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Who is beginner, intermediate and advanced?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hello,

This is my first post on this forum.
I have been skiing off and on for the last 3 years (last year only a few times).

Recently I have decided to get me some skis (I already have the rest of equipment). I want to get Fischers but am not sure which skis to get - RX4, RX6, AMC 70, AMC 73?

On their website I am reading that such and such model is for beginners, intermediate or expert skiers. But I do not know how to gauge my skills and the skis that would be appropriate.

So I was wondering if you could give me a short description of what "beginner", "intermediate" and "advanced" means? And what do the numbers on the scale from 1 to 10 mean?

I tried to search such a topis on this forum but did not succeed. If there is such a topic, perhaps you could direct me to it?

BTW. I suppose I am between beginner and intermediate, but am not sure towards each group I lean towards. Perhaps that will help me choose.


Cheers
post #2 of 26
post #3 of 26
Beginner- Comfortable in a snow plow, moving up to parraleell skiing soon.

Intermediate- Can tackle all greens and most blues. can do paralell trusna nd stops.

advanced- can tackle some bumps, and everything for intermediate and beginner.
Expert- all of the above, can handle all terrain at high speed.
post #4 of 26
since your question is asked in the context of what ski to buy ...

a beginner ski will be soft, bend easily, more forgiving and as you go up the scale toward an expert ski it will become stiffer and less forgiving.

your height and weight will play a part in which ski you chose. a small person may ski something a bit "less" than their skill set if the ski is too stiff and a large person might ski something a bit "more" than their skill set because their weight bends the ski. Same goes with musculature and agressiveness of skiing.

the speed at which you ski and the types of turns you make (all skidded, scarved, carved) will affect the ski you chose, too.

I strongly suggest you demo skis before buying anything. if money is not an issue for you, I suggest getting a private lesson and asking the pro to help you select skis. otherwise you might find a knowlegable ski rep/shopkeeper who will ski with you and help you select the right ski.

good luck
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Recently I have decided to get me some skis (I already have the rest of equipment). I want to get Fischers but am not sure which skis to get - RX4, RX6, AMC 70, AMC 73?
Big mistake. I'm not saying that Fischer skis are bad, quite the contrary. But they might not be right for you.

Ski abilities:
Expert--skis all mountain, all conditions, with aplomb
Advanced--skis single black diamond runs
Intermediate--skis blue square runs with parallel turns
Beginner--skis green circle runs with wedge or christie turns

So...where are you? If you're a beginner, you need forgiving skis. You'll make unintended moves and you do not want your skis to respond. Any good ski shop worker that knows their trade will be able to point you in the right direction, or buy some good used skis that someone else has improved out of. Intermediate skier?..you need more responsive skis, but not high level skis. I'm not familiar with a lot of skis, but the Head i.XRC 800 is a superb intermediate level ski (I just bought some for the Mrs.). Fischer and all the other companies have similar skis.

Keep in mind that the each and every model of ski gets stiffer as it gets longer. The stiffer ski is more difficult to ski properly. You need to choose both a ski length and ski model. I'm a near-expert skier, 6', 210#, and I always have been pleased with the next to the longest ski in any top model line. In your case, you can get a higher capability ski (more difficult to ski well) in a shorter length, or a lower capability ski in a longer length. I'd suggest a ski that is about chin to nose high, and suitable capability for you. (For example, I really like the current line of Head skis. I just bought Head i.Supershape 170s for myself, and Head i.XRC 800 154s for my 5'6", 130# intermediate-skiing wife. Fischer skis might be as good, but are not widely distrubuted here.) In your particular case, I'd think that an intermediate ski that is shorter than usual would be good.

Demo skis have a few available in intermediate level and lots in advance level. Demoing is very interesting...I've found that equally good skis, intended for similar skiers, will have several OK for me, a few that are not right for me at all, and one or two that are JUST RIGHT FOR ME. This does not reflect on the skis...it reflects on the skis on me.

Have you bought boots yet? Boots are your most important piece of equipment*. The expert skiers and bootfitters I know prefer Nordica, Head, Dalbello, and Salomon boots, with the choice depending totally on fit. Find a shop that has a good bootfitter (lots say they do and few actually do), get the boots shell-fit, and any custom fittings that you need. Buy a good intermediate level boot. They often have flex adjusters...you can start with the flexy setting and stiffen that as you improve. (A woman with a small foot and slender calf can get a real bargain in junior race boots.)
http://www.bootfitters.com/custom_boot_fit_tips.htm
http://www.techsupportforskiers.com/tech_tip.htm

*Any good skier will ski much better on their own boots and garage sale skis than on garage sale boots and their own skis.


Ken
post #6 of 26
I think SoftSnowGuy's suggestions are good... and I'd recommend you error on a higher model ski in a shorter length.

I was a beginner (snowplow stop + turn) in Dec... and I got a set of Head C260i in 156cm. I'm 5'7"... so you'll note that the skis are slightly short for me... which I believe helps me ski a bit slower than a 163 and make it easier for me to turn.

The so-called manufacturer recommendation for my skis is "Very Good Skiers" which is supposed to be better than "Advanced/Intermediate/Beginner". I've gotten to the intermediate stage now (groomed blues and can do black diamonds if I skid all the way down)... and I'm happy because I'm not thinking about getting new skis already. If I had bought the C210s (beginner recommendation), I probably would be thinking about it. So don't worry about it - your skill level will grow into a pair of intermediate/advanced+ skis.

Take a look at Dawgcatching's prices in the Buy/Sell forum when you get the chance. He's got really nice skis at low prices. I'd buy a pair, but I'm happy with mine already. Also, don't limit yourself to just Fischer's. Volkl, Head, Atomic, Salomon, etc.. are good too!
post #7 of 26
I'm also a relatively new skier and I'm really glad you asked this question as I had been wondering about the answer to this myself. This is basically my second season of skiing (I went out once last year, but I had a pretty bad back injury that prevented me from doing much of anything). . . I skied a variety of demos and various rentals and found for me (maybe my skill level or refinement), it didn't matter too much. My wife got me a pair of Volant Machete Sin 175cm skis last year. They are longer than most of the demos I was on (I mostly was on 160cm - 168cm), but that's what I wanted. I'm now better after only a handful of times out on them than I was before.

One thing I would say about skier level is that I'm not sure I fully agree with the over simplification of the skier ability. By that chart, I was an advanced skier my first season and an intermediate within the first few hours out (maybe not quite, but close, my turns still aren't perfectly parallel a lot of the time). I still sorely lack in technique, but I can make pretty fast passes down most hills if I want to (which I usually do ). Until a day ago I didn't even know what a GS turn was. Maybe the ski choice should still lean toward a more advanced ski for someone like me, but I still have my bindings setup to release for an intermediate as I sometimes fall a bit ungracefully (I'm getting better at graceful falls too). I think that falling is an important part of how advanced you are or aren't.

Another thing before I quit rambling on and on. . . Last weekend was my first weekend on a different hill (I had only skied Mt. Hood before and this last weekend I skied Mt. Bachelor). . . Let's just say that the snow was a lot different than I'm used to. I normally don't fall much, if at all and I was taking quite a few spills on Bachelor as the snow conditions were so much different (powder instead of hard packed crud or corn snow). Something to consider is how advanced you think you are if you don't know what different snow conditions are like. Hard stuff is way different than soft stuff, in nearly every way from my point of view.

Regards,
-dath
post #8 of 26
Ollo and dath, ski selection based on level is always a question every skier has unless he has a ego ten feet tall. Pretty much all the manufacturers build similar skis in all but the very high end level because at the high end it can get very specific.

Among other things you need to consider is how aggessively you tend to ski. Are you the type of person who tries to beat their skis into submission or do you finesse them more? Do you intend to take lessons to learn how to take advantage of the skis full potential?

At the beginner level (level 1-4), its very easy for an aggressive skier to over ski themselves with a high end ski. High end skis aggress back and spank those who beat on them. If you beat on skis, get a medium intermediate ski that has some forgiveness and detune the tips and tails a bit. If you are a beginner who finesses a ski any low end ski will do but don't put yourself on a piece of junk used skis just because you think you don't ski well enough to deserve better.

As an intermediate(levels 5-6), meaning you really ski all groomed terrain to one degree or another including black diamond, the key still holds true. If you beat on skis go to a low end all mountain ski, detune and have fun. If you finesse skis go for an intermediate carver ski as these will reward your patience.

As an advanced skier (levels 7-8)who skis all groomed terrain without much trouble and will venture into the double black terrain whenever you think the conditions are ok, then stick with a high end all mountain ski. I know they are expensive. Again if you muscle skis detune the tails a bit but leave the tips sharp, you will remain upright more of the time.

If you take up specific disciplines like powder or racing, consider not getting the most high end ski that you can. You cannot take full advantage of the power and will likely suffer from the skis being less forgiving.

As an expert skier (level 9)you most likely want more than one pair of skis to take advantage of different disciplines within skiing. A racing ski for gates, a set of mean blades for goofing around, a high end all mountain ski and maybe even a set of wide crud/powder boards. No one should consider becoming an expert skier without a fat wallet.

The average skier is about 160lbs. If you are lighter than this consider the short end of the model ski. If you are heavier then consider a stiffer longer ski in the same model.

PS:If you are a gaper gear whoe, you need only consider the Atomic Metron B5, no matter what level you are.
post #9 of 26
Thanks Pierre, I think the definitions you gave are a lot closer to reality for some of us. I learned to ski by being fearless, so I was in advanced terrain pretty quickly, but it took me a while to really feel comfortable there.

I'd also mention to Olle that my skis are a little on the long side (175cm) seeing that I'm currently about 145lbs (I was closer to 155lbs when I got them, but I quit going to the gym due to an injury and lost some muscle). I don't think I have any problems making them turn though, so they're okay for me in my opinion. I wanted something a bit more advanced as I was planning on progressing and didn't mind getting a bit beat up learning, but I found that wasn't a problem. If you were going to stay more intermediate, shorter skis should be easier to work, but weight is a big factor, so I can't say what length would be good for you and I wouldn't pretend I'm experienced enough to give you advice there. A good ski shop could probably help you quite a bit in selection.

-dath
post #10 of 26
One other thing to consider is how fast you like to ski. If you like to ski fast, beginner skis and more than a few intermediate skis will not feel too good to you and you might want to get a ski slightly above your level.
post #11 of 26
Ollo,

Welcome to epic.

KlKaye has great advice.

Quote:
I strongly suggest you demo skis before buying anything. if money is not an issue for you, I suggest getting a private lesson and asking the pro to help you select skis. otherwise you might find a knowlegable ski rep/shopkeeper who will ski with you and help you select the right ski
Don't go for the brand, go for what you try and like. If that is not an opton, go for a color that matches your outfit (matching poles too).

RW

Sorry, just kidding on the last sentence.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Heh,
The main problem, you see, is that I do not live in the US, but in Poland

The descriptions in on-line shops are pretty vague, that's why I decided to have a look at the manufacturer's homepage. I had the impresion that that descriptios on that page reflected more or less US ski levels.

Another problem I face is that in Poland you can't just go and demo any skis you want. On the contrary - at a ski rental you can only get low end stuff beaten almost to death. Intermediate and high end skis are simply not available.

Anyways - I was talking to some people on Polish forums and in ski shops as well. I think I'll go for RX4 or AMC 73 (I can get new RX4 for a really good price).

Thanks for all the feedback
post #13 of 26
Imho RX4 is for someone who has never skied before and only ski very slowly. I think you would be better off with an RX6. The manufactures tend to advertise their skis to a higher level because most people overestimate their skills, and in order to flatter their customers.
post #14 of 26
Ollo- jak se mac?
My school is a couple kilometres from the polish border.
your national ski-jumping champion (world -champ, i might add), in fact, brought thousands of your countrymen to our host resort in '02 for the world finals. i know of many places there wher eyou can demo boards. word of advice: stick w/volkl.
also, there are at least 3 fine shops in zakopane (I coached two of the winning athletes at the jr. world championships there) whom demo out skis.
where's your home resort?
ciao, vladmir
post #15 of 26
ollo- how about some pictures?
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hi Vlad,

I live in Krakow - not that far from Zakopane
I presume that you are from Slovakia? Where exactly is your school?

What pictures exactly do you have in mind?

Today I managed to demo Fischer RC 4 (racing) from the previous year. I took them to a red trail (POLISH red) in Lubomierz (Vald may have an idea of what I am talking about). And it was OK, they felt a little stiff and I think I would prefer something more easy on the legs, but I managed to go down without great problems- even with a few carving turns

Vlad - why do you think Volkl are better? And if so - which model (range of models) would you recommend?

Just to give you an idea of my skills:
I'm 31, 188 cm, 75 kg weight

It's my 2,5 skiing season - but this one is the most intensive (the previous ones were not intensive at all).

What I can do:
- I do not use plough any more
- I ski with skis paralelly, and try to do turns paralelly as well (I think I'm doing OK, maybe not with all of them, but 95 % are ok)
- I have skied blues and reds in POland. On blues I have no problems at all, on reds it depends - if I am cautious I can go down using skidding turns. If I go fast, then every 3 or 4 runs i fall - usually while turning.
- I have just started learning carving technique and would like to learn it better, as I like this way of skiing
- my posture probably leaves something to be desired, I try to press forward, but sometimes (on moguls, etc) I tend to momentarily loose control of my skis and press on the backs of the skis
- my wife says I ski pretty fast for my level - but I do not really know. I know that I am not the festest guy on slope. But I am not the slowest as well. I would say I'm in the middle.

I would like to be a "competent amateur" one day, not a racer.

Cheers
post #17 of 26
hallo, ollo!
i'm american, but i took my own dog & pony ski show to europe in the early 90s, where i could make a meager living in DH competion, coaching, and ski school development.
My homebase is harrachov, CZ (RIGHT on the polish border at jakusyce) and samnaun, CH. i "discovered" samnaun while enjoying the ski arena ischgl/samnaun (connected austria /switzerland resorts, respectively) after miserably DNFing the worldcup finals at ischgl in the 90s.
anyway, I got back into fulltime coaching, and caoched a numbe rof poland's top riders, bringing two to the US open and one junior to the Burton ISF finals at Zakopane, a mountain with which i fell immediately in love. to me, a polish intermediate is an american double-diamond....the rugged, underdeveloped, steep terrain of poland gets my herat racing, and the oft-icy conditions indicate boards with superior edge-hold, hence my advice re: volkl. For much of eastern europe, i prefer and recommend full-race boards such as the P-60 series, but that's just me.
we rent volkls at the inn where i stay in harrachov, we get last season's leftover rentals from CH, as the swiss tend to demand fresh tunes each day, thereby having little base or edge left at the end of the season, and giving us great deals on overtuned boards for rental. mnay shops in harrachov offer demo use for a very good deal, and i've seen at least 2 or 3 nice shops in zakopane whom offered demos.
The skiing in CZ, Poland & Slovakia offers some of the best bang for the buck i've encountered anywhere in the world, airfare included.
You are a lucky guy to live near Zakopane, it reminds me of a mix between KT @ squaw and the front 4 @ Stowe, at a fraction of the money, with far and away harder partying into dawn, in the discos of the village below.

eastern european skiing kicks ass
post #18 of 26
My wife who is very much a beginning skier, just bought the Head Fast Thang's after demoing. This ski is labeled as a ski for very advance skiers, and it never made the list she had for demos. She ended up trying it as lark when another ski was not available. She loves it and it was hands down the winner. I guess the lesson here is to try as many skis as possible which is not always easy or inexpensive. It is a pain to find specific models to demo here in the U.S., and it sounds as though it may be much harder in Poland.
post #19 of 26
a great ski for colorado isn't neccessarily a great ski for poland. believe me, they have conditions there which make new englanders blanch.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollo
- I ski with skis paralelly, and try to do turns paralelly as well (I think I'm doing OK, maybe not with all of them, but 95 % are ok)
- I have skied blues and reds in POland. On blues I have no problems at all, on reds it depends - if I am cautious I can go down using skidding turns. If I go fast, then every 3 or 4 runs i fall - usually while turning.
- I have just started learning carving technique and would like to learn it better, as I like this way of skiing
- my posture probably leaves something to be desired, I try to press forward, but sometimes (on moguls, etc) I tend to momentarily loose
Ollo, based upon what you have written here it makes me think that you may want to work on a few aspects of your skiing first and then buy the ski that is going to compliment your ability and your aspirations. From what I read, it sounds like a major breakthrough for you could be accomplished through making the feet work more and quieting the upper body (really classic intermediate to advanced progression in skiing) and then some standard stance and balance concepts.

good luck with your skiing and the search for skis.
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by klkaye
Ollo, based upon what you have written here it makes me think that you may want to work on a few aspects of your skiing first and then buy the ski that is going to compliment your ability and your aspirations. From what I read, it sounds like a major breakthrough for you could be accomplished through making the feet work more and quieting the upper body (really classic intermediate to advanced progression in skiing) and then some standard stance and balance concepts.

good luck with your skiing and the search for skis.
EXCELLENT points, and that advice can be applied to all of us!
In genearl, euros stilltend to ski with their feet alittle 'clamped', and the austrian school (which stillrules most polish schools) still teaches rotational/counter rotational upper body stuff , so i am convince dthat your simple advice, here, will do wonders for ollo.
i'll letcha know next season after ollo visits me in Bohemia....
post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
Who knows Vlad, maybe next year I will
I would have to get a few days of holiday, and since I recently changed my job, I can't really do that now ...

Thank you all for your feedback.

BTW. do you know the page:www.youcanski.com?
Do you think that the articles esp.conc carving techniques are of any value?

Cheers
post #23 of 26
Ollo

I looked at the article. It's fairly standard stuff. The article highlights the concept of simultaneous movements, but neglects to mention the importance of legs working independently *and* simultaneously.

The most simplistic description that I have ever heard is:
1) Tip the ski onto it's edge
2) Balance on the ski
3) Guide the ski

A skier makes a muriad of minor adjustments throughout the turn -- hence the importance of independent leg movements.
post #24 of 26
Thread Starter 
Well I am curious about the leading inside leg half a boot in the turn (that's how I was thought)...

And in the article he says that you shouldn't lead the inside leg (if I got it right...) but go paralelly. Is that correct?

Guess I will have also to eliminate the outsie knee bend into the turn according to that article...


Cheers
post #25 of 26
ollo

this is another case of racing technique versus recreational skiing technique. in your daily skiing, it's better to match your tips as much as possible ... you can either pull your inside ski back or push your outside ski forward. why do this? it squares up your hips and readies you to make the move into your next turn -- typically you'll hear instruction to do this in the second half of the turn.
post #26 of 26
danger, will robinson...danger.......:
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