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Skis for Level 3

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I plan on taking my Level 3 exam this season (probably at Mammoth). I'm currently skiing on a pair of Rossi B2s with somewhere around 150 days on them. They have lost most of their snap, the bases are in pretty bad shape (why didn't someone tell me that rails and boxes are bad for your skis?) and are on their way to rock ski purgatory. This leaves me shopping for a new pair of skis.

The consensus around my resort (Bear Mountain) is that I should be looking for something with a deep sidecut and a naturally short radius. Slalom skis are popular around here, as are the all-mountain slaloms (eg Atomic Metron). I've demoed slalom skis, and while they are a blast on the groomed, I can't imagine them out in the crud. If I bought a pair, they would simply be a quiver ski. The fatter all-mountain slalom skis are better, but I still don't like they way they handle. The shorter natural radius makes them a little bit twitchy when straight running at speed, and given the choice I prefer to make longer turns. These are great skis, but they don't match the way I like to ski.

I want to ski like the guys in TGR movies. I like to spend as little time as possible on groomers. Given the choice I'll be out skiing snow that has never seen a groomer. When that's not an option (early season at Bear), I'm in the park, trashing my skis on icy landings and trying to learn to jib. Personally, I would like to own an all-mountain mid-fat ski (between 75 mm and 90mm under foot) with turned up tails for playing in the park. I've also been looking at pure park skis. I've demoed the new B3s and really liked them. I also liked the new K2 Public Enemys and the Volkl Karmas. The Karma's didn't seem as forgiving as the other skis, in that I really had to stay forward to get them to turn, but that probably says more about my technique than it says about the skis. I'm currently leaning towards the Karmas, partly because I liked the way they skied, and partly because I expect their unforgiving nature to help me correct my habit of backseat driving (the B2s respond great no matter where you are, so they have made me into a really lazy skier).

If there was no exam, I would simply grab a pair of Karmas, B3s or Public Enemies. However, the exam has me somewhat concerned. I was warned that one of the adaptive instructors was told (by an examiner during a prep clinic) that he would never be able to pass the exam on "those skis." The skis in question were a pair of new Line park skis. While I could understand an examiner telling a student this is they were on some ancient straight skis, it seems wrong that certain types of skis are required to pass. It seems to me that good skiing is good skiing regardless of the equipment. Hopefully examiners should be able to adjust based on the equipment (ie cutting the guy on slaloms a little slack when he's trying to arc GS turns through cut-up crud).

To make matters more confusing, the exam will almost certainly be held at Mammoth, where the conditions are highly variable. During a 3-day exam, you could see everything from ice to wind buff, to slush, to 5 feet of powder. Ideally I would show up with a full quiver of skis and the ability to change skis instantly, even in the middle of the run. My financial situation won't allow that (although I could potentially borrow a pair of slalom skis from another instructor to take with me in the event that Mammoth has turned into an ice rink).

So, I'm looking for some advice here. Should I listen to my trainers and forsake my personal style of skiing for a season on the groomers? Can I pass a Level 3 exam on park skis? Mid-fats? Are there any other skis I should be looking at that I've forgotten about?
post #2 of 20
Well, I don't know about any real advice, but my suggestion would be to not go into an exam on a twin tip. you really want the most versatile ski you can find that you really like. I went to the exam last year on my B5's and ended up scoring a five on equipment. I think I was the only one to score a five in our group.

You want a ski that can handle any task or drill on the groom along wiht allowing you to ski very dynamicly on the groom. It also should allow you the same freedoms off the groom, allowing you to handle frozen chicken heads, dust on crust, frozen bumps, frozen steeps and the afternoon deep soft crud. A tall order. there are skis out there that give you this versatility and the B5 is at the top of the list.

For what it is worth, I too consider off groom the primary playground, but a good pro does it all well. Good luck this year. Later, Ricb.

P.S. don't neglect your teaching. ;>))
post #3 of 20
Okay (I started posting here and got interrupted). If you want to pass your L3 i would ski on whatever will get you the best score. My advice is to buy the skis you want to buy and ski on them for most of your season. About 3 weeks prior to your exam strike up a deal with a fellow instructor who has more than one pair of skis to borrow a pair of skis that will work for your test. I would look toward anything that has over a 70mm waist and a deep sidecut (12m - 14m turn radius). The Atomic Metrons are good, Nordica Hot Rods, RX8, 6-Star... etc. Search swaps too - find something cheap that will do the trick. Just don't show up on a pair of 100mm waisted twin tips with flourescent transformer graphics... The examiner will probably have a very closed mind regardless of your ability. If you want - go middle of the road on both skis - maybe a used twin tip powder ski and a used short turning all-mountain ski. It can never hust to have more than one pair of boards laying around. Surf ebay too - that can turn up some good deals on only moderately trashed equipement.

I skied with/helped one of the coaches at my local hill a few seasons back when he was going for his L3. We spent one entire day skiing the "typical PSIA turns," picking them apart, and going after it again. He was using a pair of Atomic SL:11's (157cm i think), and was doing just fine (mind you - in the east). Something slightly wider should do the trick for you. Don't go over 170cm though... you will want the ability to carve medium radius turns very easily at moderately low very controlled speeds. (BTW, the coach who I was skiing with passed).

Later

GREG
post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalSki
...
Slalom skis are popular around here, as are the all-mountain slaloms (eg Atomic Metron). I've demoed slalom skis, and while they are a blast on the groomed, I can't imagine them out in the crud.
...
It seems to me that good skiing is good skiing regardless of the equipment. Hopefully examiners should be able to adjust based on the equipment (ie cutting the guy on slaloms a little slack when he's trying to arc GS turns through cut-up crud).
...
To make matters more confusing, the exam will almost certainly be held at Mammoth, where the conditions are highly variable. During a 3-day exam, you could see everything from ice to wind buff, to slush, to 5 feet of powder. Ideally I would show up with a full quiver of skis and the ability to change skis instantly, even in the middle of the run.
...
Can I pass a Level 3 exam on park skis? Mid-fats?
Try taking a pair of 130cm skis out in 8 inches of crud. That'll spark your imagination. Better yet, try a 130cm ski on one foot and your regular ski on the other. (If anyone asks what you're doing, complain loudly about the rental shop.)

In general, examiners will not adjust exam scoring based on equipment (with the exception of adjusting downward). Part of the exam is bringing equipment suitable to the task. L3 is about all slopes under all conditions. Thus, by definition, park skis are generally not "suitable" for a level 3 exam. Neither are super fat powder skis. Such is life.

That said, neither are you expected to show up at Mammoth with 5 sets of skis for 5 different slope conditions/tasks or change gear in mid run. No matter what equipment you you bring, you will generally catch a little slack when you transition from 3 feet of powder to solid ice in the same run (which I've encountered at Mammoth). Nonetheless, I know several examiners that would go out of their way to put such a run together. Sure they would cut you slack, but they still would want to see who can handle this and how.

As long as your park skis were not mounted in the middle, I'd say that it would be possible to pass L3, in theory. It should be possible to demonstrate the proper movements, hit all the visual cues and get those skis to perform. But you would at least be making the task harder and likely be begging for an examiner to flunk you simply because of the equipment choice (even though they should not flunk you outright ONLY for this reason). Why stack the odds against success?

You've come to the right conclusion to get new gear. Mid fats are fine. Get something/anything labelled "all mountain" that you like and don't worry about it. And if it snows 5 feet and you show up in rental fatties and huge grin, do not WHINE when the bastard manages to find the one spot on the mountain where the wind has blown the good stuff off and left boilerplate.
post #5 of 20
Yeah, I agree with the rusty, all mountain midfats. Powder and ice and moguls and everything in between. I just don't think short tight-radius skis are very nice in hard moguls, or cruddy soft snow. I think the issue with park skis is their hardpack performance is often ordinary, and they're not really for dynamic turns.

I'd have thought they'd mark someone up who performed well on inappropriate skis, but don't quote me as I haven't done level 3!
post #6 of 20
This months Ski Mag has a rundown on almost all the new skis out there. Read about them and pick the ones that tickle your fancy and then demo them. After skiing the ones that looked good in the mag, pick one and then get your check book out. As for an exam situation. Find out who your examiner is and demo the skis he or she are skiing on during the exam might help and repeat, "WOW, THESE SkIS ARE GREAT!!!!". ( Just kidding ) But I think some of the advise in earlier posts about specialty skis such as twin tips not being the way to go in an exam is good.-----Wigs
post #7 of 20

Bring two pair of skis

I would bring two pairs of skis. Bring your B2s as they will probably be fine in new snow or crud. But, do get a pair of short slalom (e.g. Rossi 9S Oversize) in a 155/160/165. Plan to ski those unless you get new snow or the conditions warrant your B2s. Skis like the 9S Oversize with a 118 tip ski very, very well even in crud but will shine if it hasn't snowed in a while.

This is an excellent combination and should cover you in most snow conditions. Don't be afraid to use one pair one day and another pair the other day.

Good luck in the exam.

Bob
post #8 of 20
As long as you stay middle of the road you should be fine if you can use the tool. Overthinking the choice will just give you one more thing to worry about. I used a middle of the road rec carver and passed. So I would say the ski is secondary to your skills. If it helps your confidence take your favorite skis whatever they are.
post #9 of 20
I agree with justanotherskipro, versitility in the ski is important, but the ski should be a current model and in good shape (no old beaters). A mid-fat, or all-mountain is fine and one more thing, save your B-2's for the park and don't take anything for the exam there. Good luck!
RW
post #10 of 20
I would go with B5s myself.

Line does have some twintips out this year with alotta of sidecut(like under 13m) and line skis are generally regarded as as the best skiing twin made. My chronics are the second best midfats i have skied, second only to the do all metrons.

I didnt know they test score you on equipment at exam does this apply for L2 too? I am going this year and was curious.
post #11 of 20
Bushwhackerinpa,
Part of part 2, skiing and professional knowledge, you may be asked about equipment or why you chose the equipment you are on, but equipment alone is not on the exam card. Twin tips put off a rouster tail while carving and it looks a little funny doing a demo, it wouldn't be my first choice for a exam.
RW
post #12 of 20
SoCal,

I'd agree with a great deal of what was said here and while I have power skis, mid fat skis, and on-piste carvers, I'm wouldn't be likely to bring the powder skis to an exam or precourse event -- as a participant or as a demonstrator -- regardless of the conditions. While I'd probably have a great time on them, their width makes it very difficult to complete high or pure edge maneuvers as we tend to want them to be done.

One important note regarding changing skis at the exam. It is my understanding from some of the candidates in the West this past season (I didn't witness any first hand), that you may be required to ski the same ski all day at the event.

Part of being a Level III instructor is being able to be versitile and that means "any thing, any where, any time."

Pick a ski that you enjoy skiing in variable conditions and that you are able to perform the maneuvers well on in the conditions that you expect to see at your exam and then show up and show us what you have. You're scored on your performance of the tasks, not on what you have on your feet.

DB

PS Good luck on your exam
post #13 of 20
I am taking my B5s for sure, but i was just saying that line is making slalmon sidecut twin now and the are fairly stiff. I am buying a pair this year because my twins were stolen.
post #14 of 20
You want a pair of Allstars and a pair of AC4's. That will cover you.
post #15 of 20
Holy Shit "therusty" That was funnt 130cm on one foot regular size on the other then complain loudly about the rental shop. Would love to see the looks on peoples faces if someone actually did that.

With that said Dynastar Legend 8000's !!! Oh yeah baby they are rippers ! They are also not a twin tip, they have a kick tail on them,
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidecut
You want a pair of Allstars and a pair of AC4's. That will cover you.
Sidecut already said it. For Big Bear and Mammoth, L3 demonstrations and open mountain off-piste freestyle. Uh, keep the B2 for the rail grinders.
post #17 of 20

cookie cutters

Sounds like you should go w/ cookie cutter skis IE Metron, Hotrod, Zenith ETC. I personaly prefer a softer race stock SL 165-170 for exams{ much more difficult to skid or slip though}. It is disapointing that we are becoming so equipment dependent, It has gotten to a point where a superior skier on the wrong ski cannot possibly compete w/ some one of lesser ability on cookie cutter boards{exam selection situation only} I personally think some of the new so called park skis are excellent all mountain skis,granted not a one of them cuts a 12m arc. However theres no unwanted hook ups in bumps crud or pow. If you know how to ski you can really work your turns through edging steering and dynamic movement {skill blend}. They carve excellent 18m to 25m arcs. No wonder why so many new instructors have no concept of movement. All you have to do is tip and ride, as long as its not to steep "bam" completed carved turn. This day and age I would hope that showing up at an exam on a modern all mountain twin{even a verstile fat ie mantra} would not affect your score card. However I would hope lack of movement and balance would. strong solid skiing skills is good skiing period weather your on a cookie cutter, SL, GS, twin, or a Pow ski. granted there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Oh and all skis pure carve some just do it within smaller distances.

my 2cents
post #18 of 20
greater than 77 mm underfoot and a radius between 14-16 meters. 1/2 tune.
post #19 of 20
I would recommend that what ever ski you decided to take to the exam, you can turn it in a veriety of situations.

The examiner looks at how you use the tool, not the ski you are skiing on. Skis are only the interface between the user and the snow. The examiner normaly can tell on the first run and usualy while you are standing in the meeting area on the first day, if you have the skill base needed to be successful.
post #20 of 20
I think that Buffoon said something very important:
It is disapointing that we are becoming so equipment dependent, It has gotten to a point where a superior skier on the wrong ski cannot possibly compete w/ some one of lesser ability on cookie cutter boards{exam selection situation only}

The truth is that, at least if you are in the Midwest, you would see almost everyone on 67mm-68mm and few courageous souls on 70mm. But, I am pretty sure that if you put them on a 75mm waisted skis they would not look that good. It is easy to make short turns on short skis with lots of sidecuts, try doing that on 75mm+ waisted skis. Then you are really good. For some reason PSIA does not seem to care. To me they should mandate a mid skis. And my rationale is that since you may get certified in any division you want, but you can teach where you choose, you should be able to handle yourself on any type of ski that happens to be ideal for any specific situation. What to say about a skier that looks good on hard snow on little skis but looks awful on different terrains or strapped to a wide ski? Yet..
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