I’m a big scaredy cat, and skiing is my way of challenging my fears. At the beginning of last season, I was so proud of skiing my first black (advanced) run and thought it was time to take a lesson to go to the next level.
The ski instructor told me I was way off balance and had me go back to a beginning wedge style of skiing. He then proceeded to bring me to a very steep blue (intermediate) run. I could ski this run my normal way, but to try to do it in a beginner’s wedge was impossible. I kept falling and eventually broke the bindings on my ski.
The instructor and I rode down the ski lift where he proceeded to tell me my problem was my skis and boots. If I got new ones, I would do much better. My gear was only 4 years old, so I went back to the shop where I bought them to get their opinion.
The shop said my skis and boots were fine and were surprised the instructor was having me ski with my boots unbuckled. They knew of another instructor who they thought would be perfect for me. So I signed up for a private lesson.
The second instructor got me skiing decently by shouting commands behind me about how to lean, where my arms should be, how to balance my weight, etc.
Then came the real test. A couple weeks later I went skiing by myself. Now remember, before my lessons, I had started to ski black (advanced) runs.
I went to the top of the mountain to ski a green (beginner) run. I couldn’t ski at all. It was like I had never skied before, and I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I cried and crawled down the mountain.
Because I had done so well before these lessons, my brother and sister-in-law bought me and my husband tickets to a challenging ski resort—Taos. I had never been to Taos Ski Valley, but I knew I was in no condition to attempt even their easiest run, so I signed up for another lesson on the bunny hill.
My Taos instructor told me that I was in analysis paralysis from that second lesson. My mind was trying so hard to break down all the moves and instructions, that it couldn’t communicate to my body. Thus, I could no longer ski.
Instead, he had me look downhill, jump, then look over to the side. That was it. I skied better than I had in my entirely life!
He explained that when you jump, your body instinctually tries to find its balance. I didn’t have to think about it, it would automatically happen. Now, that’s the way to do things!
Taos Ski Valley is known to have the best ski instruction in the U.S. I can see why. From now on, that’s the only place I’ll go for a lesson.
I could have stopped after the first or second lesson and given up, thinking I was the problem. But with the right teacher, I ended up advancing faster than I ever thought possible.