Fear while skiing

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re: Your 2007-08 Ski Day Count

Postby rfarren » Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:47 am

I went down the little chute with admin this winter. It was pretty steep and scary and I wouldn't have wanted to fall there. However, I think when you ski terrain like that it heightens your focus, and gives you a little adrenaline which I think increases your "game." I think it would be more likely for me to get hurt (torn acl, broken leg) skiing on easier terrain when I wasn't paying much attention than on the real steeps like that where everything seems to move slowly. However, if I did fall on the steeps well... :shock: I would want to know how to self arrest.
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re: Your 2007-08 Ski Day Count

Postby jasoncapecod » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:05 am

I would want to know how to self arrest


i know I'm taking the threat in a different direction...
I know how to self arrest while climb/hiking with a ice axe. With skis and polls flailing around during a fall. How do you arrest..
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re: Fear, Part Deux

Postby rfarren » Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:25 am

Use your poles... and pray. :wink:
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Re: re: Your 2007-08 Ski Day Count

Postby Marc_C » Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:35 am

jasoncapecod wrote:I know how to self arrest while climb/hiking with a ice axe. With skis and polls flailing around during a fall. How do you arrest..

In a similar fashion. See:
http://www.sarinfo.bc.ca/Polearst.htm

http://www.wildsnow.com/articles/self-arrest/ice_ax_crampons.htm

But just like with an axe, just reading about it and committing it to memory aren't enough. It must be an automatic response, done immediately when necessary, without having to analyze. Practice, and quite a bit of it, is the only method that works.
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Re: re: Your 2007-08 Ski Day Count

Postby Harvey44 » Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:43 pm

Admin wrote:I have a hard time accepting that injury frequency increases with terrain difficulty. We tend to be more attuned to the risks associated with difficult terrain, and more cavalier and non-chalant when skiing easy terrain. I suspect that this balances out the effect of terrain difficulty on injury frequency.


I don't know if this is true, but my experience backs this up. My only broken bone ever, was a broken thumb, sustained on Quicksilver at Gore, an easy blue. I'm embarrassed to say I just wasn't paying attention (to skiing anyway...something had my attention)! I also think that I've taken much bigger chances on blue trails than on more difficult stuff.
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Re: re: Your 2007-08 Ski Day Count

Postby Admin » Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:05 pm

Harvey44 wrote:I'm embarrassed to say I just wasn't paying attention (to skiing anyway...something had my attention)!


What was she wearing?
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Re: re: Your 2007-08 Ski Day Count

Postby Patrick » Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:37 pm

Admin wrote:
Harvey44 wrote:I'm embarrassed to say I just wasn't paying attention (to skiing anyway...something had my attention)!


What was she wearing?


Image

Okay, I've surf way too much today. I promise I'll do better next week. Image
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Re: re: Your 2007-08 Ski Day Count

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sat Jun 21, 2008 8:13 pm

Admin wrote: Why, therefore, does terrain challenge have anything to do with it? I have a hard time accepting that injury frequency increases with terrain difficulty.


Everyone's got his/her own personal comfort zone. I'm sure if I skied 50+ days a season, mine would get bigger. I can deal with steep, but due to physical equilibrium issues that I've never been able to solve, serious exposure makes me really uncomfortable. On two different occasions where I tried to ignore this fear -- once on the "Portal Trail" mtb ride in Moab and another while traversing on a knife's edge in the Lech sidecountry -- I came within inches of going over cliffs that I wouldn't have survived. Both times, as I was sliding out of control, I thought about that stupid cliche, "at least he died doing something he loved!" At those moments, I wished to hell that I had turned around, as it wasn't worth paying that kind of price.

Reminds me of eight years ago, when I was on a long-term freelance job for Marsh & McLennan in lower Manhattan. At one point, they told us that the entire office was being relocated to the 93rd through 100th floors of the World Trade Center. After going up to see if I could deal with being that high in the air eight or more hours a day, I told them no thanks. Everyone was like "what's the big deal? You'll get used to it!" I wasn't even concerned about terrorists; I just couldn't stand feeling the building sway during strong wind gusts. Thank god I listened to my inner coward, as we all know how that turned out.
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Re: Fear while skiing

Postby aarenlainey » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:53 pm

I wouldn't get down on yourself. For the most part, unless you started skiing when you were young and fearless, we all started that way, to a degree.

Anxiety over falling and speed is normal when you start out -- even when you advance and move on to more challenging terrain. It would be hard to find a skier who could not find any terrain where they felt fear. You slowly get more comfortable and confident as you get more time on the snow. I would take it slowly and don't feel like you have to advance at any pace. Don't compare yourself to others and don't listen to the yahoos who would tell you that they never felt fear. Take lessons, get yourself a pair of good-fitting boots, and have fun. With time and experience, everything else will take care of itself.
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Re: Fear while skiing

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Oct 06, 2020 12:54 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:I'm in agreement with MarcC. My first meaningful ski season was at age 26. But most of the highlights have been in the past decade, age 44+. Powder was a total crapshoot before then, when I first acquired fat skis.
Toughest runs skied?
Big Couloir at Big Sky, age 48.
La Voute at La Grave, age 55.
I first skied Main Chute at age 37, then again at age 54. After La Grave, I wanted Little Chute this March, but did not think it prudent without my own ski boots, thanks to Air France :x .
Also record vertical day was at age 52 and record powder day at age 54.

I stumbled upon this thread and I'm pleased to update it. I skied Main Chute a third time at age 60. The following are significantly steeper, longer or more exposed:
Balls to the Wall at Mammoth, age 46. This was on the best lift served powder day of my life. I've looked at it during a couple of the huge recent seasons and taken a pass.
Big Couloir at Big Sky, age 48. This was the scariest because snow in upper steeper half was partially refrozen.
La Voute at La Grave, age 55. Lower 2,500 out of 3,500 vertical was only 30 degrees but it was frozen granular so still a no-fall zone.
Little Chute at Alta, age 61. This was the first day it opened for the season. The choke 3/4 of the way down was narrow but the snow was nearly all powder. Like Balls-to-the-Wall, this is a run I consider skiing only in ideal conditions.
Human Error at Las Lenas, age 62. 2,500 vertical, upper half quite narrow but sheltered with good snow.
Eduardo's at Las Lenas, age 62. Also 2,500 vertical, wider and easier in good conditions. But it has some sun exposure, so the line with good snow was narrower and harder to maintain the day I skied it.

I retired just before turning 58, so my annual ski day count jumped from 45 to 65 plus I had more time for off season exercise. It is likely that my peak ski years were the 21 month/143 day streak at age 58-59. I reset my max vertical day record at age 59. My aerobic peak has taken a significant dip over the last few years. I'm conservative about skiing sketchy stuff only in excellent snow conditions now. But YMMV. Tseeb is just a couple of years younger than I am and still skiing like the Energizer Bunny.

jamesdeluxe wrote:I broke my leg twice in Utah within nine months -- both times while doing the skiing equivalent of slipping in the bathtub at home -- and in addition to the incredible discomfort involved for me, it was a huge, life-altering pain-in-the-ass to the person I live with. The second time, when my wife heard me coming up the stairs on my creaky crutches, she almost had a nervous breakdown... and I couldn't blame her.

So when you (the royal "you," not any person in particular) start talking about pushing the envelope of your skillz and trying to avoid boredom... good for you, but after putting the wife through the entire Fx process twice in a row, I can't be so cavalier.

I can relate to this, but Liz and I share many addictions and understand that sometimes $#!& happens. I'm guessing Liz' shoulder injury was at least comparable in discomfort to a broken leg and required comparable spouse assistance for awhile. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

For the first two weeks Liz needed assistance with dressing and bathing and I was home full time and did no skiing. For 4 weeks I was doing all cooking. I was quite unskilled; Liz stood a safe distance away and gave me step by step instructions. I took two local ski days during the third week. Week 4 was when Liz needed to go to Florida to look after her mother. I didn't think she should be doing that alone and so went with her for a week.

At the five week mark Liz was set up with a great rehab program in Florida so I returned home and resumed a normal (until March 15) ski season with her blessing.
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Re: Fear while skiing

Postby Sbooker » Tue Nov 03, 2020 12:08 am

The above post gives me some comfort that at 48 my best skiing may be in front of me.
Being a terminal intermediate I will never be confidently skiing La Grave but I do have an inbuilt want to push boundaries. There's some attraction to skiing more difficult lines than I am totally comfortable with. I expect most skiers have that same instinct.
I think your average North American double black is a realistic goal for most part time skiers.
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