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What's it take to pass LEvel II skiing?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I was just looking at PSIA-E's provisional schedule for this year, and it looks like in order to take my Level II Skiig, I will have to do it on either Dec. 20th or sometime in March. If I do the skiing in March, I'll have to wait until next year for the Teaching. Dec. 20th is pretty early in the season, and it may be hard to get any training in with all the new hire training and stuff going on. I'm inclined to just go for it, unless there's a pre-req required.

BTW - this stuff is expensive. Taking the Level II prep and both parts of the exam will be about $500 without travel and lodging expenses, not to mention time off from work. In addition to that, I'm really wanting to take that Halfpipe and Park for Children clinic.
post #2 of 22
If you want to take the 12/20 L2 exam, the 12-13 to 12-17 Snow Pro Jam would be a great way to prep/prereq. However, if there is any question about passing, you're probably better off planning for a later exam. One of the things that really helps you pass is the confidence to know that your everyday skiing is good enough to pass. When you don't know what the standard is, the uncertainty and lack of confidence makes it difficult to overcome the "little surprise" tricks that examiner sometimes use to make their job easier. Plus the pressure to ski your best often is your undoing. The reason most exams are later in the season is that most people simply can got get ready that quickly.

BTW - once you get over the fact that certification will never pay for itself, it's easier to discover the other merits of certification that make it a worthwhile endeavor. IMHO the biggest benefit of certification is that completing the process moves you to another level where you can see many new "doors for growth" that are open for you to pursue. A far bigger "cost" of certification is the responsibility to continue your growth and share your wealth with fellow instructors.
post #3 of 22
well, something to keep in mind for Level II skiing is the primary focus being at levels 3-7 (wedge thru open parallel). In you demo's, you will be expected to perform the demo's properly, to form, and at an excruciatingly slow pace (speed hides all flaws afterall, and it shows if you are not doing something right by going very slowly). You need to be very technically sound in your demo's from 3-7, very slow speed, proper body movements, and edge andgles, and most importantly, proper use of the skills needed to perform the task.

When you get to the more freeskiing oriented tests of the exam, its a little different. When I took it, you had to show a competancy in guiding through the easiest bumps, personal competancy in skiing blue/easy black bumps, competancy in short radius turns and competancy in railroads (if I remember correctly).

Personally, I felt almost ready for my 3 when I took my level 2 skiing, and I think I performed pretty well. However, I also prefered to take the events earlier in the season, just in case (thankfully never had to retake any) but that comes down to confidence and personal preferance.

I haven't yet taken a look at the PSIA-E event shedule, but I hopefully will be partaking in the freestyle/freeride courses again (I was in the only one when happened last year at Okemo), and hopefully this year there will be more than just the introductory course offered.

I wish more people were interested in pursuing both their educational levels, as well as expanding the knowledge base (the accredidations and whatnot like the backcountry and freestyle). Hopefully I'll see you out there.
post #4 of 22
Epic - you asked what it takes. Manus has given you a great answer. The following is intended to be a complementary post instead of contradictory heresy.

The tasks in the exam really don't matter. Most examiners will tell you that they pretty much know who will pass in the first five minutes. Sure there are some border liners that they will watch a little closer through the day to see if they CAN demonstrate the moves they are looking for. But they'll pass those people on the moves, not the tasks. And sure, people CAN flunk for not being able to do specific tasks, but it does not happen often. So the heresy is that there is no difference between "very technically sound" demos and basic "competency" in other tasks.

One of the things I've seen with my video analysis is that movement patterns that are "issues" in free skiing are ALWAYS present in the "demos" and always present whether it's a "good run" or a "bad run" worthy of a do over. For the people that I've worked with who were prepping for exams, if they had a problem with, say, banking in their free skiing, then their wedge turns would also show an ever so slight bank.

Some people develop the level 2 movements by working on their demos until they've ingrained the movements, which also impacts their "free skiing". Others "fix" their free skiing first then practice their demos. It does not matter. If you've got the moves, you will nail the demos and you'll be competent enough whether your bump run is a little soft blue or nasty icy black (and whether you've practiced or not).

If you follow the study guide and get good coaching (either from your own training staff or from PSIA clinics), you will know when you WILL PASS the exam as opposed to thinking you can pass the exam. If you do not know that you will pass, you need more work. The study guide does a good job describing the "BERP" movements that are required to pass, but reading the guide alone will not give the answer you seek. You must ski the moves and feel the flow and smoothness to own the understanding.

ok - one might fairly argue that all the above is a bunch of crap. It's here to possibly help Epic make a decision and/or provoke discussion. Have at it.
post #5 of 22

Level 11

Hey Epic,
A couple of suggestions:

1. At Fresh Tracks, ask the coaches to give you personal feedback relevant to Level 11 skiing. I did that last year, before my Level 111, and got some really encouraging and informative feedback.

2. From what I have observed, I would suggest that your personal skiing is not far off.

3. For Level 11, your demonstrations need to be crisp and efficient. As you know, I have worked with most of our Level 11 candidates, and would be available to help you, I have used video a lot, and that has proved very helpful.

4. I used to go to Pro Jam, but realized that the week of Pro Jam was costing about $1000 a time, when you factor in the $300 fee, accommodation, missed work etc.
Fresh Tracks is the result of this realization!

See you at Fall Refresher
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm guessing that Freshtracks will be the week before ProJam? I hope we have some snow for it, as I do plan to use it to get up to speed for the exam (if I can take it without doing a pre-req first) I am planning to do the teaching prep firrst because I do not feel confident that I would pass the Level II teaching. I wouldn't want to pay a grand for ProJam just to get it in as a pre-req. I'm trying not to overload on coaching from too many sources, so I'd also like to be able to stick with our coaches here. I'm hoping to find out who else is interested in taking the Level II this year, and see if the mountain can arrange a prep course, the week before.

Can't wait for the Fall Refresher, I was at a wedding in Aspen last week, and it snowed so I've really got the fever. I was just up at the mountain yesterday, and things are moving along. It's scary that I am now thinking this way, but I'm psyched for our new triple with some totally flat terrain!
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by skiswift
As you know, I have worked with most of our Level 11 candidates, and would be available to help you, I have used video a lot, and that has proved very helpful.
Actually, I didn't know that. It might be especially good to see vid of wedge turns and the like.
post #8 of 22

Last year I took and passed the Level II skiing portion of the last exam at Okemo. The examiners had gotten together and were examining with the same demos and tasks. For us it was the wedge, spontanious christi, open stance parallel, ski down the fall line, short radius turns, blue bumps, and "free" run.

As stated by the others, they are looking for proper movement patterns at all times and in all maneuvers. They want to see an appropriate blend of skills in all the maneuvers. They have finely tuned eyes and the comments I got back on all my cards were appropriate. None of the comments were a surprize, they mirrored exactly what my coaches and mentors have been beating into me over the past couple of years. The exam was fair and well run.

For what its worth, my advice is to have all the basic demos down cold. Spontanious christis seem to be a big stumbling point for a lot. (The wedge opens with no stem up the hill.) Practice, practice, practice. I mirror the slow skiing comments, slow skiing really shows up the problem areas.

Sounds like you have some great coaches and mentors to get you tuned up. Get out with them and get some good quality milage.

During the exam get a good raport going with the other members of your pod. It is amazing how a good pod of people can help bring the best out of everyone.

Good luck, and give it your best shot.
post #9 of 22
Lots of good advice. I obviously have no idea what it's like in the east. I can describe what it takes for level II and III candidates in the RM division

1. ski......don't pose
2. have fun, smile, laugh,joke.....it's recreation not a funeral
3. move.....never stop moving
4. make circles.....never go straight

Prior to my level III exam Tom "Hap" Hazard told me to quit trying and go ski like a madman. He said the only score of "ten" he ever gave in a level III bump run was to a female candidate who was so athletic and out on a ragged edge that she fell twice on her bump run.

I went to the exam and in the medium radius carved turns had the mother of all falls.....a true yard sale. I still passed
post #10 of 22
My advice to anyone going for an exam is to prepare as much as you can , listen to your coaches and when you feel confident, go for it. Pass or fail, it is just an evaluation ( albeit an expensive one! ) and for most of us , a growth experience. If you were just a regular general public skier you'd have to pay a lot of money to get an evaluation like that from top level instructors. The main thing is if you have prepared well and you are confident, have fun and show 'em what you've got. You should do just fine.
I am from the Rocky Mountain Div and we do a wedge christie in both the 2 and 3 exams , what the heck is a "spontaneous christie" ?
post #11 of 22
Snowdancer, the description of "spontaneous" (Wedge opens with no stem uphill) sure sounds like it would apply to the wedge christie.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
I went to the exam and in the medium radius carved turns had the mother of all falls.....a true yard sale. I still passed
I can only imagine what you were thinking as you collected up your gear.
post #13 of 22
Originally Posted by epic
I can only imagine what you were thinking as you collected up your gear.
scheduling my next attempt!

it was the last exercise on the last day and by this time I guess I had enough points.

damn snow snake bit me.
post #14 of 22
something else to keep in mind for all levels (but especially level II) is to have your words, as well as excepted descriptive terminology for the demos (PSIA-speak descriptions) match your movement patterns in your demos. Very often have I seen people that say and do two completely different things (in their demos) and making their movements match their words can make a huge change their skiing.

But the most important lesson I learned when taking all my exams, DO NOT CARE, PASS OR FAIL, HAVE FUN. You are there for a reason, you think you're good enough, prove it to them, and have fun doing so. Some of the most positive comments I've received over the years were based on how much fun I was having and how much I would screw around (but then switch back to technical and ski what I was supposed to), to give you an example (not recomending this, but I did it) at my level II skiing, I passed my whole group, including examiner, in a backwards tuck skiing/skating across the top flats of Jiminy Peak, as well as displayed the "power wedge" (straight line super wide wedge, butt almost to the ground - we've all seen it done before) and the "power wedge tuck". While doing all this (and having a lot of fun), I was focused on making sure I was paying attention to where we were going, what we were focused on, and being repspectful to everyone.

The most important thing you can do is have fun at an exam. If you can do that, you relaxed demener (sp?) will be noticed, and you will not "tense up" in your demos as often.

Oh, and one post script, never admit to the/an examiner that the definition (your on snow representation) of a short radius turn (or any raduis turn) is what the examiner shows (been there, done that, not the brightest thing I've ever said at an exam).
post #15 of 22

Yard sale

Rusty-I had the same experience on my Level 111. We were told to ski White Heat at Sunday River as if we were putting on a show for a hot shoe 19 year old student. Conditions were very challenging..icy, rutted . I took some air over a mogul, lost a ski in midflight, landed hard, and lost most of my gear.
Figured I had blown my exam right there, and this was on the first day!
When results were posted, and I found I had passed, I asked the examiner who skied with me on the first day how he looked on my big fall, btw he had written 'exciting skiing from you today' on my card.
His response was interesting... he was impressed that after the fall, I had continued skiing positively, moving down the mountain, and had not displayed any defensive movements.
Thus, a fall does not have much impact, pun intended, if you don't let it affect your movement patterns.

As regards Exam imperatives:

Make your group work..keep the energy high..it is not a competition..all of you can pass! Be careful about giving feedback...give encouragement...humor is essential.
Only 2 in my group of 8 passed the skiing..most of the others were way too uptight to put on a good show.
A month later, I did the teaching at Killington, our group was relaxed, having fun, talking, laughing....6 out of 7 passed.
Listen to the task..get clarification to be sure you heard correctly.
Ski the task to a crisp stop..you're being watched the whole time.
Start all tasks with your skis pointed downhill.
On free runs, do what you are best at, this is not the time to practice new or uncertain skills.
Play, be exciting, ski the edges of the trails, be different, show initiative.
post #16 of 22
Originally Posted by skiswift
Start all tasks with your skis pointed downhill.
Great tip....that way your first turn is only half a turn.
post #17 of 22
Hey Epic,
My advice to you would be to take the time over the winter and train hard for your skiing part. This way you can go in prepared and confident. Don't rush the process
instead enjoy the process
Another tip for L2- watch what the examiner does like how many short radius turns did he do from one pole to the next? So if he does 10 or 15 you should also try and come close to that.Or if you have the chance to go first go! His demo is the one you are going to remember and not the 6 other canidates. In your free skiing mix it up short turns,lanes changes ,gs, carved turns.I even did some leapers to show them I could open my ankles and not always be too flexed. Bst advice given have a great time and stay upbeat!

I apologizes now for any grammatical and spelling errors(this is why I don't post to often. I am a much Better skier than typer.

post #18 of 22

Spontaneous Christi = Wedge Christi. A couple of years ago there was a name change in the east. I understand it was to underscore that during the turn the wedge opens and closes naturally in tune with speed and terrain, it is not forced. (In the east we use to have a Wedge Christi 1, Wedge Christi 2, and Wedge Christi 3. In these you had to close the wedge after, in, and before the fall line.) I used the term because thats what the examiners will use. (Although they used both terms during my exam.)

The skiing remains the same only the names change.
post #19 of 22
however, in the level II skiing exam, they may also throw Stem-Christie demos at you as well (they did when I took my exam) for versatility drills.
post #20 of 22
Great thread Epic. This is the advice i've been lookig for.but i am going to try to get L1
Guys i've been skiing 35+ yrs and have seen alot of technics but this new skiing with the fat ski's seems to be the easiest so far. Ive gone from bear trap bindings w/190s back to 160s (1970s)then back to 190s now it's 178s. Well what i'am getting at is I want to learn to teach. But iam unsure if i can break many bad habbits like, I find my self in the back seat and stem cristies instead of rolling my ski's. I follow friends and family who are levels 2 and 3 PSI . I can match them turn for turn on most terrain .
Can an old dog learn new tricks to teach other other dogs??
post #21 of 22
Can an old dog learn new tricks to teach other other dogs??
If I can do it anyone can do it.
post #22 of 22

Old dogs

True..if someone of my advanced years can pass Level 111, then any of y'all can do it, too!
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