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I guess the manufacturers assume ego boost of ability level

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Page five of this overview cracks me up-- http://www.head.com/ski/files/pdf/AT...Manual2003.pdf

Ski models are listed by target group--

Pro - 10 models listed
Expert - 9 models listed
Advanced - 2 models listed
Intermediate - 5 models listed

Now in my book, those terms mean --

Pro - Bode Miller
Expert - PSIA Examiner
Advanced - 10-30% of skiing public depending on the mountain, strong level 7 thru level 9.
Intermediate - 70-90% of the skiing public depending on the mountain, level 4 thru low 6+.

So, there are no skis for novices. About 70% of their models are only suitable for a miniscule fraction of a percent of the skiers. There are only two models for my ability range.

In order to sell skis, they must assume that the average skier's ego is going to boost their ability about 1.5 levels.
post #2 of 11

It doesn't matter if you're black or white...

Bode Is the Top of The Pro's (one of, anyway). There are plenty of Pro's who were better and/or worse than him.

Pro's can also be Jeremy Nobis or Sage Cattibriga-Alosa, who is actually interesting because a few years ago he was merely a local "expert". He claims there are plenty more just like him or even better who weren't lucky enough to get a contract with a big time film company. This means that an expert doesn't have to be a PSIA Examiner. In fact I'll claim that undiscovered talent (such as Sage was) are in fact BETTER then Examiners. I say this because they are versed in all areas of the mountain. They can hit the groomed, the park, the backcountry and do it all better then I could dream of. So what if they don't always fit the exact PSIA guidelines for hand placement or whatever, they get the job done using technique that works for them... just like our "Pro" Bode Miller.

So depending on the mountain... say 10% or more of Alta's skiers can be expert, and 60% can be advanced (from what I figure hearing about the place...if only the East was like Utah......) And that might be part of the reason for the breakdown being how it is. Most of the people we see in the east are certainly intermediate.... They're the 3 or 4 times a year skiers who haven't had the time to get better. As skill goes up, the amount of challenging terrain goes down.(I've enjoyed ripping down the greens, but I don't do it nearly as much as people try to ski blacks when they really shouldn't be there.) You'll tend to find the advanced skiers in more isolated areas with the more difficult terrain or often in secret stashes that most people couldn't fathom the existance of.
for the East I'd say 70% Intermediate and Below and 30% Advanced and Above.

Now, for Head's lil Chart... That is so out of whack its funny. There are plenty of people who have skied the "pro" skis in this forum that I don't think would consider themselves pro. While I do think its possible to ski a ski meant for a higher ability, i think a big part is translation for the head people. I think that because of the lack of Beginner skis and Head using "intermediate" skis what we would consider beginner. I've never heard a new skier consider themselves higher then beginner.

Unless I put my ability as Expert (which I am not) on Atomic's site, I can't get it to suggest the SL11 for me, only the SL9. I haven't skied the SL9, but I love the SL11. Could I get more out of it if i was a racer or better then I am? Yeah, probably, but for an advanced skier it's still alot of fun. Its tough to catagorize ability for skiers and companies because its not black or white....
post #3 of 11
Welcome to the world where there are no "novices", "beginners" and similar inferior plebs.
Their disappearance is a longer story accelerated by the shape ski revolution when the traditional LASI system collapsed (L= light, for beginners, A = allround, S = sport, I = individual). But even prior to that, the industry was hesitant both to label its skis with the "beginner" tag ("a ski just for novices/beginners must be a total sh*t") and to address its customers as "beginners".
I know a ski test in Austria which critisized exactly this as early as 1995 or 96.

OTOH, there´s an argument in favor of this. The learning process is much faster on shaped skis and the time one is a "novice/beginner" is very short. A novice doesn´t buy the skis just for his first couple of days or a week but for a longer period when he approaches the "intermediate" level (if you apply it flexibly enough ).
Buy this or don´t.
I´m sure that what I wrote in the second paragraph reflects the reality most.
post #4 of 11
what I find most interesting is that Head, a maker of highly stiff and demanding fat skis, would "dumb down" its ability levels. sounds like a recipe for losing repeat customers.
post #5 of 11
I agree with Checkracer. There is no real need for a beginner ski. Beginners are often into lower intermediate ability within a few days. Given that most int. gear is quite amenable to "beginner" use, I don't see the need for a separate category.
post #6 of 11
The fact is that one not need to be able to ski a ski to it's limits for that ski to be the right ski for that individual. That ski can still be the right ski for an expert.
post #7 of 11
Well, I'm better than a pro, what ski am I supposed to use?
post #8 of 11
custom layups, of course... come on rod, get with it. talk to Drake-Boinay, or Igneous.
post #9 of 11
Hehe Expert = PSIA, I think not.
post #10 of 11
Bode, yep strapped on those K2 fours and changed the world for all of us....except Plake, he still skis on 207 tnc's (pretty good too) I looked good on the 207's, couldn't turn em tho....I sure can turn the 178's thanks Bode!
post #11 of 11
Head's chart is fine

The skis are "rated" for use by such an individual as an expert, you don't have to be an expert to ski them.
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