Getting Over Your Fear of Going Fast

I’ve been skiing for a little while, and honestly, it’s pretty difficult to remember my days as a beginner. However, learning to ski as an adult is apparently one of the most terrifying experiences a person could have. Many of my older friends have picked up the sport in retirement, and I can’t even begin to describe how freaking annoying they were. You retired! There’s nothing to complain about!

Anyway, most of them ended up loving the sport and still head to the mountain a few times every week. The biggest complaint I heard during the learning process, though, was not something I would have expected. I was anticipating sore legs, hurt backs, and maybe a few “I’m tired”s, but that’s not what I got. The most vocal comment was: I’m afraid to go fast.

Yep. My eyes rolled, too.

Apparently, though, this is something many new skiers struggle with. Even after years of progressing, many people who didn’t ski as children have difficulty getting comfortable with going fast. Believe me, I get it. I love to go fast, but there’s something terrifying about hurdling down a mountain at 70mph with nothing but two planks of wood as support. Well, not wood anymore. But you know what I mean.

So here’s what my friends have said: Every time they go too fast, they feel like they’re going to go out of control. They slow themselves down by taking tighter turns, but they still get that “out of control” feeling. I think we’ve all experienced that, to be honest—that pang of terror when your edge catches.

Anyway, here’s what I told my friends. Head to the bunny slope or a green circle even if you’re above that level. Choose the easiest slope that you can, and try to catch it at a relatively uncrowded time. Then, try to ski that one slope as fast as possible. Gentler slopes will control the speed without interference, so you can practice relaxing your muscles and letting go. Really—it worked for my retired pals. If they can do it, so can you.