Confidence Tricks: 10 Tips To Boost Confidence and Improve Your Skiing
Hands up if you need more confidence skiing? Does a ski holiday make you feel anxious? Does your heart race at the thought of skiing a black run? Are you stuck in a ski comfort zone unable to escape? Then check out these 10 confidence-boosting tipsImage from Lynsey Dyer's documentary ski film, Pretty Faces, pushing the sport of skiing and living up to our fullest potential as a supportive community, showcasing women who deliver the message: 'If she can do it, then so can I'. Photo: Scott Dickerson.
Do you have anxiety about your next ski trip? Do you worry the night before skiing? Do you suddenly feel nervous about doing a red run?
All the above contribute to a crisis of confidence. It can happen the first time you click into bindings, build up over several ski holidays, be the result of a fall, or occur quite suddenly.
So why ski if it causes anxiety and doesn't doesn't give you pleasure? Often it's for the very good reason that family and/or friends do it. Not skiing would mean missing out on holidays with them. Therefore, paddleboarding in Thailand is not necessarily an option.
For sure, there is the genuine fear of injury but there are, also, other more pride-hurting worries such as looking like a failure for ducking out of that off piste or doing a yard sale that will be captured on camera and become the next Jerry of the Day - see Lose The Fear.
It is a fact, though, that fear is only in your head. Lack of confidence is a self-created illusion of failure. And it can be overcome. Here's how:
1) GO EASY
Literally go easy by taking the less scary route if there's a choice and, also, go easy as in don't beat yourself up if you bail before a Black Diamond mogul field.
There's nothing more confidence-sapping than a piste that's too steep, too bumpy, too icy. And there's nothing better than a super-wide, perfectly-groomed blue piste to make you feel you can ski like a god/goddess.
2) GO HARD
Or go home? Yes, this is the complete opposite advice from No 1 but sometimes pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and succeeding - will improve your faith in your ability.
Conquering a steeper than normal run, will pump adrenaline and confidence. But choose your challenges wisely, the idea being not to go home feeling rubbish.
3) CHOOSE YOUR CREW
They may be your son or your best mate but if they're better, faster skiers this can be a red flag to your confidence. In a bigger group, being the weakest link, left behind and always playing catch-up, can happen at any level. You might be advanced but the experts are going to leave you eating snow.
Unless you enjoy playing catch up and learning from your betters, it's best to ski with your own crew who are a similar level - so you can make it fun AND boost each others' confidence (see Lynsey Dyer's film, Pretty Faces). You can always meet other friends and family up the mountain for coffee and/or lunch.
Of course, if you need a rocket-booster to your morale, ski with someone not as good as you. However, you'll know exactly how they feel when they arrive puffing at the chairlift so do not leave them behind and do give them plenty of positive encouragement - see No 6.
4) GOOD GEAR
Do you hate your skis? Have blisters from your ski boots? Then no wonder skiing is more pain than pleasure.
Not in love with your skis can mean they're not the ones for you. Instead, they're confidence-sappers that you should dump and find ones that make you feel good about your skiing.
If you hire skis, change them if they don't feel right. If you own your skis, when was the last time you had them serviced? Sharper edges wlll ski better on pistes and hardpack, giving you the confidence to go faster.
5) GOOD DAYS
Take the first lift to score untouched groomed pistes or lay down first tracks in overnight fresh powder on a bluebird day. Perfect snow equals perfect confidence in your skiing. Worth setting the alarm for.
6) LOOK FOR COMPLEMENTS
Just as criticism of your style or technique can make you feel unworthy, so words of encouragement are good for your ski ego. The best ski instructors should not only teach but, also, build up your confidence. Use a carrot rather than a stick.
If you use the Carv app, you will have your very own instructor, telling you, via earphones with all the enthusiasm of an American Little League soccer coach, how to improve and, even vocally high five you for a 'good job'.
7) LOOK GOOD
Stylish but performance-focused ski wear is always going to make you feel better about yourself than if you're wearing a dated Nevica jacket passed on from friends and family - and not in a vintage ironic way.
Note it's not just about style, but performance is essential. If your goggles get fogged because the film has been damaged so you can't see, how are you going to ski with confidence?
8) PEP TALK
Tell yourself 'I've got this', sing Queen's 'Don't stop me now', or just grit your teeth. Whatever works for you, use it. Play your best moral-boosting card when faced with a challenge that means your confidence slopes off with a 'see ya' and leaves you to your fate. Also, remember to breath.
9) PEP DRINK
Does that lunchtime glass of wine give you the pep you need to ski any condition the mountains throw at you, riding till dusk? Well, we would raise a drink to that except, of course, we wouldn't encourage drinking and skiing for fear of the carnage that could occur - and, indeed, you could be fined in Italy for skiing on the piss/pistes.
Have a coffee, though, for a shot of caffeine to give your confidence a kick.
10) AND SMILE
Skiing on a recreational level is meant to be fun. Whether piste-cruising, powder-slaying or ski touring, if you find you haven't smiled all day, if you fall over and don't find it funny, then where did the fun go?
Sometimes it's not so much about finding confidence but more about reconnecting with that childlike joy of sliding down slippery slopes on two planks.