Perfect day

Image:Perfect day
13. Dec, 2016 Written by: Georgie Bremner
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Hi there ladies, are you completely addicted to advancing your abilities and form in our downhill sport of alpine skiing? As a ski instructor often assisting females, and sometimes slowly convincing them, to experience the beauty of this sport as a pure form of winter enjoyment, I’ve decided the secret to loving this exhilarating pastime depends entirely on finding your own key to its many hidden raptures. To help locate some of your own personal opportunities to find motivation, here are some tips for you to ponder upon and advocate for your own perfect days on the slopes.

Perhaps you want to bust through being a terminal intermediate and find out what all the fuss is about in this skiing lark, that so many of your friends and family have lost all rational common sense and reason about? Whether wondering what gives, or being frustrated about having already made numerous efforts that have not yet produced your desired results, I encourage you to consider this sport as a commitment your whole body makes that involves personal judgment – it is all about you – and unless you grew up playing on the side of a snowy mountain your instinctual conclusions about survival may not match any of the true realities of slippery, downhill motion. There are also women's specific gear that is lighter and designed to aid your performance.

 

Ingredients

Where my most important ingredient in crafting my own perfect day on the slopes, are the social and culinary aspects of the day, you may be at a place where keeping your confidence is the greatest priority. As that goal becomes more tangible suddenly the thought of meeting people for lunch sounds interesting. Where I love to enjoy the mountains with like-minded people; lapping challenging slopes with beautiful, strong skiers, I also find enjoyment being part of the milestones and achievements that beginners’ share with me on the flatter bunny slopes. If having a lesson is something you want to do, express to the ski school how you prefer to learn and what personalities you work best with. There is not always a correlation between an outstanding, capable skier being adept at helping family and friends figure out the mechanics and personal psychology of advancing skills in our playground. Yet a good instructor will design a day around your needs and goals on the day, and pique your interest in trying out new learning on the right equipment. It must feel achievable for you, this depends on your attitude and energy levels on any given day and the tasks that match these. Then you will look to develop your learning in different situations and places.

Explore

Before joining any individual or group, to go explore the mountains beyond the beginner/intermediate slopes you are comfortable with, do you know how to side-step both up and down hill, traverse, and side-slip downhill in a chosen path? If you suddenly find yourself off a groomed slope what tactics do you have to get down? Learning to do new, physical stuff is being able to trial things when the pressure is off and we can experiment, get feedback and think about it. We then test our learning by increasing the difficulty with different resulting speeds and ways to move our body to create skiing outcomes of speed control with less fatigue. Rush this process and the timing of a more challenging, or new experiment, can result in having to rebuild your confidence, or let your body recover.

When what appears to you as the world’s most amazing skiers, inviting you to join them, get them to ski some of your level of slopes first. You can sell it as your need to warm up. These runs will be an indicator if there is some compatibility in how they intend to shape the day and get what skiing at your level is all about. Does it feel like a fun environment where you can enjoy yourself or are you feeling constantly left in the dust? An important decision to ask yourself, will be whether to join them or not, beyond your comfort zone.

 

Things to consider:

  •     Is this person or group willing to join you for a couple of runs on the slopes where you are at your most confident? When on your slope of choice are they there with you and paying attention to how you ski in a way that you find supportive?
  •     Where on the ski map are they are planning to go? Locate a ski map and ask them to show you where they are planning on taking you. If some of the places include more advanced slopes than you have been on (i.e. if your comfort is on blue or red groomed runs and they’re pointing out runs where it all looks like black designated areas are the only option) are there runs close by where you can bail to if necessary?
  •     How do you react to trying something new under pressure? Some of us have a carefree attitude when physical performance demands are being put on us and can rise to the occasion, or at least have confidence to muddle through. Others may freeze up and become anxious and unable to remember the “how” that was making us successful in our comfort zone of terrain. The people you are with may contribute to what end of the spectrum you experience, in anything more challenging than what you are used to. How did they react to being on the runs where you feel confident?
  •     How are you feeling right now? Are you confident to experiment with your skills when out exploring? If you are mostly concerned about being able to keep up or make it down ok: if for some reason you were to be deserted in an out-of-your-element situation, do you feel capable of side-stepping both up and down hill, traversing, and side-slipping your way to relief?

 

As stated earlier, many great skiers are not adept at helping less able skiers negotiate what appears difficult to a less experienced skier - maybe because they can’t remember the hundreds of hours skiing in different situations that advanced them to their level. Chasing people may help you become more comfortable with faster speeds, but may not help you feel as if you are in control or actually able to take a breath and enjoy your surroundings. A large part of skiing is building your community of like-minded people. Some need to have the willingness to be patient with you while you are slower and less capable, and some will need to not leave you in challenging areas to figure things out on your own. The only way for you to have your best day ever is to speak up about what you need. If your needs are met you will increase your ability to have fun and accelerate your learning, you may be surprised that someone else wants to look at the view and have a drink to celebrate that challenging slope you just got down!

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