Good skiing books are always useful (e.g., Warren Witherell’s classic book How the Racers Ski).  In fact, a challenge we have in the age of internet is that there have been fewer skiing books, not to mention the good ones.  Jack Heggie’s book Skiing with the Whole Body is a thoughtful piece.  But what is intriguing is his comment on himself:

“I had always thought of myself as one of the most uncoordinated people on the face of the earth.  In school, I was always the last to be picked when choosing sides for any kind of game.  If I chased a fly ball, I was always ten feet away when it hit the ground.  … No sport – and I tried a lot of them – seemed to work for me, and skiing hadn’t been much different …” (p. xiii)

How did he manage to become an excellent skier and instructor?  I guess his comment must resonate with a number of skiers, myself included.  As I thought more, my tentative answer is that many non-athletic people tend to be analytical, whereas skiing is an analytical sport (if you don’t believe me but are interested in physics, read Ron LeMaster’s book Ultimate Skiing: Master the Techniques of Great Skiing).  Therefore, although athletic capability is absolutely important for skiing, analytical thinking could compensate for athletic weakness.

That said, we shouldn’t overemphasize the importance of analysis in skiing, simply because skiing is also a sensational sport.  Excessively analytical skiers could be obsessed with one part of their body or a single element of movement, neglecting the fact that skiing is a whole-body sport.  “Overthink” may result in a rigid body because the skier’s focus is not on feeling ski-snow interaction but on mental assessment of his/her own skiing.

While it is almost impossible to be a good skier by solely relying on intuition, analytical skiers do need to relax themselves, focusing a bit more on (1) what they actually feel, (2) what they should feel, and how to match (1) and (2).  Well, I am becoming analytical again.


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