Have you been taken down a piste that was too difficult for your ability? Resulting in a loss of confidence?
In this two-part blog, we will look at how you can overcome your fears and start to enjoy your time skiing in the mountains, gaining confidence and taking back control of your ski's!
1. The right teacher
The first thing we will look at, is making sure you have the right ski teacher. He or she will guide you on your journey of building your confidence and getting you back on the road to FEAR-LESS skiing. Let us think about what you are trying to achieve here. You are looking to build your confidence, while developing your skiing and
to enable you to become a fear-less skier. And it is all going to start with a ski teacher that you can trust, that you feel safe with. One who is able to understand how you are feeling and why.
So when booking your ski lesson, talk with the ski school and, if possible, talk with the ski teacher first. Make sure you are happy with the teacher before you even step on the slopes.
Any ski teacher worthy of wearing the uniform should, first of all, get to know you and your goals. If they do not ask you any questions once you meet, then move on and find a new one. It should almost feel like the Spanish inquisition. Some of the questions you would expect to get are (in no particular order):
1. How many weeks of skiing have you done in the past?
2. Where did you learn to ski?
3. When did you learn to ski?
4. Out of those weeks, how many have you spent in ski school?
5. What level would you say you are at?
6. What do you feel when you ski?
7. What is the reason for you taking a lesson today?
8. What would you like to get from your lesson?
This is your chance to tell him or her your story, as there is probably a reason for your nerves. This could be a fall in the past, ending up on a ski run that was way too steep for your ability level, maybe fear of speed, or that you feel out of control. Talking with your ski teacher is the start of you becoming a fear-less skier!
2. Did you ever think your equipment may be part of your problem?
Before you start, it is important to make sure the equipment you own, or you have been given, is correct. A lot of people borrow skis from their friends, only to find out that they are too long, too short or need to be serviced. And sometimes they are so old, that they are fit for the museum.
Most ski-hire shops these days, have new equipment every winter. So you are likely to have the latest skis, if you get them there. Your ski teacher should check that they are the correct length for you. If they are too long, they are going to make things more difficult for you. Then there are your ski boots, the most important piece of your kit! This is because if they do not fit correctly and, worse of all, they are too big, you are already going to find it hard to control your skis. It is hard to believe that 1 in 3 people with hire boots will have the wrong size boots. Once your equipment is checked then you are good to get on with becoming a fear-less skier.
3. It is time to head back to the nursery slopes!
“Why?”, I hear you ask. Well, there is no better place than a nice gentle nursery slope to build your confidence! And develop your skiing. This is also going to enable your ski teacher to take a look at what you are and are not doing on your skis. By slowing everything back down to a nice easy speed, it will enable you to show what you can do. While the ski teacher can spot what maybe is leading to your loss of nerves. As we said earlier, when we talked about questioning, there could be many reasons for how you are feeling. But let us have a look at the most common reason of all, and what can be causing it.
In 90% of the cases, a fear of speed, or that you feel out of control and are gaining speed, is the reason for losing confidence. And being a nervous wreck on the slopes.
So why does this happen?
It is quite simple; more often than not, you are spending too long in the fall line. “In skiing, a fall line refers to the line down a mountain or hill, which is most directly downhill. That is the direction a ball would accelerate, if it were free to move on the slope under gravity”. And if you are spending too long in the fall line, you are going to be accelerating, just like the ball. This can also result in you leaning back on to the tail of the skis, which will increase your speed and fear levels even further. Also, it makes it harder for you to turn and control your skis. And at the end of the day, we turn to control our speed and if we can not turn, we can not control our speed. Does this sound familiar? So let us look at how you fix it.
4. Let us get back to basics
Yes, that is right! Let us go back to basics, and if needed let us go all the way back to the start. We will not be there for long, but it will be worth it. You see, when you go back, you can fix many of the things that are going wrong. When making very basic movements on your skis at low speeds, it will give you time to think, feel and understand. This will result in a re-programming of your muscle memory, and your mind-set. This could be; working on your balance and stance, arm carriage, core tension, making sure you are not looking at the floor or making sure you are standing on the middle of the ski and that you are not in that back position. Then you are going to move on to practise some basic movement patterns, which are all going to help you build your confidence and gain a greater understanding of how your equipment works. All at low speed, so there is nothing to worry about!
So in part one of our two part blog, we have looked at the first 4 of our 8 points in how you can overcome your nerves when skiing and turn your self into a fear-less skier. In part two of our blog, we will take a look at how turn shape aids with speed control and why mileage is so important.
If you have any questions or comments relating to how to overcome fear when skiing, please do post them below and we will answer them as soon as we can.
If you are looking to overcome your fear of skiing, then take a few moments to look over our fear-less ski camps running this winter. You will be skiing with like-minded people and have a dedicated ski teacher working with you on your unique goals.
For more information on all of our camps click here