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Newbie looking for guidance...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

I have been skiing off and on for a couple of years. The first time I went skiing I was 19 and I went with my ex-girlfriends brothers. They thought it would be funny to take me to the top of Bear Mtn before even hitting the bunny slopes, and let me figure out how to get down on my own. 3 hours and about 100 falls later I made it to the bottom. By the end of the day, it somehow clicked with me.

I am unsure of how to explain my skill level. I would say intermediate. I rarely fall and keep a decent speed, maybe even take a small jump here and there (i usually eat it though). Turning (carving?) is rarely a problem either, but I am sure it doesn't look pretty. I don't have a problem going down any slope at Bear Mtn or Snow Summit, but I know nothing about terminology, equipment, etc... I have never taken a lesson and I always rent my skiis.

I went a few times last season, and all summer I have been itching to go back. I want to take skiing more serious because I truly enjoy it. I want to go on some nice ski trips this year. So I am looking for someone to point me in the right direction as far as how to improve my skills, terminology, and knowledge of equipment. I want to purchase my own equipment this year. Here are some general questions:

Equipment: What should I get? I know this is broad a question, so are there any articles that can read so I can understand what I should be looking for? I don't even know what size, shape, etc... I should be considering. Can I get away with spending around $1500 on decent skis, poles, boots?

Terminology: WTF is the Fall Line? Is it essentially downhill?

Anyway, Ski-noob 101 is dismissed. Thanks for the help.

Oh ya, Height 6'2, Weight 200lbs
post #2 of 10

Welcome to EpicSki!

Check out the EpicSki Academy events scheduled for this season.


Either (or both) of these events would be a great way for you to get a great base to build on ...as well as have a lot of fun. I've not seen agenda's for the current events, but in the past they have had sessions addressing equipment.

As for equipment, focus on your boots at this time. Do yourself a HUGE favor and learn everything you can about boot fit and alignment and work with a reputable boot fitter to get properly fitted and aligned boots, then consider skis.

Check out "The Complete Encyclopedia of Skiing" for your terminology craving: http://www.psia-rm.org/DetailPage.asp?ProductID=105

Here's an excerpt:
Originally Posted by The Complete Encyclopedia of Skiing, Bob Barnes
The fall line is an imaginary line from any point on a slope following the angle of steepest descent. In other words, it is "straight down the hill." The part of a turn during which the skier is moving or the skis are pointing straight downhill is said to be "in the fall line." We "cross the fall line" in a turn the moment the skis point straight downhill.
There are really two types of fall line. Unless otherwise indicated, "fall line" usually refers to static fall line described here. The dynamic fall line is the path a ball would roll down a hill, which is determined by both the direction of the (static) fall line and the speed and direction the ball is moving at any point.
See also Dynamic Fall Line.
post #3 of 10
Originally Posted by Hurgoth
Hello all,

I don't even know what size, shape, etc... I should be considering. Can I get away with spending around $1500 on decent skis, poles, boots?

Terminology: WTF is the Fall Line? Is it essentially downhill?

Anyway, Ski-noob 101 is dismissed. Thanks for the help.

Oh ya, Height 6'2, Weight 200lbs
1. Fall line is where gravity would take you (the line a snowball would roll down if you let go of it where you are).

2. Get a good set of boots that fit well. Buy a pair of skis, with bindings already mounted, on eBay, after you get some sense of what you want from renting a couple of different demo skis (or posting something on the separate equipment forum here.) Once the skis arrive, take them to your local ski shop and have the bindings adjusted for your boots, height, weight and skier type. I'm a racer, so recreational skis are pretty far out of my area of expertise, but my free advice, worth everything you pay for it, would be (A) get a ski with a shape for an about 17-18 meter radius sidecut, and (B) lots of people like the Atomic Metron. The truth is, though, that lots of companies make lots of good skis now.

3. Every once in a while during the season, take your skis in to the shop and have them waxed and the edges sharpened. Racers wax their skis after every use, and sharpen the edges after every other day. 97% of recreational skier NEVER wax their skis. A waxed ski works better, and if you initiate your turns with any kind of foot twist (and you probably do), wax makes that move easier.
post #4 of 10
Note that sfdean is a racer .... and note that he said to get your edges sharpened. Do NOT get a full base grind every trip .... they don't need it. They do need the wax and edges only.
post #5 of 10
1. Everyone is going to say get a good pair of boots and alignment. This is because it is the very first foundational step to improving. Find a good bootfitter near you and work with them. Learn what a "shell fit" is and what the boots should feel like. Use the search function to find more information than you can possibly read on this subject. Ask people on the board for a good bootfitter near you. We will know somebody near you, its practically gauranteed.

2. The second step would be to find a good ski instructor. The Epic Ski Academy mentioned above is a good idea if you can make it. Ask for people on this board to recommend someone based on where you ski and live. We will know somebody near you, its practically guaranteed.

Take a lesson from this instructor before buying skis. Ask him for a recommendation on a ski that fits your ability level and conditions you are likely to ski. Ask for a length recommendation. You might be best off on a good learning ski still, you might be better off on a more advanced model. Someone that sees your actual skills can make the best recommendation. Equally likely you will decide you really don't even want to buy a pair of skis because you like demo'ing every new board on the market.

3. Read the instruction section of this board. You will learn about all the strange terms in excruiating detail. You will learn about a bunch of different teaching methods and organizations. You will get exposure to good reading material. You will learn to use the search function. Every topic you are likely to think of has a 100 good threads already. Try "slow line fast" as a good starter.

Also as a pro-tip, if you find yourself in disagreement with a post, post a response question asking why it differs from your understanding. Participate through questions, not answers. Let the people who really know their stuff give the answers. You are going to learn a lot of cool stuff and probably start to think you really know what you are talking about. 9 times out of 10 the instructor teaching for 30 years was probably right. We all learn that one the hard way. On the plus side, nearly every question gets respected with a good answer or discussion regardless of who asks. Eventually, you might even be asked for the answer.

Just by doing those 3 things you will eventually reach all of the goals you specified. In a year's time you will post this exact same post to someone asking the same question you just did.

P.S. I was you a year ago .
post #6 of 10
Buy boots, check out the reviews here and various ski mags, then demo them and compare to the reviews you read until you have a good feel for what your going to get, then buy skis at end-of-season sale. As an alternative to the end-of-season sales, you may be able to apply your demo fees to the purchase at some stores.

A lesson won't hurt.

Here's one site that will help you determine your level. I'm sure there are more, I just can't seem to find them now.

post #7 of 10
Hurgoth, you're going to love it here. Your words "itching to go" pretty much describe everyone's feelings here about skiing right about now. Welcome and good luck conquering the slopes, but skiing is just too much fun to take seriously.
post #8 of 10
I found some other ski level descriptions. Funny, on the link in Ghost's post, I'd have pegged myself at about a 7.5. With this one(http://www.bristolmt.com/winter_snow...illlevels.asp), I'd say I'm an 8. This one here, http://lib.ru/SKI/skilevel.txt, has ten levels and once again I'd say I am an 8. The one on the Snowmass site, http://www.snowmass.com/sitepages/pid23.php, I'd say I'm an 8.5. So, anyway, depending on the description of "levels", you can find yourself described fairly consistently, but not always the same.
post #9 of 10
aaahhhhh it is all in the wording is it not?

"with confidence" ..... ah well considering my instructors have been telling me for about 3 years now that my big gains to make in my skiing are ALL in my head..... I think I'd dip out on ANY level that required this.....

"variable conditions" ..... lets see now.....
slurpie slop(think slush puppy), chopped up heavy snow, hardpack, check check check.... (day to day occurrence)
snowgrass, check got that one down now.... NO EDGES!!!
bushes... well I have not fallen skiing over the damn things lately but do tend to have to push me over with poles rather than get the speed to go straight down... so as long as I don't have to do them "with confidence" I'd pass....
Fresh snow (we don't really get powder)- anything over about 6 inches is a negative I reckon - especially "with confidence" .... just not sufficient practice time
Ice - well I don't do it pretty but again have not fallen on this stuff for a LOOONG time..... again - as long as you do not want "with confidence" I might get by....

"linking short radius turns in the fall line" .... what fall line? Mt Everest? Kandahar? or the local bunny hill? (Yes I know I'm being stupid but you get the idea) What snow conditions? How crowded is it? How skied out/windscoured etc? Which days? or even which set of turns - yes I can vary that much within a few turns even.... just depends when I "set my mind to it" or if i am determinedly running from a snowboarder - or feeling a bit scared and nervy - or really having a good day....
post #10 of 10
Stop skiing at Big Bear. Go to Baldy, it will make you a better skier.
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