“It’s not always the skill that matters. It’s the enthusiasm!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
So, here’s a story about two skiers and the impact of what happens when you put on some smart ski technology!
Hyperconnected ski boots that are feeding nonstop data about each and every ski run, moment by moment, grading your turns, analyzing your carving, detailing your mistakes, and highlighting your success!
I have such a thing – and skied with them yesterday, thus providing the basis for today’s inspiration.
First, the background. I ski at a small private ski club north of Toronto. It’s a strange quirk of fate and a long story as to how this region in the world came to post the largest number of private clubs in an industry that isn’t generally known for having many. Taking up the sport rather late in life so that my sons could avoid the routine of Canadian hockey, we were soon befriended by a wonderful family who I think felt rather sorry for us – we really had no idea what we were doing! My sons learned to ski; their kids learned to race.
Over the years, we’ve stayed close friends; their son Thomas was most recently a part of my youngest son’s wedding party. The kids have grown – Thomas is now a wonderful young man with a tremendous career in the I.T. space. Here’s a picture of he and I near the club one day when our families were out for a hike. He hikes regularly and dresses appropriately; I got up that morning and put on ski leggings and shorts, and my family was rather horrified. However, I think we won the day for the coolest outfits!
Fast forward – as skiers, we all aspire to the art of the carve. What is it? The perfect ski turn – graceful, on the edges of our skis, our boots perfectly aligned, coming down the slope in perfect rhythm and synchronization. It’s best seen in this video.
Learning how to achieve this state of skiing bliss requires a combination of perfect conditions and perfect skill. I will never have either – but I am enthusiastic about chasing my lessons to learn!
Along comes technology to help you understand how you are doing in tuning your technique. Yesterday, I had the chance once again to ski with the Atomic Connected boot technology – in essence, where each boot has a complicated sensor attached that is measuring GPS, speed, angle, proximity to the other boot, and other data. In other words, smart technology that measures your skiing ability – and how well you are doing on your goal to achieve a perfect carve.
An Olympian with the perfect carve run would achieve a 10.0 with this technology; for us mere mortals, it is designed as a teaching aid, providing you with deep insight into your technique.
I wrote about it a few years back in this post, because I have been predicting this future for a long, long time! Give it a read -> The Future of Sports? All Interactive, All the Time! Here’s What Happens with the Future You Predicted Finally Begins to Happen!
The technology provides you with a wonderful summary of how you have performed during your day on the slopes. And so, for yesterday, my day showed a summary score of 5.0 on the road to 10. Not perfect, not great, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
But I had a bit of help. Read on.
The app provides all kinds of wonderful detailed information about your performance during the day – speed, vertical, Gforce, and other information. There is a tremendous amount of data for each and every turn during g each and every run. We live in a data-rich world and data-obsessed nerds love this type of stuff!
It’s the detail behind the scenes for each run that is fascinating – the sensors provide an analysis of each run, turn by turn. and so, in one of my better runs of the day, I received a 7 score on some of my turns. Carving! I know which run it was – I felt like I was in control, flowing with the hill, keeping each turn in balance.
But the devices also tell me about where I didn’t perform so well during this particular run – in essence, during my turns, I was not achieving much, still resorting to hacking my way down the hill, drifting, and snowplowing. This is what happens when I feel I am going too fast for conditions – I tend to skid my way into the turns, in a technique that is not terribly graceful. Survival, not skiing. Some 1’s and 2’s out of a 10. Not great!
But overall, for this run, I didn’t do so badly, achieving a score of 4.8 out of 10. As someone who only took up skiing 23 years ago at the age of 40, there is still a need to work on my technique!
Along comes Thomas.
During lunch, our group decided that he should take the devices out for a few turns. We put the sensors on his boots, gave him my phone, and away he went. Whoah!
Sudden 9’s! Almost perfect carving! The screen captures tell the story:
Of course, this was his best run; the data also shows that on some of the steeper pitches he was less than graceful in his efforts.
I find it fascinating that we live in a world in which this type of analysis aid exists!
At the end of the day, the overall average carve was 5.0 out of 10 – a combination of his graceful turns and my lack of ability! My summary data for the season will always be elevated as a result of his boost to the quality of my data!
We live in a fascinating world!
What does this have to do with today’s quote? As with my golf game, I know I will never achieve much more than I have currently accomplished – you know when you are beginning to reach the peak of your ability to master new physical skills! And yet, my enthusiasm for learning continues unabated. While I might never necessarily have the greatest of skills for this sport, I still have the most wonderful enthusiasm to keep on chasing the art of the possible! And if there is a new technology that can help me investigate and learn more about my quest, that is a wonderful thing!
And for me, that is what the future is all about! If achieving a goal always seems elusive and a tremendous challenge you can still judge your overall success by the enthusiasm you bring to the task!