I don't skate but both of my kids play ice hockey. They talk about 'soft' ice & 'hard' ice...soft ice is slow, hard ice is fast and they get their skate blades ground accordingly.
What you said. Even so I've been bronzed by NASTAR (100/1000ths out from the silver in my age group at the time (about 10 years ago), I truly understand what you said. Anybody that knows anything about NASTAR will understand that the benchmark standard doesn't change a whole lot (although some accomodation is given) with respect to age.
One thing that I disticntly remember struggling with: the ruts. The ski-chatter was absolutely fear inspiring. I found out afterwards that those ruts were the prima facie cause for ACL knee-surgury for any serious skier. I like skiing, but I guess I'm not that serious. As in any sport, one has to be willing to give what it takes.
My hat's off to all of these athletes (even the people who finished last). That is most especially appropriate to some of the woman skiers (anybody notice how thick their thighs are?). I'll tell you this with utmost frankness: you gave it your all, and reached Deep INTO yourself to find more and only to find "nothing". That's cool in my book, because you went to the mountain (I didn't).
I know the text-books are wrong, because I've recently become involved in F1 racing simulation. Almost all of the material about tires is wrong. Wider tires does NOT make one faster. Wider tires does something, but not what is conventionally thought.
Anyways, I hope that y'all thought the matter to be as cool as I did. I've read so MUCH cool stuff on this board that my mind swims. Sometimes you just have to give back.