Originally Posted by fatbob
For sure but's that's the problem with the authority of so-called "experts" - honesty and ability to tell it straight are heavily influenced by commissions/tips and repeat business prospects. Otherwise every damn skier wouldn't consider they are advanced and then align themselves to the type of skis that reviewers/manufacturers are rightly pushing for genuinely advanced skiers.
I think there's a good article to be written for Ski magazine on "You ain't all that" it would be more constructive than whining about what the manufacturers are selling - consumer products are all about aspiration or at least they have been ever since the first brands appeared. You can't blame the lions for killing the antelope, you might blame the "trusted advisors" who don't tell the deer they aren't really cheetahs.
Apologies for my made up African proverb.
I like it.
The best decision I ever made to improve my skiing was taking a share in a house of skiers better than myself. I was 30 and had been skiing since age 7. The guy who ran the house was 24, worked in a shop, and was one of the better skiers on the mountain. It was humbling at first, but he took me under his wing, and introduced me to even more better skiers than myself. He and others would give me pointers, and I appreciated the advice. Those pointers, along with visual cues I picked up watching them greatly improved my skiing. It took years, but besides improving my skiing, I gained many friends and "trusted advisors" along the way.
I wish everyone who enters this sport could experience the same, but in many cases, people aren't willing to invest the time, or accept criticism, no matter the intent or delivery. My friend never came right out and told me I sucked, but when he would recommend I purchase the detuned version of the ski he was on, or the slightly softer flexing boot, I knew he didn't consider me to be at his level of proficiency (yet). I didn't take it as an insult; he was right. Although I had been skiing a long time, I wasn't as good as I thought I was. Fortunately, I was able to accept this, and once I did, was able to improve.
The second best decision I made to improve my skiing was investing in a video camera. The camera never lies, and over the years I, and many of my new friends had many a rude awakening as we were confronted by irrefutable evidence of our sucking. (actually, some are still in denial, even to this day) The screenings, which eventually became a happy-hour ritual, often began with someone shouting "ROLL THE UGLINESS!!!" Laughter ensued, then the ugliness.
I can appreciate the difficult position many instructors must find themselves in; feeling as though they can't be entirely honest with their clients about their ability and equipment. On the other hand, although I've never been an instructor, I have worked extensively in bicycle retail, and less extensively in ski retail. Not all, but most customers seemed to appreciate my and my co-workers honesty, and all that I worked with made recommendations based on personal experience, and what we were able to ascertain about our customers needs and abilities. Of course we worked with many "experts" who only wanted "the best", but they were the exception rather than the rule. I also never worked at Vail.
IME it's not always advisable to tell the "thoroughbred" that he's actually a "jackass", but probably also not advisable to insist that both wear your brand of shoe. (see what I did there?)