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egos & skiing

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I just read a post by dchan about ski levels 1 through 9 and how it pertained to him. I must add that I hold the highest respect for dchan though I have never met him. He's gone through what many of us should! <G> It's called a check up from the neck up! <G>
I might suggest an article written by Tod Murcheson called 'egoski' at www.snotech.com which may open a few eyeballs.
When selling skis I ask my customer where he/she is at in their skiing ability. This is so I can direct them to some choices commenserate with their abilities. This is so I don't sell a 'funny car' to grandma or a volkswagen Beetle to Al Unser!
While speaking to my customers I can usually tell what their ability is by how they talk and what they say. Sometimes I see them on the hill. 98% of the time I am right in my assessment. So many 'dudes' say they are advanced skiers, and that they ski the blacks. Yes, they ski the blacks but you should see them! Wow! I've seen parents take their little kids on moderate blacks. Do these little tykes ski teh blacks? Yes they do, but snow plow all the way, bless their hearts! But, they skied the blacks, didn't they?!
So... what about us? What about some who are registered here as Big mountain or super mountain members, but they are asking how to keep their skis parrallel?
Me? I don't jump anymore. Too old (55)to be breaking bones and not skiing for a season. OK... some moderate jumps now and then but no fakies or 360's for me. Ide? Love it. Bumps? Out of practice but can get back into it- had a full year of lessons in bumps. Cascade cement? No problem. Extreme skiing? Never. I like staying alive, thank you very much! <G> Bob

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Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #2 of 32
Actually, jyarddog, the different types of names like big mountain and supreme big mountain doesn't tell how good the skier is, but how many posts he has.... And, yeah, it's annoying with those who's always bragging about themselves. But it will all catch up with them some day, when people see them on the slopes!!
post #3 of 32
Anytime some says "I ski the black diamonds", is a major clue right there. All they are doing is promoting the fact that they have made it down a "most difficult" trail at a particular mountain (therefore, it's relative to the mountain), and survived to tell you about it. It tells you that they do not have the self awareness or ability to be able to tell you how they ski, only *where* they have skied. When I was at Whistler last year, we had a large group. One of the guys I skied with all week, was an intermediate at best, but he had the cajones to weed his way down some of Whistler's double blacks. We feared for his life, but he survived and had fun. I think there were only about 4 places that we went that he bailed and went around. If a person doesn't know enough about their own skiing to be able to explain HOW they ski, then you just take the info you can, and work with it. After a while, you get good at reading between the lines and understanding the body language.
post #4 of 32
This obviously can strike a nerve, but it is so true; for the average consumer, as well as us "self proclaimed ski masters". I remember, as a tech that I would try to hold pack the smirk, as a "Ego-maniac" (usually male) would tell me that he skied 50-mph+ down any face at Mammoth on his 170-cm conventional skis. He was usually needed at least a 190 or more because of weight alone, but was purchasing new gear and thinking of moving up "another 5-cm." The funny thing is, that under the current trend in equipment, this type of skier can truly rip on something in the 170 range!

As an aside, I must admit that I had a bit of an Ego check the other day. I was cruising the park at my local SoCal hill (18" on mew snow last week!), and I came across a kid throwing some mean tricks. I was doing 360's and feeling good, so I thought I would chat with him. After complimenting him on his 360's, we decided to take a few runs together. Basically, this kid was a ripper...720's, 360 mute-grabs...all big! I slammed on my big 360 attempt, and my new friend proceeded to give me a clinic on proper spinning technique. Meaning no guile, he labeled me a "beginner park rider". Ouch! To top that off, this kid is only 10-years old! However, I laughed to myself, as I rode the lift with next generation of skiing, and thought to myself, that the future of the sport is secure.

Bandit Man
Skier Level - 8-9
Park Rider Level - 2-3...or so I've been told.
post #5 of 32
I hear ya, Bandit. I'm a level 1 rookie in the park. Straight air is my gig. When we were up at Whistler last March (actually at Blackcomb that day), we watched (and video'd) a bunch of jibbers pulling 720 back blips, etc. We all just stood there in shock, gaping at what these kids were doing with their bodies.

When we were at Squaw last month, I hucked myself off a table top and rolled the windows down the whole way, but landed it. I felt like Mr Wilson (Dennis the Menace). But hey, I was the only one in my group to actually take the face of the hit, and I'm the one with the new knee, so I give myself credit.
post #6 of 32
My normal answer when any-old-body asks if I'm good, is "I'm okay, I know how to get down the hill". It's funny when you say this to someone you are meeting for the first time, and they go into the whole spiel about how great they are, and all the black diamonds that they ski. After they go on and on about themselves for 20 minutes, they finally ask something like how much I ski, and I respond that I've been teaching for Xteen years (up to 18 now), and I train ski and snowboard instructors. This happened in the Denver airport on my way to Squaw. Some chick was going on about how she was on her way to Heavenly for a snowboard competition. She was talking to some guy (BTW, she was drunk from waiting for a canceled flight, which made it even more entertaining) about his stance angles, and was saying all kinds of weird stuff. When I tried to explain how stance angles are determined, she had no idea what I was talking about, and therefore tried to disagree with me. This from a so-called competitive snowboarder. She was fairly cute, so she's used to attention (there were about 3-4 guys, including myself in the conversation by this point), and you could really see how pissed she got when people started conversing with me, rather than her, because she obviously had little to no idea what she was talking about. SHe also tried to tell us that she was AASI level 3 cert, but it was abundantly clear that she was not. So I decided not to embarrass her further by asking who her examiners were at her level 2 and 3 exams, since I know, or know of, most of them (she's from Boston, so were both in the Eastern division). I asked if she has ever ridden with Lowell Hart or Brian Spear and she didn't know who either of them were (Brian is AASI D-Team Coach from Hunter, NY, and Lowell is AASI D-Team, previously from Hunter, now at Keystone). Big red flag for not knowing those two and claiming to be a Level 3.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by JohnH (edited April 13, 2001).]</FONT>
post #7 of 32
Part of Ego is a DESIRE to be better, so it's no all bad if it makes you work at improvement.

Around the time I turned 40, which was more than 20 years ago, I thought I was about as good a skier as I was going to be in this life. I'd gotten as far as being a clinician on ed staff of the Central Division of PSIA, but I wasn't going any farther up that ladder. After about a season of viewing my circumstance in this manner, I started working on some aspect of my skiing that today I cannot remember, and I experienced one of those little breakthroughs of realization we all enjoy occasionally. I thought to myself that I actually wasn't "over" yet, and I've continued to ski with improvements in mind ever since. I've managed to gain something every season and I'm a far better skier today than I was then, despite the normal decline in what little athleticism I once posessed.
post #8 of 32
Kneale, Your post is inspiring to me. I am one of the older skiers here and got a late start (30) but still feel like I can improve.
I would really like to attend the Nat'l Academy again because I feel that I learned a lot there. I just wish they held it earlier in the season so you could practice what you've learned.
post #9 of 32
Xscream179- ya i am in the same boat as you. ive never taken any lessons, i learn how to ski by watching others and just doing it. except i have been park skiing for this year. i say go for your 360, ive only started jibbing this year, and i throw crossed up 3s, 5s, switch 180's and 3's, backflips, and other crossed up backs and stuff. tomorow i tihnk im gonna go for a lincoln 180 and a 720.


i am complimented all the time by adults and people my age (15) on my skills. i have probably spent at least a part of my day skiing with maybe 25 or 30 different people from 10-50 years of age, and i can honestly say i outperformed everyone of them in every aspect of skiing except park and racing. i dont claim or care to be good at racing, in fact i absolutely suck at it. my 10 year old sister is a jr. racer and can beat me by like 10 seconds. my park skills are decent, but i ski with kids throwing switch rodeo 5's, switch 9's, lincoln 180's, d-spins, and flatspins, so i am outdone alot of the time there. im not saying there arent better skiers than me, there are plenty, even some my age are probly better all around skiers although ive never rode with them.

by the way i am not trying to brag or anything, im just giving my honest opinion that even though i dont know which 1-9 level i am, i can outperform most skiers who've been taking private lessons and skiing alot longer than me.
post #10 of 32
Lucky: Next best thing to attending a National Academy is the Ski With A D-Teamer option at your education update. I assume this two-day session for 6-8 folks with D-Team members is offered a couple times a season elsewhere than in the Central Division?
post #11 of 32
Jyardog, there's a thread on the Gemeral Ski Discussion about Smilies and sources for different versions.
post #12 of 32
Thread Starter 
Kneale- ok- thanx btw- thanx all for straightening me out on the 'member' id thing.

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Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by jyarddog (edited April 14, 2001).]</FONT>
post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 
Professionalism is mainly attitude. it is quite refreshing to have read all these posts from professionals! I ahve been on some other forums at other sites. Most of the people there had swelled heads, slamming each other, etc. JohnH's response is great! I'm okay, I know how to get down the hill". he's got the right idea- Let your skis do the talking! 'm a pretty decent skier, but I've lsot a lot of time through the years, so I'm playing catch-up. I'm surprised I'm doing this well. A very good friend of mine whom I met on the web and now we ski together when we can, told me to try out for ski patrol, that I'm as good a skier as he. I told him... No way! I've seen how hard those guys work! <G> he gave me the chance to ski with his ski patrol a few weekends ago at Snoqualomie. Lousy weather but great fun!
These young kids, jumping and flipping around are us years ago. Some of you still do because you know how. At another site I cautioned some guys to work their way up slowly, perhaps even take lessons. Boy did I ever get slammed! I told them my only concern was that I didn't like to see anyone getting hurt. If they push it too hard, bye bye knees, and a ski or board season or two. Again I got slammed! Then some started bragging about how many pins they have in their knees and other parts of their bodies. I rest my case! I guess we all thought of ourselves as indestructable when we were younger. Boy, when I think of the things I did with my dad's MG I'm lucky to be alive! I was young and stupid too. Ya can't tell them, and you couldn't tell me! Mark Twain once siad, "When I was 14 my old man was the stupidist guy in the whole world. When I got to be 21, it was amazing what the old man learned in seven years!"
I've been on the hill since the fifth grade. I've seen many changes and advancements. Perhaps some of you have too. Anybody have any war stories? I've also done some research on the history of skiing. Who remembers the leather boot days? Solid wood skis with bearclaw bindings that didn't come off? Now THAT'S macho! <G>
Thank you all for your posts. it's good to know there are mature people on the hill.

BTW- How in hell do you guys get all those smiley faces and their variations? Wow! Bob

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Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #14 of 32
My own thoughts are that if someone is telling me how good a skier they are then they talk alot better then they ski. Good skiers are usually pretty modest and don't really care what others think, they're just out having fun.

Me on the other hand, I can rip anything, anytime, any condition. I'm badass. <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by desertdawg (edited April 14, 2001).]</FONT><FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by desertdawg (edited April 14, 2001).]</FONT>
post #15 of 32
jyarddog
Thanks I think.
I'm just having a great time learning and I enjoy sharing what I know.

DD,
I agree. go have fun. As I explained to you when we had a chance to make some turns. For me I'm a need to know how it works type guy.

and I'm always in Awe of how much I don't know yet and watching guys like JohnH and all my recent instructors (Lyle at the canyons, Scott at Alta and now Richard at Sugar bowl) make turns look so easy.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited April 15, 2001).]</FONT>
post #16 of 32
Jyardog: I'm glad you enjoyed Todd's article. You would be pleased to know that as an instructor, although he is superb, he is always looking for ways to improve upon his teaching skills, and never allows his own ego to interfere with his professional development.
Interesting comments on equipment selection. When I first began skiing, my husband was in the process of buying new equipment, so we were in our local ski shop, quite often. The sales help would hear my saga of learning to ski, and how each time I would say "This is about as far as I think I can go with this". But needless to say, every few weeks I would "up the ante".
When it came time to buy my own skis, I wanted a pair of Rossi cut 10/4s that were 140cm. They were the only pair left in the shop. Guess what. They wouldn't sell them to me. The reason: They thought that I would outgrow them too quickly, and would either end up needing new skis again, too soon, or that they would become a self fufilling prophecy in my assesment of my own limitations. Even though they did not have any available at their store, they urged me to find the Volkl Carver Escapes, wherever I could. It was a great decision.
It really helps when shop help are aware on both ends of the spectrum.
Thanks for a great topic!

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Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #17 of 32
Thread Starter 
Lisa- It's great that you found a good salesman. In retail our managers are always pushing us to sell up and add on. This is good for business and nothing wrong with it, however, morality dictates one does so if there is a perceived need only. Then you let the customer decide if they want to fullfill that need. The Gart store I work at follows that. They do stress not to sell something the customer doesn't need.
Awhile back a lady returned to the store o get her skis mounted. I can't remember the bindings she chose, but they were fine. She had in her hands a pair Lady Volkls (straight skis)and a pair of boots which she bought on sale during our turkey day blow out. She complained that they really didn't fit well. If I remember correctly they were a mid-entry boot. I got her backon the floor to fit a better boot. We went through the whole process. Being very impressed she took the boots. They fit beautifully. I then went through the song and dance about straight skis and shaped skis. I emphasized that, yes, it's more spendy and I'm not just rying to "sell up", but she would be much more satisfied with the shaped ski we were considering. I had built a trust with her in the boot change, I guess< so she switch to the shaped ski. At the counter I had noticed that the new boot was also on sale. I got the manager. He saw that she had switch to the more expensive ski, looked at both boots and though she was taking the more expensive boot he gave her a straight across trade so the boots didn't cost her anything extra to trade up! She was extatic! (sp)(where's spell checker when you need it?<G>)
I then gave her and her husband my e-mail address so she could get in touch with me. I then sent her my four page instructions on how to wax and tune her skis. In this I tell what you need at the store, also what would be nice to have but not necceary, dtailed instructions, and three silly pictures of skiing- one of a guy in a cravass, one of an ancient Swedish skier with a long and short ski, and a circa 1930's ski class, showing women on 9 or 10' long skis, wearing dresses! (must be most proper, ya know!)
All this helps others. What goes around comes around. I learn a lot on this forum and spread it around. Now... if I could just learn how to make it snow when I want it to.
Bob

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Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #18 of 32
I've really enjoyed this topic. I'm new to the board and it's taking me a while to read some of the older threads so my apologies in advance for floating them back to the top

I have a question for those of you with teaching or retail sales experience. What is the best way to communicate your skill level to a potential instructor or salesman?
I agree that the pat "I ski the blacks" is about as useless as "I totally rock, d00d!" but there must be a way to let another advanced skier know one's skill level without pulling out a PalmPilot and showing him/her a video clip!

Second questions: What is this Level 1-9 skill rating system I've seen mentioned here?

TIA
post #19 of 32
KevinH, the levels are used by PSIA to describe student skill ability rankings for purposes of determining appropriate lesson materials. A Level 1 skier, for example, would be a rank beginner for whom appropriate materials would be introductions to ski and skiing terms, safety considerations and beginning movements on skis. A Level 3 student would be working on the skills associated with linking wedge turns. Level 4 lessons deal with adding a christie phase (turning on both right edges, say) during the turn, while Level 5 students work on initiating turns with the skis in a parallel relationship. Level 6 through 9 lessons cover the skills that allow for intensifying our skiing activities to deal with steeper terrain, greater speeds, varying snow conditions, etc.

Regarding describing your skills for purposes of determining equipment needs or appropriate lesson levels, the simpler and more honest your terminology the better. Telling someone you've been skiing a total of 15 days over the last four years is a lot more informative than, "Oh, I've been skiing for four years now." If you can refer to familiar terrain (if the shop person knows the slopes where you ski or if you know the slopes where the ski school is) and say, "I can make parallel turns on Purple Daze and control my speed the way I want, but on Blue Skidoo I always end up going too fast", you'll be helping. If you can say that in your last lesson, you worked on such and such a maneuver, that's also a good indicator. It's important to be accurate AND positive. Don't underestimate your abilities either.
post #20 of 32
Thread Starter 
Kneale said it all, and very well too. Find a knowledgeable and honest salesman. If he just starts trying to sell you something and seems too smooth or too hard sell, watch it! A good salesman is going to take time with you and ask YOU questions. He is depending on an honest appraisal of yourself. if I get an answer to questions which leave me a bit confused as to the custoner's ski level I get more detailed in my questions.
I'll hear, "Well,...(pause)... kind of high intermediate or so." Tis tells me they can make it down many hills, but HOW do they make it down the hills? One guy might rip down a black whereas another tackles the blacks but he side slips all the way. <G> And because he made it down a black run alive he 'skis blacks' and is high intermediate! Yeah... right. I might ask what happens when he makes a turn. Does his arm and shoulder swing across the front of his skis and therefore almost turning uphill again without fighting his ski? Often the answer is, "Yes! How did you know?" This guy is usually a low to mid intermediate.
I'll direct him to an intermediate ski, but there's another hitch in the git-a-long here.
Is he or she looking to improve? I then direct him to a higher end intermediate ski or low advanced ski. this is so he has something he can "ski into" and not have to come back next year for higher level skis. This saves him money in the long run.
On the other hand there are those who see skis merely as transportation from the top of the hill to the bottom; stop along the way now and then to take pictures, beat up the kids, etc. This customer I'd sell to his or her level only. Since I don't know them personally I actually tell them all this. They then decide what ski to look at, now that I've narrowed it down a bit. They appreciate this extra time in conversation because they come to realize I'm not after their wallet! I build trust that way. (and I can look myself in the mirror the next morning!) Find someone like that.
Many stores tell their people to "sell up". That's business. You decide. you know you the best.
KevinH- BTW welcom to the board! The people here, male and female, are great! Look out for Lisamarie. She talks almost as much as I do! ... almost! bwahahahaha. boy am I going to hear it now! I better go hide! <G>

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Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by jyarddog (edited April 26, 2001).]</FONT>
post #21 of 32
When people ask me how well I ski, I just tell 'em I've been skiing for 40 years and leave it at that.

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BE the skis!
post #22 of 32
Tell them that you ski better than 95% of the skiers on the hill. But not Paul.
post #23 of 32
Thread Starter 
When asked how well do I ski? I usually say, "I'm still alive!"

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Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #24 of 32
Thanks for the excellent (and humorous!) advice, everyone. I'm in the market for new skis, finally realizing the benefits of a shaped ski and loosening my deathgrip on my old K2 SLC's (60/59/60 ). My ego will miss standing in the tram line at 5'6" with 200cm skis but that same ego isn't helping me turn in the crud below the Palisades either.

Fortunately, thanks to internet reviews, this message board, and some excellent demo opportunities, I've done most of my ski research on my own so I won't be needing much advice from the shop salesman.

The place I have had the most trouble in the past communicating my abilities is in clinics and with guides. My wonderful wife gave me a day of Heliskiing in Nevada for my 30th birthday and I nearly blew it trying to tell the guides how I skied. I understated my skills in steep terrain and got grouped with 3 less-skilled skiers. Fortunately, the guides did some switching around after the first run and put me with a group skiing the more challenging terrain.

On the other hand, I had some odd urge to ski gates a few years ago and signed up for a slalom clinic at Mammoth. Thinking myself a short-turn specialist, I talked myself up and got put in an advanced group. They had us ski a groomed run to check out our skills and I was on par with the others in that group...until we got to the gates. In the gates, I was EASILY the weakest skier of the group and didn't learn as much as I could have if I had been more honest. The video analysis of those runs was enough to keep me away from gates since!

Thanks for the great discussion, all!
post #25 of 32
Kevin,

"I'm no good, therefore, I refuse to learn"??? What a backwards philosophy. Get out there and learn to run the gates if it seems like something you'd like to do. Don't get discouraged because the others in your group are better than you. Use it to your advantage. You can learn from people who are better. The best guy in the group might be able to kick everyone else's butt, but he won't learn as much as you will.
post #26 of 32
Yeah Kevin. Do a search for a topic I posted in the technique and Instruction section called "Gates Without Tears". I got some great info from that post.
post #27 of 32
Good point, John, and yes, it is a backwards philosophy. I would say that the reason I didn't go back to skiing gates wasn't because I wasn't good at them but because I didn't enjoy them. However, this may be only partially true.

The real truth may be that I'm saying I didn't enjoy skiing gates because I wasn't good at it and my ego is doing its best to keep from getting bruised! Although I wouldn't have admitted it then, I had severe delusions of grandeur. I *thought* I'd be a natural slalom skier. I *thought* I'd be good enough to start training with the masters team. I *thought* I'd be a full-time gate basher after just a few runs down the course. When it became obvious that I was not going to do any of this without a ton of work, I lost interest in.

I know I really should go back and take another clinic. My first run in the gates taught me something I had never considered: I lean too far forward. Years of skiing bumps has taught me that if you EVER get caught in the back seat, you're dead. So when I started skiing gates, the coach immediately noticed that my tails were skidding out at the end of each turn. He centered my position (even recommended I adjust the lean on my boots to a more upright stance) and it's helped my skiing immensely. I still don't sit back but I make a much rounder turn and have learned to use my entire foot instead of just my toes.

Looking back on it, that one improvement has made huge changes to my skiing ability so I'm really stupid for not trying it again.
post #28 of 32
Yeah. If you think you'll enjoy it, at least give it a shot. I never got into racing because I hated the race training aspect. I much preferred the ski instructor training stuff, which is closer to just playing around on the hill. Plus, I didn't have to take rapid gates in the face and hike hills.
post #29 of 32
Old topic, I know, but I'm bored sooo...
Bob, how do you deal with us EYE-talians?
OTOH my English teacher of old forced us to keep our hands perfectly still while talking English, claiming that that was a no-no.
So, what'd you discover from my hands?
post #30 of 32
The ego and sports go hand in hand ,look at pros in the NBA, NHL etc. Some are driven by their ego to be better than others , some do it because they have the talent and ability but most do it out of desire . Most skiers I believe do it out of desire for the sport but the egotistical skier is in all of us , some just have it in check and some to their own misfortune fail to realize theirs is way out of control. It used to be "I ski on race skis" or "I need race boots" .We judged ourselves by the length of our skis never admiting that those friggin things got you into trouble , now with the new planks if your to long you will get punished . Being 12 ft tall and bullet proof is ok if you grow out of it but you must keep a little back otherwise getting up from a wreck , a hockey puck in the cahonies or even falling off a bar stool could not be survived .
I was lucky enough to go heli-skiing (this my ego showing) with Mike Weigle in 1981 and during breakfast one morning I was expressing how impressed I was when following Mike Weigle himself the day before when a big tall balding fella sitting across from me said
"ya know , skiing with skiers that are better shows you how good you really are! "..................
...his last name was Miller.
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