Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Crisis of confidence

Most people who have skied with me would tell you I am a pretty good skier. I am not, however, a great skier. When I was 13 I thought I was, but I quickly learned otherwise when some of my older sister's friends took me with them and I simply couldn't keep up. Some 20 years of skiing later, I've learned a few things and feel comfortable skiing almost any run one would find inbounds at a ski area.

I progressed to the point that when I lived in Boise, I felt like I was one of the better skiers on the mountain nearly every time I went up. Sure, there's always someone better, but in Boise that number was low.

It was the same way in the Idaho backcountry. There weren't any lines or exposures that made me nervous, and on the way up, I was typically as fast as anyone I skied with and could even take longer turns breaking trail than I probably needed to.

Living in Utah, I am facing a crisis of confidence with regards to my skiing. I'm in the back of the pack on the way up and have more than once nearly wet myself looking at the options for getting back down. Everything is so much bigger, and the other skiers seem to be so much better. Case in point, Andrew McLean mentioned climbing and skiing the Y-couloir last week with Kip Garre, Ingrid Backstrom, Derek Taylor, Rick Angell, Brad Barlage, Tommy Chandler, and Courtney Phillips. These are some seriously good skiers who all just "happened" to be available to ski together in Little Cottonwood one weekday morning. That's sort of like saying I went to the park one afternoon and played a pickup football game with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After mentioning my feelings of inadequacy to dug, his response was that it's hard to feel manly about your skiing when you go out with Rick, Rob, and Ben all the time. Thanks for the pep talk.


  1. more than once ben has taken me to a place where, if i had any idea how to reverse course, i would have just gone back.

    but like macbeth, I was in blood Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o'er.

    that is, you know, even though i was sketched out of my mind, too late.

    but those are some lines i'm very very happy to have done.

  2. I feel similarly about cycling. I've been riding mountain bikes for 18 years, yet when I ride with many of the guys you mentioned, I wonder why I'm not better. Both you and dug are better riders than I. It bums me out sometimes, and would probably bother me more if I wasn't having such a good time riding.

  3. Kris, I think you captured the most important point right here: "if I wasn't having such a good time riding."

    I wouldn't keep doing it if I weren't having fun.

  4. You are welcome to ski with me anytime you need a confidence boost.

  5. There are always people that are better at any activity. It's all about the challenge and your response, and how that makes you feel. And even if you're the best of the best, it doesn't last!

  6. ben is up there with the best of them. The rest of us are just hacks.

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