My friend and I have discussed this topic for a while. He was new to skiing, never skied before (early 20's). I was getting back into skiing after a 16 year hiatus having skied less than 30 times in my life.
He got the normal schpiel from the dealer saying that one should progress from beginner through intermediate and then on to more expert skis.
He is decently athletic and progressed pretty quickly from slope rentals into his set of intermediate skis around the $600 range (he got them used so it was cheaper).
Though they were somewhat stiffer than his beginner skis, they didn't seem much different, and he was having issues with chatter as he would push the skis harder. I jumped right from slope rentals straight into an "advanced" level ski, which are still my Monster iM78 and paid less than he did for his intermediates.
I had started back into skiing later than he did, but passed him up once I got to the advanced level of ski.
Long story short, he sold his intermediates and bought a pair of Elan Amphibio 12's and didn't look back. The better materials/technology, or perhaps just the titanal layers are what made the most difference and he has progressed far more on his advanced skis at a more rapid pace and has since passed me up since he skis more often.
So we both felt, with our limited experience over less than 2 seasons (10 outings), that there isn't much difference between a beginner and an intermediate ski, and once you are confident on rentals or equivalent one might as well jump straight to an advanced ski. His other siblings followed the same logic and most went from rentals to a ski with some form of titanal layer.
That said we are eastern hardpack skiers, where metal layers in the skis make a huge difference in grip with our regular icy conditions.
We are also not experts in skis or skiing, (though we can handle pretty much anything the east coast has).
Has this been anyone else's experience? Or is there a case for the intermediate level ski?
2 years ago I had to drop down to an intermediate level ski when I left mine at home, and immediately missed the edge grip I was used to. It made me wonder if I was relying too much on the ski rather than my technique.
Edited by Spring1898 - 6/12/16 at 4:25pm