#10
Welcome! Good for you for trying something new and exciting. What region are you in? It's not that obvious but trail ratings only apply to a given mountain. That means a green trail on a small mountain in Pennsylvania or New Hampshire is not the same width or steepness as a green trail in Colorado or Utah.

As you keep reading TheSkiDiva threads related to buying gear for the first time, you'll probably notice the emphasis on investing in ski boots first. As opposed to skis. Have you found the Gearipedia section? Lots of good introductory info there.

https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?forums/gearipedia.49/

As for how to learn to control your speed, here's an old thread that shows you are not alone. There are Divas who are instructors who give good advice. But not too many folks pay attention to ski forums June-August.

https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/how-to-get-over-my-fear-of-speed.6841/

I skied at Big White in Kekowna, Canada. The problem there was that after you got off of the chair lift you had to go through the first portion of a blue trail in order to get to the green ones.
 

Ccomo55

Diva in Training
#11
@Ccomo55, yes there is something you can do. Others have already said the most important things, but I'll repeat them for emphasis.

1. Rental boots need to fit length-wise tighter than you think. Choose boots that are smaller than the ones you currently are choosing. They should be about as long as your street shoes, no longer. This will NOT be the pair the attendant brings out that supposedly matches your street shoe size. Rental boots that fit properly should be hard to force your feet into. Once you've got your feet in there and stand up, you should feel the front wall of the boots touching your toes. Not hurting, but touching. Buckle them up. "Snug" is word you'll find used to describe this fit. It should be quite snug, like a very firm handshake, but it should not cut off circulation or hurt.

2. Rental boots need to fit your feet width-wise and height-over-the-foot-wise. The reason to buy your own boots is to get those two forgotten elements to fit your foot's anatomy, and to deal with any other weirdnesses your feet may have that a generic boot shape doesn't take into account. The more "snug" the fit in all three dimensions, the more control you have over the skis and the more confident you'll feel manipulating those long boards stuck to your boots.

3. It's not the skis. Rental skis for beginners are fine for controlling speed. You just need to learn the technique to do it. @marzNC just posted about this.

4. "Completing your turns" is how you control your speed. Continue each turn long enough to head uphill even just a little, and do that with each turn. This will slow you down, as @Christy posted. That's the technical biggie to master as a beginner. It may take a few lessons before you figure out how to do completed turns. Many beginner skiers turn their skis with their shoulders... or they try. It doesn't work so well after a certain point. When the shoulders stop turning, these skiers give up on the old turn and start a new one. This is usually too early, before the old turn gets completed. When skiers do this, they gain speed as they go down the hill. You may be doing this. It's called "upper body rotation." Ask your next instructor if you are using upper body rotation to start your turns. He/she will know what you mean and will easily be able to tell you yes or no and guide you towards turning the skis without turning your shoulders.

5. You have just started becoming an expert skier! I started skiing at 53. It's never EVER too late to start this great adventure. It does take time, though. Enjoy every minute of it. Being able to go slow is the key. (You already know going fast is easy!!!)
Thank you for all of the advice!
 
#12
I skied at Big White in Kekowna, Canada. The problem there was that after you got off of the chair lift you had to go through the first portion of a blue trail in order to get to the green ones.
Good to know. @Jilly is one of the Canadian Diva instructors.

Did an instructor even mention side-slipping? That's a useful survival skill to learn for times when there is a short section of terrain steeper than you feel like skiing while making turns.

What about a hockey stop?
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#13
Hi and welcome to our world!! So glad you took lessons. It does make things so much easier. Remember this is a process and a journey.

So where do we start? Do you have equipment? Or do you want to still rent some of it? Also you mention that you skied Big White. Is that going to be your home mountain? Are you from Kelowna? Introduce yourself in our "Getting to know you" thread too please.

As for slowing down, LF mentioned about turning uphill. This is the best way if you can. It avoids a "putting on the brakes" movement. And this advice works whether you're wedging or parallel skiing. The forces of gravity want to pull you downhill, but it you go against that force, by "completing" your turn uphill, you will manage that force. It's really that easy.
 

Ski Sine Fine

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
Welcome and glad you got bit by the ski bug! I had/still have the same problem as you — going faster than comfortable when on steeper terrain. In addition to all the fantastic advice you’ve gotten already, I just want to mention the tip that helped me the most is to stay out of the backseat. When I lean forward and balance in the middle or ball of the feet, I feel more in control and the speed doesn’t feel as fast.
 
#15
@Ccomo55 : thought a few questions . . . where do you think you are looking most of the time when skiing on the bunny slope? Does that change on steeper terrain? What have you heard from an instructor about where you should be looking?
 

nopoleskier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#16
I skied at Big White in Kekowna, Canada. The problem there was that after you got off of the chair lift you had to go through the first portion of a blue trail in order to get to the green ones.
Hi and Welcome! I haven't skied Big White, I teach at a small Upstate NY ski area. Don't be in a rush to go fast too soon, learn to ski well slowly and then increase speed. Ditto what @Ski Sine Fine says, stay out of the back seat. Hands down the hill.

Since you have to ski a blue to get to a green, I'll suggest for that and any hill you are spooked on, side step down, just like going down a ladder or stairs side ways, helps you feel those edges, lean up into the hill a bit, feel the grip, bend knees 'feeling', check out how when you relax the pressure/edging and flatten the ski, you'll slide, less pressure, faster slide. safest to do near the edge of the trail A great drill is the 'falling leaf', if an instructor will teach you, it feels really cool to do it and will help you with edge control and balance on your skis, for and aft, and being nopoleskier I'll suggest skiing w/out poles it helps learn balance and control. Keep having fun, The more you ski, the better it gets!
 

Ccomo55

Diva in Training
#17
Good to know. @Jilly is one of the Canadian Diva instructors.

Did an instructor even mention side-slipping? That's a useful survival skill to learn for times when there is a short section of terrain steeper than you feel like skiing while making turns.

What about a hockey stop?
I can do a hockey stop on the bunny hill. LOL. I don't recall anyone mentioning side-slipping. Can you describe what it is?
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#20
Sliding slipping is basically the opposite to a hockey stop. Actually from your hockey stop, look downhill, release your edges and let the skis slide. It's also a great way to see how balanced you are fore and aft. The tips or tails will slide first if you're not centred. Video's are so much better than me describing this.
 

Members Online