Days 3, 4, & 5: Restart

I had a freak-out moment on Wednesday while attempting to descend a steeper grade on skis–one on which I should never have freaked out–and it set the tone for the last two days. It’s amazing how one slip in confidence can totally set me back. My skiing turned from sure-footed to tentative. And then Janet–a certified ski instructor–pointed out some incorrect posturing in my skiing. She started to teach me how to correct and then I got an unofficial private lesson at Deer Valley by one of her friends. Needless to say, my mind is now thoroughly confused in trying to figure out what my feet should do and I’m even more fearful and tentative than ever. Add to that the fact that these resorts have some of the steepest vertical I’ve ever tried to ski…

I’m in a slump, plain and simple. I’m still having fun but I’m really embarrassed by how badly I’m skiing. If you know me personally, you know I want to be great at everything right away. I’ve been at this skiing thing off and on since age 16. I think I’ve been patient long enough! But I guess without a lot of skiing until the last few years, I’ve not really advanced any. So now I need to focus and find my legs again. And ski correctly, not in the wrong position (putting my weight towards the front of ski rather than the back which feels safer but is really out of control).

Yesterday, we skied at Snowbird. This resort had the hardest, steepest runs I’ve ever attempted to ski. The blue runs were truly like more black runs out east. I had my share of freaking out, side stepping down some tricky areas and, once in a narrow lightly covered area with exposed rocks, I removed my skis and walked the rest of the way down. I can’t remember the last time I walked down a hill. But I was afraid to turn on the shallow surface. And since it hasn’t snowed since last Sunday, most of the runs are groomed and crunchy like skiing out east. I found I’m much braver in powder. Seems harder to get out of control.

Even Deer Valley had its share of challenging blues. The same with Alta. It’s been a rough week and I feel completely demoralized. I would have thought I’d be fearlessly taking black runs by the end of the week. Right now, I’m just satisfied with making it down blue runs without fear.

Interestingly, in correcting my skiing form, I now turn better in my formerly bad direction and I now have trouble turning in the direction (left) that I used to execute perfectly without fear. Janet thinks it’s because I used to always lift my ski when turning left and it somehow worked for me, but when I turned right, lifting the ski was harder to do so I wasn’t as sure with turning in that direction. Now, with my corrected stance, I am executing perfect right turns but my brain is confused when trying to turn back left. The fact of the matter is that I don’t trust my left turns and it brings fear when I stop on a slope that makes me nervous. I shouldn’t stop long enough to think about it.

All is not lost, however. I enjoyed taking the tram (3000 vertical feet in 6 minutes!) To the very top of Snowbird at some 11K feet to take a winding cat walk slope down the mountain. It was more visually “stimulating” than scary except for the narrow steep run at the very end. I freaked there, side-stepping down most of the way, even though it was really about as steep as Champaign at Holiday Valley. I’d had a rough day. There is no easy slope at Snowbird. Too bad I can’t go back later in the year when I have my ski legs back.

I’m hoping my mishaps out west will make skiing at Holiday Valley over New Years seem a lot easier… I think I will probably save going west for mid-season in the future so that I can take better advantage of what’s out here. I feel real dumb for sticking to blues and greens out west. I should be doing so much better than I am doing. At least it’s been scenic.

I’ll upload all of my pictures when I get home. I’ve only been using my phone since it fits in the pocket of my coat. If you are friends with me on Facebook, you’ve seen some of these already.

Maybe someday I will be a good skier. At age 34 with two left feet, I don’t have much hope…


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