Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The margin of success

Some people experience occasional success whether it's in sports, business, politics or simply in the pursuit of their daily life.

Sometimes it's sporadic (the spectators say “it's pure luck”, and they're probably right, “it was written” or “well-deserved”, something utterly fatalistic), sometimes their winning way is so consistent, that after the initial applause, their success quickly becomes an irritant.

It just seems unfair, right? This would be a sensible reaction, except that when we look at it closely, these folks all have one huge element in common. It's called a huge margin of that key ingredient that is essential in their continued success.

Don't fool yourself, this reserve has not just showed up instantly overnight; it's been cultivated relentlessly over a long period of time, and maintained at the cost of discipline, constant efforts and higher standards, to the point that it has become ingrained into these successful individuals, that it seems second-nature to observers.
That right, no one can see that hidden life of efforts and sacrifices that has led to these people's success and these same observers are unable to learn the silent lesson these exemplary lives are telling them.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Snowboarders to the rescue?

Imagine the situation: You get badly hurt while skiing on a very difficult terrain, high up in the mountain, a sled has been called to rescue you, and when it arrives, you see two patrollers on snowboards.

How would you feel?

If I were the injured party, I'd be spooked. Not that I don't trust the two rescuers, but rather their ability to control their board on a rough terrain and take me safely down the hill.

You see, this picture conjures what we know and have observed about snowboarding.

This sliding alternative isn't skiing and never will be. It has too many limitations and without getting into its technical shortcomings, nothing will ever beat skiing as long as snow and mountains will co-exist!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Skiing like a... septuagenarian!

When I was just in my 50s or even my 60s, I never really imagined that I would ski and still enjoy the sport past my 70th birthday.

Yesterday, as I was closing on my 30th day on skis this season, I was trying to summarize how it felt to ski as a septuagenarian.

I must say, that nothing much has changed; the fun is still there in its entirety, my body still welcomes the punishment, the speed has gone down a tiny bit, but still remain as a major assistance in helping me make the few turns that are absolutely necessary; finally, the desire to ski tomorrow remains as intense as it ever was.

So if you are not yet at my stage in life, just rejoice; there's still plenty of fun to be had on skis and I'm quite confident that I'll still “ski my age” this season!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Slow-mo ski instruction?

Recently, I was speaking with a good friend of mine who had been a life-long ski industry worker, from the ski school to the executive suite, consultant, product tester and personal coach.

He was telling me about his new focus of “rolling into a turn” instead of stemming or wedging into it. I know the story very well and it sure works perfectly on paper or on books, but the missing ingredient the instructor community always seem to forget is speed.

I have tried to say it countless time, speed and momentum are the cement or the “magic stuff” that “gels” any good ski instruction technique. Absent speed, nothing happens.

Wedge or sudden weight transfer have a key role to play in specific circumstances and terrain and, of course, at slow speed.

Carving or any modern racing technique works with a huge amount of speed and momentum that often are beyond the reach of most recreational skiers.

If not through intense mileage, such skiers can only be taught these feelings and techniques through slow and progressive drills that always are boring because they must be practiced on flatter, boring terrain for long periods of time.

This is why no one has the patience, the time or even the money to go through them, and only a select few end up mastering these elusive techniques.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Hot pursuit

Wednesday was the best day of an otherwise dismal ski season, so far in Park City. Snow was soft and skiing was the best yet.

I was skiing at Park City and was intent on passing what appeared to be, by the color of their outfits and body sizes, two young ladies going down ahead of me on a bumpy, whipper-covered section, right under the 9990 chair.

I passed one of them without much trouble and couldn't pass the other one that was skiing incredibly fast and well. Finally, as I was about to pass her, she stopped to wait for her mate and as turned my head, I saw that “girl” had a full beard and was in his 30 to 40 years of age!

I suddenly felt re-assured!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Real estate sales people

The American real estate profession is so bad that it breeds shady sales people and my guess is that perhaps only one percent of them are good.

Yet, these very few fine folks are probably not very successful, because they are honest and ethical in a “dog-eat-dog” environment.

Furthermore, the activity is fundamentally “sleazy” as the name of the game is to make a commission no matter what it takes, even if the transaction is bad for the client.

A recent experience with one of these fly-by-night “professionals” is another sad reminder that they must be avoided at all cost!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Geography lesson

On Sunday, I was riding the chairlift with a snowboarder from... Vladivostok!

This Russian guy was “just” visiting some friends in Florida and make a quick detour to Park City to check us out.

We talked and got 5 more minute conversation as the chair stopped for that amount of time on the way up.

He was surprised to know that I knew were Vladivostok was and I said that I know that this seaport was the entry of all used Japanese cars with left-hand-side steering wheels that would eventually find a new owner in Siberia.

He told me he had never ridden in Europe, but mostly went to Japan that is only one and a half hour flight from Vladivostok and he liked Hakuba 47, a resort I happened to know as I have skied there many years ago.

He also went helicopter riding at Kamchatka and would go to Sochi on occasions. When I asked him about his town, He went on to say that it was very windy and cold in winter, and that it was a heavy industry center with a lot of former USSR factories still shuttered...

Small world!