Anyone learnt to ski as an adult and enjoyed it?(44 Posts)
I've been learning to ski, and I've been for about 10 hours in total (I live in France where I can ski in a short drive from my house). I'm mid 30s and I've become someone who can do turns, but I have so many moments where I fall, lose control and I feel scared.
After a weekend trip with a load of expert skiiers, I feel really disheartened, and I feel palpably angry about the thought of skiing, and the frustration. Rationally, I know I've not been for very long.
Has anyone else got tips on how to get past that stage, and gone from feeling fear to actually enjoying it? To get past the fear and frustration stage.
(PS, I just posted this in chat before realising there is a ski topic)
Sorry but I have now been four times and had private lessons each time and I am still terrified. On my last trip I decided to join a beginners group as I thought it would spur me on - my instructor actually said that I had the best technique of the group but the two other members were just fearless! Both were men incidentally and they were happy to throw themselves down with no fear. I just freeze up as soon as I'm faced with a steep or narrow bit.
I really wish I could get over it.
My friends DH didn't learn until he was 39 and he is a brilliant skier now but again, fearless.
Thanks, I had this steepness threshold where I get terrified. We went along a blue yesterday and at on point, I just thought it was so ridiculously steep that I would never be able to do it. I know that's negative thinking, but it is how it feels.
My mum and aunt both learned in their mid 30s and after the initial Beginner stage loved it. Very few love the early stages of learning to ski and if you're trying to compare yourself to long term skiers you'll never feel confident enormously HG to get beyond your current level. Just enjoy when it goes right and try to correct the problems when it goes wrong.
It may well be that snowboarding is more suitable for you anyway.
I went on a holiday in my early 20s in Bulgaria, and found it terrifying although I enjoyed it.
Didn't go again until a few years ago, late 30s. This time I learned at a snow dome here in the UK which was full of people falling over, so I didn't feel quite so crap. I effectively was starting again from scratch as I'd clearly taken in nothing from my previous holiday.
A few years and several trips to the Alps later and I'd class myself as an early intermediate - can do all reds and easy blacks. And I really enjoy it! I did feel scared, don't get me wrong, but I moved past that stage fairly quickly once I worked out ways to "save" myself in any given situation. Even if it meant lying down, taking skis off and crawling down (not that I have ever done this but I like that the option is there!!) Basically once I got the hang of things like ice and turning in control, no matter how steep, a lot of the fear left.
It was similar with learning to drive - as you start out you become fully aware of all the ways it can go to hell in a handbasket. After a bit you realise those things aren't happening (or at least not every time you go out!) and your brain focuses on other things besides your impending mortality so it's a lot more enjoyable.
That said, I totally know what you mean about the fearless ones progressing quicker. Let them.. you're the one with the good technique. It's very very hard to fix bad technique once it's in your autopilot (bitter experience!)
I learned to ski aged 32 and love it. I snowboarded for 4 years, but was 26 when I first went. I'd never skied as a child. I think if you check my posting you'll see I'm a total ski addict.
I am not brave. I like to be in control.
My progression over the last 22 years has been one of fairly steady improvement. Each time my skills have improved I've become braver.
When I was confident I could stop, that allowed me to leave the nursery slopes.
Once I could turn, I developed until now I know I can turn on anything.
I am now a confident skier of pretty much anything on the piste. I have recently started to venture off piste, but this too will take time.
I still get The Fear, but I remind myself I know how to attack the slope and I'm now confident enough in my ability to control my skis that I can indeed do that. Mainly though I just love it.
My friend took a long time to crack it, but now she too feels the joy not the fear. At some point you have to let go a bit, but you don't IMO need to be fearless to get there.
12 years, not 22. However if it had taken me 22 years, so be it!
I agree with left driving analogy. I remember feeling that the car took me, then over time, I took control. Same with the skis.
I learnt late 20s and have been in the situation you describe. I've only just got myself out of it and now I'm happy on reds and I've even ventured onto blacks.
Things I have learnt.
Never ski with expert skiers. You will be on edge/not concentrating on what you are doing and feel tense/get tired sooner/feel like you are holding people up.
Private lessons are really useful. I can't stand group lessons, I needed someone to actively boost my confidence as I went and got so much more out of private lessons. I can't speak highly enough of the instructors at New Generation if they operate where you are.
If you have spent a morning pushing yourself then do a couple of easy runs to make sure you are enjoying it as well - also helps to solidify technique...
Ski alone. You can pace yourself/give yourself a good talking to and start again!
I've started carrying a rucksack with water and snacks in it - if I feel miserable/running out of energy then I pause and have a drink and snack to give me a boost. It is little things like this that make a real difference. If I get tired I get grumpy very quickly!
And the most important one. Never ski with expert skiers. It really doesn't help. Even though it should.
I'd modify the above slightly: never ski with expert skiers who aren't prepared to go at your pace. I hate the feeling of skiing at a speed where I'm not entirely in control. I only started skiing when I was 35 and for the first four holidays (so 20-24 days I suppose) had group lessons - but in a group of 3 or 4. Every so often I have a 1-2-1 top up.
I get particularly terrified when there are lots of people around - I think the last few years when the snow has been less abundant the slopes have been v crowded, often with fearless skiers and boarders cutting up the more sedate people. This leaves me petrified. BUT. We've taken to going to a quieter resort, skiing during quieter times (e.g. Christmas not New Year, crack of dawn rather than mid afternoon etc), plus I regular take time out and have a coffee while everyone belts around. Every so often I take a morning off and go walking instead - somehow it leaves me refreshed.
The two really important things I think are picking the resort with great care; and getting one-on-one instruction.
WRT resorts, you need somewhere with good, very, very gentle, wide progression slopes served ideally by a gondola or second best, a chairlift.The blue runs in many large popular french resorts are crowded and sometimes undergraded.
DH learned in his 30s and is a true scaredy cat. He loves it now but the first couple of holidays were painful in parts! He stuck with it tho.
10 hours as an adult is really nothing at all.
My neighbour learnt to ski when he was 67. He loved it and did so well (and he wasn't the most robust or in the best of health).
I would recommend doing a week of lessons, you may find this enables you to progress faster than a random hour here and there throughout the season.
A quiet time of year and a friendly resort also makes a difference. Good luck!
I am on my fifth week (over 7 years) and finally really enjoying myself and conquering some steep reds (perfect conditions though). Unless you are unusually talented, be prepared to put in many more hours before you feel more comfortable but you will have some great times along the way.
I started mid twenties to snowboard and I'd say it took me a good 10 years to get comfortable but that was only going once or twice a year. You have a massive advantage if you can pop up at the weekends!
I've always boarded with people way better than me which pushed me a bit but in a good way. In saying that snowboarders are happier in general to go at a slower pace and practise tricks and things rather than just get to the bottom as quickly as possible.
Stick with it, take your time and skip a few runs to get a hot chocolate when it all gets a bit much.
I was an adult beginner in my 30's. The real beginner stages were awful but I loved the mountains and snow so much that I persevered. There were tears at times though
Now I'm at the stage where I can ski most runs. I draw the line at super steep or icy black runs. Yes, I still get scared sometimes. Last trip I was convinced I'd never make it to the bottom of an ucy black run but after lots of side slipping I did, I'm pretty sure even the 'expert' skiers get scared sometimes.
If you can squeeze a private lesson into your trip budget it will be worth it. Just one lesson is enough to get you feeling much more confident and the instructor will know will runs will push your ability a bit but not scare you too much.
I learned to ski in my twenties. I can ski on blues and reds but probably wouldn't choose to go on a black run.
I think it's important to think of it as a leisure activity - you haven't joined the army. If you are with a group of expert skiers and are getting stressed about keeping up / holding them up then you don't enjoy skiing with that particular group (even if you usually really enjoy hanging with them).
If you do get a private lesson, do so because you want to. It's a shame to focus on the things that the expert skiers in your group want you to (such as steep / icy / bumpy slopes). I remember one year getting a ski lesson with an instructor and saying that I just wanted to have a nice time and not get stressed (I'd had quite a few tears as I was battling to keep up with the group I was with).
My parents learned to ski in their 30s. They loved it and became really good. But DH only started in his mid-40s and although he's got reasonably good (parallel turns, can ski down most reds decently), after 4-5 years he still doesn't enjoy it as he's constantly worried about hurting himself if he falls. I'm an experienced skier but I too am getting a lot more cautious as I get older. We've decided not to push it anymore as far as he's concerned, and we make sure to ski with a group of friends so that the DCs have fast people to ski with, I can take it a bit easier with friends and DH can hang out with other non skiers (or do something else altogether).
I learnt to ski in my 40s, and I'm not particularly good at it now - I can get down a red, but it takes me ages as I do so many turns!
Anyway, my top tips - I echo Suny - don't try to ski with expert skiers. It's soul destroying. You feel rubbish, and scared, and it is no fun.
Take a break - it's a leisure activity, or a holiday. So if you're knackered, it's OK to stop for a hot chocolate.
Try to find small and quiet ski resorts. - This really helps.
Realise that it's a marathon, not a sprint. Yes, some people will pick it up easily and have no fear, but it's taken me three years to progress from the blues.
Get tuition - I quite like groups. But it really depends on who you are put with. I had a lovely group the last time we went. And it was really relaxed so I only did half a week with the group, then pootled about by myself on the blues and easy reds. Otherwise, private lessons are great.
Be OK with not liking it - I like skiing, and I love skiing holiday i.e. being with the family. And my DH and the kids adore it. I'm kind of happy to do it, but I don't have the passion for it that other have. And that's OK. Maybe because I'm not great at it.
Do what you like - if you like doing blues and greens, just do them. If you like going through the fun park, do that.
If your legs go like jelly, or you hit the wall, just stop!
I first went 5 years ago at 23. I love it and will ski anything. I have ice skates all my life though which helped with the idea of edges and I could stop on day one which I think helped. It took a few weeks to get my turns from alternated stops to smooth curving turns but not being scared of sliding and trusting my ability to stop if going too fast definitely helped my improvement. I've done a good series of lessons but tend to have them from time to time rather than ski school for a whole week which I find more focussed.
I learned in my 20s on a dry slope in Scotland - never been abroad, do all my skiing here (when there's snow, it's been dreadful this year!) I just enjoy pootling along on greens and blues. I've managed to get out a lot more since the DCs started a school and it's probably only in the last few years that I have got up the courage to try a red (I am mid-40s now)
I ski on my own a lot, lets me set my pace and where I want to go. I do feel a bit of pressure when I'm with better skiers - I am happy doing what I do, I get a great deal of enjoyment out of it and I have no desire to go down blacks.
I've just come back from four days at resort in Switzerland, and crikey, did I fall a lot. The season is now over for the year, and it's quite a relief. I will try again next year, but unfortunately, it doesn't feel as if it is clicking for me. Thanks for the stories and tips.
Glad you will try again though - you've skied now effectively one week (10h + 4 days) so you really are only just getting started! I'd say as an adult beginner you need at least 3 weeks under your belt before you start feeling really good on all blues and that's in good conditions, unless it comes really naturally (which it doesn't to most of us!)
I'm 48 and have just come back from a week in Val Thorens after a 10 year gap. I had only done 4 weeks before. I'll never be a good skier but can comfortably get down a blue or not comfortably down a red on a good day, on a bad day a can fall on a green! My bum is black but we had a lovely time the weather was glorious, ds did his first week skiing and loved it (he's 8). Definitely remember its a
very expensive holiday so enjoy it! Stop for a coffee/vin chaud when you want . Enjoy the scenery, book somewhere with a spa/pool/hot tub, take lots of books. Stick to the greens and blues if that's where you are happy and definitely stick with lessons. I suppose if you decide it's not for you then go somewhere suitable for non skiers or don't go (We know a family where the Dad and kids ski at Feb ht and the mum stays at home and saves her annual leave for another school holiday)
If you only enjoy it by the fourth or fifth time you go - why did you go back the third and fourth times?
I can understand going back a second time, but after not enjoying it on try number 2 why I would think I can spend my money going on holidays I actually enjoy?
So I just started having lessons at Snowzone age 50, I have always wanted to ski but a week skiing would cost as much as two weeks in Florida when our kids were small. Despite being a big extreme sport lover when younger I am a tad nervous now. I don't like heights and need to work on having the confidence to control my speed
Booked our first family holiday skiing at new year come December, I intend to have indoor ski lessons all summer.
PS I bloody love it!
If I can change my mindset, it would probably help. Sitting here now, months after I last went skiing, I have an anxious feeling, and I hope the summer would never end, and I'd never have to see a ski slope again.
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