In life we face constant challenges and need well-developed coping skills. Where do we get these skills? In stressful situations, like childbirth, physical pain or getting rejected from a job interview we draw on skills developed from sport played or performed throughout our life. This most definitely includes skiing and this is how and why.

Amusing myself

So often beginners lament that skiing feels ‘weird’ or ‘unnatural’ because it’s two planks of wood underfoot and the sensation of slipping down a hill is extremely disconcerting. Unlike walking or even throwing a ball, actions which feel human-like and natural, we have to conquer unnatural actions and when we do we feel a sense of achievement and we wonder what else we might be capable of doing.

So much of our youth is spent in team sports. Whether it’s tug-of-war, soccer, reading groups at school or chess we learn early on that people are relying on us, we can let people down, we have to conform and perform. Skiing is multi-faceted but solitary at heart. You can ski by yourself. You can go down a different run to everyone else if the run doesn’t match your ability, you can go out again for a few hours if everyone else wants to stay in the bar at lunch. Individual sports build confidence and self-esteem and with a healthy dose we can conquer the world, or at least our own little worlds.

We were all beginner skiers once, whether it was at age 2 or age 65. We can make our own progression, independent of anyone else. We can push ourselves to the limit or stay within our limits, whatever suits. Progressing makes us happy and happy is GOOD.

As skiers we have all faced ‘the challenge’. Finishing a nice turn in front of the ski group, joining some more advanced skiers on a run they urged you to do. Skiing the trees, doing a black run, when we complete something that we previously considered difficult we feel ON TOP OF THE WORLD and start to think ‘If i can do this, maybe I can….. take that dream job I’m afraid of, ask that girl out, go to the movies by myself’ (a personal favourite of mine).

Photos taken when cruising around solo

Taking time to appreciate beauty

When you play golf or hockey and it’s crunch time we visualise the ball popping right in where we want it. Skiing is no different in principle. We can visualise that beautiful arc we want to make, we can visualise which route down the moguls is going to get us down with maximum enjoyment, minimal stress or injury. Visualisation is a powerful tool and when we draw on it we can move mountains.
I had an elderly skier ask me if she could join me on the slopes while I was on my way to meet my friends on a chairlift. I’ve been bashed into by loudmouth youths or a skier on a run that was beyond their ability. There are chatty skiers on chairlifts, or skiers who prefer to sit in silence, or even try to pick you up. The great thing about skiing is that you get to practice your people skills a lot on the slopes while maintaining an incognito persona, who can recognise you under your helmet or behind your goggles? You get to practice being the best person you can be. Whether that’s a little bit more assertive, a little kinder, a little friendlier or just a little better at cheeky one-liners. That’s got to be a good thing.

I believe everyone has interesting lives and interesting things to say, even if they don’t know it themselves. I bet that guy on the chairlift has an interesting summer hobby or has an amazing holiday experience to share. Skiing gets us out there with people of different generations, I love skiing with oldies, they have such interesting stories about the ‘good old days’. Likewise snowboarders fresh out of school crack me up and update me on the language and music doing the rounds so I don’t take myself too seriously.

Skiing ticks all the boxes. It’s fully sick bro.

Thinking of going into wedding photography

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