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Skiing – It’s not a beach holiday!

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There is no doubt in my mind, to challenge yourself with learning projects, is a great way to build a sense of achievement, and there is nothing like that sense of achievement. Over 20 years Sally and I developed the notion that we could be competent skiers. So in pursuit of that goal we have skied regularly and at different time enrolled in programs and had instruction.

We are here again -my buddy and I. Five days at the #SOFA ski camp #2 Camp. There are great memories from 2016. This time there is anticipation anxiety and dread! Five days -can we last the distance – 5 days is hard work!   We have already done three days at Cardrona as a warm-up. The challenge is there!

After my last SOFA camp I wrote about the learning hierarchy:
“Conscious Competence
Unconscious Competence
Conscious incompetence
Unconscious incompetence
This week I suspect I have achieved the second level – conscious incompetence and while I acknowledge that there may be some unconscious competence in my repertoire, my real learning is in the conscious incompetence arena! There is much more work to be done.”

So it starts:

Day 1: Session 1 – A small group (4).The video – putting my best foot forward! Then some drills before lunch. There are more drills after lunch – they go on. Reminder to Ben: This is not a beach holiday – our instructor Daniel says lightly – we later discover his nickname – the Punisher! Drills, drills, and more drills. The video debrief! Any changes -always confronting? Who would have thought there are so many drills to get you to lean forward, face the fear, bend your knees, have patience! Sounds simple enough! To the beginners’ slopes – more drills!

Day 2: A change of group – down to two – obviously we need more surgery – deconstruction of the highest order?
More Drills – the Punisher was in his element– up and down the mountain -often – drills must be good! – Just a reminder– Skiing is not a beach holiday – not only is he called the punisher he is acquiring a new nickname – a five letter word ending in –ick! I am “stuffed” – pull out a couple of runs early –my legs are “dead” – my buddy ploughs on.
A breakthrough! Learning? Who knows?

Day 3: A shocker – Cloud, Fog, Mist, Rain, all at once – can’t see a thing – I am finding it challenging –many falls! The “punisher” assures us that if we can ski in this weather everything else will be easy. Sure – and pigs will fly! – New nickname gets a second outing not only a punisher but a — ick! I pull the pin early – as do others – the strong skiers keep going. My buddy keeps going! I am relieved and envious.
The Dinner – more videos – Klaus’s overview and the TED talk – how to practice effectively? No wonder I am slow!
Klaus believes that ordinary skiers deserve the same coaching to improve their skills as professionals. The discipline and the rigour are apparent in the program. He warned us: it is hard work – sometimes not fun – not even pretty!

Day 4: We ski against the odds – because we leave Friday – turns out one of the best days ever! Plenty of new snow. I can still ski – I am learning to face the fear! Not easily!
The Basic Position, the Fall line, Patience, are all in there somewhere! So many drills!
There is a possibility of I will bend my knees –my knees are sore- and all puffed up.  Evidence that I have been bending my knees?

Day 5: Another shocker – Fog, cloud, snow– can’t see! – Balance is a real problem – guided down the mountain by the “carer” -struggled with the snow plough! He was encouraging!! He really has a heart! Back to the beginners’ slopes – more drills!  It’s over for me for this trip but it was a great week for my buddy and I– she is an inspiration – she just skis so easily!

The SOFA ski camp is a great program – during the week there are video assessments and reviews and great coaching, a dinner where Klaus Maier presents his philosophy and MO for the program. There is more video to confront you with the learning (or not), and it is good value. Klaus suggests you can learn to ski sitting on the SOFA – check the website

Learning (and change) is difficult. There are no shortcuts. It requires commitment. Our coach for this year was Daniel from Ischgl in Austria – one of the Austrian ski mafia. There is no doubt in my mind we are better skiers even though cloud mist and fog proved tough!

A colleague of mine Vern Harnish says ‘No one has achieved high performance without a coach!’ -in my case achieving modest competence is high performance and I am committed to continuing the learning journey!

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