I only recently (a few years ago) got into tree skiing. I raced semi-seriously in college and was scared of injuring myself skiing trees and wasn't particularly good at them. Once out of college I wanted to challenge myself more and diversify what I skied. Trees, with that perspective, are the ultimate challenge. Variable conditions, different routes, hazards. It is a lot of fun. I'm not into super tight trees where you have to bushwhack your way through crap (though I don't know what people's exact definition of super tight is) but I don't want them to be so open that I don't have to think. I want the challenge and I think that is what attracts a good number of people to the trees.
Its kind of like basic science research. Your experiments fail 90% of the time, but you love it for the challenge and reward of really understanding something when it does work out. I think a successful tree skiing run has a higher success rate than 10% too. :razz:
I had a similar background prior to hanging up my GS suit and just skiing the mountain and spending more time in the trees. At times in the beginning of my tree skiing development, I almost felt that I had to tell myself that the trees WEREN'T a slalom gate that I wanted to ski over/through!! Being old enough that at the start of my ski racing career, all the gates were bamboo poles and not hinged plastic poles, I did have some vivid memories of how it felt to try and occasionally from being out of position more often than not in my case, run over those old bamboo race gates, and that helped in my tree skiing line selection process for sure!!
I still today, when I get the chance to free ski with my kids when they're not race training and we head into the trees, occasionally see one of them lining up a tree like it is a slalom gate, and at the last second make the course correction and slide around the tree rather than try and ski through it! It really is a fun thing to see, especially knowing what their racer instinct was thinking before their brains fully processed that what was infront of them was some New England hardwood vs a hinged SPM slalom gate! :lol: