I didn’t learn to downhill ski until I was in my 20s. We had been cross-country people, but in the early 90s we just didn’t get that much snow. My dad decided enough was enough; we would all learn to downhill and have a better chance of some ski time.
I went through the bunny hill stuff and learned to do the “pizza” maneuver (putting ski tips close together to create friction) in order to stop. Of course there was a lot of falling and getting back up on the horse type stuff.
But I found years later that in order to become good at skiing you have to let go of the fear of going fast or getting hurt, and embrace it. My mantra when skiing became, “speed is my friend” because this really goes against my grain. I am a cautious person. The reality, I discovered, is that skiing fast is actually easier than skiing slowly . It’s easier to control yourself and a lot less tiring.
This is a metaphor for life. Sometimes you have to embrace something scary and new and give your whole self over to it. Feelings of freedom, elation, joy and accomplishment are the result. It has been reminiscent of my journey with VerifyValid, the payments start-up company. In fact I wrote a blog post about learning to ride with no training wheels too. Read it here.
Of course there will be times you’ll wipe out – you might go too fast or make a mistake…just like life. I’ll be doing a series on the similarities between skiing and life. Next time I’ll write about my epic garage sale wipeout. How about you?