Inner Skiing Proclaims
The Sermon on the Mt Aspen

Inner Skiing. By Timothy Gallwey and Bob Kriegel. Random House. 1977. 142 pages. $8.95.

"The Inner Skier chooses to confront and overcome fear. As a result, he improves not only his skiing, but also the quality of his life." That's the message of this book - and I do mean message. If the authors had avoided the tone of a Sermon on the Mt. Aspen, the book would have qualified as an effective and inspiring book for skiers. Fine. But, as the quote above indicates, the book also attempts to be a spiritual exercise. As a matter of fact, the book begins with a quote from Guru Maharaj Ji, a fellow I never recognized except as a collector of Rolls Royces.

What these Sunshine Boys have to tell us about skiing assuredly makes good sense and works. (How would I know? I can't afford the sport and I've been too busy with Outer Shoveling these days.) The skiing advice is this: do away with all your Self 1 hangups (tenseness, effort, distraction) and go with the Self 2 flow (free, light, relaxed, effortless) of your body. Be aware of your body and trust its knowing symmetry- Face fear for what it is, know it and deal with it.

I have no question that the snow's sacramental gracefulness works wonders on those who open soles to the Snow Goddess. And to hear the Tahoe Two tell it: So what if personkind falls? Forget about everything and ski. Seriously, though, their advice is good: especially with regard to listening to the body and seeing and experiencing all as if for the first time.

But the problem of putting advice into a book contradicts the very substance of the authors' approach. Self 1 wrote the book. Self 2 doesn't read books, guys. Not only that. If the Boys of Winter were really serious about their "mystical" advice, why sell the book? Why not make it a freebie? Also, why deal with skiing at all? How about Inner Boxing? (It sure would be easier on the nose.)

Really, Inner Work would have been much more challenging as a guide to daily transcendence - My Selfs 1 and 2 feel this book's message would best be heeded by skiing without it. The sport has enough trappings as it is. Skiers don't need words filling their heads, remember.

- Paul Kocak