As a skier I had advanced, after a couple winters, to almost feeling comfortable on any blue trail and occasionally to skiing a black trail - if it was groomed - but I still suffered from one major problem. I fell too damn much.

My falls came despite the facts that I’d taken at least a dozen lessons from good instructors, including spending that week in the French Alps skiing every day with an excellent private instructor, and often skied with friends far better than I on the slopes who occasionally dropped a hint about the proper pole plant or holding my elbows in closer. Something was wrong.

On a beautiful spring ski day - strong sun, pleasant temperature, groomed slopes - I found myself sliding into a chairlift with a skier I didn’t know. For the usual mysterious reasons, the lift came to an abrupt stop halfway up. During the 10 minutes we swayed in the winter breeze without moving, we exchanged routine pleasantries, gossiped, and decided to take the same blue run from the summit together.

Edging off the lift at last, we stopped briefly to check the trail. He skied off first. I watched in envy as he carved his way swiftly and skillfully through the bumps, then shoved off to catch up with him.

He skidded to a stop and glanced over at me. I stopped in an embarrassingly familiar prone position. Once more, on our way to the bottom of the trail, I fell. As 1 got up from my second fall, digging the snow out of my ear and brushing the powder off my jacket, I said, “You make it look so easy.”

He smiled. “Thanks. You’ve got good style. But could I offer a suggestion?”

“Of course.”

“Let go of the mountain.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You know what you’re doing? You’re holding onto the mountain with your mind. You keep falling when it’s a bit steep or difficult. Let go of the mountain.”

We started down. I repeated to myself what I’d just heard. “Let go,” I told myself.

After we parted, I kept mulling over what he’d said - especially when I hit steep or difficult stretches.

More about Skiing:
These dynamic skills aren’t really a part of rafting large, stable craft. Bicycling utilizes dynamic motion control, most noticeably similar to skiing dynamics when you’re puff
Physical activities that improve your dynamic motion skills as well as strengthening muscles, heart, and lungs are the most beneficial to improving your skiing. For example, you’
Skiers are made in summer, not bom in winter. Or, to put it another way: Those who are seized with a desire to try skiing, or skiers who want to improve their skills on the snowy s
The ultimate proof that the acceptance of the now through Zen, and that the meaning of inner balance through T’ai Chi, had moved me to a levelof skiing I’d never attained befor
When the ski season and I finally got together on the slopes that winter, I found myself unexpectedly skiing with the same sense of balance that I’d studied in T’ai Chi classes
Suddenly, as though hit by an implosion of awareness, a satori in the richest sense of Zen - an eastern philosophy I’d studied briefly when stationed in Japan after an old war -

Disabled Competitions

Ski competitions for both standing and sitting skiers are held throughout the country and in Europe. Both Aspen Highlands and Mount Hood Meadows ski resorts…

Mountain Manners

in Kids
However, the fact that they did spend time in various ski schools did not eliminate what I feel keenly is the responsibility of all parents of kids on the…

Nonskiing Necessities

in Kids
Apres-ski boots: These are an important adjunct on a ski trip. The best are those that slip on quickly and are both warm and tolerably lightweight. Laceup…


The ancient grandfather of alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, is alive, healthy, and more popular than at any time in his 4,000-year history. True, no longer…

Whistler/Blackcomb - Part 1

Put two great ski mountains side by side, each with more than 5,000 feet of vertical - the most in North America - and you’ve got the first hint of what it’s…

Who Pays the Piper?

If a skier runs into serious difficulty skiing beyond an area’s boundaries, someone will be along to help him. In the United States, this task usually falls to…