11 Apr 2016
My wife and I have moved to Dillon (in Colorado) this winter to learn skiing. The town is perfect as it is 15-minutes drive to 3 ski resorts, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, and Breckenridge. It's also only 40-minutes drive from Vail and, maybe, an hour drive from Beaver Creek.
A few years ago I took a few ski lessons in Sierra at Tahoe. And I've realised that I didn't really learn anything unprecedentedly new for the last decade. That’s why I want to learn skiing.
The most important component of skiing is strength. I got better mainly because my strength builds up over time. Arguably, turning the right way helps, but I still need strength to handle small bumps, icy terrain, and etc. Strength is fundamental.
Luck is also another big component. We were lucky enough not to break our legs. The first time we went to Arapahoe Basin, we went to its green trail. At least, I thought they were green. Later, we’ve found out that their greens are actually more difficult than Breckenbridge's blues and Vail’s blues. Not knowing was a bliss.
On a steep hill, it takes a leap of faith to just go; Put the weight on an outer leg; the skis will turn by themselves; we do not turn them; everything's going to be okay.
It's difficult to trust the skis to turn because the feedback is delayed. After putting the weight on an outer leg, it might take a few seconds to slow down. Unlike driving a car, when we hit the brake, the car slows down (or stop) immediately.
Many times I've taken out my skis and walked to another trail because the current one is too steep. Or I got scared. It's totally ok to give up and try again later.
Sometimes taking a leap is a good thing. We learn faster that way. Other times it is a bad thing. You can judge by its worst outcome. For skiing, I do NOT think we should take a leap. The worst outcome can be breaking a leg or, worse, dying.
We were lucky enough to avoid breaking our legs when we skied at Arapahoe’s Basin. However, we were not that lucky. We were on a blue with bumps on a back mountain in Keystone. And, on a snowy day, in one slow turn (we didn't even go fast), my wife fell a wrong way and teared her ACL.
Skiing is indeed dangerous.