Delta, skiing 100% in your comfort zone when you're not in class is probably safer than what I was doing this year: 70% above what I could do, 30% at my level. When you do that much skiing in the "yikes zone," it's really hard to perfect and refine your skills.
This is what I've discovered. Everyone has their own specific defense mechanisms when they ski challenging terrain, whether it be leaning into the hill, putting too much weight on the uphill ski, incomplete turns, going across instead of down the hill, etc.
While these are obviously inefiicient ways of skiing, I've discovered that it's actually pretty easy to "perfect" these defensive maneuvers so that you can get down in relative safety. Keep in mind, your skiing still sucks big time, but since you are making it down the hill in one piece, you develop a bit of an attitude problem. If you're spending most of the time doing this sort of stuff, you are commiting it too muscle memory, which totally obliterates any of the good stuff you are learning in class.
If you work with the same instructor on a regular basis, don't think that they are not going to pick up on it. I was reprimanded for this every week, but did I listen? NAH!
So you see, LewBob, it is my own darn fault!
But to LewBob and Nochaser, thanks for making me smile!