Monday, January 14, 2013

Life Lessons from Skiing

Last weekend marked the official beginning of our adaptive skiing program at Loon Mountain. Loon has a fantastic, well-established program and they are wonderful enough to let us tag along and learn. (we will be bringing up some clients as the winter progresses, as well)

One thing about me: I'm a mediocre skier. Most of the other people I go up with are accomplished skiers. They grew up near ski resorts. They were on ski teams or ski patrol or were ski instructors. I was not. I bring something different to the table: I am very good with positioning and neuro diagnoses. I'm just not a great skier. I just try to keep up.

In the lessons, we act as "blockers": ski behind the adaptive ski participant and make sure teenage snowboarders don't smash into them and scar them for life. (I can do that) But also: skiing next to a ski instructor all day makes for a day of not just blocking, but learning, as well! I do like to multi-task!

What makes this even more important, is that the better you ski yourself, the better you can instruct somebody else. Especially when you are dealing with the adaptive equipment. In other words, you need to be really adept at using your own equipment (skis) in order to teach somebody to use adaptive equipment, like a sit ski or outriggers. I'm not as good at using equipment as I could be.

My problem, it seems, is that I keep my weight too far back on my skis. I try to control my equipment from the back. It is totally possible to ski in this way, but it's much more work than it has to be. With a little instruction, though, I am experimenting with shifting my weight forward over the front of the skis and controlling things from the front seat. It's amazing that once you do this, the skis literally turn themselves. Rather than fighting the snow and muscling through it, it's like the skis are moving themselves down the mountain and I'm just along for the ride. It just takes fully committing and shifting the weight forward, out of the back seat where it seems safer.

The same can be said of life, I guess. When you try to hang back where it seems safe, you can spend a tremendous amount of energy fighting and muscling your way through every experience. It's only when you fully commit to moving to the front seat, that suddenly everything gets easier. Rather than struggling to control things, you can work with the equipment and go along for the ride.


Carolina John said...

I like it a lot. Don't struggle with the process, just go with the flow and enjoy the ride.

Anonymous said...

Always been impressed with the adaptive skiers, especially when I was watching the Paralympic Games in 2010 (back when NBC thought the Paralympics were worth broadcasting).

As for me, skiing? Not so much...