“Sucking” at a high level


“If I hit 3 shots perfectly during a round of golf I am doing well. Golf is not about the shots you hit perfectly, it is about having better misses and recovering from them.”

“If I hit 3 shots perfectly during a round of golf I am doing well. Golf is not about the shots you hit perfectly, it is about having better misses and recovering from them.” This is a paraphrase from Ben Hogan, a legendary golfer.
I was reading a thread in the forum Epic Ski (excellent ski forum), I highly suggest you make EpicSki part of your ski reading. The author of the thread posted a few pictures of himself and titled the thread “I suck @ skiing”. And how after all the work he has been doing, what these still displayed were very discouraging.
I understand his thoughts. Watching world cup sequence photos can be amazing. Every move seems to have purpose. Every move is showing the skier moving down the hill as effectively as possible. Well, just like in Televised Golf, you see the leaders of the tournament, not the guy or lady who is missing the cut. They are still excellent players, just not having a spectacular day. Rarely would you see a photo sequence of a Europa cup racer, or a racer who did not qualify for a second run. Why, probably because it doesn’t display perfection, or at least excellence.
Skier – Erik Schlopy.
Photos from www.modernskiracing.com
A few years ago I was skiing in a clinic group. We were skiing some firm snow and talking about World cup racers. How do they ski so well on hard, hard snow? How do they recover from near falls and late gates? The clinician was a skiing mentor of mine, Joel Munn. He shared with a group, “We all suck at skiing. However, some suck at a much higher level.”
I sort of understood what he was saying, but not really. At the time, and to some degree today I am a perfectionist. (I much more believe in excellence and enjoyment that perfection nowadays). “I didn’t want to suck at skiing”‘ I wanted to be a skier with “pure” moves.
Skier – Bode Miller.
Photos from www.modernskiracing.com
The year after the Nagano Olympics, where Johnny Mosely won the Gold medal for Moguls. Remember the 360/ Iron Cross with a grab! (The move 11 year olds in the Rocky Mountain Series are doing now.) Johnny and the US Team were doing some early season training at Breckenridge. I was fortunate and was able to ride up the chair with him. I said, “Hello. The Nagano run was one of the best bump runs I had ever seen. But I must ask you, out of every 10 turns how many did you feel like you just “STUCK”? To my suprise he said, ” maybe 2 or 3″.
2 or 3 out of 10??? To win the gold medal in the Olympic Games! Are you kiddin’ me!
I sometimes share that story with my students. Especially when they start beating themselves up for missing a turn. Forget about that last turn. Move on. If you don’t, you will be late late late on the following turns.
Skier – Herman Maier.
Photos from www.modernskiracing.com
I have included a video of my free skiing. I was very pleased with the runs, especially in that I had only time for one run in 3 distinct segments. And as usual, I caught my self “sucking” some turns.
I will give you a time line and description of the mistake and correction:
1) 12 – 13 seconds in. The snow was somewhat tricky. Breakable in spots. Windcrusty with deeper deposits of soft snow. The snow sounded very hollow as it had been very cold in wind for a few days prior to the run. The issue – on the prior right hand turn I was a little inside, I over corrected and moved my body too far laterally (to the left) too fast. I was on the inside leg at initiation. Then half way through the turn I re-corrected and stomped on the outside leg to load the ski and break through the crust (look at the snow fly). This was a good move for the situation. I came out of this turn into a few short radius turns and regained composure.

2) 31-33 seconds in. This was down a very steep face with firm chalky snow on LuLu in Horseshoe Bowl. The background. My wife, Sadie was supposed to take the camera down to shoot. But I had the camera. I had to catch her, then make it up high enough to get some turns above the rock. I wanted 4 short turns to see on video. Well, I didn’t quite have enough room for 4. So the last one took me a little lower than I wanted to go. I made the mistake and leaned to the right. This caused me to loose grip with my outside ski. Fortunately I recovered, took off with 4 points of contact. After landing you maybe able to see how much lateral “scarving” I am doing to take me back to my original intended line underneath LuLu Rock.
3) 1:12- 1:16. This was a pretty darn good bump run. Blue Black run, with perfect windblown bumps. Then, as I pass the camera, and drop back into the gully I make a “high level suck ” maneuver. Notice that I make 5 turns on my left foot. As I passed the camera and made those turns, I thought to myself, “Ewww, these are turns are going to look goofy”. That thought probably is the reason it took me 5 turns, rather than 3 to get it back together. However, my focus was down the hill. I was looking to the next apex of the turn. As another of my ski mentors, John Phillips (Aspen Mtn), says, “Extend your Chi, and go.
Well I hope this was helpful to some degree. Have fun out there, don’t get too concerned with perfection. Remember, Ben Hogan (PERFECTIONIST), said during an excellent round of golf, “If I hit 3 perfect shots a round, I am pleased”.
to your sliding success,

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