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I have been four times now and im still horrendous- what am I doing wrong??

(45 Posts)
tiredemma Wed 05-Jan-11 16:43:39

Had our first ski holiday to Zell am See over new year 2008/2009- went to Ski school (which was really quite awful as there was far too many people in the group). Nevertheless, I felt I did quite well and enjoyed the holiday.
We booked to go again in Feb 2010 (same place)- In the mean time (over winter 2009/2010) my Inlaws moved to a ski resort in France and invited us over for 5 days in jan 2010 - On this trip I had a half day 1-1 lesson- again, I thought I did reasonably well, especially as it was only my 2nd ever trip.
we then went back to Zell am See for the prebooked skiing holiday (feb 2010)- we went with friends who were new to skiing so I spent a fair amount of time on the nursery slopes just taking it easy.

I think it was on this trip that I realised i was actually very shit at skiing and if I am honest, didnt really enjoy it much.

We spent Christmas 2010 with inlaws for a week and they still live in the ski resort- this time was probably my worse- I'm awful- truly awful. I just cant understand why I dont 'get it'. I know I can ski, but I am so slow, Im nervous and my legs ache from the minute I start skiing.
I actually find my legs are so aching and full of lactic acid that I find it difficult to stop- it is this I feel that makes me feel 'crap' at skiing.

My kids and Dp all seem to be able to shoot off and make it look effortless. I am a rigid mess.

So, is it me? is it a fear that can be overcome? More 1-1 lessons?? Unfit? (which would amaze me as I see women much larger than me tearing down the slopes)

Any suggestions (or horror stories of how horrendous you was initially???

LaurieFairyonthetreeEatsCake Wed 05-Jan-11 16:46:45

The truth is you have to be really fit to ski. My friend who is the fittest person I know as she is a personal trainer pays particular attention to her legs for the month before she goes. She would typically spend 3 hours a day on top of an incredibly fit body to up her leg strength.

LaurieFairyonthetreeEatsCake Wed 05-Jan-11 16:47:59

Maybe the fatties tearing down the slopes either can't stop, like me

Or they have huge muscular legs from caber tossing underneath that padded ski wear

tiredemma Wed 05-Jan-11 16:48:34

Honestly, thats what I am thinking. There is no doubt a fear there, but i think it evolves from feeling out of control, Im out of control because i have no strength in my legs.

thanks for replying

LaurieFairyonthetreeEatsCake Wed 05-Jan-11 16:50:46

I also have the same fear. I tore down the slopes at home with no fear but as soon as I got on an actual mountain I was terrified. I always said if I went again I would have some hypnotherapy .

Something about it being so big and so far to the bottom freaked me out

Batteryhuman Wed 05-Jan-11 16:52:14

I don't agree that you have to be really fit to ski. I'm not and I manage just fine.

You do sound as if you have got very tense Emma and if you can find a way to relax I am sure the enjoyment factor will come back. Maybe more lessons would do the trick but with a sympathetic teacher who understands how to deal with a nervous skier and can teach you to relax.

Singing whilst skiing always used to help me when I was too scared to turn....

tiredemma Wed 05-Jan-11 16:53:37

Hypnotherapy is something I am toying with also. I want to enjoy skiing with my kids, Last week I was a quivering mess at the bottom of a bloody blue run- my 10 year old was going down black rund with his GRANDAD!

tiredemma Wed 05-Jan-11 16:55:37

Battery- I so tense- DP said he can see how tense I am as he ski's with me- I am literally rigid.

I really want to enjoy it.

Batteryhuman Wed 05-Jan-11 16:58:37

You can't ski if you are tense. that is why your muscles ache so much. If you can find an instructor to help with that you will enjoy skiing again. It is one of the few sports the whole family can do together and worth persevering. Good luck!

Bideyin Wed 05-Jan-11 17:01:06

It just takes time tiredemma. I have been on about 8 skiing holidays and it's only now that I feel I can really ski and don't feel constantly petrified. Group classes are the best way of gaining confidence.

I used to do the singing thing too

tulpe Wed 05-Jan-11 17:03:12

You do need to be fit but, tbh, I am not the fittest person either but, like you had a huge fear of being out of control when skiing. It really ruined my experiences for the first few years that I tried and the pain from tension in my legs was horrendous.

The best piece of advice I can offer is for you to have one to one lessons with an instructor that you absolutely trust (obvs you need to go on gut feeling and if it isn't there at the first lesson, request a change of instructor). I had a fab ESF instructor 3 seasons ago in Belle Plagne and he totally turned it around for me. I had got to the point where I told DH that it was my final attempt and would refuse to go on any further ski hols if it didn't work out because tbh I hated it

In less than a week, I went from barely coping with basic blue slopes to at least attempting reds (albeit not always successfully ). Having that level of tuition meant that I learned far more skills (and being confident in stopping and controlling speed has to be the number 1 skill, right?). I had two 2 hour lessons then joined one of his classes for the rest of the week.

I now absolutely adore skiing Yes, DH and the DCs laugh at me pootling along in the background and making excuses to take the blue (oh there's a loo in that direction) rather than face a tricky red but it is a sheer joy to do something like this with them.

Horton Wed 05-Jan-11 17:03:30

Do you go to ski school every time? Even if there are a lot of people in the group, you will learn more this way than just pootling about on the nursery slopes, IMO.

tulpe Wed 05-Jan-11 17:07:09

Oh and relaxing your muscles (literally one by one from head to toe) before attempting a run is a good idea too. DH has said he can really see the difference in my skiing now - I have not particularly adhering to technique (!) but I am breathing and get from A to B with a smile on my face

trixymalixy Wed 05-Jan-11 17:12:07

I do the singing too!!

I also chant " commit to the hill" to make me lean forward.

If you are tense and holding back then you make things a whole lot harder for yourself. You needto commit to it and lean forward and the turns become much easier.

It is also easier to ski to a rythmn, hence the singing!!

tulpe Wed 05-Jan-11 17:14:49

Agree with trixy re: leaning into it. It is the hardest thing to do when you are fearful because everything in your head and previous experience will say "if you are afraid of falling, wtf are you leaning forward??" but keeping your weight back and resisting turns will inevitably lead to a fall.

madwomanintheattic Wed 05-Jan-11 17:29:23

fitness helps, relaxing helps.

getting out of a snowplough is the only thing you can do to make it easier though. snowploughing makes your legs hurt.

you have to embrace a little bit of speed too. a little bit of speed (and a little bit of a slope) makes turning much easier. much easier.

some of the lessons i had ages ago involved singing - you lot have totally reminded me. we were all lined up across the slope (it was very quiet lol) and had to ski down singing, all turning at the same time in some freakish display of ski instructor one-upmanship grin

then we had to turn around at the bottom and look at all the pretty patterns we had made. woe betide if you were the one that bottled the turn and ruined the effect. blush

i've just spent the last week trying to persuade my dad not to lean back and turn his shoulders into the hill. he wouldn't play that 'balance your ski poles on top of your wrists and keep your shoulders down the fall line' game though.

should add - i'm not fit, quite fat, not very brave, and still have to mentally quell the rising terror in order to get down anything too steep. and i don't do bumps or jumps. uh uh. it's all in the mind.

Eliza70 Wed 05-Jan-11 17:37:24

I agree fitness helps, if your legs are used to a bit of exercise they won't "scream" so much. I am another petrified skier. Last time I actually sobbed in fear. I can ski but as soon as I pick up speed I panic. My tips would be more 1-2-1 lessons and don't ski with anyone who is a much better skier than you as you spend your whole time trying to keep up and falling over [bitter voice of experience emoticon]

VivaLeBeaver Wed 05-Jan-11 17:43:14

I think you can get away with not being as fit if you have really good technique. The better you ski the less hard work it is muscle wise. But when beginner/intermediatte then fitness does help, just doing a ski sit against the wall for a few minutes every day helps your quads.

WhatsWrongWithYou Wed 05-Jan-11 17:44:37

I'm another one who's terrified. I think it's partly because I didn't learn until I was 42 (now 47 and the 5th holiday coming up).

I also didn't think it was too bad and at the start of our second holiday was persuaded to take the black red run en famille (youngest was then 7 and there was a rather portly lady in the restaurant at the top who was also older than me, so I naturally thought: how hard can it be?

I ended up crashing onto my coccyx and barely able to walk, totally unable to sit down for the rest of the week. It still gives me gyp 3 years later.

Last time we went I cried all the way down on my first run, and cried in the chairlift coming down from the very top, which I refused to ski down.

I think I've become phobic and, if anything, it gets worse each year. I will do the more challenging runs if following an instructor but not independently - no group lessons where we go, unfortunately.

I think, for me, a lot of it is to do with being so high up and aware that I only have my own power to rely on to get down.

Never thought before that the intense pain is from being tense but it makes sense.

Sorry none of this is useful to anyone I know, just feels good to get it off my chest!

VivaLeBeaver Wed 05-Jan-11 17:45:48

And I spent at least 5 years having group lessons in the mornings with the odd afternoon private lesson thrown in. Probably took me 3 or 4 years to be able to ski reds.

AlpinePony Wed 05-Jan-11 18:43:33

I am neither thin nor fit (right now) but I ski beautifully (instructor level) - good technique can make up for lack of fitness!

Confidence and balance are the key I feel. Can you ice-skate? Ride a skate board? Ride a horse? Any of this stuff shows that you have balance. Confidence is harder of course, and life and its trials and tribulations can cause us to feel physically inhibited when actually we're just "mentally worn down" if you see what I mean. In which case, a 1-2-1 with an instructor you really hit it off with would be great - get a whole day's instruction including video deconstruction and analysis.

Are you in poorly-fitting rental boots? If your boots aren't fitting properly then you'll find yourself "thrown" in to an awkward skiing position which will put extra pressure on your leg muscles and they will hurt.

All said and done, if I'm feeling particularly down I don't enjoy it and I don't ski to the best of my ability.

One last thing - don't let well-meaning friends take you out of your comfort zone. If you don't want to go down a particular slope, don't be pushed in to it.

LIZS Wed 05-Jan-11 21:51:12

Most common fault is sitting back. You need to flex your hips, knees and ankes and feel the front of the boot. Use your weight to rise into the turn and relax afterwards. Agree snowploughing is very tiring esp on the thighs. You need to get some momentum and fluidity and you may need to try slightly steeper terrain to achieve that rhythm. It is like driving - if you are still having to think through each movement it doesn't quite come together.

trixymalixy Wed 05-Jan-11 22:01:38

Also make sure your boots are tight enough. It was a bit of a lightbulb moment when an instructor tightened my boots and my skis became instantly easier to control.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 05-Jan-11 22:21:36

Yes. I have on more than one occasion skied badly after lunch, put it down to grande biers. Then at end of day realised id not fastened boots after lunch.

Kewcumber Wed 05-Jan-11 22:23:22

"what am I doing wrong?" You are going skiing.

Mae WEst (was it?) once siad "any sport where theres an ambulance waiting at the bottom of the hill isn't for me".


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