How Do You Manage Your…Apprehensions?

Ugh, tensed up and clutching happens to everyone.

Yesterday, you did fine on Wild Thing, that steep, narrow trail on the shady side of the mountain. Today, Wild Thing is crusty, heavy, or worse, boilerplate, and it’s the only way down. Or, the afternoon light has gone totally flat, you’re at the top of the mountain, heading through the trees to the bottom.  Or, you took the wrong lift at a resort new to you, and you’re in double black diamond territory. Or, you’re really, really cold. Or, it’s the last run of a long day, you’ve pushed it a bit too far, and you’re whipped. Or, you’ve had a fall that came out of nowhere, and you’re spooked, perhaps sore.

Uh-oh, the mojo ain’t working today. Credit: AlexanderTT

We have all been there: In a difficult situation, tensed up, and wondering why people put sticks on their feet to slide down mountains in the first place. Where’s the hot tub? Where’s the fireplace? Where’s the Heineken? Gotta get down and outta here!

Ski coach and correspondent Bob Trueman has an interesting article elsewhere in this edition. He provides some guidelines for dealing with difficult situations like these, where the world suddenly goes pear-shaped and fear narrows your perspective.  

But we’re curious what you do in those tense, scary moments. 

What rules of thumb do you follow to get down when you are in a tough situation? How did you learn those rules? Where were you taught? Figure it out? How do they work? Give us some examples, and we’ll all learn from your experience.

Write your comments in Leave A Reply below.




  1. When in doubt, stop, take a break, slow down, take it one turn at the time.

  2. Bailout options every skier should have been taught in the beginning :
    – side slipping
    – taking skis off and putting them
    back on when on the slope.
    – walking down or sliding on one’s butt
    down the side of a slope.
    – ask for help from a fellow skier.
    – have ski patrol’s telephone number
    on your phone.

  3. My technique depends on what the issue is. On boiler plate I will slide down on my butt. Steep moguls will be attacked one mogul at a time until I get to more skiable snow.

  4. David Orlinsky says:

    Breathe, take your time, and remember when I made it down through 2-3″ of breakable crust on a Heli-trip one fall at a time. But I made it down.

  5. Stop, breathe, and start over, taking a little bit of the run at a time.

  6. Take lessons! Never stop learning and improving. Start each ski day getting in tune with your feet. Once you find a good instructor, keep going back. I have to credit the Clendenin Method instructors for opening up parts of the mountain I would have never skied 10 years ago.

  7. James Patrick McGuire says:

    Side slip –forward then side slip back

    repeat and repeat.

    Then there is sometimes you need to ‘just ski it” Three inches or so of
    Spring Snow Slush–very long run, moderate grade, very hard to snow plow or slid slip. Too tired so -just put them down hill –got up enough speed to gain momentum and power and ‘just skied it’ made me a better skier (I was about 65 then)

  8. If it’s really boilerplate, taking off your skis can be much worse than keeping them on and side slipping. Those edges do help. Sitting down, you lose any control.

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