Okay, let me just preface this by saying, "take everything I say with a grain of salt, because I kinda suck at skiing". I can do parallel turns, and I know how to carve, but my form is ugly, and I still need to give myself a pep-talk just to get down the steeps.
Anyways, I used to ski a bit when I was little, but stopped for about six years, and only started again when I was about twelve or thirteen. Of course, I knew a bit about parallel turns and the sort, but, in my absence from the slope, some tiny little bit of sanity grew inside of me. It kinda liked the warm, cozy, mostly flat lodge, and it was my worst enemy when it came to tackling tougher trails. It would tell me, "No, you idiot! Don't strap planks to your feet and fly down that hill!". And for the most part, I was able to drown it out on the nice, gentle cruisers. But when it came to tackling my first blue, I was helpless and hopeless. It seemed like nothing could get me skiing blues. That year, I learned my first lesson from skiing: my family are a bunch of lunatics and sadists. Time and time again, they'd send me down these icy, steep monstrocities, only for me to go full panic-mode, chills running up my spine before every turn. However, after dozens of tries and the help of a ski instructor named Smitty, I was finally on my way toward my first tentative runs down the steeper and deeper, no fear, no nothing. It seemed as though that whole sanity thing was finally pacified. At least until the double-blues and blacks, that is...
So, despite still gaining my skiing legs, I was starting to get used to the idea of the blue square. It was a challenge for me, but nevertheless I got down them at my own pace. It had been a few years now, since I started skiing again, and I was starting to get a bit better. This year I was going, along with my mom and brother, to Jackson Hole to go skiing with my aunt, who was one of the many psychopaths that had been prodding me down the blues. We started off easily enough, mostly sticking to Apres Vous, challenging myself or so I thought. Then, we took a ride up the gondola. My being an east coast skier, I was excited at the prospect of this strange new marvel. At the top, I was greeted by an easy-enough cruiser, a fairly-tame blue that winded itself down skier's right. However, this nice little groomer was inevitable cut short, as we boarded the Thunder lift. I would later notice, much to my own chagrin, that it was emblazened with a notice, "now servicing: Dbl. Blue, black". My family and I regrouped at the top of the lift, and my aunt told us that we were going to be taking the easy way down. What started as a sigh of relief quickly turned into a feeling of dread, as I realized that the "easy route" equated to an impossibly steep bowl, sprinkled with a generous helping of moguls and terror. Simply put, it put many of the blacks out east to shame. The feelings from my first blue surged back to me with a vengeance. my knees were knocking -- almost audibly -- as I took my first miserable turns. However, with a steady supply of motivation and time, I eventually overcame it.
Strangely enough, after overcoming that monster of a trail, I found that the blues that had previously given me grief to be cakewalks. By the end of the vacation, I had even tackled a black diamond (although it was basically a repeat of the double blue, to be honest). Of course, it would be a while before I was able to tentatively link my turns together down that black, but after doing it twice before, it was a lesson I had already mastered.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is that it isn't about being ready, or safe, or talented (I certainly am not). The one thing that you need is a bunch of crazy, sadistic friends to keep you out of your comfort zone. If you like skiing blues, struggle your way down a black or two. All of a sudden, all of the form that you've been working at on the cruisers will simply snap into place. So long as you can find something to keep you on your toes, you'll have no problem improving, week after week. As long as you keep out of your comfort zone, and don't get complacent, you'll improve, or maim yourself trying.
So, good luck this year, and happy skiing.
Also, I still maintain that my family are lunatics. They got far too much enjoyment out of watching me struggle.''