So, You’ve Never Skied Before

CharlieP

Putting on skis
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Aug 23, 2016
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MD suburbs of DC
What if a beginner isn't as fast a learner as some others? Embrace it. Just keep at it, and that includes lessons. Learning more slowly than others can be a benefit.

http://bigthink.com/videos/barbara-oakley-why-slow-learners-are-usually-deep-thinkers?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#link_time=1502636885
I really like this quote from the article: Overconfidence can make us blind to our mistakes, so humility is a tool in itself. That's great perspective, particularly for those of us who learned as adults, so we are bound to be behind the curve. A little humility to take the lessons you need and ski the terrain you can, will allow you to improve much faster than pretending you don't need any help.
Aug 13, 2017

So true. One of the most precious and productive concept in skiing, which the coach I have and am taking season long group lessons for many seasons, instilled in me was the love/joy/embrace of gentle terrain. Before I had joined his group, I payed lip service to training on terrain which was comforting and executing on terrain which challenges. So I would be spending 80% or more of my time "executing" on the black or dark blue trails. Now that I have realized the joys and benefits of skiing the terrain which one finds oneself on, I find that I am usually split equally between terrain of various difficulty levels and don't purposefully choose more difficult trails because of any self gratification needs. In this same vein, I don't avoid difficult terrain unless it is way above my comfort level. I enjoy the leaning and the comforting experience which blue and green trails offer, as well as reaping the challenges, satisfaction and exhilaration of more difficult terrain.

So to each their own, keeping in mind that variety is truly the spice of life.

Think snow,

CP
 
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zephyr17

Booting up
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Aug 18, 2017
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Washington State
I've tended to be a conservative (read chickens#@t) skier and a slow learner, I am the exact opposite of a "natural athlete". I have gotten even more conservative as I've gotten older, I've gotten paranoid about my knees, having torn up my right one in my 20s, and I am out there to have fun, not prove anything. I was away from the sport for 20 years, then got back to it a couple of years ago and have stuck with blues since my return. I've taken some lessons, mostly to get my form back (and in the process learned that some of the techniques had changed). I had an instructor at Blackcomb who really believed in only teaching on terrain that you'd be comfortable on, so as not kick survival mode in. In any case towards the end of the lesson, he coaxed me onto a groomed black with the words:

"Your skills exceed your confidence. I wouldn't take you there if didn't know you could do it, but it's up to you." I did it and did fine.
 

mdf

entering the Big Couloir
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Nov 12, 2015
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Boston Suburbs
I never paid any attention to the beginner forums. The value is in reading along, picking up core concepts, and occasionally sticking your neck out and jumping in.

I would unsticky this because it doesn't need to be at the top of the main forum, well intentioned as it is. People only get into forums when they have the bug, and if you have the bug you probably aren't standing in the baby pool.

It's better to just get wet.
If a true beginner finds this, it is more likely to be from a google search than from browsing the forum. So I don't think it matters much where it is located.

Personally, the only time I do anything other than hit the "new posts" button is when I'm looking for a post I remember or when I want to start a thread.
 

Don in Morrison

I Ski Better on Retro Day
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Nov 13, 2015
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Morrison, Colorado
I am the exact opposite of a "natural athlete".
In school I was always one of the last kids to be picked for a team. As a soccer goalie, I was less adept than a 4x4 post stuck in the ground. I couldn't run, jump, throw or catch worth a darn.

Skiing was interesting enough to me that I think I was more motivated to try to improve. I think I'm somewhat better at skiing than I was at any other sport, but still not good enough to do competitive skiing well.

If you miss a shot, strike out or fumble the ball, everyone on your team is ticked off at you. If you biff it while recreational skiing, you will be the only one who really cares. You can enjoy it at whatever level you happen to be, and where you go from there is a function of your own motivation and determination.
 

Guy in Shorts

Tree Psycho
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Feb 27, 2016
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Killington
In school I was always one of the last kids to be picked for a team. As a soccer goalie, I was less adept than a 4x4 post stuck in the ground. I couldn't run, jump, throw or catch worth a darn.

Skiing was interesting enough to me that I think I was more motivated to try to improve. I think I'm somewhat better at skiing than I was at any other sport, but still not good enough to do competitive skiing well.

If you miss a shot, strike out or fumble the ball, everyone on your team is ticked off at you. If you biff it while recreational skiing, you will be the only one who really cares. You can enjoy it at whatever level you happen to be, and where you go from there is a function of your own motivation and determination.
That’s why there are two I’s in skiing.
 

Seldomski

Paralysis by analysis
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Sep 25, 2017
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Just found this and thought I would contribute pointers for true never-ever skiers that I did not see yet mentioned specifically...

1) Are there specific (cheap) fun activities that can get you ready for skiing? YES! One in particular is rollerskating/rollerblading and/or ice skating. Going to the skate rink a couple times before your first ski trip can get you comfortable with the sliding sensations you will get skiing. You don't need to go crazy with the skating - just go enough so that you feel competent moving at slow/moderate pace without holding the wall. Ice vs. roller skating - not much difference in which helps more. Skating is a great way to get some basic familiarity with skiing's sliding sensations and balancing on a sliding platform just prior to your trip.

2) Regarding fitness - it doesn't take much fitness to ski well. The problem is getting to the 'ski well' part. Getting up from multiple falls can be tiring. Carrying gear to/from the parking lot or condo can be tiring. Prying boots on/off your feet takes effort. At high altitude, everything can be more exhausting. If your baseline cardio/respiratory function is good, then things in general are easier. So, some baseline cardio is certainly helpful. Like - be able to 'jog a mile and do some push-ups without hoping for death when you finish' baseline. More fitness is helpful, but you should become fitter to enjoy all of life, not specifically for skiing.

3) Regarding clothing - the tendency for many of my beginner friends is to err toward wearing too much clothing, not too little. They usually wear thick insulated everything. It's better to have thinly insulated garments and wear more than 1, rather than buy really heavy/thick pants and jacket. Would you wear really heavy clothing to the gym? No. Skiing is exercise, so dress lighter than you would if you were just sitting watching an outdoor sport. Being too hot leads to sweating, dehydration, fogging goggles, wet clothes, which turn into cold, wet clothes. So if you are cold and damp, you may have better results wearing LESS and/or thinner wicking garments. Being too hot can also cause your feet to swell, making your feet numb/painful in the ski boots, which makes skiing very hard!
 

mister moose

Instigator
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May 30, 2017
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Killington
Aug 13, 2017

Now that I have realized the joys and benefits of skiing the terrain which one finds oneself on, I find that I am usually split equally between terrain of various difficulty levels and don't purposefully choose more difficult trails because of any self gratification needs. In this same vein, I don't avoid difficult terrain unless it is way above my comfort level. I enjoy the leaning and the comforting experience which blue and green trails offer, as well as reaping the challenges, satisfaction and exhilaration of more difficult terrain.
Once you attain that skill level and let go of your inner (peer driven) voice telling you that you have to ski ♦♦ terrain in order for it to be worthwhile or fun, your skiing changes. Just because you can doesn't mean you have to. Lots of other ways to have fun on the mountain. Sure, I want to polish my ♦♦ skills and I frequently have a blast there. But I also want other fun, variety. The place the most fun occurs on the mountain changes daily, and it's rarely a function of trail rating.

2) Regarding fitness - it doesn't take much fitness to ski well.
Um, yeah, well, sorta maybe. The whole thing about being in shape is that you don't feel 'in shape'. There's no wattmeter inside our eyelids. When you're in shape things just seem easier. Just because the good skier doesn't feel his fitness, and it feels easy, doesn't mean no fitness is required. Just the act of balancing in motion takes muscle tone a non-skier doesn't have. There's a reason 100 day skiers are better than 10 day skiers. Of all the skiers I know whose skiing I admire, none are of average fitness. If you get out of breath walking in from the parking lot, you probably aren't killing it on the slopes.

That said, you certainly don't have to be a marathon runner or a weight lifter gym rat.
 

CraigBro

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Jan 5, 2020
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Vermont
As an adaptive instructor I feel compelled to at least get a bit involved in this discussion, especially when you discuss "fitness."

I'll be blunt, I don't care about fitness. You want to ski, lets do it! If you can stand up there's 2 track, 3 track, or 4 track skiing. If you can't stand then let's sit down on a monoski, biski, twin ski, cart ski, or some other type of bucket. Can't see, I'm your guide dog.

The big thing is to go out and do it. If you fall in love with sliding and playing outside in the snow that's all it is about. Fitness, if it can develop will improve. If it doesn't, who cares as long as you are having fun.
Late reply, but seeing the adaptive ski program in action at Pico compels me to than you. It is indeed about the fun. I can get focused on skill development and progression, but what keeps me coming back and what keeps my dreaming of the next day on the mountain is the fun— the sliding, tree speed, the light, the air,the views, the trees, the time ice and snow, and the stoke as you curl around into the lift line after a run

Enabling others to experience this is giving a great gift.
 

jt10000

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Apr 21, 2019
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New York City
I'm bored so reading older stuff.

I know exactly how you feel. Try teaching a professional dancer! They watch then copy you exactly. It's downright eerie bec that's what they do when learning new choreography......... We're doing some full speed drills and I'm sliding down the slope sideways watching my GF (Beginner/Intermed) and she thinks that is what she was supposed to do and turns sideways almost switch at full speed.......... In my head I was like WTF are you doing!?!?! OMG she pulled it off beautifully, and was just about skiing switch when I GENTLY motioned that she slow down and stop......... Careful when teaching ballerinas!
This is very cool.

Some years ago a friend and I were teaching another friend who is a super coach in rowing and tennis plus a high-level bike racer to cross country ski (skate skiing). He just did what we told him very very well. He made the moves we told him. He had two or three things going for him:
  • fitness in several dimensions
  • good body control
  • willingness to listen.
There are a lot of different kinds of beginners out there - some jump right in much faster than others.
 

jt10000

Booting up
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Apr 21, 2019
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New York City
Late reply, but seeing the adaptive ski program in action at Pico compels me to than you. It is indeed about the fun. I can get focused on skill development and progression, but what keeps me coming back and what keeps my dreaming of the next day on the mountain is the fun— the sliding, tree speed, the light, the air,the views, the trees, the time ice and snow, and the stoke as you curl around into the lift line after a run

Enabling others to experience this is giving a great gift.
"the stoke as you curl around into the lift line after a run" Beautiful.
 
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