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skill level?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Where do you draw the line between beginner, intermediate, and advanced skill levels. It seems that some simply use green, blue, and black as their guide. I have skied out west for about 15 years. I can handle any black or double black under any snow condition that you send my way. However, my technique, form and style is not as good as many of the people that I ski with. Thus, I consider myself a high intermediate or low advanced skier. I'm just curious if this is the norm or not.
post #2 of 8

Try that thread - that should be roughly what youre looking for. As i recall the discussion went mainly to technique, skills, and various other abilities; rather than terrain to determine skill level. Hope that helps you out a bit. The reason it was brought up was because often people assess their ability in the gear section before they are purchasing skis, so there is a need to have some clarification as to what each skill level means... thus the readers and those who reply will have a better idea of what to reccommend to those who are posting gear questions.
post #3 of 8
Alta & Snowbird have skill level definitions under their ski school links:
post #4 of 8

I don't think that is the norm. If you can handle any black or double black with any snow condition, you are probably far better than any type of intermediate skier. On the other hand, skill level does not necessarily match the terrain you are comfortable on. You clearly are comfortable in difficult terrain, so you could join any group of students and not hold them back.

But there are many people with good techniques who could not handle the conditions you can. Lack of experience in that type of terrain, fear of exposed runs, fear of heights, fear of injury, age, can be overwhelming to some. Those skiers may see themselves as advanced skiers, even though this may not be fully deserved.

The best approach is to talk about both, skill level and terrain where you are comfortable.

To give you an example, I consider myself an advanced skier, but I could never pretend to be able to handle anything a mountain throws at me. Perhaps I should consider myself an intermediate, but I honestly don't think that reflects reality. Last year in Snowbird I remember following BobPeters and a few other into Mineral Basin. He took us to a great run (nothing scary), but the traverse seriously scared me. I think at one point AC even asked me if I was OK. The point is that I never get to ski in such exposed places, so my fear of heights really made it a scary traverse. Skiing in the East gives you lots of difficult terrain and conditions, but you rarely find yourself in exposed areas where a fall could be disastrous. One has to get used to that.
post #5 of 8
TomB nails it down quite well. The answer to this in addtion to Tom's post can be or seem very subjective without getting very technical.

In selling skis I ask many questions in order to determine a skier's level. Many will say they do balck diamonds. We have all seen little tykes about 4 or 5 years old or so skiing with mom and dad on a black. They are plowing all the way but there they are- bless their hearts! Does this mean these little guys and gals are advanced skiers?

There are so many factors to consider in identifying someone as entry level, intermediate, or advanced. In a VERY general sense entry level is still doing the wedge and wedge turns. intermeds are starting to do parrallels but still seem to have some upper body rotation (i.e. not keeping chest pointing downhill during turns.). Upper intermeds start doing this more but you see a lot of Z turns (making a nice turn but ending the turn with a quick cut across the fall line which scrubs off speed at the end of the turn. Advanced has taken care of these issues, but then we now get into a whole new can of worms- clean arcs throughout turns, bumps, smooth carving, and on. I have met some very fine skiers who do not do bumps but they can ski the pants off of me! If they don't do bumps does it mean they are not any good? Nah!

I know I will get a lot of flak with this next one- balcks are fine and a heck of a lot of fun, but you will find you do your best skiing... form, style, etc on a good solid blue. So... stay on the blues always? Nah!!!! But I think many here know what I'm talking about.

In short-It is what does through one's head while skiing---

Beginner- what the hell am I doing here? (after falling many times)

Intermediates- What the hell am I doing here? (after taking the arong turn and finding oneself at the top of a black)

Advanced- what the hell am I doing here? (just as your boots cleared the edge of a small cliff or jump you took because all your buddies are watching and you didn't dare chicken out!)

post #6 of 8
...Expert - what the hell is everyone else doing here? (at the top of a couloir packed with adventurous advanced skiers and intimidated intermediates)

[ October 31, 2003, 07:24 AM: Message edited by: Cedric ]
post #7 of 8
Originally posted by Cedric:
...Expert - what the hell is everyone else doing here? (at the top of a couloir packed with adventurous advanced skiers and intimidated intermediates)
...Expert, too - where am I? (after just pointing them down, dancing in the pow, and then realizing you really have no clue where on the mountain you've managed to go. Or, in my case, as you sail over a small dropoff that you remember seeing earlier but had no idea was there! Ooof!)

post #8 of 8
Originally posted by Cedric:
...Expert - what the hell is everyone else doing here? (at the top of a couloir packed with adventurous advanced skiers and intimidated intermediates)
Damn, you people are creative! I love it! But yeah, I have struggled with this issue, too. I got private coaching for 6 solid days at Whistler this summer because I was the only skier at the camp I went to. I had been skiing the same terrain comfortably that I do now, but only after that instruction did I realize how bad my technique was. I still told the guys in the shop that I was an advanced skier because of terrain, but now I understand much better all the things that are influenced by skill level, especially selecting gear. I agree with whoever it was that said it is absolutely a combination of technique and terrain. Wherever you feel comfortable and feel that you're doing the right thing is the right place for you, and that's your skill level.
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