Facing Fears

Late last week, Mike and I went up to Stowe, VT for a ski trip with his family. I mentioned in a recent post that I was feeling a little iffy about skiing after our Jackson Hole trip. I have my anxiety largely under control now, but this skiing thing was really becoming a bigger issue (at least in my head). One of the biggest catalysts in my life has been to work on overcoming my fears. I have plenty still, but I had a lot before. This week was definitely a reminder of how far I’ve come. Whereas in the past, I would have just decided I was done with skiing to avoid having to face the fear at all, I conquered it this time around.

Naturally, it turned out that I just had to get the first run in and I was immediately reminded how much I enjoy skiing. And I couldn’t help but think that if I had let the fear take over, I would be missing out completely.

Stowe VT

I mean, look at that view. I swear the views and just being in a gorgeous environment is half the fun for me.

On the first day of skiing, everyone got to the mountain at different times and in different groups, but we all tried to meet up for lunch at one of the lodges…. that you really can only get to by skiing. I misread the text and took a run down that ended on the wrong side of the mountain and when I realized my mistake, the only way to get there in time would be to take this one gondola up and ski down a steeper blue. I had just barely gotten my “ski legs” back. And this was also a gondola/trail where I had had a tough day a few years ago. I had made up my mind after that day that I would just never be able to ski down that side of the mountain… and whatever! There were plenty of other lifts and trails that I could happily do for all the ski trips. No problem.

Now though? I’m looking at this map and realizing that I either have to go for it…. or miss out on hanging out with everyone. So I got on the gondola. I stood at the top of the mountain for a few minutes half psyching myself out and half pumping myself up. After the first little bit (which was even harder than I remembered), I considered taking my skis off and hiking back up to the gondola. (Where there was a waffle stand calling my name.) The only reason why I kept going was because I was too embarrassed to be ~that person~ quitting.

Not only did I make it down in one piece, but it was also the best skiing I think I’ve ever done. The best realization, besides just not quitting, was realizing how much I’ve improved. I had felt so defeated after Jackson Hole that I couldn’t see past those failures to recognize how much better I was.

One of my favorite things about skiing is how, even if you’re surrounded by people and friends, you can really have peace of mind and time to think. Between the chair lift and just methodically going down a mountain, I spent the rest of the ski trip rewriting the negative skiing memories and realizing my newfound confidence!!

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Love this post, Carly! I have faced very similar fears with skiing, and this makes me even more excited for my ski trip this year and further conquering those fears.


I have to say that writing this post was probably very cathartic as well to help overcome your fear. So, I am from the northeast but live in NE now and have been on several trips to Jackson Hole with my family (summer trips). Now, I grew up skiing in upstate NY. I’m a pretty good skier. I took one look at that ski map in Jackson Hole and said “NO WAY! I’m not skiing here!” So, kudos for you for even attempting a ski trip to Jackson Hole! 🙂 My family now skis in regularly in Telluride, CO. Much better (in my opinion!) than what the Jackson Hole skiing presented on that ski map! If you ever want to venture west for a ski trip, there are a ton of fabulous ski resorts that offer wonderful skiing! Don’t let Jackson Hole make you fear skiing out here in the west! 🙂


Congrats on taking down those fears! I am not an amazing skier and my husband really wants to take a ski trip this winter, so I am already trying to build my confidence and speak positively to myself. P.S. I had a coworker who is a very confident skier go to Jackson Hole and say it was some of the hardest skiing he’s ever done. So you’re truly doing great!


As a life long skier who grew up negotiating the icy slopes of New England (one who is not naturally fearless, and one who also fears the idea of embarrassing myself more than physical injury): spend a day taking a lesson. Really and truly. A day (or even a half day) with a ski professional—either on your own, or in a like-ability group) can do wonders for your skills and confidence. It takes the pressure out of trying to hang with more experienced loved ones and allows you to have more tools in your toolkit when you rejoin them. It will—I guarantee—make the balance of a trip so much more fun. After a childhood spent dealing with New England’s often crappy conditions and with the benefit of lessons on that terrain, skiing out west now seems like an absolute dream. I promise— you won’t regret it! Also, was your video footage in stories on Toll Road? I love Stowe. ❤️


I almost always take a lesson (or group lesson) on ski trips the first day to build confidence… and get the lay of the land with an instructor who knows the mountain! This was a super short trip with questionable weather so I didn’t want to commit to one this time around.


+1 to this! My husband and I are lifelong skiers (he used to compete in moguls) and whenever we go to a new resort we always hire an instructor for a morning or a day. It’s a great way to get local tips on the best parts of the mountain and how to get there (which he loves) and I always take away a tip or two to keep improving.


LOL. When I was in undergrad, I used to be the girl who collected the money at the beginning of the toll road. 😉


Oh I’m so glad you wrote this! I’ve completely built this fear of skiing in my head and I so desperately want to conquer it but I’m still SO scared. Hoping it cools off enough in TN so we can ski and I can get over my fear.


I love this reminder! I’m going on a ski trip with my sister this weekend, and it’s been years since I’ve hit the slopes so the anxiety/fear has been hitting me hard the past couple of days. I’m definitely going to keep this in mind and re-read on Friday on our way up. Thank you!!!


I didn’t learn to ski until I was in my 20s. It took me a while to get off the beginner slopes and build confidence- what did the trick was ski school lessons every time I went out. That being said Jackson Hole is a lot of mountain to handle when you are still feeling your way to being confident on skis. Do not let it throw you, but feel proud you were there and know any other hill is easy compared to JH. Keep going out West- it is so much easier to ski a groomer there than than ice on the East Coast. I highly recommend Park City.


This made me think back to ski trips growing up, despite the fact that I lived somewhere flat as a pancake my family always took ski trips to big mountains (I live in Canada so like the Rocky Mountains or Whistler, or some of the bigger mountains in the US). Usually after a few days on the mountain getting our ski legs back, my dad was under the impression that if he just took me to the top of the mountain we would eventually get down! Haha, this definitely was terrifying sometimes but I always learned that no matter how hard a run was if you just go slow, take it turn by turn, and take little breaks whenever you want, you can get down pretty much anything. And then you are less scared the next time. I suppose that’s also a pretty good life lesson too! Glad you got out there and enjoyed the mountain!


Love this. I’m laughing remember my first ski experience at 21 – white out conditions in Tahoe and my brother brought me to the top and said all you need to know is pizza and french fry. I proceeded to fall down the mountain and cry while everyone on the ski lift was laughing as he was screaming at me to stop falling. Needless to say.. I don’t ski with him anymore! Took me 8 years to even try to think about a lesson and now I love ski trips. It’s all about taking the baby steps to rewire the brain! Glad it was a fun trip!xo

Meagan R.

What a powerful moment! I’m so happy for you and inspired to take on my own fears. Thanks for sharing with us!


This is amazing. I learned to ski last year and went a bunch but I haven’t this year so far and have three weekend trips coming up with people who have been skiing their whole lives so I’ve been a bit nervous. This post really really helped ease my nerves about it so thank you so much for sharing.


where did you stay in stowe? would love a mini guide! I hope to go up there a few times this winter!



First time skier going with my boyfriend! Any tips for outfits? And how to be somewhat preppy going down the slopes? Thanks Carly!