"Character-Building Days" - Anyone else have 'em?
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scootertig
January 25, 2009
Member since 02/19/2006 🔗
365 posts
Went to Whitetail last night, and for whatever reason, wasn't really prepared for the conditions. After having encountered really great snow at both Liberty and Whitetail thus far this winter, last night felt more like the evil hardpack that the East Coast is known for.

We had planned to take a lesson, but decided against it, figuring that we weren't really skiing like "ourselves" (whatever that might imply), and that we would probably not get as much out of the experience as we'd hoped. We talked about making it a short night and heading home early, but promised to try to make a go of it. In spite of our frustration (part conditions-based, part crazy-crowds-of-people-skiing-out-of-control-based), we stuck it out, and skied all night, right up to last chair. We discovered that the crowds weren't bad on Far Side, so we worked there for a while, and then made one trip down Bold Decision. I would actually categorize our decision as more "questionable" than "bold" but it wasn't too bad. Then we rejoined a newbie friend of ours who spent her night on Sidewinder with her boyfriend, and did some really basic drill-work.

We both left feeling like we'd improved, particularly in our ability to manage down hardpack ice, and figuring out when/where to make turns on some challenging (for us) surfaces. It was "worth it" in the sense that we are better skiers than we were before we went. That said, it made skiing feel more like hard work than like a fun night on the slopes. We're both a little sore in different sorts of places than normal, and I can't say I'd rush back to do it again...

Anyone else feel like there've been days that you stuck it out, even when you were inclined to pack it in? How'd that work out for you?


aaron
Roger Z
January 25, 2009
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
"Every day" is a character building day!...

Okay, not every day- once in a while, particularly if I've gotten a good number of ski trips in during the winter- I'll spend an afternoon goofing off. But for the most part it's skiing, visualizing, reviewing, stopping, rethinking, working, adjusting, rebalancing, adding a new trick, etc etc. Because, frankly, for me skiing is no fun if I'm getting my butt kicked because I'm not skiing well. And skiing is also no fun if the terrain isn't challenging enough. Which means I'm most enjoying myself when I've gotten up to terrain that's just hard enough to draw out my mistakes and cause me to learn and grow and push up to the next level (which, since I usually only ski 6-10 times a year, often means getting back to the level I was at the year before frown ).

The other reason to push so hard is so that when the truly enormous days come- those ones you wait your whole life for- you're ready. There's nothing worse than getting chomped up on a two foot powder day because you weren't conditioned or confident or balanced or some combination thereof. There's nothing worse than seeing a run you've dreamed of and walking away from it embarrassed and beaten.

With regard to that second one, for me it was the Hobacks at Jackson Hole. Since I got tagged up there, hardly a day of training goes by- on or off season- when I am not pushing myself precisely so that never happens again.
fishnski
January 25, 2009
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Same vote I gave Ro(d)ger the Prairie dog Dodger!
Bumps
January 25, 2009
Member since 12/29/2004 🔗
538 posts
I guess I am confused on having to choose between #1 and #2. They are all character building days, but I love being out there every minute. I remember a week I ended up with a one on one lesson for 4-5 hours a day because I was the only one stupid enough to show up monday morning when it was 20 below. Everyone else elected to use the cancel up to the start option.
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BushwackerinPA
January 25, 2009
Member since 12/9/2004 🔗
649 posts
first disclaimer "I am ok"

lets just say I am a loose cannon and really dont know how to go slow. Well I do but I hate it I think there is no point in freeskiing slow.

I hit a snowmaking tower yesterday skiing my Gs skis in the morning. Got launched from a very loaded ski. started a slide for 50 feet and hit feet first(luckly).

then today I was skiing SLish turns, because I still dont have them all the time and need to get better at them. I ejected a ski for unknown reasons. then went tumbling.

you would think this would be character building, I guess I dont know. I fall all the time. I have been falling more lately because hard snow has alot more grip than soft snow provides. this is causing alot more deflections on edge changes I have been use to. Most of the time I can use it to my advantage. sometime though I get thrown.
GRK
January 25, 2009
Member since 12/19/2007 🔗
404 posts
First of all, I am glad you are okay Bushwhacker.

My first day Skiing in 2007 was a character building day as I fell approximately 783 times before I made it down the greenest of green hills once without falling.

Fast Forward to today. Hubris + Poor Judgment + Fatigue contributed to the most violent fall I have had to date. Having witnessed a spectacular wipe-out a kind soul dragged some of my scattered equipment down to me and asked if I was okay. The only thing that I could say was "thank God I had a helmet on". I am sure, without the helmet I would have been injured. I have a pretty good headache as it is.

I was doing laps on Big Acorn at WTG it was late, but the snow was nice because they had been blowing on it all day which kept traffic off. They stopped the guns and it was sweet. I was getting tired, my quads were blown, and I was turning less each time down to save my legs. The time to quit had come and gone and I knew it.

I was going faster than I should have and I caught an edge on some inconvenient bump and I flew. My tail bone hit hard and my head whipped back and hit even harder.

Character building...not sure but you can bet I am not going to ski when I am that tired again...ever.
skiobsessed
January 25, 2009
Member since 03/10/2008 🔗
80 posts
Went to Whitetail two years ago (it was my second-ever ski trip). I was a beginning beginner then and spent all morning on Northern Lights, Fast Tracks, and Velvet. After taking a lesson and feeling comfortable connecting turns on those runs, I decided to drag my buddy up Snow Park to "test" our skills. The chair-lift ride took about 5 minutes (it was our first REAL chairlift) and once we got off, we couldn't see where the trail ended. It took me about 20 minutes to go down, falling 10X times on my right side. I had a purple/greenish/yellow bruise the size of a volleyball on my hip for two weeks. I actually thought about taking my skis off and walking down the slope. I decided to "man-up" and "skied" the rest of the way down. I learned to not give up and keep my ego in check whenever I'm on the slopes. Glad to have read that Whitetail added a new green trail, Sidewinder, this year to help beginners bridge the gap. Doubly glad to hear that Snow Park is kind of tough for beginners to jump on and not beat myself up for acting like a wuss two years ago.

Fast forward to yesterday at White Tail. I too, went there and found the conditions really hard-packed. I eagerly hit Snow Park to see if I can actually ski down this "monster" of a trail from two years ago. Glad to see my improvements as I was able to ski down without worrying. To quote my friend, "my grandmother can ski down Snowpark". I reminded him to keep his ego in check.

The rest of the day was spent on the blues with Limelight getting a significant amount of my time. I thought I could handle the blacks there, but I felt off for whatever reason yesterday. I was sure I was edging my skis to try and carve, but I ended up skidding way too many times. The mixture of hard-packed snow, loose chunks of ice, and the rare patches of snow all on the same trail made it really hard to adjust for me. Instead, I just focused on trying to carve and work on little improvements each time I went down a blue and save the blacks for a better day. More importantly, this was the first time where skiing was more WORK than fun for me. But I realize that I have to WORK in order to become a better skier and make it more fun in the long-term.

Darwin
fishnski
January 25, 2009
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Darwin huh?...Hmmm.. like Darwins theory you are evolving into a better skier smile...Screwing up near or under the liftline can be "Character building"..especially if there are some Characters on the lift...
jeffo4
January 26, 2009
Member since 08/24/2007 🔗
134 posts
I enjoy skiing greatly but I am the type of person that may rush unprepared and over confident into a situation. My moment happened just out of college and working a traveling sales job. I had a late season business trip to Colorado. I had never skied out west but that didn't stop me from going from the plane to the top of exhibition lift in about 2hrs. I was determined to ski a Colorado "black Diamond" armed with my ohio/pa skiing repetoire I struggled my way down a black diamond "exhibition" with multiple falls, hard breathing and alot of "you ok dudes?" I eventually made it down and was so upset with my self i went back to the car for about a 1/2hr even started driving away but looped back through the parking lot and started with an easier run and had a much better day. I haven't put myself in that position again where over confidence and lack of planning collide
GGNagy
January 26, 2009
Member since 01/5/2006 🔗
451 posts
Heh.. had you taken that lesson, it might have made mine alot more intresting than being stuck in a group of 3 with a 9 and 10 year old.
I have been getting very sloppy in my skiing, and never really had a lesson since the "ski doubles as a straightedge" days. I took the class to try and work on my stance and get a feel for what else I might be missing in my turns. I skiied away from the class with a few things I need to work on.

I really can't click on any one button. Sometimes I work on stuff and get frustrated. Other days can just be fun.
comprex
January 26, 2009
Member since 04/11/2003 🔗
1,326 posts
heh, aaron, should've given me a shout.

I was doing some character building on teh freezescrape with some fat cat G3 Reverends.

NOT a ski I can recommend for an East Coast fatty.
Roger Z
January 26, 2009
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
It's nice to see some folks getting on the board who are up and comers in this great sport, welcome and may you find as much joy in skiing as most of us have!

Gads if you want to equate "falling" with "character building", I've had too many "character building" moments to count. Anyone else fallen off a chairlift before? Oh yeah, that's humiliating, especially right in front of a giant liftline. How about woofin' air in a mogul field and landing flat on your back underneath a chair? Following snowboarder tracks and getting plastered between two trees? Epic end-of-day yard sales? Oh yeah, if it hasn't happened yet, it probably will, and most likely you'll be able to look back on it all and laugh. It's worth it- it's part of what makes skiing fun and it helps you learn not to take yourself too seriously at the same time!
rbrtlav
January 26, 2009
Member since 12/2/2008 🔗
509 posts
On the way home from our last trip my friends and I were talking about how we had all improved over the last few years (we only get out 2-4 times a year) and that we can finally ski almost any trail in the mid Atlantic region, even though it may not be pretty. However, I know I do more of the east/west skiing then north/south as I have always been hesitant to gain to much speed, I think this plays in to this as I know I need to take the chance, and even if it involves taking a fall the new much more efficient skiing that will result in better trips
Bumps
January 26, 2009
Member since 12/29/2004 🔗
538 posts
Originally Posted By: Roger Z
Gads if you want to equate "falling" with "character building", I've had too many "character building" moments to count. Anyone else fallen off a chairlift before?


Well if we go with falling as a definition. there are not enough characters to capture. lets see....Back in college there was this cute girl I met on lift and we decided to ski down together and I forgot that I had unbuckled my boots. By the time I remembered I already had at least 2 or 3 embarrassing falls through a challenging area and she decided I was not very cool. I think this was at Canaan. There was time my buddy and I were up at Waterville valley and we met some cute girls who were working at the resort. They told us they would be working one of the lifts the next day, so we went over to say hi. My friend who was 10 times the better skier totally lost it getting on the lift. He hung on for a minute but fell after a few feet from about 3 feet in air. He was so embarrassed he would not go back. Wait, I think I am starting to see a pattern chasing girls and skiing do not seem to mix for me. blush. Maybe it was the girls that caused the character building. Less colorful includes going way to fast on icy slopes night skiing and hitting a tree with my back. Lucky I didn't run a limb through my body. The older more mature skiers all came by to 1. make sure I was alright and 2. explain what an [censored] I was. This was the end result of a race to see who could get the most runs in before the lift closed. Most of these type of character building days were in my early 20's. I am sure I had some tough times with rain, ice, cold, and hard terrain but except for the occasional embarrassing event of where I made a jerk of myself or a really extreme weather condition, I can only remember good snow, smooth turns, sunshine and the occasional après-ski memory. I have few falls now (20 years later), but when I do I tend to hurt a whole lot more for a lot longer. The character building comes the next morning when I have to get out of bed. laugh
snowslider
January 27, 2009
Member since 06/21/2004 🔗
42 posts
See you were on snow Saturday, I presume. The morning after it was about 50 deg all day and into the evening hours?
The snow at Winterplace was very nice Friday evening, I was told, but I was there on Sat. For some "character building" my rear still hurts from all that "character building" on Saturday.
Roger Z
January 27, 2009
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Oh well now, if we're going to equate "character building" with women... (or girls)...

There was one time when I was 15 at Boyne Highlands in Michigan. My dad somehow hooked me up with this cute girl then left us skiing together the whole afternoon. At one point I enticed her "off trail" on a beginner run, she fell over and got stuck in the snow. Being a 15 year old boy, I proceeded to poke her in the butt (with my ski pole) and point her out to everyone that skied by about how bad of a skier she must be to get stuck in the snow like that. And I wonder why she never called me back... blush

Flash forward to Loon, NH. Me and a buddy from work are skiing together. It's late in the day, and my friend says "if only we could stop at the top of this run and enjoy the view?" and I said "so let's stop." He said "okay!" So we plopped off our skis and hunkered up next to two trees at the top of a modest drop, looking as the sunset across whatever valley that is west of Loon.

People kept skiing near us remarking on what a great view it was. Then these two girls skied up. They must not have noticed us. After a minute of babbling to each other about how pretty the view was, one of them said (no, seriously, I'm not making this up) "if only there were two boys here to kiss."

So my friend and leapt- like Michael Jordan from the 3 point line- out of the snow and yelped "here we are!" We all thought it was the funniest thing. The girls skied off without kissing us.

Then I had a girlfriend who dumped me after a ski trip in part because I wouldn't take first tracks with her on a powder day. Good riddance, I'm married to someone way better now anyway.

Character building??? Hell yeah, in that way that only being fool ignorant young man can be...
Reisen
January 28, 2009
Member since 01/25/2005 🔗
364 posts
I thought today was going to be a character building day...

Decided yesterday when I saw the DC snow that I would head up this morning to Whitetail and get some bump-skiing in. I just got back from Colorado, and have a few weeks before Jackson Hole (that's another story), plus, Wednesdays are college days.

I, of course, woke up to a sheet of ice all over my car, but held out hope that conditions were better at WT.

They weren't.

I drove 90 minutes up to Mercersburg, and realized I had forgotten my goggles. I decided to do without, and purchased a pass, only to discover that the entire hill was stuck in a giant cloud. As I rode the express quad up, I couldn't ever see more than one chair at a time passing me.

I knew from the sounds on the way up it would be bad, but when I got to the top, I discovered that all the beautiful snow was encased in a half inch of bullet-proof ice. EVERYTHING.

I carefully skied down, freaked out by the combination of ice and lack of visibility. I actually considered hitting the park, only to discover they had the features closed for safety reasons due to the ice (and rightfully so). I took the lift back up one final time, and discovered it was dripping grease all over my Arcteryx hardshell (it was raining lightly). I took this as a sign I needed to go home before getting hurt, so promptly packed up and drove back.

Gotta love the mid-Atlantic... I've skied in downpours before, but the combination of plate ice, rain, and no visibility made it by far the worst conditions I could imagine.
comprex
January 29, 2009
Member since 04/11/2003 🔗
1,326 posts

Reisen, reisen. You had a chance to make OODLES of character and you blew it. wink
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