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Self Perception Irony

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 
When I am taking surveys at Copper, I have questions regarding how many days a year people ski, and what is their level of skiing. Ironically, people who say that they ski on an average of 2-10 days annually often rate themselves as advanced/expert.

Locals who ski 30-60 days annually often rate themselves as high intermediate.

post #2 of 80
delusions of grandeur:

It's called lack of education. They aren't smart enough to know what it means to be an advanced/expert skier. Whereas the good skiers understand how much there is left to learn.
post #3 of 80

Delusions of grandeur? Or shying away from the rigors of discipline?

I thought everyone was Level 8,
in a coasting zone of vague intent.
post #4 of 80
Originally Posted by comprex
I thought everyone was Level 8,
in a coasting zone of vague intent.
Yes Level 8 is all encompassing. For example I consider myself a Level 8, but my fiance a much better skier than I would also be one, as the Level 9 definition of all conditions/all terrain don't apply.

I think I'm like an 80 and she's like an 89

So can I be Level 8- and her 8+ ? (I ski over 50 days a year.)
post #5 of 80
I agree with JohnH. Most folks can acquire the skills to slide down just about any surface and survive it. So, the assumption becomes that if I can survive an expert trail, then I must be an expert skier.

Another aspect is that folks take lessons and their instructors tell them their level. Instructors want people to feel good, build confidence, keep skiing (etc.) and so people are often told they are a high level skier. I think the "level system" gets a lot of massaging.
post #6 of 80

Copper poisoning


It's a known fact that heavy metals damage the brain. Try doing the survey at another resort!

My personal opinion is that there is some overlap in the commonly accepted definitions of high intermediate and advanced. There is something inherently wrong in a population of skiers who ski 30-60 days per season and do not get to the point where they can be called advanced skiers within 2-3 seasons. A small percentage who simply emjoy the activity or have phyiscal limitations is understandable. But a majority of such skiers not being able to ski black runs? This does not make sense. When survey results do not make sense the most common reason is the survey methodology not the underlying data.
post #7 of 80
I wasn't concerned with the numerology so much.

The responder may wish to refuse instruction or discipline or judgement against a specific performance standard, and the answer selected is the one deemed most likely to succeed.

"I'm just here to ski and have fun". Is it that "intent to improve" is perceived as unfun?

One brave person called herself and her husband "perpetual beginners". I was impressed, then, but now I'm not sure I should have been.
post #8 of 80
I agree with most of the above. I think of the scale as being logrithmic rather than linear in terms of true ability change per level. A newbie can go from a level 1 to a level 3 or 4 in one or two days, but s/he hasn't necessarily changed that much with reagrd to actual skill. Many lower levels skills are easily acquired (at least to a degree) and people can become "proficient" in a fairly short period of time. I believe that as the level increases, the skill-gap actually widens. This may not be obvious to the newbie who views anyone who can "ski black diamonds" as an expert, but as skills improve the difference between a level 8 and a true expert becomes obvious to any level 8 who is honest with himself.

I feel that level 8 is the great, vast "wasteland" where the vast majority of good recreational skiers will ultimately languish for most of their skiing life, for the step from 8 to true expert (is this 9?) is not just another step, but a great crevasse crossed only with superior skill and effort. Most will never make it. In fact, many have no need or desire. They ski for fun, they are good enough and that is fine. Those of us who are driven to keep at it may someday reach the goal only to find that we still have a ways to go, that in the end it is the striving that drives us. Still others, due to lack of innate skills, balance, speed etc. may, though they strive, never reach "expert status. But here they need to take a lesson from both the terminal intermediates and the true experts and realize that as long as they keep at it and as long as they continue to love what they do, then it is all good.
post #9 of 80
Originally Posted by klkaye
I think the "level system" gets a lot of massaging.
I think folks forget that the "level system" is not a linear scale. It's more exponential or logarithmic. Heck, you get to be a level 2 just for putting your skis on and sliding around for a while....

post #10 of 80
the jump from level 7 to level 8 is a huge one too. I still at times when I'm being brutally honest with myself call myself a Level 7/8 which I've been at for years.

It's those darn bumps!
post #11 of 80

people who say that they ski on an average of 2-10 days annually often rate themselves as advanced/expert.
Many people I encounter at my area, rate themselves by terrain and not by skill level. Many think they can learn to be better skiiers by skiing the most difficult trails. The terrain usually only teaches them defensive tactics that get in the way of skill development.

I always test skiers out taking lessons on easier slopes before going to where they say they say ski. It often makes a difference on the success of the lesson by saying "lets work on some fundimentals on these easy trails before we go to something steeper". It is easier to up-grade the terrain than it is to get someone down something beyond their ability.

post #12 of 80
My take on it is pretty simple: those who ski a lot (30+ days a year) ski enough to encounter some "interesting" conditions often enough to realize that they still have a LOT to learn. They can't imagine an "advanced" skier not being able to handle something that they see reasonably often.

Those who ski only a week or so of the year probably chalk up their inability to handle "interesting snow" to tiredness or having a bad day or altitude or something other then lack of ability. "I skied fine the other days, so I must be an expert".
post #13 of 80
Originally Posted by comprex
I thought everyone was Level 8,
in a coasting zone of vague intent.
Sounds like a snippet from a poem.

Phantom move
A coasting zone of vague intent
Level 8

The storm passes
We remain
Elk bark brightly under stars
post #14 of 80
The level stuff is not very precise at the 7/8 (and higher) levels. Also, the level stuff is mostly intended as a way of sorting people into the appropriate class.

Level 7 is pretty high performing (in my opinion). I know people that ski alot who seem stuck at level 5-6.

I think many very-capable skiers might rate themselves as "advanced" or "advanced intermediates" to avoid giving the impression, by calling themselves "experts", that they are bragging. Also, the "expert" label sometimes implies that they have nothing left to learn.

Anyway, judge people's ability by observing what they can ski and how they ski it.
post #15 of 80
One if the characteristics of expert skiers is that they never refer to themselves as experts.

post #16 of 80
I think there are too many variables going on here. Are you saying that ppl who ski 10 days/year are on average, worse skiers than those who ski 40? Is there an age/athleticism bias in one group vs the other? Do ppl who ski 40+ days tend to be older/retired?

It also depends where you ski. It's all relative. If you spend all your time in the poconos you might seem like a relative expert but if you go heli-skiing in alaska, you would just be an intermediate. The way you ski is the way you ski but the labels are all subjective.
post #17 of 80
There's a huge fuzzy area between intermediate and advanced, and the materials ski-schools and others make available for students to rate themselves are pretty inconsistent and quite vague. I've seen descriptions of "advanced" or level 7-8 skiers that range from "can link parallel turns" to "skis all but the very hardest terrain", and that's leaving aside the difference between doing something without falling over or injuring yourself and actually doing it well.

Personally I persisted in describing myself as an intermediate skier until my skiing buddies started laughing at me, and I realised it meant I wasn't getting the advice and equipment I needed to have fun. I would guess this is a big part of what's going on - not only do people consider themselves "advanced" because they can survive on single diamond terrain, but also because if you describe yourself as intermediate many ski school and rental shop staff hear "has skied for more than one day".
post #18 of 80
if one insists on using a numeric scale,

1) Level 9 doesn't apply to a recreational skier, leaving a max of 8.

2) a Level 8 skier would be able to ski fluidly, choosing and skiing alternative lines and turn types, etc., on any "rated" slope including double-black diamond trails... not just experience the trail, not just make it down without falling, not just make it down "holding it together pretty well".

3) a Level 7 skier would be anything from learning dynamics and different turn types, to someone who is skilled enough but perhaps not aggressive or interested enough to frequent the more difficult single black diamond trails.

people, especially men, naturally want to sound like a good skier and therefore have a self-interest in a high numeric ranking. I'm at a point where I realize that most of the time I thought I was a high-level "expert" skier, I was about a level 6.5 or 7... and now I'm a humble level 8.something who needs to learn how to deal with icy narrow steep chutes but feels pretty confident in most everything else under most conditions. I've only been at this point for the past season or so.
post #19 of 80
post #20 of 80
I think a combination of Ron White, njkayaker and uncle cruds analysis are right on. I especially think nj call of the level 5/6 skier as the people who are stuck is very true. I see more people who ski at that level and they are skiing everything on the mountain, but they have persistant wedge christies and stem christies going on, even on the green and blue rated trails. As Ron White has suggested they do think of themselves as higher rated skiers because they "do" black diamonds but in reality its all done with defensive movements. I was in that group too, as uncle crud said most males tend rank themselves higher. It has only been thru practice and working up thru the PSIA ranks ( thats the real humbling experience and still happening) that I have begun to feel more accomplished. As an instructor I find that most females are more honest in their abilities and they are easier to coax on to the green circle trails in order to try out new things in their skiing. Men seem to want to get better at black diamonds on black diamonds before they really have the skills to apply in those situations.
post #21 of 80
I think serious skiers tend to be humble by nature, because there's always a new challenge out there to go after -- new terrain, new equipment, new techniques, more days skiing per year, lifestyle changes to accomodate skiing, etc.... Skiers I would call experts are good, but they don't know it because they are always looking to step it up a notch.

Casual skiers might not understand that and feel they have peaked out when they can carve turns on a groomer during their annual ski trip (and that's certainly an accomplishment, just not "expert" qualification).
post #22 of 80
LM, well from a researchers perspective the study is really flawed. I mean, one possibility you can't rule out is that the 10/day a year skiers really are advanced. Off the top of my head, I would go develop very specific criteria for beginner, intermediate, or whatever, for yourself, so you are very clear. Then I would ask people to briefly describe their skiing. You will have to go back and code it later to see what category they fit into. Ask them what conditions they enjoy, what kind of skis, whatever criteria you can justify. Then you could ask how many days a year they ski. So at the end you can say your sample included x% who ski 2 days, x% who ski 10 days and so on, as a reference point. Then you can say that x% described their sking in a manner that met criteria for an expert, beginner or whatever. Then add that "this was further supported by their stated preference for off piste skiing, their chooice of skis, and whatever else wyou want to use. BUt you need to define your sample, and not use words like expert which will definitely confound your research. And using likert scales presents other problems.
sounds fun tho
post #23 of 80
Many people want to define themselves as advanced+, but then want to limit that to groomed runs only!
Also (and I encountered this today), they seem to feel that they can progress through the upper levels as quickly as they got through Levels 1 to 4.
post #24 of 80
I'm a solid seven, always have been alway will be
post #25 of 80
Originally Posted by njkayaker
I think many very-capable skiers might rate themselves as "advanced" .
I've made great strides in my capability this year, and think of myself as an advanced skier, capable of skiing most terrain in-bounds (I'm not into dropping cliff bands as a requisite for skiing steeps), and I don't shy away from skiing because the conditions are horrible. I've been called, by longtime locals, "hard core" and "an animal" just because I choose to ski miserable conditions that they avoid (hey, sometimes that's all there is), but I don't see this is as a comment on my skill level.

I have a friend who looks like he's floating all the time (on powder or frozen crud), and as the season has gone on, I've noticed that my rating in his opinion has gone from "You're on your skis." to "You're really on your skis." to "You're SO on your skis."

The whole number thing seems to be there to draw comparisons between ability levels, but estimates are obviously inconsistant.
post #26 of 80
If someone can ski this, does that make them advanced?


(btw, this was before photoshop: http://img92.imageshack.us/img92/3292/before9bh.jpg)

post #27 of 80
Originally Posted by mrzinwin
If someone can ski this, does that make them advanced?
NO and -10 pints for color coordinating skis and poles
post #28 of 80
This reminds me of one time when I was playing golf about 6 or 7 years ago (I'm a total hack at golf - high 80s to low 90s). I would just play as a single, and ended up with two other guys. One was just a little better than me, but the other guy was, as I described to the first guy, "REALLY good". He just responded that "No, he's just good". He was right, he was a GOOD golfer. For some reason, that really stuck with me, because I was so used to seeing hacks like myself, that I was comparing him to people like me. I wonder if the 2-10 day/yr skiers are comparing themselves to others that they see or notice on the hill. It's knowing what a good skier is, that these people lack.
post #29 of 80
I'll give him an "advanced" depending on how it's skied. Just because you arrive in one piece doesn't mean the thing was "skied". I could sideslip or do the traverse-to-somewhere-I-can-turn thing myself. What I might not be able to do on that is link my turns easily. Hard to tell in pictures.
post #30 of 80
Originally Posted by sibhusky
I'll give him an "advanced" depending on how it's skied. Just because you arrive in one piece doesn't mean the thing was "skied". I could sideslip or do the traverse-to-somewhere-I-can-turn thing myself. What I might not be able to do on that is link my turns easily. Hard to tell in pictures.
well, sideslipping doesnt count as "skiing" in my opinion
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