Was there a time before skiing? I began when I was 12 years old, taking lessons at the Junior Ski Program of Washoe County. The first time ever on skis I tumbled on the bunny hill, and was taken to the hospital with a sprained ankle. What on earth made me want to attempt it again?
fall down, get up again
Instead of giving up, I went back the next week for another lesson. My parents had a time-share in Tahoe where I took 2 lessons per day for an entire week.
I remember seeing the chairlift on Monday thinking there was no way I would become good enough to get on the lift. In reality, it only took me one day to get on a chairlift. By the end of the week, I was hooked.
The next several years I skied each weekend and during the week whenever possible. This was the 80’s and if your skis weren’t way over your head, you were not trying hard enough. My skis were a total of 195 cm long.
what was I thinking?
What did I have to prove by using such ridiculously long skis? Let’s face it, I was a teenager, and was going to live forever. These skis were finally donated to Goodwill many years later as they are completely inappropriate for my use now. I have realized my own mortality and don’t want to be crazy on the slopes.
Actually, the whole bombing down the mountain thing is scary to me now. Grasping that I’m not as good as I once was, I tend to be the last one down the hill. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the feeling of wind in my face and the heart thumping that accompanies a quick run.
speed does not equal chaos
Having kids, and other obstacles kept me off the slopes for about 11 years. I missed it a little. When the opportunity arose, I got a new set of skis, boots, poles, and clothing. I hopped right on the mountain. For the past several years, the whole family has held season ski passes to Mt Rose Ski Tahoe (which is conveniently located only 20 minutes from my house).
Recently I became frightened of excessive speed while skiing. I somehow equated a quick tempo with being out of control. Each time I quickened my pace, I would begin stressing about falling and injuring myself. In order to remain slow, I turned excessively or (I should be embarrassed by this one) snow plowed.
I was only hurting myself by letting fear take over while skiing. The rest of my family would enjoy the snow much more than I. Not because of amazing skills but lack of fear. They learned to embrace the brisk sensation swooshing down the mountain.
saying uncle is not an option
Would this growing phobia take over my life? Hell no! I hate saying uncle and giving up without a fight. As a strong-willed adult, I have a choice in the matter. I had to conquer my apprehension as well as the mountain. Taking a deep breath, I was ready to face my demons.
On the first run of the day, I resolved I could go faster while remaining in control of my body and skis. To ensure I wouldn’t freak out, I simply followed Robert’s tracks. Don’t focus on the bottom of the hill or how steep it was. Simply trace the path directly in front of me.
Guess what????? It worked. The first instance Robert stopped to wait for me, I flew by grinning. After a couple of runs, he realized he no longer needed to wait. I was at the same skill level as the previous visits. Why could I keep up now? By remaining present in the moment and not getting locked up in fear, I turned the corner literally.
What if anything is keeping you from dominating your mountain? How do you expect to overcome obstacles in your path? Share your thoughts and stories about conquering fear.