Daring I am not

These two 8-yr. olds beat me to the bottom every time.

Even the 8-yr. olds beat me to the bottom every time.

We spent the weekend on an annual get away with three sets of neighbors skiing out at Wisp resort in far western Maryland. I always look forward to this weekend, for many reasons: the time spent catching up with good friends; the time our kids get to spend with their friends; unplugging from the routine. The skiing? Well, maybe not so much.

I’ve told you ad nauseam about my cold weather aversion. Skiing kind of requires cold weather. Then there’s the whole speeding down a hill part. I’m not much of a fan of activities that require me to let go of my sense of control. I’m not saying you have to totally abandon control to ski, but it does help to have some willingness to push a bit out of your comfort zone, and I’m just not good at that.

This goes way back with me. Growing up on a lake, we had an awesome old fashioned, wooden diving board that sat pretty high off the water. My younger brother, from an early age, was doing spectacular dives off the board. Me? I can remember my dad sitting underneath the board in his row boat coaxing me into trying a dive. It took me forever, but I finally did it. Still, I never embraced it like my brother and most times could be found jumping, rather than diving, from that board.

In adulthood, this sense of fear has made me pretty piss poor at descending on a mountain bike, and also means that I am a slow descender when trail running. I wish I could just let go with abandon and charge down a hill, but my inner fear monger just grabs hold and won’t let go. I think this is one of the reasons road running has been such a good fit for me–it doesn’t really require any loss of control, does it?

I see similar traits with my kids–one is cautious, the other embraces the dare. I think most people are one or the other, with a few falling in the middle somewhere. I wish I had a bit more courage to let go and speed down hills in whatever activity it might be, but I’ve come to accept that at this stage in the game, that’s a personality trait that I don’t have and probably never will.

How about you? Embrace the descent or put on the brakes? 

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  1. says

    Definitely put the brakes on. Any form of downhill has me putting on the brakes with a vice-like grip and sweaty palms. But natural caution has meant that I’ve never broken a bone or done any major damage to myself.

  2. says

    I’m with you on this. Skiing makes me a nervous wreck! I always feel like I am going way too fast and have no control, even though I only go on beginner slopes. It also took me probably 10 times riding down a particular hill on my road bike before I could do it without using my brakes. And when I finally did it I was telling myself the entire time not to use the brake.
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  3. says

    Oh Amanda! I love this for so many reasons. I totally get what you mean about feeling out of control with skiing. Oddly, I’m definitely a cautious one and I don’t like feeling out of control at all. Biking or skating downhill? No way. But skiing? The mountain is the one place that I feel like I can embrace that sense of speed (not that I go fast) and being out of my comfort zone. I’m guessing that the ocean/surfing will be another place once I get back to it.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Friday Round-Up: Put on your own oxygen mask firstMy Profile

  4. says

    I don’t ski (mostly for this exact reason). I keep my brakes liberally applied when descending a hill on my bike (as crash scenarios float through my head), and I’m not sure I’ll EVER make the transition to mountain biking.

    But put me in my trail shoes, and bring on that downhill!!!!!!!!!! For some bizarre reason, something about descending on the run just clicked for me early in my trail-running “career”, and I somehow feel safer with my body weight forward and my stride opening up, with my feet just barely touching the ground…LOVE that feeling. I think it’s as close to non-plane flying as I’ll ever get. And somewhere in my subconscious, my brain really thinks that I’m less likely to fall with these gentle taps on the ground, rather than trying to control a steep descent. Bonus? It’s gentler on my quads!
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  5. says

    I wouldn’t say going downhill fast (my favorite on a mtn bike or trail – the more technical the better!) is “loss of control” – I would say there it’s a skill and confidence to do that well. I won’t say i’m great descender, but I am competent. It did come at price tho – as gaining the skill and confidence has cost me skin, blood, multiple bruises, 24 stitches and a broken ankle. But I will say the the high from going downhill fast or cleaning a technical section has beaten*everything* I’ve ever experienced road running or road biking. :)
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  6. says

    Brakes for me! My friend and I were just talking about that fear of letting go of our sense of control and how we’d rather not, which is why we run S L O W downhill on trails and steer clear of mountain bike riding! I was shocked to discover she enjoys skiing! Not me. I’ll stick to running 😉
    GreenGirlRunning recently posted..Meditation To GoMy Profile

  7. says

    Oh, I’m a brake-loving girl for sure. A little more abandon on the run, especially when I’ve been doing a lot of trail running so my trail sense is up. On my mountain bike I’m regularly frustrated by the way that my fear limits me…but it’s not something I’ve (yet) been able to let go of.
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  8. says

    I’ve learned to embrace the downhill…a little. While I love snowboarding, skiing and mountain biking I’m always very cautious and never all out flying down the hill. The one thing that’s always going through my head – “you could really get hurt doing this!” :)
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  9. says

    i like to think i’m a little daring…all sorts of up-high adventures SOUND so fun to me…but i also have a paralyzing fear of heights lol…i usually try to push through it though. full speed ahead is fun sometimes :) but i’ve definitely gotten more cautious as I’ve gotten older.
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  10. says

    I went skiing this weekend too! I love it but depending on the conditions I wont necessarily speed down the hill. I feel like I do take on the dare and just go for it but I do have the common sense side of me. For example, I have been downhill skiing all my life, I like to ski the hard trails because its fun, but Saturday when we were out there, the snow started to get heavy and skiing became difficult. I wanted to keep going but in my heart I knew I should quit because it wasn’t worth an injury. So I skipped my last run down the double diamond hill, headed to the easy slop and coasted down to the bottom. I guess for me it just depends on the situation, I will try anything but only as long as I wont put myself in too much danger!
    J recently posted..Too much TreadmillMy Profile

  11. says

    Put on the brakes for me too! I grew up in the Deep Creek area and have been to the Wisp a total of once to ski. How’s that for non-daring and doesn’t like the cold…I lived 10 minutes from it! :)
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  12. says

    I’m with you – I don’t want to get hurt! I have zero desire to snow ski (mostly b/c of the cold and then b/c of the falling). I do water ski and wakeboard, but that’s about as adventurous as I get. I only got a bike in Nov after years of hubby trying to persuade me that I’d enjoy it. And I sort of do, but am such a Nervous Nelly the entire time!
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  13. says

    Oh I’m a total fear monger too! Because of this I am one of the worst downhill runners ever. I always get passed going downhill in races and make up my time going uphill. Makes no sense!

  14. says

    I like going fast but not toooo fast..unless I”m on a rollercoaster!

    I haven’t been skiing in ages. It’s actually something I don’t think I’ll ever do again. I say this now lol
    Kierston recently posted..Getting Away!My Profile

  15. says

    I’m like you! My older brother is much more adventurous than me. Guess that’s why he’s been a successful entrepreneur and I’m working in Corporate America. I have often wished I could just take “the leap” per say but I’ve not been able to talk myself into it just yet.

    Nothing wrong with being cautious. :)

    Sounds like a great weekend!
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  16. says

    I was smiling as I read your post because the last time I went skiing, an I’ve never really learned to ski, was a couple of years ago. My husband snow boards so I decided to rent skis and go with him. After falling 1/4 way down one of the larger hills and getting stuck, he took me to the bunny hill. The bunny hill doesn’t look bad but if you don’t know how to stop and don’t know how to control skis, you can go pretty darned fast. And so it goes… all those little itty bitty kids were zipping down the hill, making it look so easy. I get to the top and thought “Here Goes!” and just let myself go.
    When I got the bottom Ted was laughing hysterically because he said I went SO FAST, ripped past everyone else. He thought if I were to fall, it was going to be BAD.

    As for losing control, the thought never came to me. I just had the same thoughts as I do during a long run or race, “lets just get this over with and if it hurts, it won’t hurt for long”. :)
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  17. says

    Gotta be comfortable with who you are! I’ve become more cautious with age. In my 20s and early 30s I would ski black runs with total abandon (I’m an intermediate skier at best) but now I’m 40 I am more than happy to ski greens all day, don’t like anything remotely icy or steep, and find that my kids, who are both daredevils, scare me to death! My older son goes straight down, barely turning, while my younger son finds every bump and even uses the side of the run to perform stunts on!
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  18. says

    I recently took my daughter sledding with a girlfriend, something I hadn’t done in years. I was actually surprised how nervous I was with it. I don’t know if it is because I’m training for a full marathon and don’t want anything to ruin that goal, or if just these type of activities are more scary when you are an adult? However, I’m all game for a rollercoaster :)
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  19. says

    I can’t speak about skiing as we don’t get that here :) I’ve always been a cautious type of person but strangely enough I am fearless on a bike. Road or mountain I just go with it. Not on par with my character at all.
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  20. says

    The last time we went skiing, I was good for about 2 runs and then I was cold and done!!! Plus, I’m not a strong skier and everyone kept waiting for me and wanting me to hurry. Finally I sent them on their way, took my time down the scary mountain and called it a day – much more fun to hang in the condo and watch people coming down the slopes!
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  21. says

    We’re soo much alike. I’m always super cautious. I wont just let myself “go” on a trail race and fly down the hill skiing, I’m always side-to-side gently. My mom was in a nasty ski accident when I was younger and she had to have knee surgery. That’s always stuck with me. My kids are much the same. One is a risk taker, one not. I love that I have both in them!
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  22. says

    I’m all about barreling downhill. The best skiing is when it’s zero because few are crazy enough to be out there and the snow has an amazing crunch. That said, I effed up my knee big time mogul jumping once and haven’t skiied since. : /
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  23. says

    I felt like I was tip-toeing down the Moab race I just did, I am so afraid on the descents when there’s a lot of rock involved. I’m going to have to get over that!!

    I don’t like to ski anymore, and I live in the ski capital of the US. It’s just way too cold for me.

    Looks like a fun vacation with your friends! :)

    I owe you an email…I am way behind on life. One day I’ll get my Moab post up!
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  24. says

    I have become much more cautious in my adulthood, specifically after not having health insurance for a span of time. I used to be pretty fearless. I will still speed down most hills while running, I like the feeling of flight, but I think that also is what helped screw up my knee. I’m about to embark on a similar skiing trip with my friends to Whistler! We’ll see how I do with speeding down the slopes!
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  25. says

    I swing both ways; it depends on what the activity is. I can ski downhill pretty fast, but I am a little more cautious on the downhills when trail running. Maybe I have a false sense of security with all the ski gear on, whereas on the trails I am vulnerable and naked.
    Travel Spot recently posted..My Side of the MountainMy Profile


  1. […] Daring I am not I loved this post from Miss Zippy. She talks about her generally cautious nature and need to be in control. In 9 out of 10 instances, that would be me, but skiing is the one area where I embrace the speed. But it’s an interesting look at how and when we decide to embrace the speed or put on the brakes. […]