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Jibjumper t1_jbrpo0z wrote

So I raced in high school, was on the mogul team, and skied park and big mountain regularly. I never took competition too seriously because I saw the gap between my level and the top .01% and didn’t care enough about those disciplines to push hard in any one direction. I was friends with a lot of skiers that were racers and I worked as a liftee on the night crew at Park City when the racers would do their training. I watched Sarah Burke’s crash that ultimately took her life and called it into ski patrol while working on Three Kings lift. I’ve been surrounded by ski culture my entire life.

Like I said not every all mountain skier could be a racer, but it would be easier for an expert non racer to get into racing, than someone that focused on racing growing up trying to get into big mountain/park skiing. When you know what you’re looking for it’s really easy to pick out who the former racers are from the lift than people with a racing background. Racing requires a different technique that changes your style and it’s hard to break those habits. I personally know people that switched focus to raving later in life and vice versa, and the general consensus from both groups is that it’s harder to unlearn racing than it is to learn.

It makes sense for something like car racing to consider the best driver someone that exceeds in racing (despite there being many types of driving), because cars are more or less designed to operate on a road/track. With skiing it’s different because you have the freedom to go anywhere and do anything. It’s a whole different beast to do things like drop a cliff, straight line a face in Alaska, or have enough control to throw a trick while skiing through trees. It’s much more subjective, but anyone that has some real experience skiing can pick out what a next level skier looks like. Racing still takes a ton of discipline and I’m not diminishing the accomplishment. Like I said being the best racer is just that, being the best racer, but it doesn’t mean they’re the best skier.